Inner Peace: Remembering 9/11 Behind The Big Black Curtain

It was about 3:45 am in Hawaii, when I received a phone call in our hotel room.

In my semi-conscious state, a friend shared the news: “The World Trade Center had been attacked by an airplane and it is all over the news.”

My first thought, “Doesn’t this only happen in the movies? This can’t be real.”

I hadn’t yet turned on the light.  I resisted the urge to turn on the television.

For one, my two roommates and I were all crewing a Tony Robbins’ Life Mastery program in Hawaii and we had to get up in a couple hours. We were already working on a less than optimal sleep regime.   Secondly, my two roommates were sleeping soundly and they BOTH lived in New York.  No doubt they would be in hysterics.

I could spare them the news for a couple hours…

I put my head on the pillow and closed my eyes. But, I couldn’t get back to sleep.

A few minutes later, we received another phone call. Michelle’s husband John called.  His cousin worked in the World Trade Center, but fortunately had chosen to golf that morning and was spared. He urged us to turn on the television. We did.

In disbelief, we witnessed the second tower being hit.

About 30 minutes later we decided to get some sleep. We needed to be at our best.

1500 participants from 80 different countries, many from the New York and Boston areas (50 of whom had family members impacted directly), were attending Tony Robbins’ 10 Day Life Mastery University program. It happened to be “Emotional Mastery Day.” How appropriate.

I kept appreciating we were so many miles from the travesty, safe on the Big Island of Hawaii.

Then a wave of emotion came over me as I remembered my “just-ex-boyfriend” Domie Quintana was in New York.  Was he okay?

I felt a dance within my being…”caught up in my personal emotions” while simultaneously wanting to be strong, especially because of my support role within the event.

(It was several hours later when I learned Domie was fine…and had filmed the second tower being hit on his own camera. Lordy!)

At 9am Hawaii time, the event began in a rather surreal and somber way.

I’ve never admired Tony Robbins’ more as a leader.

Here’s what he said in those first five minutes.

So much wisdom on this video.

Regardless of what happens in life…it is up to each of us to assign “meaning.”  That can be either positive or negative, empowering or debilitating.  Neither is more “right,” but some paths allows us to be of greater service to the world (and to ourselves).

And…what’s most important is the actions we take as a result of the “meaning” we give something.

I also remember Tony sharing that if we want to acknowledge all the travesties in the world, we must also be willing to acknowledge all the goodness in the world.  At any given moment there are 216,000 of babies being born each day. There are millions of people in love and making love, people laughing and people offering acts of kindness.  Are we willing to take in ALL the world is offering?

It was beautiful to see 1500 people processing a wide array of emotions through exercises.  Imagine having your own personal coach with you all day on 9/11. Plus 1500 people open to creating empowering lives.

Here’s another snippet of how 9/11 impacted a few people at the event, and a glimpse of the transformations that occurred.

Most heart-wrenching was the woman who spoke with her fiance calling from the 101st Floor of the second World Trade Center tower at 8:56 am. (She later aided in raising millions for the 685 Cantor Fitzgerald families who lost their loved one that day.)

Later on, Tony supported two men — one Muslim and one Jewish — through a trans-formative process. (They went on together to bring Muslims and Jews together by speaking at mosques and synagogues.)

As the day continued, the energy and vibrancy of “Life Mastery” returned. Music, smiles and breakthroughs galore.  By mid-afternoon the weight of the morning’s news was largely in the past.

But, the rest of the world was deeply focused elsewhere.

As a volunteer crew member, my job required I spend time in the “green room” behind Tony’s stage.  A live feed of Tony “on stage” and the main room allowed us to see what was happening from behind the big black curtain.

Because of the tragedies of 9/11, security brought in a second television to stream “news” into the green room.

I’ll never forget…

Standing in the green room, looking at both monitors simultaneously.

One screen replaying the airplanes crashing into the towers, smoke everywhere and heart-wrenching accounts of the chaos on the ground. Emotions filled my being. Tears coming to my eyes again and again.  The visual images… horrifying.

Yet, all around me I could hear the vibrancy of life. It was all just on the other side of the big black curtain. 1500+ people acknowledging life, exploring their souls and embracing new empowering visions for themselves and the world.  I could feel my own authentic joy, as I too, was a part of this extraordinary experience.

There there I was…living in the heart of the paradox. Witnessing devastation. Witnessing joy. All while witnessing the ever present inner peace within my being. How surreal.

And such is life.

At any given moment we can focus on tragedy. Or we can focus on life.

Either is on the other side of the big black curtain.

And…regardless of what we choose, underneath it all… is an all pervasive sense of inner peace. Never forget it’s there.

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3 Responses to “Inner Peace: Remembering 9/11 Behind The Big Black Curtain”

  1. grace

    Wow, Mary, thank you for sharing that whole article. I loved listening to Tony speak that day and what he said to turn it around and also reading what you wrote about your experiences while you were there in that moment in time. Your amazing and I miss you..

    Reply

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