Monday, April 15, 2013

Love, Hope and Warm Loneliness #BostonMarathon

I hold my face in my two hands.  
No, I am not crying.
I hold my face in my two hands  
to keep the loneliness warm -  
two hands protecting,  
two hands nourishing,  
two hands preventing
my soul from leaving me  
in anger.

Thich Nhat Hanh

On Saturday I went to a kirtan festival which, despite an underlying sadness after the loss of Shyamdas in January, was incredibly uplifting. My heart was open with joy and love. I was on a blissed-out Bhakti high. I was going to write all about it.

Nope. Four months ago my planned post was preempted by senseless tragedy. And here I am again.

The Boston Marathon began this morning just as I started teaching a yoga class. It ended abruptly minutes after I finished my last class for the day. Since my own marathon training begins in a few weeks, I was eager for race updates and, therefore, I got news of the bombings almost instantly.

I wasn't there. What I knew of people who were there came from 140-character snippets. But this felt personal. I was angry, I was sad, and I couldn't believe this had happened during the sanctity of the Boston Marathon.

Amateur runners and triathletes make up a diverse but incredibly benevolent clan. Immediately my twitter and Facebook feeds were overrun with people who felt just like I did. While the citizens of Boston took care of the runners and each other, the rest of the running community banded together in cyberspace.

As news reached me I saw, despite underlying sadness, an amazing outpouring of love. I watched footage of acts of bravery and kindness. I heard reports of people opening their homes to runners who could no longer get to their hotels, offering food, bathrooms and even lodging. I read that some runners who had finished the race went to the nearest hospital to donate blood. And those I follow retweeted and shared important information as well as countless "I'm ok" messages. I am again uplifted.

My heart is open with love and the joy of being part of humanity. In the banding together after tragedy I see the hints of the awakening we were promised at the end of 2012. There is suffering and horror but there is also compassion and hope.

I am still sad, but not angry. And I am no longer afraid. And until the day we realize we are all one, I'll keep the loneliness warm.
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