Editorial

Extraordinary times: extraordinary measures

By LAURIE STUART
Posted 9/7/21

The world as we knew it ended on September 11, 2001. In that moment, when planes crashed into buildings and into a field in Pennsylvania, a certain peace, a certain illusion that our world was …

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Editorial

Extraordinary times: extraordinary measures

Posted

The world as we knew it ended on September 11, 2001. In that moment, when planes crashed into buildings and into a field in Pennsylvania, a certain peace, a certain illusion that our world was relatively safe, was shattered.

In that shattering, one body dissolved into two different flows. Two different strands of energy were released.

In the metamorphosis of a caterpillar—when the caterpillar ceases to exist and becomes primordial soup at the bottom of its chrysalis—there are imaginal cells that contain all the genetic instruction for the emergent butterfly. With the attacks of September 11, 2001, there were two imaginal cells that emerged for us as a nation: one of violence and fear, and one of emerging consciousness and love.

For those of us old enough to remember, in those days following the attack, we experienced those two possibilities happening simultaneously. Amidst the fear, love—and the best of what is human—flourished.

It was an extraordinary time calling for extraordinary measures.

It was in those extraordinary times that we seemed to inhabit the ability to hold onto a duality where our fear and our anger also led to a generous spirit and a genuine connection with those around us.

Extraordinary experiences crystalize something in us and we find ourselves pushing for connection and accomplishing great things.

The heroism that we saw of the emergency responders is an apt example. The diligence of governmental bodies to sift through the rubble and identify loved ones is admirable. The thoughtful construction of the memorial on the site is a fitting tribute to those lost. And the bringing to and dedication of pieces of the Twin Towers to grace public spaces throughout the country serves as a reminder of the importance of community resilience. Those memorials pay tribute to valor, service and commitment.

September 11 is a tender topic. We remember it as a day that three thousand people died. We remember it as a time when we as a nation were attacked. We remember it as a day when our hearts were collectively broken and we rose to the occasion.

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