If there is one thing I would like to share more than anything else this month, it is a quote that I wrote in my “Soul Models” book: “It’s not what happens, it’s how you heal with it.”
These words don’t mean that we shouldn’t be devastated, angry, sad, frustrated or hurt when our world gets shaken or even falls apart. It doesn’t mean we shouldn’t mourn, shake our fists and weep in despair.
It does mean that we also have the power to respond in a way that transforms our lives and the lives of others in some positive way, big or small: it all begins with compassion.
There is no need to re-visit the horrific details of the tragedy that took place in Las Vegas on October 1st, 2017, beyond the fact that fifty-eight innocent lives were lost and hundreds of other innocent people were wounded. They were mothers, fathers, teachers, husbands, nurses and friends, daughters, sons, nieces and nephews – they were people with families, just like us.
I lived in Las Vegas for over twelve years – in fact, I raised my children there. When I read in the Las Vegas Sun that locals had already gathered to build a beautiful Memorial Healing Garden, I was incredibly moved…but not surprised. You see, Las Vegas is much more than a strip of casinos: it is a city of caring individuals who understand the healing power of community. In fact, so many volunteers showed up to unite in building this Memorial Garden, that many were turned away.
The idea began with Jay Pleggenkuhle and Daniel Perez of Stonerose Landscapes in Henderson, Nevada, whose compassionate need to do something went from a sketch on a napkin to a full-on Memorial Healing Garden in just a few days. The city donated land, and one thousand plus volunteers showed up to do everything from shoveling dirt to painting rocks with names and Angel Wings.
Jay didn’t create the garden with any true outcome in mind – he was simply, “moved to get people together to create something of joy and beauty instead of destruction.” Jay’s intentions proved so powerful that our country now has a permanent place of beauty in which to remember lost loved ones, and also unite in honoring their lives.
A visiting Rabbi who cried and prayed in Hebrew at the site told Jay he was healing the Universe. I believe that is true – and, that we all have the power to use our own gifts to do the same.
To Jay, Daniel and all the remarkable individuals who have showed up to help Las Vegas in big and small ways: you are “Soul Models.” Thank you for reminding each one of us that compassionate action is the fastest track to healing.
With Love, Hope and Healing,