What's the first thing you do when you wake up? Hit the snooze button? Yawn? Go to the bathroom? Brush your teeth?

If you are like me, the answer is check social media. My smartphone has become my own pocketable personal computer. At the outset I tend to keep tabs with the world to see what is happening.

Last Tuesday was not a standard day. After checking into my connection tool I felt sick, dismayed, hollow inside. The Brussels attacks dominated my timeline, harrowing news reports consumed my screen, condolences were being shared and I stood in solidarity with the majority in condemning these outrageous, deadly, disgusting attacks against innocent people. I rolled out of bed that morning feeling like a gloomy version of myself, rightly shocked by the immense pain and suffering caused at Zaventem airport and on the city’s metro. In fact, almost two weeks later the victims of the bombings have remained fresh on my mind. 

The entire situation to begin with felt insurmountable. But as the days have passed I have came away with a new understanding and appreciation, a deeper connection to the plight of being human. The global united front shown in face of evil triggered this. The countless responses online illustrated, to me, a more positive side to human nature, on a day where I was losing hope and optimism, slipping into this sick circle of perpetual fear. 

It has taken me a while to catch on, but I've learned the purpose of terrorism is not to destroy or kill. It is to pursue a political cause through the massive publicity that is attached to terrifying incidents. There is no way any community can make itself immune to terror attacks and their aftermath. But it filled my heart to see the greater number advocate above anything else nonviolence and love, opposing torture, acknowledging the events on our own terms. Not letting the extremists dictate the conversations, not letting them provoke the ferocious reaction they seek from these acts, not playing into their hateful hands. Across the internet many were promoting openness and tolerance. People were supporting liberal policies and answers. Responses centered around the concepts of peace, harmony and freedom of personal expression.

And it all hit me, hard. The feels. I woke up and became aware. Aware of the enormous opportunities we have to come together as a species and save ourselves. As we continuously hold the capabilities to turn this thing around if it is our collective intention to do so. We hold the power. 

Because, in the general run of things, we are often too divorced from ourselves to know that in order to save ourselves, we must come home to ourselves. We must see ourselves as members of this human "tribe," knowing that the plight of each of us is dependent upon the plight of all of us and the plight of all of us is determined by the plight of each of us. 

Think about the seven billion of us, who, if you looked beyond skin colour, national origins or cultural backgrounds, you would discover "they" turn out to be a lot like you. And you might discover that most of "them" are thinking the same thoughts about themselves as you, carry similar worries and burdens of the heart as your own heart holds.

In other words, there's really only one of us here, manifest in seven billion different ways. Each one of us uniquely different, while being inherently the same.

And therein lies the conundrum of being human. We are many, yet we are one. How do we travel with a foot in both worlds? We live as though we have no knowledge of our collective condition, human beings traveling together through space, sharing a small ship called Earth. We live with little or no awareness of our connection to the whole and our part in it. Yet we do so at our own peril.

We look at each other as "other." There's "me" and then there's "you." And we are separate and different, and yet we are the same.

Hate is an evil and ugly thing. Such acts need to be condemned in the strongest possible terms. Even thousands of miles away, these tragedies affect us all. Let's seek peace. Let's seek amity. Let's stop these unnecessary deaths. My heart aches for Brussels, but also for Paris, Ankara, anywhere experiencing similar tragedies.  

We are now in a place where challenges unfold in a way that threaten our very existence, but love I believe will hold us together and defeat this. After all, darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that.


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  2. Patrick, this is extremely well written, and I cannot say that enough. What happened in Brussels has been playing on my own mind naturally enough. When I heard the news first that morning, the first thing I did was message some friends I know living out there, right in the middle of Brussels. That was the most terrifying thing I ever sent. All was good though, thankfully. It's make me think about travel, I never caught the travel bug or a bout of wanderlust but I was starting to make plans to travel around Europe this summer. This has all made me question should I or shouldn't I. But that is what these people want us to to be, crippled with fear. And I suppose we can't stop living our lives as a root cause of this. I hope, as with you, that love, hope and solidarity will prevail these bleaker days.

    1. Goddess! You hit the nail on the head <3 All this is forcing people to question themselves and their actions but we need to just keep on keeping on and not play by their rules. Yes! We are stronger in numbers. P.S. Once the travel bug bites you, the wanderlust is sticks like glue. Thanks for commenting btw, internet wife <3


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