Elvis arrested for wiggling You might ask, what has Elvis got to do with gun violence? Well, Elvis said it himself, “It’s got everything to do with us”, in Baz Luhrmann’s Oscar nominated biopic about the King of Rock and Roll. Sparks of stardom soar when Elvis proclaims to his future agent, the Colonel, that he’s “ready to fly”.  The world is on fire as this hunk of burning love from Memphis, Tennessee pours out his heart and soul with a unique vocal style, gyrations and ballads of love.

Sexual and social unrest explodes like a one-two punch at the film’s turning point with the news of Kennedy and King’s assassinations. Time stands still as Walter Chronkite speaks…”Senator Kennedy has been shot…Martin Luther King has been shot to death in Memphis, Tennessee…”   You can see it in this masterful preview! Colonel Tom Parker responds dryly, “Tragedy! But it has nothing to do with us.” and this is when Elvis replies, “It has everything to do with us.”  As I watch I feel the trigger click inside, my gut clenches, and I flash on the news of the mass shooting, only hours before in Highland Park, Illinois during the 4th of July parade, where 7 people died, and 46 others were wounded by gunfire or injured in the ensuing panic.

Mass shootings are at an all time high, but this one was already heavy on my heart for I grew up in Deerfield, Illinois, the town next door, during my junior high and teen years. I still have family who live there, so the parallels of the turbulent times of the 60’s resurfacing over the last few years, has felt very close to home. In the original broadcast on April 4th,1968, Chronkite calls Dr. King the apostle of non-violence in the civil rights movement. If King was a disciple to a greater power, Elvis could be seen as another sent a mission to express what many of us wanted to say or feel in our own lives, but couldn’t. Elvis himself reveals that a reverend once told him “…when things are too dangerous to say, sing!.” And sing he did.

healing after mass shooting Healing the aftermath of trauma with an Emotional Support Dog in Highland Park, IL


The United States logged 306 mass shootings with at least four injuries or deaths from the start of this year, according to the nonprofit Gun Violence Archive. Mass shootings this year are on track to approach the 692 recorded in 2021, which was the highest figure since the Gun Violence Archive started tracking shootings in 2014.
Some 10,072 people nationwide have died due to firearms—including intentional and accidental killings but not suicides—so far in 2022. U.S. dealers sold about 8.8 million guns in the first six months of this year, when a public health crisis and an election helped push sales to record levels in 2020, according to Small Arms Analytics & Forecasting.
I remember feeling so hopeful when the Vietnam war had ended. People seemed to be tuning in and turning on to the power of love and I truly believed that nothing like that could ever happen again. We grieved, we grew, we were healing. After all it was the dawning of the Age of Aquarius, we were waking up….or were we?

It would be easy to spiral down the rabbit hole of no return if we focused on the distressing statistics of our species’ senseless destruction of life on this planet. My hope now is that if we are to ever truly experience unity as a collective, the most powerful thing we can do is hold the frequency of love and wake up to our true nature and purpose, which is to create. This is what my coaching work is all about; reclaiming the truth that you are predominant creator in your life.

Baz Luhrmann's logo
Going back to the film, it feels profoundly fitting that the writer/director, Luhrmann, has branded his projects with the statement, A Life Lived in Fear, is a Life Half Lived. Elvis has lived for us all as a man who faced many fears but also played full out with his creative expression. The way I see it, we have come full circle to the having everything to do with us. Us being co-creators of it all. In these turbulent times, this is where the rubber meets the road and we must accept that we are creating all of this for some greater purpose and for the benefit of all. The light and the dark.

What has helped me sit with this truth from a deeper light of compassion for others and myself, is the wisdom of Thich Nhat Hanh, who said, “We kill each other because we do not know who we really are. Lovingly known by his students as Thay, he was a Vietnamese Buddhist monk exiled from his country for opposing the war in 1966 and became a global spiritual leader, poet, and peace activist. His profound body of work encourages us to re-imagine an entirely new way of living and doing things, and to never be afraid to dream. I know Elvis had a dream as did Martin Luther King and the Kennedys. I hope these words touch your fears with the power to dream of a world awakened to the love that you truly are. Aho!


What might a path of cultivating non-violence look like for you, in the way you interact with the living world, the way you speak and engage, the way you drink a cup of tea and consume? Reverence for life is a seed in our consciousness, and the stronger that seed is, the quicker it will be there in a difficult moment when we need it most. It takes insight, honesty, and courage to be able to say: This tree is precious, this life is precious, this person in front of me—no matter what their views or values are—is also precious and is a child of the Earth just as I am.”  — Zen and the Art of Saving the Planet by Thich Nhat Hanh
Please follow and like us: