Self-Care is the Foundation for Surviving Grief

January 16, 2018

“Taking care of yourself doesn’t mean me first, it means me too.”
― L.R. Knost, Author, Speaker

Self-Care is the Foundation for Surviving Grief

by Georgena Eggleston, M.A.


What if the only reason for this journey of life was to learn to love, cherish and adore yourself no matter what was happening in your life? Could Self-Care be the door to open and begin to explore learning to love, cherish and adore your precious self, your grieving self? Could Self-Care be your life-line to surviving grief? What if a simple phrase could remind you throughout the day to care for yourself? Remember choice is our birthright. How often do you choose healthy foods, exercise and get deep, long sleep? Hopefully regularly. Each of these choices is sound self-care, the foundation through grief and mourning. I know from first-hand experience.

A Simple Sentence
I had the luxury of creating a private practice as a speech-language pathologist. My sons were young so they were my first priority. Then in the few afternoons or time on Saturday morning when they were watching cartoons, I would serve my clients.

I was concerned that I was ‘doing enough’ and ‘being enough’ as my practice grew. One morning during my Spiritual Practice after I had gotten done speaking to God through prayer, I began to listen for guidance. I heard ‘Teach them this is ‘My I Love you.’” So as I baked cookies I served them to the boys with the phrase “This is my I Love You.” They not only eagerly reached for the cookies, their smiles and deep eye contact affirmed they “got it”.

Ironing their t-shirts I would silently say “This is my ‘I Love you.’” as I was folding them. Driving the boys in the car to a soccer game I would listen to what they were saying and pretty soon I began to hear them say ‘This is my I love you’ to me or to each other.

In the Midst of Grief I Chose to Remember…
After my son, Reed, passed I had very little energy in my early Raw Grief state. My body was shot. I felt as though I had been flattened like a reed in the wind. My mind was a blur. Trying to do the simple tasks of making the bed and cooking breakfast each morning were overwhelming, especially as I was simultaneously rewinding the night of Reed’s death over and over in my mind. So stopping in the midst of my deep sadness to rest with a nap I would remind myself “This is my I love you.” As the confusion cleared from my brain and I moved into the Fragi


January 30, 2018


“You cannot fix a problem in the world unless you’ve already resolved the underlying conflict within yourself.”  ― Oscar Auliq-Ice, author, musician, businessman

“Oh, how I hate conflict,” I once complained to my husband. His reply, “Are you kidding me? You thrive on conflict.” We were both sort of right and both sort of wrong. What I hate is the physical discomfort that usually accompanies conflict. What I love is the possibilities that can surface during times of conflict. The key is to move beyond right and wrong, with resolution as the goal and the desired outcome for the highest good of all. Here’s an example.

Many years ago I was a member of a women’s gym where I worked out and took classes. The monthly dues of $25 were automatically paid through my credit card. I needed an extended leave for travel and physical ailments, so my credit card was put on hold for three months.

Three months went by and I forgot about it. For whatever reason, my husband paid my credit card bill for a few months. When my credit card statement was back in my in-box to pay, I noticed I had been charged the monthly fee at the gym, and had been while he was paying my bill. I was out a total of $100. That seemed outrageous to me. So, with a calm and hopeful attitude, I phoned the gym. My hope was that they would apologize and reimburse me since I no longer wished to be at that gym. That’s not what happened.

The staff member at the gym was adamant that I indeed owed that $100, per the agreement that I would let them know after the three month respite if I wished to continue or not. “I forgot” got me nowhere, as did saying someone else paid my credit part bill for a few months after the hold. I could feel the heat rising in my body. I could hear the irritation in her voice. We were both hell bent on being right.

Before everything blew up, I felt a sudden calmness come over me. I remembered the words from a workshop I had taken years earlier: Am I committed to being right, or am I committed to resolution? Somehow I managed to say, “I’m wondering how we might resolve this in a way that we’ll both feel good about it when we hang up.” In that moment I had the gym woman in the palm of my hand, because my hand is connected to my arms and my heart. My mind wanted a fight. My heart wanted peace. My body wanted the discomfort to pass.

