As a child growing up in my family, 9/11 was always a time of celebration. My twin sisters were born on that day and my parents considered it a day God multiplied their blessing. We had parties, shared food, fun, and prayers of gratitude. On that day ten years ago, I feared that a cloud of terror would forever change our happy memories of 9/11 to a time of fear, pain and dread. It became a challenge for me to hold on to the joy of the past due to the overwhelming sadness that took place on that one day. I – along with many others who were impacted by 9/11 - began to search for answers to the following questions:

  • How can we find purpose from our pain?
  • How can we turn our wounds into opportunity and mastery?
  • How can we discover unity and compassion in the midst of tragedy?

Over these past ten years, I have been reminded each 9/11 of who I choose to be on a day-to-day basis. While 9/11/01 was different in the magnitude and intensity of the horror that we all experienced, every day has its own challenges. I make decisions daily about where to focus my attention. What do I want to happen in my life and what will it take to make this change become a reality? 9/11 has made me more conscious of the value of family and friends in my life and has become a way to kick-start my actions of recognition and appreciation for them.

I sort through my mind the many possibilities for action daily. I choose desired results and craft a plan for making them happen. Remembering the joy of the celebrations in the past helps me to more regularly say "I love you" to the people that I care about. I consciously plan more time to be in touch in person, by phone, or by e-mail. I take time to send a card or buy a gift. I realize that action is necessary to make the change complete and recognize the people in my life. I've also learned to more carefully commit to action and what I can do, when I can do it, what I need to get it done, and what they can expect once my task is complete.

Sometimes there are barriers and challenges to taking these actions as the opportunities present themselves. Without ignoring difficulties that exist, I have discovered that focusing on the positives gives me a greater chance for success. I keep a gratitude journal. I include my loved ones in my daily prayers. I no longer take for granted the love and support of friends and family. I seek to bring balance to my life and to give as well as receive. I focus on the celebration of each day rather than tragedy.

As the famed psychiatrist Victor Frankl said while a prisoner at Auschwitz,"Everything can be taken from man except the last of the human freedoms, his ability to choose his own attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose his own way."

How has 9/11/01 changed your own life? What are you grateful for as you remember this day?

With Warm Regards,