Focus on the Good!

Focus on the Good

This past week was a time of violence in Paris, Beruit and Kenya where hundreds of people were killed and even more injured. Just a month before that, there was a mass shooting at the Umpqua Community College where I teach belly dance. To be sure, these are horrors, and we can’t help but feel distressed, but what I want to talk about is the huge backlash of love that happens during times like this.

Since I live in a community where something like this just happened, I can assure you first hand that there is much more goodness and love around here than there is badness and hate.

I think that when we all first heard about what happened at UCC, we were shell-shocked and almost numb. It was so hard to believe that something like this could happen in our small rural community, and it just didn’t seem real at first. But it didn’t take long for people to move from thoughts of shock and horror to thoughts of how to help and heal.

Every reader board in the county says something about praying for UCC and staying strong. Banners were unfurled, thousands of candles lit up local gatherings and people came together uniting in the common cause of supporting the victims and their families with everything from free counseling to service dogs on the campus when it re-opened.

It wasn’t just locally, but people around the world were praying for our community. Millions of prayers were directed our way and President Obama even showed up in our little town to show support to the families of the victims.  While some people focused on fear and anger around this event, I chose to focus on the outpouring of love and healing.

I believe that people are inherently good. Whether it’s a natural disaster or mass shooting, it brings out the good in people as they rally and are motivated to give. People truly want to help.

One woman I know contacted all the alternative healers in our area, rented a room at the fairgrounds and had a day of free healing for anyone in the community who needed it. A dancer I know is arranging a fund-raiser for the victims. Throughout the community from individuals to big business, support is being given to those who need it.

This is what being human is about. The overwhelming majority of mankind wants to help, and when we focus on this, focus on what is right in the world instead of what is wrong, our lives can be much more fulfilling and filled full.

Now, let me tell you a story about 9-11.

Terrorists attacked the United States on September 11, 2001, and my annual belly dance retreat was scheduled to start just three days later on September 14, 2001.

Now this was before Facebook and back in the day when people still used phones. I received calls from all over the country from other event sponsors asking me if I was still going to have my retreat. Belly dancers around the U.S. were concerned that it might not be safe to attend a Middle Eastern dance event after this attack, afraid they might be targets for picketing at best and violence at worst.

My thoughts were that canceling our events would let the bad guys win. Plus, I found out during Desert Storm that most people don’t equate belly dancers with the Middle East.

Some people canceled their events and those who didn’t had no problems.

My retreat is not open to the public and is held deep in the Oregon woods or boonies as I call it. I wasn’t worried about anything except whether or not people would attend.
So, here is what happened….

Every single person who registered for my retreat, except two, showed up. One had emergency surgery and one had a preemie grandbaby make an early appearance.  So, that was great.

However, because the airports were shut down, a few teachers didn’t make it and one of my teachers worked for the Red Cross and couldn’t make it. So as people arrived and checked in, I was asking known teachers if they could fill in, and people graciously volunteered for a class.

When we did our introductions around the campfire, a few people talked about feeling guilty coming to a dance event when the country was in mourning and over the weekend we did several healing circles sending prayers and healing energy to the crash sites. Several dancers approached me saying they were so glad they came, that being with their sister dancers really helped them through such a difficult time and that the healing circles gave them a sense of doing something rather than feeling helpless. 

It ended up being an amazing weekend, one that we will all remember and hold in our hearts.

When a disaster happens, we can’t all hop on planes and go help. We don’t all have money to donate, or the time and energy to hold a fundraising event. But we can gather in groups, hold hands, have moments of silence and prayer. We can all reach out to each other for support and remind each other of the need for gentle kindness during stressful times. We can all smile at each other and at strangers and remember the good in the world and count our blessings.

On that note, someone once told me that there is good in every situation. I remember lying on the floor after a fall wondering what could possibly be good about this situation. My husband had left me, I lost my home and my car and I fell while moving. I was determined to find something good and it came to me. When I fell, I fell on top of the suitcase I had been carrying. I thought, the good in this situation is my fall was cushioned by the suitcase and protected my face from slamming into the cement floor. Somehow this struck my funny bone and I started laughing. I swear I instantly moved from victim to victorious.

Yes, it was that simple.

Finding the good,