“How about this,” she said. “We’ll reimburse you half and call it even.” That sounded to me like a great resolution. “Thank you,” I said. “Now let’s both get on with having a great day.” She agreed.

I think about the conflict in our country and wonder if we can apply the same reasoning. Am I committed to being right, or am I committed to resolution. When I’m confronted by someone with politics different from mine, and if I choose to engage with them, am I doing so to prove me right and make them wrong, or am I committed to resolution. Here’s an example.

During the presidential conventions two summers ago, I had a conversation with a relative who sees himself as a patriot—in what I would call the extreme. He could not talk about President Obama without fuming. The hate was palpable. In the past I would have argued until we were both blue in the face. But this time was different. I really wanted to hear what he had to say about Obama. “He was not born in the U.S., he wants Islamic Sharia Law, and he just fired 60 cabinet members and generals and replaced them with Muslims.” He spewed this out in one long breath. After a brief pause, I looked at him with a soft expression on my face, and said, “I don’t believe that.”

The difference? In the past I would have said “I don’t believe YOU.” Those are fighting words for us! This time I took it out of the personal and replied impersonally. He suggested I look it up, which I did when I got home. He was totally wrong. (I won’t even address the birther and sharia law stuff.) What I learned was, that Obama only replaced one cabinet member with a Muslim. It was tempting to phone this man and do what we did as kids when one was right and the other wrong. “Nee ner, nee ner, neeee ner.”

The late John O’Donohue has a beautiful blessing titled, “For Love in a Time of Conflict.” Here is the closing passage:

Now is the time for one of you to be gracious,
To allow a kindness beyond thought and hurt,
Reach out with sure hands
To take the chalice of your love,
And carry it carefully through this echoless waste
Until this winter pilgrimage leads you
Towards the gateway to spring.

So I ask you, my anam cara, when in conflict are you committed to being right, or committed to resolution?

Stuff I Learned in 2017

December 31, 2017


Before I put up my new 2018 calendar, and before I say goodbye to 2017, I pause to reflect on stuff I learned in the past year. The high lights and the low lights. Here are a few morsels from my life. I’d love to hear some of yours.



In 2017 I learned that…
…sitting is considered the “new smoking.” Bad for us, but some of us do it anyway. My sitting too much (wallowing in the wake of the November 2016 election) proved to be the root cause of months of lower back, hip and sciatic pain, and hundreds of out-of-pocket dollars in seeking help.

In 2018 I intend to…
Continue the specific exercises, while returning to the swimming pool for water aerobics and returning to the senior center for yoga. And to stop blaming others for my discomforts, whether physical, mental or spiritual.

In 2017 I learned that…
Even healthy minded and deeply spiritual people can get cancer and die. Even fun and robust people can drop dead of a heart attack. Even people with dire predictions of longevity can out-smart the doctors.
In 2018 I intend to…
Embrace my aliveness while fanning the flame of aliveness in others.

In 2017 I learned that…
…saying “I’m sorry” never goes out of style. Sometimes that’s all it takes to mend a wee crack in a friendship that could have led to an impassible chasm.

In 2018 I vow to…
…before speaking my “truth” to another, I first reflect on my part in the perceived dis-connect. Am I committed to being right, or committed to peaceful resolution?

In 2017 I learned that…
…I was carrying judgment about Christians traveling the Baptist path. While feeling over joyed in finding a new church home in McMinnville—First Baptist Church—I learned that there are many, many kinds of Baptists. FBC happens to be the liberal wing. My atonement was humbling.

In 2018 I vow to…
…examine my other hidden or veiled judgments and prejudices, take action when needed, and strive to practice what I preach—That we are all one, and that we are all in this together.

In 2017 I learned that…
…there are good, intelligent and kind-hearted people who voted for our current president. Just as there are many good, intelligent and kind-hearted people who voted for the candidate of my choice.

In 2018 I vow to…
…contribute my voice, talent, skills and money to political candidates I respect and admire, and to causes that enhance the gift of being an American citizen.

