I told my girls about the Paris tragedy.

I explained that a few very angry people chose to harm and create fear, but their actions actually led to compassionate solidarity all over the world.

They thought they were spreading hate, but instead they ignited togetherness and love.

In an instant people remembered what mattered most. They stopped, became silent, prayed.

We can hold onto this feeling, to recognize that this is the “us” living below the surface at all times.

During scary times the “us” breaks through. We look for light, we recognize our vulnerability, we connect.

As I explained this to my girls, I found myself thinking about The Grinch and Whoville. I thought about the Whos on Christmas morning, when they wake up and choose to sing.

They’re aware that a terrible deed has been done, but they choose to come together. They see the cruelty, but choose something different.

A terrorist attack is way beyond the plot of a holiday movie, but the underlying message remains the same.

Right now we can see cruelty and choose something different. We can acknowledge the terrible deed and choose light.

It’s very literal. If we let anger and hurt seep into our thinking and behavior, then we create more darkness.

If instead we practice loving behaviors – toward the slow driver in front of us, toward the person behind the counter, toward our leaders, toward our co-workers, toward people who are different than us, toward the man on the street, toward the difficult child, toward the ones we love most – then we literally create more light.

And that’s what we need. A whole-lotta light.

Light directed at ourselves, light directed at others. Less fear-induced choices, more open-hearted presence.

More awareness of how each of us play a significant role in creating a compassionate world.

Fahoo fores, Dahoo dores.

 

Cathy is author of the award-winning Living What You Want Your Kids to Learn: The Power of Self-Aware Parenting and host of Zen Parenting Radio.

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