Tag Archives: empathy

Transformorming Tragedies, Tribulations and Trayvon


I’ve grieved for the past few days, coming to grips with the horrific loss of life of children and adults in the past year. The deaths of 26 children in Sandyhook, the senseless slayings Chicago the killing of Trayvon Martin, Jonathan Ables, Jordan Davis, David James, the list goes on and on. I even wondered if it would be proper to even post something here about it. However, all life is precious and transient and not acknowledging it somehow wouldn’t be right. I wanted to acknowledge these lives and ask you to pause for a moment and acknowledge them too. Hopefully we can use this time to reflect on the things that we can do to be kind and empathetic and understand each others lives.

We are all brothers and sisters.


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Transformations: “Life-Quakes”

I watched with deep sorrow and horror as the events in Japan unfolded. An 8.9 earthquake and unstoppable tsunami ripped through large cities and small towns. It was heartbreaking to watch. The massive upheaval of human life, families displaced, fathers, mothers, husbands, wives and children devastated by the loss of loved ones. Far more precious than the property damage is the physical, mental and emotional damage that they will need to recover from. I’m not sure how they will rebuild again, the destruction was palpable. But it made me think, not about the fragility of life. Although, one could meditate on the personal implications of living life with purpose and integrity. No, I began to think about my lack of awareness.

Many times our lives are filled with busy work. Busy working, climbing, achieving, building what we may define as a life filled with accomplishments that we hope will lead to our sincere satisfaction. But I wonder how we would fair if it was all erased by forces outside our control. If we experienced a “life-quake” of massive proportion, that shook us to our very core, rattled us until we were left to question our very reason for being.

As I travel through life I’m slowly learning to become more aware, more informed about the plights of others, the struggles of people who may not be in my immediate circle of family or friends. How long after the sound and news bites fade will we remember the people in Japan, Haiti, the people still displaced from Katrina, the families that have experienced the economic tsunami of the past few years? Will we move on to the next cataclysm only to have it temporarily stun us long enough to give pause for a few moments, or learn that apathy is no longer an appropriate response? Not only should we empathize and respond on an intellectual level, but more importantly pay it forward.

Life is bigger than the microcosm we may choose to live in. We are all connected. Its bigger than the latest gadgets, the latest clothing trends or even the latest celebrity meltdowns. We tend to celebrate frivolity over seriousness. At one time or another we all will experience a “life-quake”, something that has the potential to rock us deeply and make us reassess our values, our thought process and possibly our lives. I know, It happened to me. I’m learning day by day to cut through the superficial and think through the bigger issues, I’m learning to appreciate things of enduring substance over surface, I understand the need to kill my apathy with empathy, to take action. I’m becoming more aware.

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The Touch

Touch…one of the Five Senses and possibly one of the most important of them. Its significance can be argued but one thing is certain, Touch allows us to feel, feel the Sun on our faces, the wind in our hair, the water running through our fingers and the earth between our toes…Touch allows us to Feel. We touch the hard pavement as we go to our jobs to earn a living and feel the softness of the bed we rest on when we return home. We touch each other as we move through life, shaking hands, embracing, caressing, holding,bumping, pushing, shoving, hurting and colliding into each other with sometimes disastrous results. We touch physically, mentally and emotionally. So…if your Carbon Foot-Print is deemed important in this “Eco Friendly” society, ask yourself “What is my Emotional & Mental “Hand-Print”? What impact either positive or negative have I had on and in the Personal Environment that now live in? See, we all Touch…everyday we move through the lives of strangers and loved ones and we can choose to collide and divide or comfort and caress.

Our Hand-Print can hurt or heal. We Touch. We touch the minds of our Children, our Spouses, Brothers, Sisters Fathers and Mothers. Words touch, they have the ability to push past the obvious need of  the heart. We touch each other and sometimes we refuse to touch, we hold back the good, we hold back the embrace of love, the caress of compassion and that can be more devastating than a slap.

Recently, in New York a homeless man lay face down, unmoving, on the sidewalk outside an  apartment building, blood from knife wounds pooling underneath his body. One person passed by in the early morning. Then another, and another. Video footage from a surveillance camera shows at least seven people going by, some turning their heads to look, others stopping to gawk. One even lifted the homeless man’s body, exposing what appeared to be blood on the sidewalk underneath him, before walking away. It wasn’t until after the 31-year-old Guatemalan immigrant had been lying there for nearly an hour that emergency workers arrived, and by then, it was too late. This man who police said was stabbed while intervening to help a woman being attacked — had died.


On a news report, an old man was crossing the street and was struck by two cars, one after another. The street was filled with busy pedestrians going about their day. Some of them saw the terrible hit and run. As the two cars sped away, no one was Touched by this tragedy to help the debilitated man. For 1:08 seconds he lie on the ground bleeding. People gathered around his battered body, one person on a moped even circled the old man and then whizzed away. No one was Touched.


I hope and pray that you offer some random act of kindness to someone, that you are touched by something and it moves you in such a way that you…act. Dont hesitate to help, We are all too connected to not reach out and lend support, consolation or protection from the things that assault us physically, mentally and emotionally. Dont refuse to Touch and be Touched.

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