On July 3, 2001 I moved into a brownstone in Jersey City. There was a deck off the living room where I could see the World Trade Towers across the Hudson River (about a mile away). Exactly ten weeks later, I stood on that deck and watched the towers fall and an hour later was down at the river standing in shock, wonder, and amazement at the looming emptiness filling with the smoke that would remain for weeks and weeks. The world had changed. I had changed.
I had been working on a manuscript about the Twelve Senses. I put it aside and wrote an essay on trauma. I walked down to the waterfront often, especially at night when the lights at Ground Zero lit up the sky and illumined great changing shadows in the smoke.
The mood of Ground Zero lit up the souls of most with a deep caring for community and a sense of possibility. But it also cast dark shadows of fear, anger, powerlessness on the same souls.
A month later at a women writers conference in midtown, a woman introduced herself to me and asked to know about my experience of Ground Zero. We had been in a random gathering of woman at the lunch break who had been sharing their thoughts on the event that filled everyone’s thoughts and feelings. Inspired by years of working with Rudolf Steiner’s descriptions of the evolution of consciousness, my perspectives were not reactionary, alarmist, nor retaliatory. I was certain there was the potential for a new world view, a new moral and creative responsibility, a new relationship to a shared future if only each individual became a world citizen, if each human soul reflected on the questions living in the light of 9/11, not the shadows.
This woman, Bethene LeMahieu, initiated a year long conversation that became a six-hour audiobook we called Ground Zero and the Human Soul: The Search for the New Ordinary Life. Well-reviewed, it spent a few months on the shelves of Barnes and Noble and Borders amongst all the other 9/11 literature and we were interviewed on a number of radio shows, but very few individuals ever heard the thoughts, the challenges, and the creative perspectives distilled from our hundreds of hours of conversations.
As we all know the “leaders of nations” had another perspective — war, homeland security, destruction — they prolonged the terror of 9/11 promising a return to the life of 9/10. The conversations between Bethene and me imagine a different life for 9/12 and a dawning of a different consciousness in the individual.
Will you search for the new soul life that will shape the new ordinary life?
Listen to them. Share them. Write comments.
And please, have conversations about the future that is shaped by you and all the other world citizens, not governments, not corporations, not ideologies.
If you would like to purchase the transcripts, please contact me by email.