Today, five days after the horrific mass shooting in Orlando I am still trying to understand and make meaning of the violence, hatred and sorrow convulsing our country. I am still absorbing the many beautiful, compassionate and yes, angry responses to it, as well.

I am grappling with the fact that as a country we have done nothing about this:

The US makes up about 4.4 percent of the global population but possesses 42 percent of the world’s civilian-owned guns. And the empirical research shows that places with more guns have more homicides.

~from Vox

Seeking understanding and calm, I turned yesterday to the 6 A’s of mindful writing, shared by John Evans in his Leading Others in Writing for Health training.

I am aware of…
I pay attention to….
I accept that…
I appreciate that…
I have affection for…
I affirm that…

Here’s what I wrote:

I am aware of feeling sad, of carrying a heaviness in ahead and heart. Of picturing my now grown sons as young children, asking in confusion and innocence, “Why”?

I pay attention to the words of others, to understand and better empathize with how they are responding.

I accept that no matter how hard I try to make a difference in the world, I am only one person. That it takes many hands often over many generations to make large and lasting change. That catastrophic change can arrive quickly; that change for the better makes a slower, more incremental appearance. That patience and persistence are required.

I appreciate that words, heartfelt wishes, prayers, vigils and love are good, but they are not enough.

I have affection for my fellow humans, my sisters and brothers for the love in their hearts, the wonder in their eyes, the sense of purpose in their souls, the clarity of focus in their minds.

I affirm humanity’s courage, strength and beauty.