Adaptability / Challenge / Emotional Evolution & Spiritual Growth / Self-Help

9/11– For All That Ails Us, We Are Stronger Than We Know

It is the anniversary of 9/11/2001, and the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City still loom vividly in the peripheral vision of many deeply affected by the events that day. Like floaters that block our ability to see, 9/11 continues to block the ability for some to live fully. Disasters have a staying power for those who experience them first-hand. Trauma alters consciousness in permanent ways. Afterwards, the world never looks the same.

These are dismal thoughts perfectly tailored for a somber day in September. And yet, having had my share of permanent effect from 9/11, there is a lesson that remains true even if we fail to acknowledge it:

We. Are. Stronger. Than. We. Know.

Disasters and severe challenges of any sort can take us into a black hole of despair where we lose perspective, hope, and confidence in the power of the human spirit. We forget what we are–divine beings with infinite possibilities and infinite innate wisdom to overcome all that life presents. We relinquish our inner strength and hand it over to people, entities, or events that consume it greedily and use it against us; we are beaten into submission and our instinctive sense of resolve is destroyed.

If only we could remember at the most trying times that:

a)  All we have to do to reclaim our strength is to declare it to ourselves—possession is nine-tenths of the law after all;

b)  If we have made it through any other challenging times, however small, we can do so again;  

c)  We are as strong as our weakest link and sometimes that weak link is our own lack of hope;

d)  Simply desiring to break the chains that bind us to tragedy and being brave enough to believe that freedom is possible can free us of the permanency of trauma-induced backlash;

e)  Our spirit soul is not defined by our life’s experiences; instead, experiences–especially traumatic ones–serve to present a particularly challenging lesson that will allow our spirit soul to grow exponentially. We are in control of whether we advance spiritually or lose the lesson altogether.

Crohn's disease, children, fundraiser, triathlon, suffering from childhood illnesses

My nephew, Patrick, rising above illness.

A Triathlon for the Living

My sister is currently training for a triathlon to benefit the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America. Her young son has been struggling with the disease for several years now. In his critical growth years, he, at age 12, has lost 15 pounds since January from flare ups of the disease. His doctors struggle with making decisions about whether to give him the chemo medication he requires to suppress the flare ups or to hold off and mastermind a way to help him hold food down and gain some weight. His eyes are sunken and his body is tired. But his spirit is strong. Even as he struggles to achieve normalcy by attending school regularly and avoiding schoolmates that tease him mercilessly, he remains positive. He is amazing. His spirit soul is beautiful.

Crohn's disease, childhood illnesses, triathlon, fundraiser, cure

My sister training for a triathlon fundraiser for a cure for her son’s illness, Crohn’s disease.

My Sister?  A Triathlon?

My sister is competing in a triathlon. She is not an athlete by any stretch of the imagination. She is a dedicated but frightened mother who is trying to support her son in any way she can imagine. She and her family have been living in temporary housing since their home was destroyed by Hurricane Sandy in the metro New York area last year. Just this week as she gets the news about her son’s treatment plan for the week–the first weeks of his 7th grade school year, mind you–she is dealing with an eviction notice from the apartment complex where she has a temporary housing arrangement through her insurance company. They are threatening to kick her and her family out by end of month. The eviction notice was stealthily delivered by a fake pizza delivery guy.

The eviction is simply due to miscommunication between her insurance company, State Farm Insurance, and the apartment complex, but tomorrow she must go to a court room to explain the situation. FEMA is also involved in the now 10-month arrangement to fix her house. As I write this, the house sits gutted out without a roof and with absolutely no activity for months now. This is but one example of a day in the life of my sister who seems to have been dealing with extreme circumstances in her life for at least 15 years now. She amazes me with her spirit soul strength. She lives on the edge of hope, teetering between an infinite black hole and an infinite inner strength that leads her out of precarious positions like this one and into the role of crusader. I liken her to Joan of Arc. My sister is the one who, in the throes of battle when the flag has fallen down onto the battlefield, will run forth from the rear, all bloodied and spent, and scoop up the flag to lead the weaker ones to victory. She is amazing. Her spirit soul is beautiful.

We Are Stronger Than We Know

  • The World Trade Center disaster
  • Hurricane Sandy
  • Battles with physical illness
  • Battles with mental illness
  • Death
  • Divorce
  • Addiction

These are just a few of the struggles I and/or those who are closest to me have dealt with over the years. Not all of us have been getting through it well. Some survive. Some thrive. Some fall into the black hole. Those of us who are making it through can do little else but be the bearers of the good news:

Each of us has the power to make it through. We are stronger than we know. We are amazing. Our spirit souls are infinitely wise, powerful, beautiful and capable of healing our battered selves. All we need to do is BELIEVE and it will be so.

God bless all that have fallen, all that were taken, and all those that struggle to see their inner strength. Let us all be at peace; let our spirit souls soar.

9/11, twin towers, WTC, peace, dove

Doves fly free over Twin Towers (photo from

 Copyright @ 2016 | All rights reserved.

13 thoughts on “9/11– For All That Ails Us, We Are Stronger Than We Know

  1. Sue, what a beautiful post, expertly and beautifully written. I love that you recognize that we are all souls having a human experience and that tragedy can teach us things, hard lessons. My thoughts and prayers are with you and yours today and with your sister and sweet nephew.

    • Thank you, Brigitte. I know you’ve had your share recently. Best to remind ourselves that all the healing we need is right within us. Have a blessed day.

      Peace to you.

  2. in the wake of the memory of the national crisis, your post spelled out the wonders of the human spirit. Your sister seems an extremely courageous woman. She has been running an emotional triathlon (losing her home, illness of her child, eviction notice) and surviving so I am sure she will do well in the race. Good luck to her and the charity she supports. (and I wish your nephew a road to recovery).

    • Thanks so much, Elizabeth. I see so many struggling, which puts things in perspective. I have thankfully made it through my own challenges in the last decade and am grateful to find some peace. Had I listened to my own words, I might’ve gotten back on my feet quicker, but everything in its own time, I suppose. Peace to you. Be well.

  3. I am sitting in awe, of you for you beautiful post; of your sister for rising up against odds that would decimate the spirit of so many. How do we walk in gratitude and grace when it seems our road is strewn with stones to large to walk around? You show it with your writing.

    Thank you.

    • Thank you so much, Val. You are consistently kind and supportive. That, in itself, is yet another thing that can keep us strong in the face of challenge… if we are so blessed to have such fine people in our lives. When we don’t though, it’s SO IMPORTANT to know we can be that kind and supportive person to ourselves.

      You are most welcome!

  4. What a wonderful post sue… I do so hope your nephew recovers… My sister has had crohns since she was 17.. it originally started because of the full cream milk she used to gulp down her as a kid and then she got stressed working… she had a lot of her large intestine cut out and put her self on a diet… and no stress, only happiness…. and she is fine today, a little tired at times, but healthy…. Maybe your nephew could be allergic to something… Take care Barbara

    • Thanks, Barbara. It’s a bit alarming when a child gets so sick, loses so much weight, is unable to eat at all. That’s where Patrick is right now. When the situation is so dire, a parent feels they have no choice but to follow the “specialist’s” immediate plan of attack. I know once this immediate situation is under control (he has just been put on two different steroids right now to prolong the need for chemo), I’ll be sure to bring all these recommendations to her attention. So much recommended reading possible as well for holistic and daily diet related solutions. Patrick has been through some of these approaches in the last year or two and yet here we are again. This time is just so much worse than any other.

      Thanks for your concern and feedback. Much appreciated!!

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