In 2017 I learned that…
…the same number on the bathroom scale looks different depending on whether I’m moving above that number or below it.

In 2018 I vow to…
Treat my body as the sacred temple that it is. Or, as I’m fond of saying, to tend to my body as if it were a loaner vehicle.

We really are one, and we really are all in this together.

Empowerment Revolution

“I did what my conscience told me to do,
and you can’t fail if you do that.” – Anita Hill

October 1991, a law professor named Anita Hill testified before a Senate panel that then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas had sexually harassed her. After disturbing testimony and grilling by male senators, she was made the villain while Thomas was appointed to the Supreme Court where he continues to serve. Some are calling for the re-opening of this sexual harassment claim.

STUFF I KNOW – Guest Blogger
Empowerment Revolution (c) Jen Moore

Jen is a Gender Studies instructor and activist, and maintains a blog at

Many of us went to bed depressed and dejected on November 8, 2016, as we processed the news on election night. Within weeks protest marches were being planned and on Jan 21, 2017 the world saw the largest demonstration via The Women’s March. Trump’s presidency ignited a social justice movement around the United States.

Like no other time in history we are seeing powerful, wealthy, white men fall from their positions of power and media influence. Louis C.K., Kevin Spacey, Harvey Weinstein, Charlie Rose and now Matt Lauer have all been fired as a result of sexual harassment or sexual assault charges brought against them. Remember when scores of Bill Cosby accusers spoke out a few years ago and the public was slow to support the women and instead defended Cosby? Those days are gone thanks to the countless women who have come forward with their accounts of sexual harassment and sexual assault.

Meghan Kelly, who publicly spoke out about Former Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes sexual misconduct towards her said: “We are in the middle of a sea change in this country. An Empowerment Revolution, in which women, who for years felt they had no choice but to simply deal with being harassed at work, are now starting to picture another reality. To feel that change is within their grasp… it is a sign of progress – of women finding their voices, their courage and of the erosion of a shameful power imbalance that has been in place for far too long.”

It seems each day another man learns the hard lesson that power, control and dominance over women in the workplace is not only unacceptable, it’s worthy of a destroyed career. But instead of focusing on the details of each case, I’m more intrigued with the bigger picture, the larger significance of the past few months-women are being heard and believed! Our stories are no longer being brushed aside and their criminal behavior being tolerated as “boys will be boys.” We are seeing a move away from victim blaming-what were you wearing? Why did you go to his hotel room then if you didn’t want to have sex with him?-and moving towards justice for the victims and survivors. This is an incredibly healing time!

For us spiritual seekers it’s also an opportunity to go within and reflect. Where have I blamed myself? How have I silenced my own voice? How can I hear my own truth, embrace it and honor it? By taking action! Act on your own behalf whether it’s literally speaking up when you’d rather be quiet about an issue you feel passionate about. You can also acknowledge that blame doesn’t serve to do anything but make you feel worse about yourself. But instead take on more self-care practices. I love to bundle up and take walks in the rain while listening to music. I sleep in on Saturday mornings. And I make it a regular practice to hang out with people who adore me and lift me up.

Now that we are seeing Hollywood elites topple, I’d like to see the same swift justice take place in all our institutions starting with the Supreme Court (Clarence Thomas don’t think we’ve forgotten what you did to Anita Hill) as well as in the Senate and the House. And yes, I do believe, there will be a day soon when President Trump will have to face his accusers, admit his wrongdoing and accept his punishment. Women’s voices will be heard.


The Presentation Project – Watch this very important short video from 60 Minutes.


November 17, 2017


“If you watch young children play, you will notice that they create
games, characters, situations, whole worlds in which they immerse
themselves with intense concentration.” – Daniel Greenberg, politician

We are living in a really intense time on the planet. How many times have you heard or said that? Check out Mark Dodich’s new moon message below. “Galactic Center urges you to step back to an expanded view of what is going on in your life and the world.” Oh, for joy, I muttered when I first read his message. More tension that I need to re-frame. But then I did as Mark suggests. I put on my detective hat and looked more closely at the word intense. By definition intense means…

Existing or occurring in a high or extreme degree: intense heat.
Acute, strong, or vehement, as sensations, feelings, or emotions: intense anger.
Having a characteristic quality in a high degree: The intense sunlight was blinding.

