Alexis’ Letter about Peace after the Attacks


Peace in Oneself Peace in the WorldDear friends from around the world,

I am writing to you from Montréal. On Friday, I lost my cousin during the attacks in France. Faced with this terrible news, I cried. Eric was the father of a little girl and his partner is due to give birth in two months. So many things are jostling in my mind.

I breathe in, I breathe out.

Eric, you were (and you are in my heart) a being filled with joy. I will pay homage to you by being joyful and mindful to offer joy to others. Today, I wish to carry that joy into this violence, this nameless suffering. You are an example, and I will follow your lead on this path of joy and openness of spirit.

I breathe in, I breathe out.

I have not given into the anger or the desire for revenge. Because it is anger and revenge that brought on these odious acts. Today, I wish only to hold those dear to me, and those whom I don’t know, in my arms and tell them that I love them. Only love will get us out of this circle of suffering.

I breathe in, I breathe out.

In losing a loved one, I am aware of what people go through daily, whether they are from Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, but also the United States. Every day, people around the world are killed by gunfires. Today, I have the opportunity to join them, their loved ones, and send them my compassion.

I breathe in, I breathe out.

To hatred, to Mara and to all those who fall into it, I see you. You are nothing but an illusion and I will not identify with you. On my path of peace, there are no exceptions. Facing suffering, I observe and I let go. I do not oppose. I do not identify. I also offer love to these men who kill. Even if I completely condemn their actions, I cannot forget that they are a part of our collective suffering. I vow to work on my own personal sufferings, in order to lessen, in my humble way, our collective suffering.

I breathe in, I breathe out.

Today, people are speaking with one another, opening doors that were once shut, and are in solidarity. Even if this wave is only for now, I do want to see this presence, this support, this love for one another. I am sad that this only occurs in moments of despair, but I am happy to tell myself that it is always present. I vow to maintain this spirit of openness within myself and to accompany others to open themselves.

I breathe in, I breathe out.

I breathe in, I breathe out.

I breathe in, I breathe out.

Alexis from Wake Up Montréal

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  1. Thank you so much for your personal, thoughtful and compassionate response to this tragedy. it’s great to read such a sane response to this craziness. I breathe with you and your loved ones in your suffering.

    • I learnt this a while ago….’I am I and you are you and we are one’. I know it is a truth just as we need oxygen to breathe but still a mystery.
      Go well

  2. Alexis, I will breathe in and breathe out with you. Like you, our family lost Montreal family in the ’08 attacks in Mumbai. The understanding of what people feel at times like these overwhelms at times. Your post and breathing connects me to you and to the world and helps me see Mara and welcome her to tea. Thank you for your compassionate words at a time when so many are calling for the devastation to continue. Loving kindness to you and your family in these days and all the days ahead.

  3. Thank you for this Alexis…breathe in, breathe out…I am grieving for the most recent victims of the insanity of Paris AND of Beirut while also suffering due to families and friends firing e-bullets at each other as to how they grieve and who they blame..while I exhale loudly at those who are bigots and bullies I breathe in and breathe out when I hear people’s anger expressed in ways I do not agree with…if we tear apart our own social structure when it is under attack we are aiding and abetting those who wish, and cause, us harm…I breathe in, I breathe out

  4. Beautiful. This brought tears to my eyes. Sorry for your loss and thank you for sharing these thoughtful words.

  5. Thank you for inspiring us to remain centred in peace one breath at a time amidst your own grief. May we be the peace we wish to see in the world x

  6. Very profound, I am like the whole world shocked, may God welcome those who have joined in this tragic event into his realm. My condolences to all of you have lost family, cousins, friends along the way. Wth blessings and sympathy to all you remain in my prayers.

  7. Alexis ~ Your heartfelt letter is the first thing that has brought me any semblance of peace since hearing about the horrific events that transpired in Paris. How does one react when terrible things are done? Your comments offer such hope and let me see there is still beauty in humanity. At times, I have feared a world in which human beings filled with such hate and feeling that their only action toward peace and justice is violence. Knowing such feelings exist can not deter us from seeking such peace and justice. We must ever strive toward the light. While I may have some degree of understanding; I find it difficult at times to truly forgive. Thank you for your thoughts.

