A sad and urgent wake-up call for our times

Photo credit: Erika Goldring / Wireimage / Getty Images

I woke up Saturday morning to the news about the Travis Scott concert tragedy in Houston. Looking at the raw footage and first-person accounts on Twitter made my stomach sick … and that deeply disturbed feeling has not left me since.

I see this incident as a massive message or sign, another example of a society and a culture at the furthest tethers of what could be considered “life.” It was a microcosm of what is happening, and what more could happen on a much larger scale — and I’m not referring to another concert — if we do not pay attention and do something about it. And I don’t mean changing laws. I mean changing us.

Don’t think you have anything to do with those kids, cameramen, medics, security guards and performers at that concert? The one where eight people died, over 300 received treatment at the scene, and 13 were still hospitalized as of Sunday night? While people either watched, ignored, or were trapped and couldn’t do anything about it? People being trampled. People who needed help screaming in vain; some who were lucky to escape. Many, if not all, have been unnecessarily traumatized and, of course, the loss of life in such an avoidable manner is beyond tragic.

What may have started as storming through a gate to rush the stage at a concert became a fight for survival. The fact that it happened is scary enough. Even scarier to me is that so many people could be completely detached from their bodies and awareness of those around them; how they were mesmerized, deluded, drugged out, brainwashed and/or controlled as a mob as well as by the music and the person on stage, whom they idolized and blindly followed. They left any common sense and dignity behind. Many didn’t or couldn’t see the suffering happening around them, and those who did expressed sheer agony in their helplessness, especially when their urgent calls to stop the show fell upon deaf ears.

This disconnection from our hearts and each other, combined with the addiction to bright, shiny things to feel worthy, or be sentient at all, is the true insanity and the real dis-ease we are experiencing or witnessing at this moment. This is how far off-track we have gone as a species.

Like mass shootings, this incident is yet another warning for America. The Universe is waiting for us to wake up to our own humanity, and if we don’t, there will be dire consequences. This was just a sample of what is to come if we do not learn the lessons it is trying to teach us.

This is not something that just happened to a bunch of kids in Houston; it has everything to do with how we are living as a culture. This is what we are seeing now with the current world situation, particularly here in the US. It is a result of decades of being programmed and anesthetized by various means and methods, combined with the seeds of division and dehumanization that have been sown and fertilized, especially in recent years, showing signs of bearing dark fruit and the forces that would take advantage of it all. We must get hip to the game and do what we can to stop it — NOW.

I have been concerned and watching this happen incrementally, most notably over the past 10 to 15 years. Of course, humanity has gone through varying degrees and waves and eras of destruction and chaos over the centuries; but I’m speaking of my own lifetime, and the fact that technology has both accelerated and magnified everything.

Based on my observation of culture and society — what I encounter in my work with clients and audiences, what I see on the streets and with my friends and family, and what is coming through music, entertainment, social media, politics and mass media in general — there can be no doubt that we are at a dangerous precipice at this moment in time. Because the United States has such a global influence, we must take even more responsibility for who we are, what we do and how we do it during this critical period in our individual and collective existence.

It may sound dramatic, but the way I see it, we have been put on high alert. My level of concern grows deeper by the day, with the altered reality of these past 18 months becoming ever more dystopian. Someone must start speaking about it, to point out how we’ve been frogs in a pot slowly coming to a boil, or ostriches with heads in the sand pretending the degradation of our humanity and accompanying horrors — if people even consider them as that, which is part of the problem — will go away on their own.

Many either can’t see what’s happening, or they choose to gloss over or ignore it, using wine, weed, work or watching Netflix to constantly escape and numb out, or thinking a pill or jab is going to save or protect them and get things back to “normal.” But one day they will likely experience a cruel reality in their backyard that could have been prevented if only we had stopped the madness, really seen and understood what is happening AND did something about it.

Who are you in that Astroworld crowd?

You are not immune to this, you are not separate from those kids; we are all connected, and they did not get that way on their own. This is not a story that will go away; it will keep coming back in various forms unless we all face ourselves, because we ARE that story. This most recent wake-up call is once again a symptom of a much bigger and deeper issue that is the true pandemic of our times. We all have a part to play in healing it.

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Kristina Leonardi is a career and life coach who helps people to make the most of their personal and professional lives, allowing them to recognize, connect to, and fulfill their role in the world at large. Known as a dynamic, inspiring and down-to-earth speaker with unique yet practical perspectives on the topics of career development, work/life wellness and personal growth, she has presented to organizations such as Saatchi and Saatchi, UBS, HR Association of NY, American Women’s Business Association, and New York’s Science, Industry & Business Library.

Kristina offers individual, corporate and group coaching privately, as well as in affiliation with The Muse and New York Women in Communications. She is the founder of The Women’s Mosaic (TWM), a nonprofit organization that produced over 100 unique events over 10 years for more than 2000 women of diverse backgrounds to connect to themselves, each other and the world around them. She holds a B.A in International Relations from Boston University, and has taught extensively for NYU’s Center for Hospitality, Travel and Tourism and the Center for Career and Life Planning. Kristina was listed as one of Hispanic Magazine’s Top Latinas of 2004, received Tango Diva’s 2007 Diva Visionary Award, was honored by the WNBA’s NY Liberty as part of their 2009 Inspiring Women Night, and has been featured as a career expert in Forbes.com, Inc. Magazine, Psychology Today, Money and The Huffington Post.

Kristina is also the author of Personal Growth Gab (PGG), Volume One: Thought-provoking, inspirational and entertaining essays to keep you connected with yourself and make sense of this journey called Life, a beautifully designed and practically organized compilation of nearly five years of weekly blog posts that both stimulate and address the questions of who we are, where we are going and how we can get there in today’s rapidly changing, fast-paced world.

For more information visit www.kristinaleonardi.com and follow her on Facebook and Instagram and Twitter for up to date posts, helpful articles and inspirational thoughts.

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All Roads, Same Place | And Now, A Word from Our Sponsor | Strong Medicine | 10,000 Hours | A Decade of Doing What I Do | Express Yourself

Speaker,Coach,Writer.Very Tall. Expertise:People. All kinds, what makes 'em tick, how they fit into the world, how they can best connect to themselves + others.