Somewhere in the Indian Ocean, rescue crews are searching for a missing Malaysia Airlines plane. Here in my home of Washington state, we are facing loss of at least 29 people from a recent mudslide. On this evening’s news, I just learned about a murder-suicide with four victims at Fort Hood military base in Texas. Oh, and E! News reports that Miley Cyrus’ dog died – because that is really important in the grand scheme of things.
There is so much unending tragedy and sadness. Having experienced a tragedy that has left my family and me forever changed, I am extra sensitive to events in which people are facing immense loss. These feelings get so big and overwhelming that I need to take a time out. I feel emotionally fried, and I know I’m not alone.
This is what my time out from tragedy looks like in three steps.
- Breathe. Breathe some space in between you are your overwhelming thoughts and emotions. Turn of the TV and distance yourself from the media reports, and keep breathing.
- Be grateful. With each breath, give thanks for someone or something in your life that often is overlooked. Are you starting to feel the love?
- Be present. Finally realizing that you cannot save the world, begin to do what you can within your means. Maybe this is a donation of what would have cost you a latte; maybe you can take steps toward making sure you are prepared for a potential emergency with the necessary supplies and plans; or maybe it is doing a little volunteering here and there to change the future of the issue at hand.
I am not an emergency responder or a philanthropist, but I can contribute in my own way. How do you cope with the latest tragedy?