I run a business focused on positivity, self-awareness, and my genuinely steadfast belief that goodness lives in us. I preach and wholly stand by the idea that we can take ownership of ourselves, foresee the probable outcomes of our choices, and steer our lives into the direction of our own will.

But over this recent past, our world has endured a brutal beating. And despite the love and light I feel so eager to share with readers, it would be negligent and uncaring of me to ignore the palpable darkness that surrounds us. Observing the devastation in the Caribbean islands and in Texas, the inconceivable carnage in Mexico, and the disaster-turned-desperation in Puerto Rico, we have become reminded that nature’s power spares nothing and nobody. Then, we watch as darkness moves sickeningly from pure chance to malicious intent — and acts of terrorism or violence send ripples through our countries and our communities. These stories frighten us, incense us, and, in their sole redeeming consequence, implore us to help each other.

Then, sometimes, the front-page news moves from our internet browser bookmarks to our own backyards.

Sunday’s senseless tragedy in Las Vegas begets myriad emotions. Some people want to talk about policy and politics. Others need to vent or lament. Some people are second-hand victims, losing beloved family members and friends. Others are survivors with stories we’d be hard-pressed to imagine — how many of us can say that a stranger has taken his or her final breaths in our arms?

ALL these people and their reactions are important. They weave our collective human narrative and they perpetuate our connection to one another. Their emotions are whispers of so many critical lessons in the midst of catastrophe, but they culminate into a billowing scream of the same ageless notion:

Life is Precious.

When we can stop on that thought – I mean really think about life as an expiring gift – we can begin to decide what to do with our own. We can begin reminding ourselves that we have a say in our lives, because we are lucky enough to be here – today, and right now.

And right now, among helping those in need, we have one job. We need to live up to our lives – or live up to the lives we want more of. For each of us, that means something different.

What is one thing I can do better? More of? Less of? What is my life asking of me? How can I live up to this moment? This day? This life?

This isn’t easy, because even on the easiest of days, rising up is a hard thing to do.

But rising up is the toll we pay for getting tomorrow… and the homage we send to those who no longer do.

For Light, for Love, for LIFE — let’s rise.