Breaking the word into syllables, we find in and tense. In, as a prefix, is often synonymous with un, depending on the first letter it is attached to. For example, consider this information found in a spelling website:

Not noble – immobile (we wouldn’t say un-mobile or il-mobile)
Not legal – Illegal (we wouldn’t say un-legal or in-legal)
No relevant – irrelevant (we wouldn’t say un-relevant or in-relevant)

Use of n before any other letter goes like this:

Not adequate = inadequate
Not capable = incapable
Not decent = indecent
Not offensive = inoffensive

My intensely curious mind then deduces that intense means without tension or not tense. What if tension is really a good thing, and not something to un or in?

Consider that it is tension applied to piano, guitar and harp strings that create beautiful music. Tension is a common feature in structuring the plot of a novel or play. How interesting would Indiana Jones be if there were no tensions in his escapades? Or James Bond, or Wonder Woman, or my life, or your life?

When I next declare that life, right now, is intense, I plan to pause and reflect on what I really mean. Are we without tension? Likely so since it is me creating the tension with my judgmental thoughts of separation. I can do the same the next time I catch myself thinking I’m too intense. (Yes, I’ve been told that.) Can I transform the tension from separation to connection? Breathe into the tension and allow beautiful music to emerge, or at least a new tune? And what about these intense times we are living it? How can I re-frame my perception in a way that will empower rather than feed into fear? The answer is simple. By connecting with anam caras like you.

As another Thanksgiving holiday approaches, thank you for being a friend of my soul and a friend to Anam Cara Connections. Our gift of gratitude to you is a blessing you might share at your Thanksgiving dinner table. Enjoy!

Grace Before Meals
Benedictus: A Book of Blessings
John O’Donohue (1956-2008)

As we begin this meal with grace,
Let us become aware of the memory
Carried inside the food before us:
The quiver of the seed
Awakening in the earth,
Unfolding in a trust of roots
And slender stems of growth,
On its voyage toward harvest,
The kiss of rain and surge of sun;
The innocence of animal soul
That never spoke a word,
Nourished by the earth
To become today our food;
The work of all the strangers
Whose hands prepared it,
The privilege of wealth and health
That enables us to feast and celebrate.


November 3, 2017

“When death finds you, may it find you alive.” – African Proverb


I am awake, but am I alive?

It’s a question we ponder in The Anam Cara Journey as related to the Gaelic term anam cara, which means soul friend. The anam cara was the priest (or priestess) that walked with you through your dying process, posing the question: As you are dying, how shall you live? Irish theologian John O’Donohue brought the term anam cara into mass consciousness by reminding us that we are all dying. The broader question becomes: Am I alive today? Or have I become one of the walking dead?

As a student of archetypal patterns, it occurs to me that the popularity of zombies is reflecting how many of us are going through life as if we were one of the walking dead. Not fully dead, but not fully alive. Going through the motions. Looking but not seeing. Listening but not hearing. Spinning stories in our heads that confirm why aliveness is a fickle friend. It is only recently that I shed the zombie garment and once again engaged in my aliveness.

I’ve been energetically asleep for two years. It started the summer of 2015. That’s when the Medicare mail started arriving. At one point I allowed all of the mail to pile up. I recall sitting with my morning cup of coffee in one hand and the other elbow leaning on the table. Aloud, I said to my husband, “I get it. Turning 65 is when you get ready to die. Is that what I have to look forward to?” He laughed, I slumped even more. Doug is five years my junior. “Just you wait,” I said, channeling the Wicked Witch of the West.

