Coping with Tragedy

by John Tatum, MD

How are you handling the recent shooting tragedy in Orlando? There has been a great outpouring of support, money, and service to the victims, and service in ways I would never have imagined. For example, my teenage granddaughter has signed up to take care of pets of the victims, and she is working with her dog groomer to host a Dog Wash fundraiser. Donating money or getting involved in some way is an important way of helping others and also helping yourself. Why? Helping makes a difference in the lives of others and also helps you to feel less powerless. Helping is also an act of love and therefore gets you out of the lower, negative state of consciousness where fear, anger, and sadness reside and puts you into the higher, heart state of consciousness, the place of love, acceptance, appreciation, and healing.

It is normal for people to have negative feelings regarding a tragedy, but it’s important not get stuck there. Giving and helping others will make you feel better, but you will probably find those negative thoughts and feelings coming up again. So another way to give and get into the heart is to give your love. Unless you have studied Metaphysics or Energy Medicine, it may seem strange, but the studies are clear that sending love and healing to those who are suffering does make a difference.  However it is that you imagine sending your love and healing, it is the intention that counts because “Energy follows Intention.” In a famous long-term study, Biofeedback readings were used to show that projecting loving energy had a positive, measurable effect on people at a distance.   

Besides sending love and healing energy to the victims and their families, you can also send it to those who are angry, isolated, prejudiced, as well as those who may be contemplating hurting others. Projecting your loving, healing energy is again something positive you can do to help the situation, and it helps you stay in the heart state of mind. Although it appears that Omar Mateen may have been acting out of his social isolation, untreated Bipolar Disorder, and confused sexual identity, perhaps hating his own un-embraced homosexuality, his act has brought out public comments of hatred and prejudice against the broader Muslim and LGBTQ communities. ISIS has tried to claim responsibility for Mateen’s actions because they want us to respond with hate and aggression, and they want us to feel this way because that helps their recruitment campaign. Love undermines that. Christ taught this approach and Gandhi and Martin Luther King showed us how powerful it is in action. Extending our love and compassion to people like Mateen who are lonely, confused, and angry can help them get into the heart state of mind where they can accept and have the healing they need.

Because this recent tragedy is so horrible, it is in the news and talked about a lot. Therefore, you will be reminded of it many times. Projecting love will not only help you cope, but the repetitive practice required to get back into the heart state of mind will be valuable in helping you to live your daily life from your heart, and may even help you become a happier, more evolved person.

Dr. Tatum is the founder of Holistic Health & Counseling Center (formerly, Optimal Health & Learning Center), where he heads a team of Holistic Mental Health practitioners in Winter Park, FL. More information can be obtained at or by calling 407-644-3593.

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