  8. Dear Alexis,

    My sincere sympathies to you and your family. May you continue to find strength in your mindful thoughts, and may the good memories of Eric bring you comfort in the challenging moments. Rest In Peace Eric. Much love to you all.xx

  9. I desire to walk up to the gunmen and the suicide bombers , each individually and address them by name . I then want to take them back to their births , let them each see the look in their mothers eyes when they came into this world . To see the look of delight in their parents eyes when each of them smiled for the first time . To let them see themselves as they were on their birthdays … To embrace each one with so much love that it burns them up when they recall their first hurts and wounds and their turning to radicalisation in the recent past . I want to watch each one of the terrorists weep as they watch how they have maimed and brutalised their innocent victims . Then I want to overwhelm each of them with so much love that they throw down their weapons and high explosive body belts and watch their armoury crumble into black dust . ….I will hug each terrorist with so much love and tenderness that they each start to cry and sob . Then the transformation of light begins to happen …..

  10. Much love Alexis. Thank you for this example of mindful experience through deep grief.
    Sending more love

  11. Alexis, it is heart-opening and healing to read your wise and compassionate response in the face of grief, loss and hatred. In affirming compassion, wisdom and our shared humanity you are showing the way forward. Thank you. I am breathing with you, Eric’s family and all beings. Peace.

  12. What a beautiful letter! I commiserate with you, and my deepest condolences regarding your cousin.

  13. Dear Alexis,
    Thank you so much for this beautiful response. You’ve no idea how badly I needed to read this at this very moment. Not only have I been sickened by the violence that has gripped our world in recent days, but I am also so very frightened. Half of my family is Muslim and from the Middle East. I am so scared for my children…for how they will be treated. I am scared for my husband–and I am sad for humanity. The anger, the fear, the xenophobia and discrimination on all sides can be paralyzing. Thank you for reminding me that suffering inter-is. That we inter-are. Just now I was breathing with you as I read your words. I breathed for your beloved cousin. I breathed for Paris and for Beirut…for Syria and for Afghanistan…for Israel, for Ferguson, for all victims of hatred and violence everywhere. And when I exhaled, I felt nothing but love. Peace and Love.

  14. Alexis…your words are very powerful and reach the very core of my belief. You capture the TRUE way perfectly. I am so sorry for your loss and hope your words can reach others who are struggling to understand our way. Peace, forgiveness and understanding to the whole wide world.

  15. Thank you Alexis for your beautiful words bringing peace and light. I feel your sadness and share it with you and all those who suffer. We do all share the same breath. Now I am imagining this light radiating far shining comfort, love and peace to all of humanity. Blessings to you and your family

  16. Bless You and all who have suffered through horrendous acts of terrorism x Love conquers all and we peace lovers will stand together to fightl this evil x Praying for Love and Healing to you all x someone once said x You are writing a gospel a chapter each day by the things that you do and the things that you say x others read that Gospel whether faithless or true x say what is the gospel according to you? Let us all stand together no matter what our Faith, background, colour, creed or “difference” that which unites us is much greater than that which divides us x God Bless You all x Love and Peace xx Karen xx

  17. thank you so so much for this! We can only try to overcome the collective suffering by looking deeply and in a compassionate way. No one is born violent or full of hatred. We need to protect ourselves from the illusion that one can only be good or bad, that responding to violence with violence will end violence. I am very sorry for all who have lost a beloved person.
    I pray and breathe for both sides.

  18. Thank you for sharing your very personal and compassionate meditation. It warms my heart that this is your response to these very unreal and violent events.

    Guided Meditation: One with all people
    Breathing in, I know I am breathing in.
    Breathing out, I know I am breathing out.
    In. Out.
    Breathing in, I am aware of my body.
    Breathing out, I am aware of my body.
    Aware of body. I breath in. I breath out.
    Breathing in, I calm my body.
    Breathing out, I feel at ease.
    Calm. Ease.
    Breathing in, I am aware of the pain and suffering in the world.
    Breathing out, I send healing and compassion into the world.
    Aware of pain and suffering. Sending healing and compassion.
    Breathing in, I recognize that I am one with all people.
    Breathing out, I recognize that taking care of me helps take care of all people.
    One with all people. Taking care of all people.
    – by Dharma Teacher Kenley Neufield

  19. Thankyou for your heartfelt letter Alexis. I am going to share this tonight at our *Sangha* I am doing a reading tonight at Meditation, and once I read your letter, I changed my mind, and will read your letter.

