We live life as whole persons, but we experience and process it
at the Four Levels of Mind, Emotion, Body, and Spirit.
* At the level of the mind we try to understand the events of our
lives. We attempt to make sense of things.
* Our hearts hold the positive and negative emotions about the
ups and downs of life.
* The level of the body represents the physicality of life. It is
about energy and movement as well as rest and relaxation.
* On the spiritual level there is a potential for developing a
deep sense of meaningful connection to a Higher Power and of
coming into creative, caring relationship with others.
Every day these Four Levels of life are affected by events large
and small, and our challenge is to keep them in a balance
appropriate for healthy living.
While this is difficult to do at any time, a tragedy of the
magnitude of the terrorist attacks currently confronting America
and the world profoundly disrupts the balance of our lives. Such
disruption occurs for everyone who has seen the horrifying images
and listened to the distressingly sad, eyewitness reports.
* As we try to understand the incomprehensible, our minds strain.
* The intensity of emotion is more than the heart can bear.
* Our bodies react with stress. We can't sleep or eat and
physical symptoms appear.
* Our Spirit asks "Why," and we seek a consolation that is not
Healing is needed, but healing is slow and comes on its own
In our current communal crisis and tragedy, we are all caught up
in the specific and familiar phases of loss and grief because
everyone has suffered a loss. At the least, there is a loss of a
sense of security in the world. Things are no longer as safe as
they seemed. Many people have lost much more than security
depending upon their closeness to those persons immediately
involved in the destruction. Everyone faces the challenges of the
* Shock - This is where we all are now (with only a few days
passed). We are numb and can't quite believe the reality of the
images we have seen.
* Protest - Often this is anger but can be continued denial and
refusal to accept the reality. It brings the risk of taking
quick, inappropriate action.
* Disorganization - Acceptance of the reality of what has
happened can bring a retreat to less mature behavior, and we may
feel more needy and dependent. Concentration is disrupted while
memory suffers, and this makes routine tasks of daily living
* Reorganization - Eventually acceptance comes, and life slowly
returns to normal, but it is a new normal and may require a long
period of adjustment.
It is important to understand that the resulting confusion and
all of the feelings that appear--sadness, anger, fear, or
frustrations--are normal and expected. Acknowledging this fact is
helpful because it enables us to talk to one another about our
common distress, and it is such talking that stimulates the
healing process. Resolving grief requires both listening and
Since we are all wounded on the Four Levels of life, we must
intently focus on the needs of each of these levels in order to
speed our recovery.
Each day seek mental clarity and open up to your emotions, even
though they are painful. Be sure that you eat, sleep, and rest.
Try to appreciate a simple pleasure, maybe the blueness of the
sky or the sound of a bird's song. Most importantly, strive to be
of service to others. Do so and you will help revive your Spirit
as well as the Spirit of those to whom you reach out.
About the Author
Dan Johnston, PH.D is a clinical psychologist and author of
"Lessons for Living: Simple Solutions for Life's Problems," a
self-help book of common sense ways to make life go better. He
is also the creator of the Awakenings Web Site
which offers tools for
psychological and spiritual growth. Contact Dr. Johnston at firstname.lastname@example.org