Real World Lessons: Get Your Mind Right

I was looking for something today and found this piece which was inspired by the Northeast Blackout which occurred on 8/14/03 and 9/11/11. I’m publishing it because the message it contains is all the more relevant today. Too bad I didn’t find it in September 🙂


I am nobody and everybody. My thoughts reflect those of the minority, literally and figuratively. The world around me is changing. In some ways for the better and in others for the worst. What we take for granted, every day, with every breath, has become breathtakingly fragile and we are painstakingly unaware of all that we stand to lose. Each cataclysmic event brings with it fresh, new waves of terror. Our lives seem built upon shifting sands. We push on and take the same steps, trace the same patterns that we used to take but the sureness of our steps is fading away to a distant echo because we know not what each new day will bring.

Death, so often a distant twinkle in our awareness, came and knocked on our door. As ever, there was no warning but uncaring it came in a wave and washed out many lights all at once, all the more harsh because we did not know we were at war. In our grief, we were transfixed with a pulsating horror, wonder and relief. Horror at the loss of lives, now all the more precious for their absence and all that they left behind; wonder that Death could be so swift and inhumanly brutal though it was wrought by human hands and a horrid, stealthy relief that we were not chosen and still draw breath. For how long?

Unpleasant thoughts, overburdened consciousness and anger which burned futilely in our bellies sought a target and seek one still. Even with the targets identified we will never recover our former illusion of peace and security because privilege disintegrated under the onslaught of an unknown enemy – terrorism.

The aftermath of these circumstances touched all areas of our lives, intimate, financial, connections and spiritual. Some of us are still recovering. All of us are still trying to prepare to deal with the unthinkable by carrying gas masks and cash and flashlights and food. We are ashamed of our fear and united, for once, as we stand strong, yet lissome with hurt.

Man, so long a lover of his creature comforts, creates ever more machines and devices to make life easier. We are at ease and more dependent. On, 8.14.03 we saw how much these things meant and how easily they could be taken away. “They” said we dealt well with this tragedy but I know what I saw in the faces of my Sisters and Brothers in the streets – fear. Fear that we were under attack – again. This fear that always resides under the surface of our skin now that we know, en masse, the meaning of the word terror. We wait for answers and again look for the source that would allay our pain and fear. Except that it will not be allayed.

We are a society dependent on external things for entertainment and diversion. Never was that clearer than when the lights went out. It was not just that we had no lights, or water,  and could not get gas, or ice, as we melted under the oppressive heat of the summer air trapped in between our high rises. It was more than loss of dial tone, overwhelmed communications networks, the physical demands that many of us had trouble meeting, being trapped in trains or stalled in airports. It was our total inability to function without current.

We could not engage our children because they wanted their MTV, BET, video games and the Net. It was families not knowing how to entertain themselves without the boob tube. It was the silence of our apartments without ringing phones and flashing machines and our inability to MOVE. Trapped in our skins with so little external stimuli we were restless in our minds and extremely distraught. This was the majority and it only took anywhere from four to twelve hours for many of us to understand just how dependent we are and how enslaved we have become.

It’s completely unnerving that the enemy lies without and within. It’s a no brainer which is the easiest to defeat.

It was not our fault, and yet it is our fault, that we are raising our children in a world that is so dependent upon electronic media and external stimuli that they only know themselves in relation to it. The strength of humanity depends upon mental and spiritual complexity which in turn engenders strong and well developed individuals, bonded families and future generations. Perhaps, now is the time to talk about alternative means of power, the worth of the written word, family time spent talking or playing board games and communing out of doors. Mental preparedness is the most important weapon against a world that constantly bombards us with unanticipated and cataclysmic events.

I am nobody and somebody who is banging on the gilt cage of our fast moving society and wondering when we will begin to incorporate some of these critical lessons into our lives…

3 thoughts on “Real World Lessons: Get Your Mind Right”

  1. Thank you, ladies. I have to laugh because since I moved to NJ in 2001 I have lived in the dark four times. It is NEVER fun lol. Although, I have to say reading my candlelight is kind of cool.

    It’s interesting isn’t it that the thing most of us miss when we loose power is connected-ness? Being connected a generation ago meant something completely different. The global connections are awesome without doubt. How else would I have met you guys? 🙂 The problem is the lack of time spent communing with self and the world around you. The time not spent thinking about things which matter. sigh. Too bad we can’t convince folks of the necessity for balance. 😉

  2. I’m with Annie. We are a society which is dependent on getting things done in a faster and easier manner. No hard work for us. It takes a hurricane or a tornado to obliterate our towns and make us realize just how dependent we are on the good life. Our grandparents never had it this easy and yet they talk about lives that had meaning; worthy lives that were made up of the fruits of their labor. Yet, try to ask a young person today to go and sweat it out in a field picking potatoes. Ah huh. Just what I thought. Thanks for sharing, Coco!

  3. You are so right, Coco. This is as apropos today as it was when written. We, creatures of comfort, do not like to have our worlds change. We continue to invent things to make life easier which takes away the visceral connection one has to his natural environment creating a buffer zone between the person and the world’s life force. It is a wild ride we are on! Great read, Coco.

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