Unfinished business: A time for healing

By Maralyn Lois Polak

As the grandchild of immigrants who came to New York from Eastern Europe at the turn of the last century, I’ve always felt that great city has had special meaning for me.

And yet, since 9-11, I’ve been leery of returning to visit the place my parents were born, met and married – a place of hope where my grandparents disembarked to make new lives, a place I heard the immortals of jazz as a bride, a place I learned to love art in vast museums where collections were so amazing they took my breath away, a place where pizza truly is king and Indian food is sublime, a place where the cabbies are daredevils and the delis are sui generis and the shoe salesmen are brash and the department stores are wrapped in Christmas decorations like gigantic presents.

I told myself I didn’t want to see the sadness, smell the death, taste the ashes of despair.

Recently, my artist friend Perry Steindel sent me a new piece of his, the Manhattan skyline, as it lives forever in our hearts, complete. Well, soon I am going back. I must. I can’t stay away. I have important business there. Unfinished business. As we all do, in one way or another.

Just for this one day, let’s not focus our attention on revenge or retribution, but on healing the hurt, overcoming the sadness, honoring the dead, celebrating the brave and moving forward as a nation – and individually.

Just for one day, no acrimony. Please.

Listen to Laura. Bush, that is.

What America’s first lady Laura Bush advised for today, the first anniversary of the 9-11 terror attacks on the United States, makes a great deal of sense:

  • Parents, turn off the television.

  • Spend time with your children to comfort them.

  • Reassure them they are safe.

  • Read to them.

  • Remember, mourn and support victims’ families.

  • Celebrate the heroes.

  • Light a memorial candle, or two, in a little ceremony.

  • Let them be involved and feel helpful.

    For 15 years, former journalist-turned-medical intuitive Carolyn Myss, Ph.D., a globally sought-after speaker on spirituality and personal power and the author of “Why People Don’t Heal and How They Can,” has studied the hidden interactions of belief and body, soul and cell. She demonstrates how, again and again, “Your biography becomes your biology” as people can become physically and spiritually ill and invested in “woundology.”

    Our nation must again become whole.

    Congressman Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, urges “Let us pray that we have the courage and the will as a people and as a nation to shore ourselves up, to reclaim from the ruins of September the Eleventh our democratic traditions. Let us declare our love for democracy. Let us declare our intent for peace. Let us work to make nonviolence an organizing principle in our own society. Let us recommit ourselves to the slow and painstaking work of statecraft, which sees peace, not war, as being inevitable. Let us work for a world where someday war becomes archaic.”

    Writing for the International Network on Personal Meaning, Paul Wong, Ph.D., proposes a novel way to cope: “We certainly can learn something from Dr. Viktor Frankl, who … developed … the concept of ‘tragic optimism’ – optimism in the face of tragedy. Different from positive illusions, tragic optimism refers to the capacity to hope in spite of and because of tragic experiences … These virtues will triumph over evil and its aftermath the pain, grief and fear it has inflicted on the human soul. These virtues will give birth to tragic optimism the only kind of hope which cannot be dashed by terror.”

    Delaware Valley holistic healer Judy Di Canio, who works with subtle energies, observes: “I don’t know about you, but I can … feel the energy around the 9-11 date building. It sort of hits me in the chest and makes it difficult to breathe. In an effort to help transmute the karma around this event, the anniversary, and the world, I will be facilitating a special karma clearing session [on] the 9-11 energy. It is my hope people from different countries will participate. Together, those with positive intent can make a difference … Remember, the Bible states, ‘When two or more of us are gathered in His name, we can move mountains.’ All are welcome to join us, either in person or in spirit, as we move mountains and gift humanity with the thought, feeling and emotion of peace on earth now.”