If you are a U.S. citizen, everyone probably remembers where they were and what they were doing on 9/11.  It was a turning point for every one of us–a huge wake-up call that we weren’t safe on our home soil.  Our troops dealt with this kind of violence on other continents, far away–nothing on this level in our own proverbial back yard had occurred since Pearl Harbor.  No longer did we feel safe and protected.  We felt vulnerable.

I remember the days, weeks, and months that followed. There was a stronger sense of community.  We had a common goal–to watch out for one another. 9/11 brought us closer as people, not just a nation, but as neighbors and families as we remembered–or woke up to–our need for connection and contribution.  The inexplicable violence on that day was an evil act but as with all acts of evil, of unfairness, etc. there is a seed of hope, and there is a flip side.  With all “negative” events, there is an opportunity for more–more growth, more awareness, more understanding.  Like the Phoenix rising, we have the opportunity to rise from the ashes and come back stronger and better than ever.  (I won’t go into how I feel the country is doing, I’m using this post as a platform for your own personal growth and insights into your relationships.)

9/11, or illness, death, divorce, a job loss–these challenges can completely change your life.  They can catch you by surprise, and when this happens, you learn how much strength you actually have.  Everything happens for a reason.  Every one of life’s challenges are an opportunity for growth and learning.  If you get stuck on the unfairness of it, or if your emotional gauge is usually on anger, sadness, or resentment–you, my friend, need to reset that dial.  Life is too short to be caught in ineffective emotions which detract and distract from your life.  Feeling anger, sadness, etc. is a normal reaction to these things–but when you get stuck on them, this stuckness keeps you from growing.  It keeps you from seeing the positives from what’s happened.  Your job, when faced with a challenge, is to find the lesson in it.  To find hope.  To forgive.  To let go.

9/11 is a reminder that life is too short to take for granted.

Facing life’s challenges isn’t an easy task.  Gratitude is a nice way of remembering to focus on the positive.  Focus on what means the most to you–your relationships, personal growth, contribution, spirituality…what lights you up?

What leaves the world a better place than how you found it?  Focus on making the world a better place–starting with yourself.

Today, although it commemorates a day of sadness and loss, can also be a day to remember how much life we have to live and to give.  We didn’t die on that day–we were given a chance to do better and live our best life.  Every single day we have that choice.