Recommended Reading Soundtrack: Nothing Matters When We’re Dancing by Magnetic Fields on 69 Love Songs
Right now, my heart is broken. I feel a compelling desire to write about it and connect with all of you who similarly feel the same teary-eyed dinginess that surfaces when you get in your car and turn on the radio, only to be confronted with senseless violence and a loss of life. A moment in time when a celebration of life turned into a final farewell.
They say emotions are the life blood of creativity. When I write, my emotions are definitely a driving force in what I choose to express and share with the world. That’s why some of the best songs, stories or poems are about heartbreak.
And heartbreak comes in many forms. Think Walt Whitman’s “Oh Captain, My Captain.” Or, “The Day the Music Died” and American Pie by Don McClean. I could go on for hours. And I must add for the record- the heartbreak I’m referring to is not a marketing “brand.” Seriously? (For more info on this new ego tripping idea, I suggest you read this recent article headline in The Guardian – gripping indeed.)
The geek in me can’t help but feel a disturbance in the force. We’re all connected and when something like this happens it is hard not to feel like crap. The one thing I thought immediately when I heard the news from Orlando was that the attacker was not what the media was portraying him to be. There was something lurking under the surface and it made my heart hurt. This stuff about terrorism just seemed like another smoke screen used by a lost and desperate soul willing to do anything to make others feel as miserable as himself.
To deny our truth, to hate ourselves – this is truly one of the greatest motivators for violence on this planet. Jung said this about inner denial and the shadow that leads weak minds like the Orlando attacker (I refuse to write his name) down a path of utter disregard for life.
“The change of character brought about by the uprush of collective forces is amazing. A gentle and reasonable being can be transformed into a maniac or a savage beast. One is always inclined to lay the blame on external circumstances, but nothing could explode in us if it had not been there. As a matter of fact, we are constantly living on the edge of a volcano, and there is, so far as we know, no way of protecting ourselves from a possible outburst that will destroy everybody within reach.” Carl Jung, Psychology and Religion” (1938). In CW 11: Psychology and Religion: West and East. P.25
You can’t help but notice the brutal irony of this shadow that has acted out during a celebration of pride in owning your true self.
The outpouring of love has been tremendous by so many since early Sunday morning. As I scroll through Facebook I find myself in tears again and again as I witness messages of kindness and a desire to pull together and become the greatest version of our collective self. One of those that really moved me was Jimmy Fallon’s statement regarding this devastating event.
Keep on dancing.
Fallon gave an emotional speech in response to Orlando’s tragic event which he graciously ended with “Keep loving each other. Keep respecting each other. And, Keep on dancing.”
As I became an adult one of my favorite places to dance and just be myself was a popular gay-owned bar in DC called Tracks. Tracks was the kind of place that welcomed everybody. The diversity in their events brought people from all walks of life together- gay and straight. It was a place that enabled me to simply feel safe to express myself and grow as an individual. I’m assuming the Pulse nightclub was very similar.
After 9/11 happened I remember sitting in my living room in Mt. Pleasant, DC, with friends sharing in our grief. The images on the television just escalated from the worse to the worst imaginable. Much like the Orlando shootings, I wish I could just be in a living room with those that I love, even strangers, just to know that I am connected in this grief.
It is easy to become isolated in this world of technology, but on the flip side it is also easy to feel how connected we all are in sharing our compassionate selves through words, music, pictures. Although this may not be the same as the touch of someone’s hand upon yours when you feel emotionally isolated, life is worth the big love that you infuse into it every day.
That in itself is one of the greatest actions we could take in honor of those that lost their lives this week. Being there for one another, and to keep on dancing.
Let’s Rock Big Love!