For People and Planet – Reflections on Friday 15 March 2019 by Grant Rix

The following thoughts are personal reflections, followed by a few mindfulness-based tips, with links, to help manage feelings of overwhelm. However, the most important reflections right now are those from within our Muslim communities, reminding us that a compassionate society can only exist if we are prepared to challenge the extent of casual, institutional and overt forms of racism that exist in our society. May we listen, learn and take positive action. 

Honouring sameness – kiwis all of us, with joys and sorrows, achievements and regrets, family and friends, hopes and fears. Honouring uniqueness – diverse cultures and individual life-perspectives… on politics, beliefs and customs, with unique skills, talents, interests, and life-stories. 

Our empathic human hearts pour out in sorrow for the multi-weaving threads of connection broken, and our empathic human hearts pour forth for the living relatives and friends, those who are waking each day to a radically altered reality. 

Friday 15 March 2019. Hatred fermented through a toxic blend of social media, the normalisation of divisive anti-immigrant political rhetoric, and a culture of casual and institutional racism. In other words, an emotion cultivated. 

And then the responsive outpouring of love, empathy, kindness, generosity and compassion, inspired by a leadership promoting unity and the best of who we are. 

Friday 15 March 2019 was also the day that our kids marched, adding their voices to a worldwide collective of students demanding climate action. This was a message spoken loudly and clearly about the need for positive societal change. They were there with placards and loud speakers, with dignity and strength and commitment, calling for a way of living where love and care for people and planet are our most important and urgent priorities.  

Friday 15 March 2019. Two major events, tragedy and hope, as far apart as the poles. Two major events loudly calling for the need to cultivate a society where expressions of love, compassion and empathy are expanded further to embrace, understand and support diverse communities of people, including those that have been here since the beginning, those more recently arrived, and those that will inherit our legacy on this planet long after we depart.

They are us, our diverse and unique neighbours and our diverse and unique kids, reflecting our diverse and unique hearts. 

Some mindfulness practices to help navigate these tough times:

  1. Take time to foster greater presence. Being mindful of breathing helps regulate the nervous system and calms feelings of overwhelm. Listen to this guided Mindful Breathing (for adults/young adults) practice (NB: this and the following tracks are all on the same webpage, scroll down to find the correct one) 
  2. Practice loving-kindness (scroll down to find it) – and as you expand the light of love and kindness as directed in the guided audio, imagine it embracing all those affected in the Christchurch terror attacks
  3. Or try this practice called ‘emotion regulation (for adults/young adults), (scroll down) if you are feeling particularly overwhelmed
  4. It’s going to be natural and normal for your kids to feel overwhelmed too. As well as listening to good advice posted elsewhere many parents have found these guided mindfulness practices (at the top of the page) useful for helping their kids to calm and get off to sleep at night 

We can also help our kids, and ourselves, by continuing to reflect on the many examples of goodness present in the world. In our family, like many of you, we are focusing on the heroes and the nationwide outpouring of love and support. 

National Helplines

  • You can free call or text 1737 to talk with a trained counsellor, any time. It’s free and confidential.
  • Lifeline – 0800 543 354 (0800 LIFELINE) or free text 4357 (HELP)
  • Suicide Crisis Helpline – 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO)
  • Healthline – 0800 611 116
  • Samaritans – 0800 726 666

Additional Support for Children and Young People

The Children’s Commissioner has put together some great resources to guide your conversations:

Young people and their caregivers can also contact any of the below helplines for support and advice:

Youthline – 0800 376 633, free text 234 or email [email protected] – or email [email protected] or free text 5626

Kidsline – 0800 54 37 54 (0800 kidsline) for young people up to 18 years of age.