hello + happy friday!

it’s september 11th, as you all know. and it’s a day that will always be a somber one for americans and many others around the world. i always, always pause for a moment to reflect on that horrible morning in 2001 when our world was changed. a day when a new level of hate  + fear were introduced to us all.

september 11 memorial nyc panorama

ground zero memorial. photo taken in 2014 when i was in nyc.

i remember that i was teaching my students in a middle school in north carolina, when a fellow teacher walked into my room just before nine and told me to turn on our tv. we watched, spellbound + horrified at the confusion and chaos that ensued after the first plane hit the first tower. then, on live tv, we watched the second plane fly directly into the second tower.  stunned. unable to actually process what we had just seen. we watched the buildings disintegrate before our eyes. we watched as two more planes crashed in washington and in pennsylvania. and our fear + confusion grew. who had done this? and why?

i called my [now] ex-husband because i needed to hear his voice. i was suddenly terrified that everyone i loved would just be taken from me. by the time i finally made it home after work that day, i collapsed on the sofa, emotionally exhausted and glued to the tv, worrying about what might come next. soon, i became even more worried about how we, as americans, were going to respond to what had happened. i knew it was not going to be pretty.

as individuals + organizations, all i saw and heard and experienced was heartfelt love and support. a coming together, a community spirit, in the darkest of moments. from our government, however, i experienced something totally different. before the day was over, revenge was the word. america would “hunt down” the people responsible for this terror attack. it became vengeful. the fighting gloves were up. the answer to the violence brought on the united states was going to be more violence. (not that there doesn’t need to be accountability and justice. but, i firmly believe that violence only begets more violence).

freedom tower niece

the freedom tower. photo taken in 2014 when i was in nyc.

in any case, today, i can’t help but spend a few moments remembering + feeling all of those emotions again. and, looking at the world today, 14 years later, i am both saddened and hopeful.

but, more than that, i am determined. determined to do whatever i can to let even more peace and love, acceptance and openness, inclusion and compassion be the rules that i live by. 

september 11 memorial nyc 2

ground zero memorial. photo taken in 2014 when i was in nyc.

what a crazy world we live in, right? what a f*cked up world filled with hurt and need and violence and suffering. but, what a hopeful, caring, beautiful world we also live in. my heart truly aches because of all of the inequalities and injustices that exist today. and yet, my heart is also filled by all of the warm, generous, positive people that i see and hear about.

so, let’s tap into that positivity, that light, that exists in the world, because it is there, and spread that. let’s leave behind all of the negativity and fear. let’s focus on all that is good, that is working, and build upon that… transforming all of the suffering and pain and heartache into hope and empowerment and love.

now, it’s not about ignoring or turning away from all that is messed up with the world. but, it is learning to tap into the good that is around, and to build upon that. to let love override hate. to be determined to make sure that love and hope and justice and peace win by living lives the emit only love and justice and hope and peace.

it’s actually simply learning to be the change we want to see. 

let’s be global citizens, aware and open, reaching out our hands instead of building up walls. and let’s do this around the world and even in our own backyards. let’s learn to live in the present moment, remembering the past, hoping for the future, but truly embracing where we are and seeking out the beauty that exists even in the darkness.

yesterday was the ten on ten challenge for september. 10 photos throughout the 10th day of the month. and while it may seem petty to you for me to share 10 photos from my day yesterday, given all that i have just written above, but i think it’s important.

we all feel so overwhelmed and stuck and helpless, but i am here to witness to the fact that simply living our own lives to the fullest, by simply finding the good that exists in our everyday, ordinary moments, we are making the world a better place. who we are, wherever we are,  makes all the difference in the world.

and no, i cannot change everything in the world, and neither can you. but if we each live our lives authentically and with gratitude + love, then together we all will change the world one little moment at a time – from exactly where we are, by simply being who we are. 

here’s how i lived life to the fullest (+ hopefully made some what of a difference) yesterday:

meditation + coffee + breakfast with my love

coffee

cooked a little pasta for my love + i to take to work
pasta
blogging + writingcomputer blogging
snuggles with zola the cat in the sunshinecat zola sunshine
time to head to work!bikes
editing, resizing, and printing photoswork editing photos
watched this beautiful exchange between a begger + a woman during my break. the woman asked if she could bring the other lady some food, something to drink, or if she needed anything else. it was so beautiful to witness this moment of love.mall begger love
found some beautiful plants during my lunch break. i heart succulents.succulents
developing film + printing photos on mugs: i have learned sooooo much.negative photography work
sunset bike ride homesunset cycling uppsala
late night winding down: watched some friends + drank some wine wine computer

you know, it truly is all about pur perspective. it’s about being seeking out all that is good and soaking that up. because whatever we soak up, is what we put out there. and whatever we put out there, we receive in return.

yes, we still have problems. yes things are messed up and tough and confusing and scary – both in our individual lives and in our global family. but, when we stay focused + present on right here, right now. when we slow down and breathe in the sunshine, or open our eyes and look around us; when we meet + greet people with open hearts, a genuine smile, and look into their eyes or really listen to what they are saying; when we find something to be grateful for, even when things seem to be falling apart; then we create a space of safety, peace, and love around us. and everything about who we are becomes a little bit lighter + brighter. and we all move that much closer to creating that world that we truly believe is possible.

so, happy september 11th to you all. and happy weekend. may the love of god surround you. may peace go with you today and throughout all of the days of your life. namaste.

onwards + upwards! xoxo