My Lessons Learned from Japan’s Tragedies

In Creating Happiness, Recent Posts by Barbara Jacoby

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As I sat watching the 10:00 p.m. local news on Thursday, March 10th, there was an interruption for breaking news about 20 minutes into the broadcast.  I remember that I started to wonder whether this was just another police pursuit or other routine story for this city but what I watched over the next hour and a half will forever change my life.  As I watched recorded footage from the 9.0 earthquake that had struck in northern Japan, the story switched to a live broadcast of the tsunami waves that struck about 15 minutes later.

In this manner, the tragedies of the events in Japan will forever remind me of the value of life, how to appreciate every moment that I am given and to always treasure the time that I spend with those who are make my life the special experience that it is.
Kirk and I looked at each other and knew that this was the biggest thing that we were witnessing since the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center. 

When I finally headed to bed, thoughts were racing through my mind about the tsunami heading toward Hawaii where a very special friend of mine had travelled to celebrate her birthday and the warning that had been issued for our own California coastline.  But, I also realized that something very big and very profound had occurred and nothing would ever be the same again. 

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During the night and into the day on Friday, I continued to follow this story on KTTV 11 here in Los Angeles where coverage had continued non-stop and as I watched, I was overcome with the fact of how fragile life is and that everything can literally change in an instant and without any warning.  It was in that moment that I vowed that I would do everything, on a going-forward basis, to live my life in the moment and to appreciate the day to its fullest, as if it were the last one. 

Okay, so talk is cheap.  How many times have I said that before and then ten minutes later, I forgot the words and went back to my usual ways?  What makes me think that I can permanently learn to live each and every day to its fullest?  Well, I believe that it is possible this time because this catastrophe is so enormous that it will be a part of every day of our lives for a long time to come and that constant reminder will serve as a catalyst to create the new habit that is needed to make this permanent change.

I can’t begin to express the impact that I know these horrific events have had on me and many, many other people. The untold loss of life alone forever changes the landscape of humanity.  I can’t help but pray for all of those people, all of the survivors and all of those people from around the globe who are responding with help in every manner imaginable.  

Images of that tsunami sweeping across the world are being replayed over and over again.  And now as I see the waves in my mind, I am seeing them carrying away any negative thoughts and images and leaving behind a clean landscape where I can create a new and exciting image for my day.  I want to be able to help my family and friends with positive actions that will make their lives better and make me proud of myself for the way that I am choosing to live.  I want to provide comfort and aid and support to all of those people who cross my path on a daily basis.  And at the end of the day, I do want to do a reassessment to discover not only the things that need improvement but also to appreciate myself for the accomplishments that I made.  In this manner, the tragedies of the events in Japan will forever remind me of the value of life, how to appreciate every moment that I am given and to always treasure the time that I spend with those who are make my life the special experience that it is.

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