In the aftermath of the Orlando shootings, let the time be one of unity, love and healing, Jonathan Winn says.

pulse_ribbonI was in Orlando at Gay Days the weekend before the shooting at Pulse. There, I met Eddie Sotomayor who was one of the sweetest, brightest souls I met all weekend. Waking up to the news of the slaughter on June 12, and later learning of Eddie’s death, absolutely devastated me.

My own emotions have moved from deep sadness to fury to anger to solemness to a sense of determination. A fire that I have never felt before has been lit within me. I see this same fire within our community and in the hearts of so many others who were touched by what happened in Orlando.

As a life coach and healer who has a deep spiritual connection, I see there’s no coincidence that our community was targeted at this time of deep divisiveness in our world. It has mobilized us to levels I have never witnessed. It’s an awakening of sorts, and my hope is that the tragedy leads to more healing, building bridges, facilitating dialogue and loving each other more. In fact, it’s the only way to truly honor the lives of those we lost.

Related: Last night a DJ saved my life: sanctuary re-imagined

Many of us are asking ourselves, “what can I do to help?” I want to suggest a few ways to contribute and offer you a spiritual perspective around what humanity is facing on a global scale and how the LGBTQ plays a vital role right now.

Today, we see our world splitting into two: us versus them. We see it everywhere — gay or straight, Republican or Democrat, black or white, Christian or Muslim, rich or poor. This duality is reflective of a dying belief that we are separate. However, I believe we are awakening to the knowing that we are all interconnected and one. If you are familiar with the Yin/Yang symbol, you see that the whole is composed of two opposites. To reach unity, each side must be in full expression. I believe we are seeing our world splitting into two because we are moving into the awareness of oneness.

Our role to play

Unity, unconditional love, healing and compassionate understanding on a global scale is so desperately needed at this time, and I believe that our LGBTQ is uniquely positioned to help facilitate this for a few reasons. One, we are natural bridge builders. Possessing both masculine and feminine qualities, we are seen as those who go between two worlds. We literally embody two opposing forces as one, which helps us to see both sides.

Further, we permeate and exist within every bubble of separation that exists on the planet. Whether it’s racial, political, national, socio-economic or religious groupings, we are embedded everywhere. Therefore, we are able to reach into opposing worlds as we are at one with each of them. This natural makeup of our own community, representing all creeds, colors, shapes and sizes, gives us a natural right to advocate for unity and loving each other. Our differences are actually our most powerful gift.

Related: Staying strong after Orlando

It’s time to heal

For us to facilitate healing our world, we must first focus on our own healing. Now is the time to turn inward and heal ourselves and our community. We’ve been hurt, castaway and persecuted simply for being who we are, and those wounds run deep. We try to mask our pain through substances including alcohol and drugs, unlimited sex and by hardening our hearts to each other (consider me guilty as charged). Healing ourselves is the only way to release the chains of our pain. Holistic methods are a powerful way to let go of our past emotional wounds, including bodywork and breath-work. In fact, your own breath is one of your most powerful self-healing tools available to you.

Love more, unconditionally

I believe that our community is one of the chosen ones to help facilitate the bringing of unconditional love to our planet. Why? Because we have overwhelmingly received conditional love. It’s our lesson to learn. Further, if we are asking others to love and accept us for who we are, we must extend the same. Unconditional love is one of the most challenging lessons to learn. It’s easy to love another when we receive love in return, however it’s work to love another who does not love us. Strive to love without conditions.

Build bridges

One of the most powerful moments at the Orlando tribute at Bar 316 in Charlotte, N.C., was when a speaker asked us to turn around, find others you may not typically speak to and tell them you love them. I was immediately confronted with my own self-imposed limitations to love. I pushed myself outside of my boundary of comfort and hugged an older lesbian couple. I sadly admit I may not have talked to them otherwise. It felt so good to hug them and express love. Let’s do this more, especially within our own community. Push yourself outside your comfort and build bridges to other hearts through love, whether it’s a hug or a conversation.

Related: #OrlandoStrong: Conflict within and without

Claim your gifts and purpose

Our community has tremendous gifts and plays an important role in facilitating more awareness, compassion and unconditional love. We fulfill archetypal roles of healer, way shower and bridge builder in disproportionate numbers to our straight counterparts. These roles are critically important, especially now during the time of global upheaval and division. You have unmatched gifts and a profound purpose. Dig deep inside yourself to uncover where your light shines the brightest.

Advocate for, not against

There’s a magical quality when opposing worlds meet. Sunsets and sunrises have this special feeling because they are the union of opposites, day and night. And, further, how incredible are sunrises and sunsets while walking on a beach, another magical place where opposites marry, land and sea. Seek the places of common good. Search for the things we agree upon. Be for something, not against something. Mother Teresa gave us insight into this perspective when she said, “I was once asked why I don’t participate in anti-war demonstrations. I said that I will never do that, but as soon as you have a pro-peace rally, I’ll be there.”

Be supported

If you find yourself struggling emotionally or with gripping anxiety, reach out to me. As a gay brother and healer, I am here for you. You can learn more about my services at If you would like to explore options to be supporting, I am happy to extend a complimentary coaching session to you to hear what you are struggling with and to see if I may be of service.

Our time is now

Our Native peoples have foretold of this time in their prophecies. One Native American prophecy tells us that “when the earth is ravaged and the animals are dying, a new tribe of people shall come unto the earth from many colors, classes, creeds and who by their actions and deeds shall make the earth green again. They will be known as the Warriors of the Rainbow.”

Become a Warrior of the Rainbow, one who facilitates healing, unconditional love and deep compassion for differences. Together, we will heal our own hearts, community and planet. Our time is now.

— Jonathan Winn is the founder of Breathe Refuge. As a life coach and healer, he helps those who are emotionally wounded and gripped by anxiety to heal naturally. For more information, visit Twitter: @breatherefuge.

[Editor’s Note: We encourage our readers to seek professional help should the need arise if anxiety, depression or signs of post traumatic  stress disorder become an issue for you. You do not have to suffer alone and in silence.]