Recent events in Florida USA got me thinking. Our instinct is to see the mass shooting as a tragedy for those who lost their lives and the families they leave behind. And of course it is. Big time. But perhaps it is a tragedy for the shooter and his family as well. A tragedy for society overall. For each and every one of us.
Let me explain.
What drove that man to do what he did? What made him feel the pain he did? The judgement, criticism, and shame so extreme that he lashed out the way he did?
A recent study proved that the best time to educate people about managing their mental health is age five. It seems ridiculous until you understand the rationale behind it. After age five, social context and stigma sets in. We become self-conscious about who we are and how we fit in, and so mental health education falls on deaf ears. My kids school has invested significantly in mental health over the past two years – there is an ongoing Mindfulness program for all grades, yoga is taught in gym class, and there is a Peace Room for kids to hang out in when they need it. Well, it’s not working. Even my 9 year old proclaims ‘there is no way anyone is going to be caught hanging out in the Peace Room, mommy!’
Francisco shared with me once that when he walks into a room to teach he simply sees a room of human bodies, in various forms of and at various degrees of malfunction. He simply sees people in need of help, without any judgement. People in need like he himself continues to be in need of managing his own pain from his childhood gunshot wound.
What if we could all just look at everyone as bodies with aches & pains, minds with stress, souls with hurt? What if all we saw around us were people with the same aches, pain, stress and hurt as our own? What if we realized we are all the same? We are all one. This is how I feel when I am in a Kaiut class or workshop. One of many seeking the same peace of mind, body and soul that I am.