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How do we recover from the Boston bombings?


So, here we are again, talking about yet another atrocious attack on innocent and unsuspecting Americans.hands together

Three people are dead – including an 8-year-old boy who was watching his dad finish the Boston Marathon – and more than 150 people have been injured in the twin bomb blasts that occurred at the finish line of the iconic event. Several of the injured people are in critical condition. Some of the people near the blast zones had limbs amputated.

Once again, we ask ourselves, “How do we bounce back from this?”

Here’s how we do it:

We remember that Americans in general, and I believe, Bostonians in particular, are a naturally resilient lot. We have an innate chutzpah that brings us back from tragedy.

We rely on each other. Just as medical personnel and bystanders alike rushed toward the blasts to help, we reach out to each other for comfort and support and a safe place to vent our anger.

We refuse to be terrorized. Kevin Cullen of the Boston Globe said, “This is a very tough town. We take only three things seriously here, and that’s sports, politics, and revenge. And the best revenge is the smiles of our children.” We carry on, our hearts heavy, but with the sheer determination to claim this country and the communities within it as our own. Communities that create the places where children continue to laugh and play.

We help. Someone from Arkansas called up a pizza restaurant in Boston and gave a donation so that the runners and other people dislocated due to the bombings could be fed while waiting to be reunited with their families. A pet hotel owner outside of Boston offered free board and care for the pets of first responders who had to work extra shifts.

We take responsibility seriously. “These are the times that try men’s souls,” wrote Thomas Paine in 1776. Each generation since can probably attest to the truth of these words as it points to one horrendous act or another. With the ease of finding information that promotes evil via the internet, our generation is faced with an abundance of people who can effortlessly and severely harm us. We must take responsibility for each other. This is not just a catchphrase, it is a call to action that each of us need take seriously, “If you see something, say something.”

We love. If you light a candle in a dark room, the darkness disappears. The light is not swallowed up by the dark. The light in our humanity is love. Remember to be loving. Remember to be kind. Remember to help. Remember that we are all connected.

We will not be terrorized.

We will bounce back.

We will love.Boston


What are your thoughts about terrorism in America? How do we help each other bounce back? You know my ideas and now I want to hear yours. Let’s talk about it in the comment section below.



  1. Carmen says:

    God bless America, no matter what!

  2. Lynn says:

    Hi Bobbi:

    I recover by reading this blog. Thank you for giving me specific, insightful and helpful suggestions for actions. In acting, I believe we take back control from those who wish to terrorize us.


    • Bobbi says:

      Thanks for that, Lynn. I agree with you that action not only helps us feel more in control and comforts those around us, but it also shows that we will not be terrorized!

  3. Michael Dixon says:

    This is superficial. You have collected hackneyed responses to putatively real but essentially abstract situations of loss. This is palliatively oriented crap.
    What about anger? What about resentment? What about a sense of victimization? Are these feelings not “real, ” or, ” legitimate” ? Let us agree in the long run they are not useful, what is the process for working through dysfunctional but legitimate responses?

    • Bobbi says:


      Do you mean the comments are crap or the post is crap?

      I agree with you that anger, resentment, and a sense of victimization are natural and valid responses. I think anger can actually be a useful emotion here if we allow it to spur us toward productive action. And even free-floating anger is a damn legitimate response right now. But you’re also right that resentment and victimization, while valid, often end up being dysfunctional.

      How do we work through them? Here’s my two cents worth: I think we allow those feelings to be and experience them as they arise, but don’t allow them to control our lives. We can feel pissed off and resentful AND at the same time live a life based on our values.

      I disagree with you about “palliatively oriented crap,” though. I agree that it’s palliative, but not that it’s crap. As I alluded to above, there’s nothing wrong with relieving the discomfort of the painful feeling without curing it. I think we get into all kinds of trouble when we try to get rid of feelings.

      Thanks for your thoughts and I look forward to more discussion with you!

  4. Sanjay tripathi says:

    Hi,from India. I love America and love ideals of liberty and pursuit of happiness . These terrorists will fail.God is on side of America .

  5. Loretta says:

    We are re-terrorized every day minute since the bombings with the incessant coverage of the event by the media. Do we really need to watch the bombing 100 times over and analyze every little detail — the blood on the sidewalks, the dazed looks on the people’s faces, the talk of not being able to do anything to prevent such attacks? I think the media feeds into a frenzy and it’s not healthy for any of us. Turn off the news until there’s really some new development to hear about.

    • Bobbi says:

      You know, you really bring up a good point, Loretta. And one wonders also if the constant news coverage and talk of not being able to prevent attacks is exactly what the terrorist(s) want?

      What do you do to handle the unending coverage? Do you just not listen to the radio, watch TV, or go on the internet? It’s hard to avoid, isn’t it?

      I appreciate your angle on this.

  6. I agree with Loretta. I don’t tune into the incessant analyses and definitely don’t watch terrorizing and upsetting images and videos of these tragedies. At the same time I think it’s important to read or watch enough to be informed, and to participate in brainstorming solutions.
    Thanks for addressing this horrific event on Bounce Bobbi!
    Sarah | Holistic Hot Sauce recently posted…The Zen of Fresh Juice: Inspiration Sauce with Farnoosh BrockMy Profile

    • Bobbi says:

      Thanks for chiming in, Sarah! Regarding solutions, I’m not sure how to prevent these acts other than all of us becoming more vigilant (but then we run the risk of paranoia,) but I am really interested in learning some first aid skills in case I’m ever around one of these situations, heaven forbid!

