Today is a marker for a day of collective trauma here in the U.S. The 20th anniversary of 9/11. You don’t even have to say more than the date. We all know what happened. Terrorists attacked our country. And in response America went to war. It’s a story as old as time.
Sitting twenty years out from one of biggest collective traumas I’ve lived through, while I’m not feeling like myself today, seeing things from all sorts of perspectives, it feels both weird that we would commemorate pain and want to reexperience it every year and totally normal because this is what we do.
Yet it’s not only commemorating pain, but remembering and honoring everyone who died that day. It’s being proud of everyone who came together in a moment of crisis to help one another. And doing what we can so it doesn’t happen again.
“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” – George Santayana
Looking at trauma in general, it’s not only something that royally sucks when it happens and stays with us for life, but it’s also our soul’s way of presenting opportunities to evolve.
Usually people respond to trauma by wanting revenge. They want the offenders to feel the pain they feel and do something to make it better. They want an apology and reparations. That’s human nature in a nutshell.
When a life has been lost, we want someone to pay with their life – even though it won’t bring back the dead. And many lives were lost on 9/11/01.
So why would our soul want our human selves to experience pain and loss? To break us apart to see how we deal with it. To give us opportunities to rise above. To give us opportunities to stop cycles of pain and revenge through healing.
Some people are taken down by trauma or use it as a launching point to create something great.
A few of the things I’ve learned about 9/11 as a group consciousness event, is all the souls that died that day had soul agreements to do so for the collective good. They knew that our group consciousness needed a big shake up and wake up to see how everyone would respond (much like our current pandemic). And everyone who died that day fully crossed over. They are not stuck in limbo. And the same goes for people who’ve either crossed themselves over in response to aftereffects of the attack, or who’ve died from cancer. They are all safe and sound on the other side.
Also, I’ve learned that people who were miraculously saved were not supposed to die that day. You can’t die unless there’s agreement with your soul and Source. Even for those souls saved it was an opportunity for growth – to hopefully not fall victim to survivor’s guilt, but to have renewed appreciation for life.
Some say time heals all wounds, and as much as the passage of time helps, in and of itself, it doesn’t heal them. But doing healing work does.
As someone who’s been actively involved in healing work for a decade, the anniversary of a traumatic event provides a marker in time to show us how much we’ve grown and healed. Noticing what’s changed from year to year, and especially paying attentions to how our feelings evolve shows us how we’ve grown.
When you think back to that day does it bring up fear of terrorism and hatred toward the Middle East, or have these feelings abated? Have you ever put yourself in the shoes of the terrorists who died for what they believed? Do you get all pissed off at all the restrictions Homeland Security has put on our country since it’s creation? Or do they make you feel safer?
In my case, ten years after the attack I was newly spiritually awakened, seeing life through very different eyes. And these days, as much as I’m still walking my way through a challenging Kundalini awakening, ascending a bit faster than has been comfortable, I tend to focus on things that open my heart and help me feel more relaxed.
Thinking back to the morning of 9/11/2001, I was exactly one week away from my delayed honeymoon trip, and was home from my part-time ferry job here in the Pacific Northwest. I don’t remember if someone let us know to turn on the tv or if I happened to turn it on, but by the time we tuned in, reporters had cameras showing a plane that had crashed into one of the World Trade Center buildings.
As horrifying as it was to realize someone had purposely flown a commercial airliner into a skyscraper in the middle of downtown New York City, it was even more horrifying when a second airliner flew into the other tower.
Sitting glued to the tv, we watched and listened as reporters scurried to cover the story. Visions of people covered with ash leaving the scene and others helping them filled the screen. Hearing about victims and heroes as events unfolded, we couldn’t take our eyes off what was going on. Cameramen filmed people jumping out of the buildings and store owners giving water and food to those in need. Firefighters and ambulances came on scene evacuating and helping people as fast as they could. Hospitals in the area readied themselves for mass casualties.
And then the towers collapsed. Shock waves again. Hospitals never received the mass casualties.
And then news of a third plane crashing into the Pentagon and a fourth plane whose passengers never allowed it to reach its intended destination of the Capitol Building, as it crashed in a field in Pennsylvania.
All air traffic in the U.S. was grounded and our democracy was under attack. As a nation we were taken to our knees by a handful of men. No nuclear weapons. No huge army marching on us from another country. A handful of men who planned and executed this specific traumatic event.
Twenty years have gone by and life has moved on. Kids back then are now adults and for people like my son, 9/11 isn’t something he even lived through. It’s now a story we tell and re-tell.
And for me personally, it marks not only tragedy but memories of my honeymoon trip soon thereafter. My new husband and I decided to have our honeymoon three months after our wedding so he could take time off work for both celebrations. But because of the terrorist attack, we were scared to fly across country.
After talking it over, we decided to keep our reservations and flew to Florida where we spent a few weeks visiting a friend on the coast, taking in Disney World and Universal Studios in Orlando, and driving down to Key West where I’d worked a dozen years prior. Orlando was deserted and hotels were begging us to stay there. The were no lines for rides at the amusement parks, as they were pretty deserted too. It was a bit surreal.
I was lucky. 9/11 didn’t take anyone I knew personally. Yet it has a collective vibration that carries both pain and hope. Tragedy and redemption. Trauma and healing. It was an event that was not only shocking, but brought us together as a country like nothing I’ve experienced before or since.
And these days we could use a bit of unification.
Today, I hope we’re all able to take a moment to sit quietly, focus inwards toward our hearts and feel gratitude to simply be alive.