During the recent outbreak of violence in Paris, my niece, Lauren, and her husband, Jason, were in the city celebrating their 3rd wedding anniversary. They had been to some of the areas of the violence earlier that day. Timing is everything.
When I first saw the breaking news on the internet, I immediately turned on CNN, then quickly turned it off. Knowing Lauren & Jason were in the city that was now under attack, I felt the blood drain from my face and my stomach began to twist into knots. Flashbacks surfaced in my mind of my trip to Europe 30 years ago and violence erupting when we were in a foreign country. It is a very strange feeling of vulnerability that I had not felt since, until now. Lauren, my beloved niece, was in the very city that was under some kind of attack. What could I do to help? Is she safe? Can I reach her? Questions flooded my head in panic as I quickly phoned Peggy, Lauren’s mom in Ohio.
Everything unfolded so quickly, it is hard, even now, to remember it all – there being such a sense of surrealness to what was happening. Gratefully, I listened to what Peggy had already found out. Lauren and Jason were safe in their apartment, watching the BBC as the story unfolded and the severity deepened. Thankfully, Lauren had “messengered” her mom on Facebook immediately as soon as she realized something serious was happening.
Thus began the vigil we held together for the next 30 hours or so. Texting Lauren and sending my love and support was literally all that could be done, other than the texts and phone calls between her parents, brother Jeff & me. Candles of hope were lit. Chants of protection and peace began flowing from my heart with the intention of the energy of love, safety and peace reaching Lauren & Jason, and all of Paris.
The plan was for Lauren & Jason to be at the airport early the next morning to get their already booked flight out of Paris, yet for all of us back here, so many questions were tossed around – Could they get to the airport safely? Would the airport be open? Would their flight still be going? The uncertainty was relentless. We only know we wanted them home, as quickly as possible.
As time dragged on, each bit of progress began to bring some relief. Just knowing that they were safely at the airport was a huge victory. Then a text knowing they were boarding soon, though a different flight than originally planned, brought them ever so closer to us. Reading and re-reading Lauren’s texts gave me comfort. After a long night of sleeplessness, my heart lightened as Jeffery, who had been following their flight, announced they had landed in Philadelphia. Such relief for us all. They were back home in the States, they were safe. Tears of joy flowed like Niagara Falls. The remaining task now was to get this tired young couple back to Seattle . . . and they did, arriving late Saturday night after close to 23 hours travel time. They were home!
My family got very lucky this time. Our dear loved ones were safely returned to their busy lives in Seattle. It was a joy to finally hear Lauren’s voice Sunday morning. Many other families were not so lucky, and their lives now are not in celebration mode as are ours, but rather in mourning, sadness and disbelief.
This behavior of violence on each other is pathetic and sad. The Universe has given us a beautiful planet on which to live. A precious home full of land, trees, oceans and every imaginable form of nature. Yes, instead of taking care of this gift, nurturing it and each other, much energy is put into destroying & neglecting the Earth and each other.
I implore each of us, please STOP for a minute and reflect on this and start to examine what we as individuals can do. For now, if nothing else, light a candle of peace and allow peace to become your daily goal. I close my yoga classes with this saying – “may we all have peaceful thoughts, peaceful words and peaceful actions”. Use it and say it from your heart with meaning. Allow the vibration of peace to seep into every corner of your life, and as it does so, surely this loving vibration will begin to invade each being, each creature more and more with time. It is something within our power that we can do, and we must.
Please, please, I ask you to do it. It is our hope and our duty, especially for the generations to come, to work with more focus, courage and grace towards a path of peace for all and true peace on Earth. I humbly challenge this of each of you who reads this. Be the change, make a difference, be a light house of peace, and slowly may peace prevail on this planet, for all.
In Gratitude & Peace, Cher