Does It Matter? Applying Spirituality To Tragedy


After a human tragedy such as the Las Vegas shooting, can hope and togetherness help heal?


I woke up on Monday October 2nd after a weekend of inspiration, fierce love, and furious dancing to the news that at least 50 people were dead and another 200 were injured in Las Vegas.


I had spent the weekend with seventy others immersed in music, song and spoken word curated to open our hearts and let the fierceness of love wash through our weary souls. I had spent nearly a year planning, collecting songs, musicians, poems, speakers, and workshops to culminate in an experience that would rejuvenate and fill up our inner resources. At the end of the weekend we would have an expanded capacity to move through what was happening in the world with more ability to demonstrate love of self and other. Did our time of inspiration matter?


We opened by singing a song written by me for the weekend with the words “Something wonderful is happening here and it’s you!” and each of us were elated to be in the company of souls who wanted to generate more love in the world. The theme of the weekend was “Fierce Love,” and we asked ourselves the questions: “What if my heart wide open flowing fierce love could HEAL? What if my inner light could CAST OUT DARKNESS? What if my note sung out loud could BRING HARMONY?


In a diverse crowd of race, religion, sexuality, gender identity and expression we created beloved community. We listened to the song by Andy Anderson “When I love myself just the way I am, I reveal my power, wherever I am and anytime I can redefine, get a new paradigm and let myself grow…”. Followed by a transgender young man who brought the crowd to their feet with his piercing 16 year old wisdom and courage. Achille Ricca pondered in poetic prose what happens when you trade “Black girl magic for Black Boy Joy?”


Inspired by Alice Walker’s book Hard Times Require Furious Dancing, we set our bodies free led by drummers and facilitators who invited us to release our sorrow, despair and anger and allow healing to happen within.  We sang our hearts out to another new song I wrote for the occasion “Fierce love, tap into your soul, Fierce love tap into power, strength and glory, its in your control’. Seven musicians harmonized as the participants picked up the rhythm of the chant. We were lifted by the wind instruments of Roxanne Layton and the whimsy of Zoe Lewis. We floated out on the cloud of ‘Hallelujah” rendered by Amy Bishop of Canada in a way no one else can.


After each event, which included music, silence, poetry, creative expression and learning—each person shared a sense of possibility, lightness of being and an open heart. In just three days we felt transformed.  So did it matter? Would I do it again?  Does it have relevance in a world that seems to have gone mad?


I unequivocally say yes!  The time spent singing, dancing, and contemplating that for which we are grateful, made it possible to get out of bed and do what needed to be done to face the day.  We do not want to be paralyzed by all the things in the world that are wrong but be energized by the things that are right. And be energized to act in ways that contribute to a better community, nation and world.


The proverb from Confucius says, “If there is righteousness in the heart, there will be beauty in the character, If there is beauty in the character, there will be harmony in the home, If there is harmony in the home, there will be order in the nations, When there is order in the nations, there will be peace in the world.”


The condition of your own heart matters. Tending to your heart matters. Tending to the condition of your own soul matters.  People walking around in our communities with the capacity to forgive, to show compassion, to look for ways to love rather than hate- can be beacons of light to help those feeling the press of darkness or disconnection.


In spite of the bullets, the floods, the hateful speech, the attempts to divide us—we can continue to take time to sing, to dance to meditate, and to read poetry. And we can protest, write, challenge and speak truth to power. This is both possible and necessary.  Our world needs us all right now. Each of us. Fiercely present. Alive. Awake. Aware. Engaged. It matters.