Monday marked 22 years since the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Centers. After that time, there was a united purpose throughout our country. There was a commitment to acknowledge the loss and fear that had entered our world. There was a resolve to collectively heal from what we had witnessed. And yet when we encountered a global pandemic, our response was so much different. Rather than unite us in remembering how short our lives are, the pandemic highlight the divisions that exist among us.
Collective healing is hard work.
There were hints of the collective commitment to come together as a community using our power to encourage those on the front lines as well as keep each other safe. People in New York banged pots and pans at shift-change thanking the medical professionals who were working day in and day out. But as the pandemic dragged on and even now as we hear about more cases, our bodies and minds are tired of the continued threat and reminder of the limits of our physical bodies. Add to that exhaustion lingering symptoms like anxiety, PTSD, and reduced resistance in our immune systems and it’s a lot to handle for not just our physical bodies, but our minds and souls, too.
Collective healing is multi-layered work.
Whether we recognize it and name it or not, we have all been through the collective trauma of living through a global pandemic. We might not think about being witnesses of this in our everyday lives, but it’s still there below the surface. When we go through something this universal and this surprising, it is easy to think, everyone is dealing with this and just moving on. But what if instead, we committed not to move past the hurt and pain of that experience, but to move through it together instead.
Collective healing is long work.
If we took time to be together in the search for healing from this collective trauma, then we could create something beautiful. We could depend on each and value each other. We could look at each other and say our experiences might not have been the same, but they surely shaped and changed us to our cores. We could say together, this life is not guaranteed for any of us, so I am going to treasure this time with you because we are here together.