Reflections on Life in the Aftermath of the Aurora Tragedy

“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”

Mother Teresa


Music is quietly playing, a candle is burning a sweet fragrance, my dog, Marley,  is cuddled next to me, and I hear the soft little sounds of my bird, Buddy, behind me.  All of my senses are smiling as I sit in my peaceful, comfortable home.  It is the end of another weekend, and that thought makes my head spin a bit when I realize yet another week has passed!  As thoughts tend to do, I have drifted to those darkened thoughts of the tragedy in Aurora, Colorado.  The contrast of energy is sadly sobering.  I consider Mother Teresa’s words and how our stones can create ripples of harmony and peace or discord and destruction.  I stroke Marley’s furry head while “We Live In A Beautiful World” fills the room with sound, and  I solemnly gaze at the smiling images of the victims before the massacre.

The questions keep surfacing as I look at their faces and listen to the accounts of witnesses and grief-stricken friends and family of the victims. How could this despicable horrendous act happen in a world where beauty is abundant and  simple pleasures can be had so easily?   My belief is that the actions that emerge from people are the direct result of the turmoil or peace they have cultivated within.  Unfortunately, it isn’t always one’s choice to cultivate peace.  I look at the eyes of the perpetrator for answers.   I look at his eyes  for reasons beyond choice that he could plan an act so vile against innocent people he didn’t even know.  I am wondering how his internal light got snuffed out.  Was he so disconnected from love and inner peace  that he made the choice to find significance in an act so violent and unthinkable ?  I conclude that  the shadows of the psyche can be very dark,  and with that darkness chaos, mayhem and horror can result, no doubt.  I also believe that somewhere in this man’s life he felt he was separate from God and separate from humanity.

Thinking of Mother Teresa’s words, I ask myself how I might throw a stone of peace, love and hope that can create a rippling effect to aid in the healing of a wounded world.  Martin Luther King, Jr. stated,  “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that’. So, I reason that when faced with tragic acts of violence, light and love are desperately needed.  Prayer is needed. I deduct that when we focus on the acts themselves– beating our hands in the air saying ‘why, why, WHY?’– that we may not REALLY want to hear the answers, the sobering truth.    I think of Carl Jung’s words, “Knowing your own darkness is the best method for dealing with the darknesses of other people.” Each and every one of us have at some time unleashed anger, negativity, hatred, jealousy, envy, and judgement towards others.  I know I have, and I accept the fact that I am human and make poor choices at times. NOW, I realize that those behaviors do not serve me nor mankind.  NOW is the time to cultivate inner peace and love through our united thoughts, words and actions, as we reach for the hand of the poor, the weak, the depressed, the lonely, and the oppressed. We have a choice in the kinds of ripples we want to make in the world.

We must reach out to the victims, their families, friends and community and offer our love and support.  Are we willing to courageously pick up the pieces and move forward with grace and belief in a better world?  The massacres in  Aurora, Columbine and New York City, to name a few, are signs that it is time to take a look at our belief systems, and the values that create the canvas of our society and our global communiies.  Are we willing to love everyone, and shine our lights into the dark crevices of our world?  Eleanor Roosevelt said it best when she said “It  is better to light a candle than curse the darkness.”

“Despite everything, I believe that people are really good at heart.” wrote Ann Frank. No doubt there was a lot of evidence around her to the contrary, I reason.  Yet, I do agree with Ann’s belief.    We have a divine nature that is the energy of love and is in every person,  a higher consciousness connected to a source that is all good.  That love comes through even in the aftermath of the worst of tragedies.  We are the human family.  We are all interconnected.   Somewhere along the way, we forgot about kindness, and replaced it with road rage.  Somewhere along the way, we forgot that war and killing is a learned behavior, but that a simple smile may save a life. Somewhere along the way, we chose revenge over forgiveness. We simply forgot that we are capable of peace and cooperation. Somewhere along the way, we forgot who we are.  We forgot that we are NOT separate from God, and that we are connected to all that is. We simply forgot.  NOW is the time to remember.

Light, love and peace to all,

Norma Costello










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