Counselor's Corner: Terror no more

By Fred Cavaiani

Two days ago we remembered 9/11/2001. It was a tragedy. We remembered well the bravery of so many people -- from the brave passengers on the flight which crashed in Pennsylvania to the First Responders in New York City -- to the victimized occupants in the Twin Towers. The terrorist acts on our Twin Towers and the Pentagon building left us with fear. This fear remains after ten years. At times it feels like the whole country is gripped with terror. It is understandable. We wince when we hear the term "fundamental Muslims" or "Taliban" or "Jihad."

It is time to change this. No more fear. As Franklin Roosevelt said at the beginning of World War II, "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself."

We do not have to walk in fear of terrorist attacks. Why? The answer is simple. No one can predict the future. There are accidents, catastrophes, volcanoes, earthquakes, hurricanes. We can't stop them, but we do deal with them. Life is lived one day at a time. It is in embracing the moment where we become fully alive regardless of what the moment brings us.

Terrorists attacks have been with us for centuries. Yet they never last and they never control us. Bullies, terrorists, Mussolini and Hitler and Osama Bin Laden type of people always end up falling flat on their faces while the rest of the world continues to progress. It is the nature of terrorism to terrorize itself. People who hurt other people eventually destroy themselves. Culture and civilization create the climate for terrorism to fall into its own pit. Just look about us right now in the Middle East countries where the leaders were ruthless and struck terror into their citizens.

So what do we do in the meantime? We continue to live our lives in peace and solidarity with one another. We let go of resentments and grudges so we can have positive energy to bring more love and compassion to our own country and then to the whole world. If we live in fear and resentment and anger toward the terrorists or toward Muslims or toward any race or country, we diminish ourselves. We use up valuable psychic and spiritual energy that we could be using to make the world a more peaceful and safer planet.

Fear inhibits and diminishes. Love energizes and creates. To expect the worst to happen puts us in a prison where we walk in trepidation and hesitation. To think about terrorists each day puts us in terror that locks us into living cells with iron bars of fear all around us. To live life wishing the best for everyone and deciding to love everyone without exception tears down iron walls of fear. It allows us to bathe in the sunlight of freedom and emotional connections. Sometimes we get hurt but most often we establish positive relationships.

Last Saturday I was sitting in a Little Caesars carry out restaurant in Caseville, Michigan, waiting for my pizza. I was sitting reading my new Amazon Kindle. A lady sat down next to me and asked me what I was reading. The conversation continued about my new Amazon Kindle and how much I liked it. Sitting next to me on my other side was the woman's mother who also became interested in the Kindle. A man standing up waiting for his order started talked and asking questions about it. In just a few minutes a whole community seemed to be formed. I found out about this older woman attending a reunion of people who lived in Pinnebog, a village about ten miles away. This whole incident took about ten minutes. If I had just mumbled something to this woman in the beginning and kept up reading my Kindle none of this would have happened. I left Little Caesar's feeling that the world was a good place. Simply because I allowed myself to be open to someone else, community was formed. It was a simple act of kindness. This simple act increased its positive effect by relating to another person who then had a positive effect on yet another person. Even the lady making the pizzas smiled as she saw all of us talking with each other. All of this emotional connection could have been avoided if I had kept my mouth shut, been worried, suspicious and protected myself from any interaction. I could have left the restaurant in loneliness and fear instead of peacefulness and hope.

We all have a chance to live in hope and love each moment of our lives. Let's let the terrorists be their own terror. We shall be a hopeful, loving, forgiving and peaceful people. Let the bullies be miserable with themselves. We shall be loving with all until there are no more bullies and no more terrorists. Terrorists want us to live in anger and fear. They do not know what to do with a happy and loving people. It is the biggest weapon we have.

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Fred Cavaiani is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist and Psychologist with a private practice in Troy. He is the founder of Marriage Growth Center, a consultant for the Detroit Medical Center, and Henry Ford Medical Center. He conducts numerous programs for groups throughout Southeastern Michigan. His column in the Legal News runs every other Tuesday. He can be reached at (248)362-3340. His e-mail address is: Fredcavi@yahoo.com and his website is fredthecounselor.com.

Published: Tue, Sep 13, 2011

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