REACH OUT IN TIME OF NEED

WHEN BAD THINGS HAP­PEN, THE BEST PLAN IS OFTEN TO COUNTER THEM WITH GOOD AC­TIONS

Life & Style Weekend - - MIND - MIND YOU WORDS: ROWENA HARDY Rowena Hardy is a fa­cil­i­ta­tor and coach at mind­saligned.com.au

Re­cently the world re­ceived news of the mass shoot­ing in Christchur­ch, New Zealand and the shock­wave rip­pled far and wide. The mur­der of so many peo­ple, of all ages in a short space of time and in an en­vi­ron­ment where they had ev­ery right to feel safe gave rise to a tidal wave of emo­tion. Here in Aus­tralia many felt stunned and up­set such hor­ror could be im­posed on our neigh­bours in a coun­try that, like many, has em­braced mul­ti­cul­tur­al­ism and is wel­com­ing and in­clu­sive of peo­ple from diverse faiths and reli­gious back­grounds. It also trig­gered an in­creased sense of vul­ner­a­bil­ity, par­tic­u­larly for those of

Is­lamic faith, fear for their own safety and that of fam­ily and friends when sim­ply go­ing about their daily lives, as we all do. Sadly, the ha­tred, iso­la­tion, blame and abuse across the world di­rected at cer­tain groups due to their race, re­li­gion, be­liefs, gen­der or sex­ual pref­er­ence is noth­ing new. In fact, it has been around for thou­sands of years with dif­fer­ent groups as the per­pe­tra­tors. But what drives it? Often it is greed, jeal­ousy or fear but most often it is be­cause we are ill-in­formed and bi­ased and, as a re­sult, we make as­sump­tions about a par­tic­u­lar group of peo­ple and then find or are fed in­for­ma­tion that fits those as­sump­tions and they be­come our re­al­ity. None of that is true how­ever. Good and evil is rep­re­sented in ev­ery group, so­ci­ety and de­mo­graphic across the globe. Neg­a­tively la­belling and den­i­grat­ing an en­tire group and iden­ti­fy­ing them as the ‘en­emy’ can lead to in­di­vid­u­als buy­ing into the pro­pa­ganda and lies and lead them to take up arms, ver­bally and lit­er­ally, against that group in what­ever ex­treme re­ac­tion they be­lieve to be ‘just’. There is noth­ing to be gained by adding hate to hate, anger to anger or fear to fear; that cre­ates an en­er­getic and emo­tion­ally con­ta­gious mael­strom that cre­ates more may­hem and chaos. This is not who we are, but what can we do? The over­whelm­ing grief and sad­ness that many felt as a re­sult was chan­nelled into sup­port of those af­fected and many com­mu­ni­ties held vig­ils and took a mo­ment to re­mem­ber those who died. To me, the im­por­tant thing is to re­mem­ber we are all hu­man and feel oth­ers’ hurt and pain and at times like this we must demon­strate our com­pas­sion, con­nec­tion and strength of com­mu­nity. We all want to feel safe and live the life we choose in a car­ing and har­mo­nious en­vi­ron­ment, so it is vi­tal that we reach out in any way we can at times like this to help ev­ery­one feel re­as­sured that we will do all we can to pre­vent some­thing like this from hap­pen­ing here.

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