  7. Julia Cameron in The Artist’s Way says that anger is our friend if it moves us in a direction to solve a problem or take better care of ourselves. But, away from the anger part and on to the action we can take.

    Practicing indness, genuine kindness,is a positive action we can take. I think it’s a huge part in the healing and in lessening the chances of hurting or marginalizing others.


  8. Bobbi says:

    Annis, you know I agree with that! Thanks for sharing your ideas here.

  9. Sue Cushman says:

    There will be those who will seek to hurt others. If our focus is constantly on them, we will never see what we can do to help others. When I go out, I may see someone who needs help, give a smile, may need a word, or a prayer. I also am cautious, as I am a little older than I used to be, it does not stop me from using my cell phone if someone is in need on the side of the road. We can all look and see if a duffel bag or back pack is left where it is not supposed to be and call someone. We can all pick up trash (especially our own) and throw it away. We can give kindness and love to others, with a phone call, when we miss them at church, or other gathering place. When a tragedy happens, remember it does not happen for a day or two, if you know them, keep in contact for the long haul.

    • Bobbi says:

      Sue, I like how you give concrete examples of how we can take responsibility and demonstrate care for each other. Thanks so much!

  10. Mary says:

    I think that it is important to understand that, in the great sceme of things, this attack was very minor. I am not saying that it is not a tragedy and that it should not be taken seriously, but we live in a country where these incidents are very rare. There are countries where violence is a way of life and people die to it every day. I am not aguing against the pain of the people who have been affected by this. What I am saying is that it does no good for anyone to become paranoid and obsessed with this. People here mention that it is not a good idea to spend a lot of time watching coverage on TV and I think that is a good idea. Actually my cable has been disconnected anyway so my news has been online. I think it is very therapuetic to focus on what we can do in this situation,not what we can’t do. The first is empowering, the latter is disempowering and simply leads to fear and hopelessness. Let us remember that for the most part, our country has been able to stop most terrorist attacks from happening. We all of course were damaged by 9/11, where obviously there was a huge failure to protect us. However this was not the rule, but the exception. We still live in a very safe country.

    As far as anger is concerned, I think someone here misinterpreted the whole point of this forum. Of course anger is appropriate. But it cannot be our ONLY response. Just like the stages of grief we have to move through denial, shock, anger etc. We can help ourselves move through these stages by taking positive action. Howevr that is not the same thing as denying our feelings.

    • Bobbi says:

      Mary, I think you have a good perspective on this. I’m glad that you are not minimizing the emotions that the people of Boston and many of us feel, yet at the same time, you encourage us to take action rather than just allow negative feelings to fester. Thanks so much for your thoughtful input!

  11. Kay says:

    Only wish that our political system in Washington DC more able to work in a united way to counteract the insane violence and terrorism that seems to be more and more common.

  12. Jim says:

    How does one emotionally deal with an unnecessary act like the Boston incident? I may have an advantage of living isolated in a remote area far from the madness and mayhem of city life. This doesn’t mean I am not affected by these acts, rather I am devastated, saddened and confused by acts of this nature. Often this type of information does not find me because I do not have cable/satellite TV or listen to the news on a radio. What I am trying to say is that I am insulated by non-participation in the mainstream media sources that constantly bombard the people with information that we have not asked for or need. Yes, this a different perspective than most and I am sure you are thinking “sounds like the Ostrich with the head in the sand” situation. I counter this with “it is a life style choice” and has helped me deal with the madness that humanity often dishes up. I am distraught by the actions of a few or one and have great sorrow for those affected, but I do not make it the focus of my thoughts. I refuse to live there, rather it is helpful to try to put the world in perspective and focus on the goodness of the majority of people. I am grateful for all the positives that we do have. Plentiful food to eat, clean water to drink, a healthy mind and body and every day is a special gift that should be celebrated by loving the person you are and loving the very special people you are surrounded by. Again, as bad as I feel for the affected people and their families, I refuse to let some unbalanced person who needs some serious help pull me over to the “dark side”. I hope you understand what I have said here as it truly helps me deal with the needless insanity of this.

    • Bobbi says:

      I do understand, Jim, and I appreciate your approach to life. It’s really up to each of us how we deal with these things and some people find solace in your approach. I think, though, that it’s important for the rest of us who interact more intimately as a community to figure out how to best support and protect our community.

  13. Tammy says:

    I enjoyed the bounce back part.
    No matter what we go through a good attitude
    and just knowing your not alone can help.
    depending on the person, different things
    work at different times.
    Thank you

  14. Lydia C F Svendsen says:

    Dear friends,
    Im from Brazil, and live in a place where internet and cel phone signals do not exist. Only in town.
    Im just now learning to use a computer/ IPhone and make lots of mistakes; i appologize.
    Here in my country our hearts go out to all you só very brave people; we have prayer groups in many religions, praying for all who need it.
    We are horrified and sad seeing such terrible things being done in the name of religion.
    Brasilians are a very tolerant easy going and friendly people and its hard to understand such extremism.
    I wish all the love in the WORLD to all of you good people
    And Thank You, Bobbi!

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Bobbi Emel is a therapist who helps people in Los Altos, Palo Alto, Mountain View and the greater Bay Area manage their stress and develop their strengths.
She is effective in helping people dealing with anxiety, worry and grief; and also those who want to improve their effectiveness and performance.