Whenever we experience a personal loss or collective tragedy, the innate human capacity for empathy is activated. Empathy brings out the best in people—we come forward and offer what we can—a hug, a kind word, a casserole, a blanket, a donation.
The fragility of life reminds us to love one another. For a moment in time, we slow down, look around and take stock of our lives. We count our blessings.
“The mere possibility of death has the power to teach us at any moment. It is truly a great cosmic paradox that one of the best teachers in all of life turns out to be death.” – Michael Singer
A heart broken open is a heart longing for connection. We are social beings. We need each other. We know this instinctively. A human baby cannot survive without a caregiver, offering food and warmth. From basic needs and safety, to greater fulfillment and success, our desire for belonging and love is universal.
At the same time, we all dance around what might be a comfortable balance between intimacy and autonomy, between vulnerability and safety, between freedom and responsibility. We try and try again, endlessly negotiating what is mine and what is yours, and how we best fit—in both relationships and life.
Whatever we may be facing these days, it is important to remember our common humanity, our shared care and concern for loved ones, the value in basic goodness and simple acts of kindness, and an appreciation for the sacredness of life.
“Love and death are magnificent gifts which many of us leave unopened.” — Rilke
Care for each other and this amazing planet is in everyone’s best interest. Have we forgotten how much we need the trees? Fresh air? Clean rivers and oceans? And the bees? The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. We’re all in this together, and it’s time to start acting like it. You are equal only to everyone.