A few people have mentioned that they feel guilty when they view images of the destruction in Haiti. I know their heart is in the right place - they care and they want to help. They feel overwhelmed and unable to respond, so their feelings show up as guilt.
Understandable, but I urge them to feel peace and love, not guilt. Guilt, anger, and all of the negative emotions aren't helpful. They send out even more negativity into a world that desperately needs love and compassion right now.
You can't feel bad enough to make it better over there. This is an opportunity for awareness and action, not guilt.
It's normal to feel sadness about such a tragedy. We feel the tremendous loss and we need to grieve. We need to discuss and process it. This is a healthy expression of emotion.
But try not to get stuck. You can be informed and aware without being inundated by the images on television. Too much information can promote fear and suffering and that doesn't help anybody.
Now is a perfect time for self care. Taking care of yourself is not a selfish act; it's a selfless act. Feeling good opens up space so you can give to your children, your community, the world. Misery shuts you down and makes you unavailable. Feelings of peace and love allow for creativity and productivity. The more energy you have, the more you have to give.
You can give to the people of Haiti, to the people in your neighborhood, to your city, and to your own family. We are all connected so offering kindness of spirit to those around you makes an impact.
Don't underestimate the small gestures. Smile at people passing by. Hold open a door for the person behind you. Tell people thank you. Demonstrate patience and let go of the simple frustrations. Give your children a big hug before bed and tell them what they mean to you.
Love and peace starts one person at a time and it has a ripple effect. Help the world one gesture at a time.
If you want to give to Haiti directly, find something that is meaningful to you. If you believe in prayer include Haiti in your prayers. If you believe in energy send Haiti positive vibrations. If you believe in action, give monetarily.
The Red Cross has made it very simple to give - make a $10 donation by texting 'Haiti' to 90999 or make a financial contribution online. You can also join the effort to convince global creditors to cancel Haiti's $1 billion international debt so money can be invested in long term development.
Tragedy is always a reminder of what's important - love, relationships, and helping others (with creative gifts, spiritual gifts, and monetary gifts). The hope is that we can hold onto this awareness and cultivate the ideals into our everyday life.
Do you have ideas on how to give to Haiti, your community or your own family? Please share by posting a comment.
Cathy Adams is a certified parenting coach, yoga instructor and mother to three girls.
See more of Cathy's stories here.