  20. So very beautiful and so very much in agreement with my heart and my thoughts. We are one. We are love. Light dispels darkness. Thank you. Love and light to us all, to the one that we are. <3

  21. Thank you for this beautiful tribute to your cousin. My compassion goes out to you and your family.

    breathing in- breathing out- praying for peace around the world.

  22. Thank you for your brave and compassionate response. Too many want to respond with revenge and hate. I am with you, I want to respond with love and compassion, and I will try my best. Namaste

  23. Thank you for your strength and stability in the face of tragedy, Alexis. Your wise response has helped me feel peace for the first time in days. There is no ‘them’, there is only ‘us’, we all belong to each other. I breathe in love, I breathe out love.

  24. What a beautiful message. Please know that we stand with you in love. United at heart, we can bring peace to our world.

  25. thank you for navigating through your own pain and breathing hope and compassion into this that is so hard to wrap one’s head around…thank you for your heart and your actions of love, deepest condolences to you and all that have lost loved ones…i really love that you are honoring your cousin and his family in such a beautiful way.

  26. Thank you Alexis, I too needed to read this today. Today I am struggling with the outpouring of hate towards innocent people of the Muslim faith and the families that are trying to find a safe place where they may settle. I struggle when people mention God and then they spout hatred on other people, then want to deny other human beings the right to protect their families. It makes my head and my heart hurt. I too breathe in and I breathe out, in solidarity with you, and I hope that I find it in myself to forgive those who wish pain on others. I’m very sorry for your loss Alexis.

  27. Blessings Of Love and Light to you and your family during the days and months ahead…Your words to the words to the World offered such Peace and Hope where only darkness and fear grabbed so many. Thank you dear friend for the wisdom and insight you shared during your most painful time…You are in our prayers❤️

  28. Thank You so much for sharing, I calmly breath in Love and Faith – I calmly breath out Blessings and Faith, for You, me and everyone.

  29. Thank you for taking the time to share such beautiful words. I cannot imagine what you must be feeling at this time but know you are never alone. So many of share in your sorrow and pain and I only hope that within time forgiveness, is what will help us all heal. May you blessed and know that you are not alone in your suffering, nor are you alone in healing.
    God bless you, for taking the time to write and share your story in such a difficult time. Alexis you will be with me every day, my heart is with you always.

    Renee Davis

  30. Thank you for sharing your experience. It’s inspiring and so much needed as the way forward.
    Thank you

  31. Thank you, Alexis, for the opening of your heart to the world. I can imagine that your heart is in struggle with the courant happenings and the longing of World Peace. I struggle as well and I do it daily although I didn’t have the loss you suffered and all these people who have lost someone dear out of their midst. I wish you strength in the daily battle. In fact I wish myself strength as well. Hard to do but answering hate with hate will never be the solution. I wish you peace and everyone who battles that hard very day again. Ger.

  32. I join with you who breathe in and out for peace in solidarity with the love that underlies the happenings of the times. We will be faithful to our commitment to learn to accept and include all that IS. We don’t know how much we can rise until we are asked to rise. And together only together we will rise. This is my prayer. Thank you all my relations. Thank you. “Let vision come and insight and let the future stand revealed…” And so it IS. Everything and everyone is a great teacher. Humility. Namaste.

  33. Thank you!
    Thank you for reminding us that although some actions can be condemned, we should still see brothers and sisters in people who did horrible things. We should do our best to understand them and to ebrace them with our love and compassion.
    Thich Nhat Hanh once said: Only with compassion can we deal with hatred and anger.
    I feel very sorry for you and all those who lost someone in France and all over the world, but I do my best not to hate the murderers.

  34. Thank you so much Alexis for this very moving and honest and open letter. I have shared it with folks in our Buddhist community and many are thankful to you for these thoughts and for your courage to express them. With metta.

  35. Amen! Love answers. This meditation is a Profound Gift you give to all of us. What a blessed Way to honor your cousin. You have redeemed this tragic loss with your loving response. You are a gift to the Light.

  36. Thank you for this beautiful gatha. The only way to oppose terrorism is peace, understanding and compassion, Gandhi said: “An eye for an eye will leave everyone blind” we have to remeber.

  37. Thank you Alexis for this very moving, personal and compassionate response to losing someone who you obviously loved and still love to such a terrible fate.


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