A Light in the Darkness

A Light in the Darkness

From Chicken Soup for the Soul 20th Anniversary Edition

A Light in the Darkness

Sadness flies on the wings of the morning

and out of the heart of darkness comes the light.

~Jean Giraudoux

On December 14, 2012, to the collective shock of the world, twenty young children and six adults were killed in the Newtown, Connecticut school shooting. When I first heard about the event, I felt the same feelings we all feel when such tragedy happens, grief, sadness, anger, doubt about this world — but this time, with this shooting in particular, something was different.

Because I live in Newtown, Connecticut.

We’ve all heard the phrase “a little too close for comfort” or “too close to home” and in this case, it finally came true for me. No longer could I just watch on the news and say, “How sad...” as something happened yet again, in another town, another country, somewhere else. This time, it hit home, literally, and I could no longer allow myself to ignore the fact that at the deepest level, something had to change and I had to do whatever I could to play my part in that change.

Whether by coincidence or some sort of grand design, I’ve spent the last ten years studying, documenting and sharing a technique called “EFT,” or simply, “Tapping.” A combination of Ancient Chinese Acupressure and modern psychology, tapping has proven

to be extraordinarily effective in dealing with trauma, PTSD, stress and many of the accompanying conditions from events such as this shooting. So on that fateful day, I said to myself, “As terrible as all of this is, there’s an opening here for real change.” After countless hours of consultations with experts around the world, in tapping, disaster relief, PTSD and more, a plan was in place.

Dr. Lori Leyden, a bright light in the world who has spent years working with genocide survivors in Rwanda, helping them heal their deepest wounds, landed just days after the tragedy. A team of over forty volunteers came together within the week to get trained in the technique, and help work with the population. And sure enough, within days, we started meeting with parents who had lost their precious children, teachers from the school, kids from the school, first-responders and more.

Our focus with each one of them was using this powerful technique to heal the trauma they had experienced, release the stress, and allow them to actually experience the grief they needed to feel. Unfortunately, all too often, when trauma is active in the mind and body, one doesn’t have an opportunity to truly experience grief, a deep, necessary and often beautiful emotion.

The work continues and I’m sure it will be that way for years to come, but I’m happy to report that within the midst of such horrible tragedy, the miracles and love that I’ve seen have been truly remarkable.

A mother who used to hit her children, finally acknowledging she needs to change, healing her deepest old wounds, and finding a new approach to parenting.

A first-responder, initially haunted by the memories of that day, healing, letting the memories go, and rededicating his life to a message of love and compassion.

A mother who lost her child that day, connecting with her other child and committing to healing that relationship on every level.

The community, supporting each other, embracing a message of love, of healing, and forgiveness.

I know nobody here in the community will ever forget that fateful day, but it’s my hope, my expectation, that each person here, and around the world, can take that tragedy and use it to remember to love more, to forgive, to heal. It’s only with that approach and that intention that we can create a world where this never happens again.

~Nick Ortner

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