I decided to take a year off from my mentoring work and speaking schedule. During that time we re-located from the city of Portland to the small town of McMinnville. It was a great move! And then came Nov. 8, 2016. I was horrified by who my country elected as president. I fell into a deep depression for a few days, not even getting dressed. I sat on our couch and watched Hallmark movies throughout November and December. Sometimes three in a sitting. Always with comfort food as my friend. I was looking for a happy ending to my situational depression. I know the TV movies are cheesy, but, hey, everyone lives happily ever after.

Add to the mix the loss of friends. Not just moving away from my home city of 40+ years, but also literally losing friends who died. Most of the deaths were sudden. When you mix shock with loss, the path to healing can be extra bumpy. “Who’s next?” I sometimes mutter to myself, knowing that one day it will be me that death finds.

Then, early in 2017, I felt the quickening of aliveness return. “I am alive,” a shouted one night to the starry heavens above. And there it was. A shooting star. My aliveness in that moment was likely 100%.

The important part of this message is not just about waking up. It’s about staying awake. We can’t afford anymore to drift, hide or give up. Much is being asked of us. As individuals and a country. In the words of Sufi mystic Jalaluddin Rumi:

The breezes at dawn have secrets to tell you
Don’t go back to sleep!
You must ask for what you really want.
Don’t go back to sleep!
People are going back and forth
across the doorsill where the two worlds touch,
The door is round and open
Don’t go back to sleep!

With my renewed sense of aliveness, I am once again healing my body temple. I am enjoying reading books about the second half of life. My heart has softened as I continue to pray for our country and its leaders. I can truthfully say, “I am awake AND I am alive.” Then I hear a little whisper from the ancestors, “Don’t go back to sleep!”

CHANT: I Am Alive, David Zeller


October 5, 2017


“The final forming of a person’s character lies in their own hands”. Anne Frank


Please take four minutes to watch this music video. “Hands” was created as a tribute after the mass killing that happened in Orlando, Florida, June 12, 2016. A deranged man entered a gay nightclub and shot 107 people–49 dead and 58 more wounded. We were left wondering why.
“Hands” – A Song for Orlando (Lyric Video)

So, here we are again, on our knees, submitting at the altar of why. Just three days ago, this time in Las Vegas, we as a nation witnessed and suffered another senseless act of violence against humanity. More than 550 people shot down, 58 of them dead, while innocently attending an outdoor country music concert.

As a minister, during horrific times like this, I’m often asked, “How do we make sense of it?” Sadly, that’s not possible to answer, for me or anyone else. Because what happened in Las Vegas, and with so many other recent mass killings in the U.S., is that they are sense-less acts of violence. We do not, and cannot, make sense in our rational minds. That’s why we must make an effort to return to the Truth. We as humans are hard-wired to connect. We bleed the same blood. Our hearts beat the same rhythm. But some hearts are hell-bent on disconnection, causing the blood of human kinship to spurt with angry vengeance. How can we possibly make sense of that? I can, when I remember that how I respond is in my hands.

Today, I found myself gazing at the various Celtic crosses I have in my home office. The symbol brings me a measure of peace, and reminds me of what the Celts might have been thinking when they placed a circle around the intersection of the traditional Christian cross.

To me, the Christian cross is a symbol of connection. The Celtic cross is a symbol of responsibility. With connection and responsibility, inner peace can be restored. As we all know, peace begins within. Here’s how the Celtic cross brings me inner peace in the midst of chaos and confusion.

With the traditional Christian cross, the vertical line reminds us of the Heavenly Father energy, often viewed to be above. I was taught as a child in Sunday school that meant God descended into man. As an adult, it became clear to me, for the cross to be whole, we must also honor the Earthly Mother energy. Creation cannot happen without the two coming together as one. So, as I see it, their beams of light, from above and below, merge in the heart. It there that we birth The Beloved I Am. By that I mean my god-self. The indwelling Christ in me. The eternal sacred flame inside every heart.

The cross also reveals a horizontal line, emanating out of the heart to both arms and all the way to our hands. Remember the old spiritual, “He’s got the whole world in his hands?” That’s a truth. The cross demonstrates that when we are connected, Above and Below, and, we feel it in our hearts, what unfolds is all in our hands. Our human hands. Yours and mine. Our country’s hands. And, most timely, in the hands of our leaders.

