The original intention for this week’s blog was to write an upbeat and positive post about a remarkable couple in Puerto Rico who are an extraordinary example of consciously creating one’s lifestyle.That post will wait for another time.
Because, it was a week ago today that the tragic Tucson shootings took place. Nineteen people shot – six fatally. How do we make sense out of such a senseless act?
In many ways, we can’t.
However, as the news unfolded this past week and the nation – indeed the world – witnessed the 24/7 news coverage and sought answers, the Dreaded Drama Triangle (DDT) played out in so many ways at so many levels.
Clearly there were multiple Victims of the shootings themselves as well as others impacted in ways, direct and indirect. One clear Persecutor (Perpetrator) smiled sardonically and, probably, schizophrenically. There were Rescuers – some of whom gave their lives – who reacted to help aid the stricken and subdue the shooter.
This incident is a painful reminder that “stuff happens” and drama is an inescapable part of the human experience.
However, when “stuff happens” we still have the capacity to make “shift happen” in the way we choose to respond.
It is natural, reasonable and appropriate that our initial reaction is shock and a whole range of fear-based emotions. As we have seen played out in the news, if we stay in the DDT, the first reaction is to look for someone, some institution, and/or some point-of-view to blame. Why? I think it is part of the Victim Orientation to think that if we can find the cause (or “causer”), doing so will then oddly serve as a Rescuer and begin to relieve the pain and sadness we feel as we a victimized by the tragic and senseless reality.
As we seek to live our lives from the life stance of a Creator Orientation, once we move through our initial reactions, we can shift our perspective from reacting to the event as a Persecutor to eventually responding to the sobering reality as a Challenger that provokes us to reflect, to learn, and to choose how to move forward.
President Barack Obama spoke from this orientation at the memorial service a few days ago. His address was part eulogy, part sermon and part measured political challenge. From the perspective of TED* (*The Empowerment Dynamic), the following words – toward the end of his speech – was a call to meet the Challenger and make shift happen to a more empowered response:
“(Such) sudden loss causes us to look backward, but it also forces us to look forward, to reflect on the present and the future, on the manner in which we live our lives and nurture our relationships with those who are still with us. We may ask ourselves if we¹ve shown enough kindness and generosity and compassion to the people in our lives… We recognize our own mortality, and are reminded that in the fleeting time we have on this earth, what matters is not wealth, or status, or power, or fame but, rather, how well we have loved, and what small part we have played in bettering the lives of others… That process of reflection, of making sure we align our values with our actions that, I believe, is what a tragedy like this requires. “
While we may never be able to make sense out of senseless acts and we will experience drama beyond our control, as Creators choosing our responses to life experience, we can still learn from even the harshest of realities and realign our actions with our values.