Being human these days requires a certain ability to desensitize to our surroundings. How else can we move forward with all the seeming insanity that we’re exposed to? Turn on the news and within a week you’ll hear of a terrorist attack somewhere in the world. After a while we rarely even react to news of cars running people down in the streets or bombs in the subway. It always happens somewhere else. That all changed for me this weekend. I woke up this Monday with the news of the terrorist attack in Las Vegas. You haven’t heard it called a terrorist attack, but believe me it is.
This time it happened in my town. I can see the hotel the shooter used from my upstairs window. I was in that hotel for a convention three days before it happened. I know that whole area and can be there in fifteen minutes. I woke up to find out 59 people were murdered and 500 people injured from the attack. It takes a while for the enormity of it all to sink in. Fifteen minutes down the street, in my backyard 59 people were murdered as I slept. Two hours after finding out, my body began to fully react to the situation.
Sure, I’m like everyone else who is good at desensitizing to violence. Mentally we all have this ability to stuff things down and move on but our physical bodies don’t. Your body stores that trauma and has to express it somehow, someday. For me it was 2 hours later. I’m a bit of an empath, I feel other people’s pain. When this sank in it was a full body tremor, similar to a panic attack. I know the mechanisms of trauma and stress so I grabbed my herbs and took four Inner Peace. Forty-five minutes later the body blast subsided. I didn’t drop it and move on but I was able to be present and function. It was still a day where nothing much was accomplished except taking care of my family and being present to how the event began shaping my city.
This is what happens in trauma. Your brain locks into survival mode and your body takes on the brunt of the situation. You may not be feeling it right now but it effects how you react to every situation in life. Unless you begin the process to heal, you’ll just be layering on more stress and trauma every day you’re alive.
This is why people cry during yoga or after taking herbs. It’s the peeling back of the layers you’ve built up over the years. The key is not to run from the experience but to embrace it. In the suburb of Henderson where I live, just a few minutes from the strip, the city had this amazing idea years ago to promote kindness. “Be Kind” is posted all over the city, using different quotes and banners to remind people of this simple request to “Be Kind.”
I can’t think of a better reaction to trauma. The police have their jobs to do, as do all the medical personnel. It’ll take years to unwind this trauma that has invaded our community. There all kinds of ways to pitch in and help out – let’s all start with being kind.