At some point in history, the Celts decided to place a circle around the intersection of the two lines. What were they showing us? Here’s my take. We must honor that which is greater than we are, regardless of what we call it. God, Creator, Higher Power, Life Itself. That energy isn’t just above, it’s also below. We must remember that when opposition comes into conscious and loving contact, there will be an outcome. When that outcome is deemed good, it’s easy to sing the praises of the Universe. But when that connection is considered bad, tainted by hate and fear and senseless acts of violence, it’s way too easy to make a fist and mutter WTF. What follows is often confusion, sadness and downright despair. I speak from experience, especially the past few days. Until I shifted my thinking while gazing at the Celtic cross. (Notice I didn’t say changed my thinking. I said shifted my thinking.) The shift was remembering that I could react or respond. My response is a simple spiritual practice I learned years ago in a weekend workshop called On Course.

Every face I see is the face of God.
Every voice I hear is the voice of God.

Ask yourself, in the aftermath of the worse mass killing in modern history, what is being asking of me? What would a loving father say or do? What would a nurturing mother say or do? What do I say and what do I do? It’s all in my hands, your hands, our hands. Let’s connect and rise to the beauty of our birthright, and then share it. Because we do have the whole world in our hands. As Anne Frank said, “The final forming of a person’s character lies in their own hands.”

I ask, under this glorious Harvest Moon, what action might you take that will affirm your core beliefs, while addressing the strife of modern culture? A phone call or email to an elected official? A donation to a charity that shares your beliefs? A simple prayer? Affirm that We Are All One, and that we are all in this together. Please!!!


September 19, 2017


“I believe that there is a subtle magnetism in Nature, which,
if we unconsciously yield to it, will direct us aright.” ~ Henry David Thoreau


One September, before my yoga class began, people were exchanging thoughts about the changing seasons. I mentioned that the autumn equinox was about to arrive. “Oh no,” was what I heard in response. “I’m not ready for summer to be over,” said a woman who loves to garden. “I dread the darkness,” said another.

I pondered this throughout my yoga practice. If autumn is literally about harvesting the fruits of our labor, what symbolic fruits am I to enjoy today? I let my thoughts roam as I reflected on the year that has passed since the last Fall. How and where did I labor this past year? What fruits are emerging as a result of that labor? Where am I resisting?

The answer didn’t come until the very end of class when the teacher invited us to into Savasana. This is sometimes called “corpse pose,” as we lie on our backs, arms at our sides, palms up, and then simply rest.

When the teacher reminded us to surrender, the world YIELD popped into my mind. Used as a verb, to yield means to give over, to give up, to surrender the right of way. I think that was the resistance to autumn that I was hearing before class. However, yield used as a noun means, “…A profit obtained from an investment; a return.”

Anticipating this year’s autumn equinox (Friday, September 22, 1:02pm PDT), I reflect on where I have invested my energy, and what is now returning as a result. I intend to yield to the official arrival of autumn. To let go of my resistance to letting go. To accept that I will be “directed aright” as Thoreau said. I have worked hard enough at “getting” what my life is about. It’s time to yield, and share the yield with joy. What about you?

Remembering 9/11

September 11, 2017


“If we learn nothing else from this tragedy, we learn that life is short and there is no time for hate.” -Sandy Dahl, wife of Flight 93 pilot Jason Dahl, in Shanksville, Pa., in 2002


The night before 9/11 twenty-four Ireland travelers, registered for my first tour, convened at O’Connor’s Pub in Portland. The excitement was palpable as we made final plans to depart Portland on Friday, Sept. 14. I went to sleep that night with a big smile on my face, knowing everything was in place. The next morning the smile was replaced by a face that registered shock and devastation.

My stepson, 12 years old and about to start middle school, phoned us from his mom’s house. “Turn on the television,” he whispered. Together we watched in horror what unfolded over the next hour or so. At one point I asked him if he was okay. He replied, again in a whisper, “Is this the beginning of World War III?” I told him I didn’t know, while reminding him that he was safe. I asked him if he wanted me to come get him. “No,” he said, “I want to go to school.” That’s when I remembered I had to be at a Waldorf school at 9:00am for my weekly Life Lessons storytelling adventure with a group of second graders. I hadn’t a clue what I was going to say.

I somberly entered the classroom to find the children gathered around the feet of Mrs. Johnson, all with looks of devastation on their innocent faces. “Pastor Kate is here,” she cried out. “She will help us.” Suddenly I had my own little nest of baby chicks gathered around me, looking for guidance and meaning. My story went something like this.

Far back in time, when the first babies were born, the Creator gave each of them a heart. It would be the place where Love lives. (I invited the children to place their hands on their hearts.)

Like a drum, the hearts would beat, making a thump, thump sound, so we could hear them and remember Love. (We made the sounds together.)

At first the heart beats came at different times. But soon they came into rhythm. All hearts beat together, from the North Pole to the South Pole, from America to Africa, reminding us that we are one human family, created to express Love, together. Now, let’s close our eyes and feel the love coming from our hearts. (At last, smiles began to return to their little faces.)

But over time some grownups started to tie strings around their hearts. (In a pretend mean voice I asked the children to pretend to tie up their hearts, making mean sounds as well.)

Like a ball of yarn, soon some of these hearts were nearly covered up and invisible. And so was their Love. It was replaced by fear and hate. Show me what fear and hate looks like on your faces. (Imagine their expressions.)

And that is what happened this morning. Some grownups, with fear and hate in their hearts, caused great pain and sadness for many, many people, us included. I know I’m feeling sad, and a little bit scared. (At this point I invited the children to quietly say aloud what they were feeling.)

So here’s what our job is today. We must un-tie the strings of our hearts. Ready, get set, go! (Chaos ensued as the boys and girls ran and tumbled around the room, pretending to let fly the many invisible heart strings. Eventually we came back into circle.)

Now feel the Love in your heart. (Another round of thump, thumps.)

Can you feel the love again? (Cries of yes, yes, yes echoed through the classroom.)

This is what we must remember today. Most people are good and they let their love shine. But some tie up their hearts with fear and hate. Fear of people who are different than they are. Hate because of skin colors unlike their own. Or fear of different languages from around the world. Maybe hate because of different beliefs about presidents, countries, or even God. But what’s true is this. Every human has a heart, even the people who did the bad things this morning. The Creator intended the human heart to be where Love lives. Let’s make a pact today to let our Love shine, even if we feel sad or afraid. How about we all connect pinky fingers. Look around our circle. Are we one family? (“Yes,” they shouted in unison. Slowly I began to sing “This Little Light of Mine.” The children joined in. We separated that morning with big smiles on our faces and young hearts once again at peace.)

It wasn’t until I got home that morning that I wondered if the horrific events of 9/11 would cause the Ireland tour to be cancelled. As 9/11 unfolded, and then 9/12, I realized on 9/13 that the 9/14 tour departure would not happen. It was declared an international day of mourning. I felt horrible knowing I had to phone the twenty-four travelers with bad news. That’s when it occurred to me, my own Life Lesson. We were merely inconvenienced, while millions were devastated. We would not go to the airport on 9/14 and demand our flights to Ireland. Instead, I would encourage my travelers to join the world in prayer, reflection and contemplation.

On 9/11/01, and every 9/11 since, I remember that it’s a choice whether to see through the eyes of love or the eyes of fear. To remember that it’s not all about my needs or desires. To always pursue the deeper truth. Missing a tour date was an inconvenience. Loss of thousands of lives was devastation. True to the generous hearts of the Irish people, we were able to move the tour to spring, at no extra cost. The vendors in Ireland took the loss out of respect for their American anam caras, their soul friends.

My plan for today is to sing, whistle and hum “This Little Light of Mine” whenever and wherever it occurs to me to do so. Like the Waldorf second graders (now young adults) I will visualize the joining of pinky fingers, with skins of many colors, reminding us that We Are One, and that we’re all in this together.

Listen to the voice of children singing!