Inspiring, powerful, reflective, alliterative, genius. Not to mention a profound reminder of the power of art, voice, youth, and the message of unity. Thank you, Amanda Gorman, for this beautiful presentation of your insightful picture on our country and democracy.
I love to observe the parallels between our macro and micro worlds. Micro--our work on connecting with our inner compass; sorting through large and subtle internal, historical and ancestral traumas; finding our outward expression; and creating an empowered life aligns with all that must be done to unite our people, country and our place in the greater world--the macro. In the trials, the polarities, the conflicts seen in the world, if we pay attention we can see and feel these same struggles in ourselves. We work on ourselves powerfully to create powerful change beyond us, no matter what that looks like. Each of our contributions matter; each of us matter. As the newly sworn-in US President stated, unity amidst a deep divide is critical. Alignment and balance within ourselves require this attention as well. Notice your inner conflicts. notice the divides where your heart and mind are at odds.
The inaugural poem. I've never truly felt the need to memorize and recite poetry but this one..... yes.
With highest respect and hopes that I've captured it correctly,* I've transcribed the poem here:
"The Hill We Climb"
Amanda Gorman, poet laureate
When day comes, we ask ourselves:
"Where can we find light in this never-ending shade?"
The loss we carry, a sea we must wade, we braved the belly of the beast.
We've learned that quiet
isn't always peace;
and the norms and notions of what "just is"
isn't always Just-ice.
And yet, the dawn is ours before we knew it,
somehow we do it,
somehow we weathered and witnessed a nation
that isn't broken
but simply unfinished.
We, the successors of a country and a time
where a skinny Black girl descended from slaves and raised by a single mother
can dream of becoming President,
only to find herself reciting for one.
And yes, we are far from polished,
far from pristine, but that doesn't mean
we are striving to form a union that is perfect.
We are striving to forge a union with Purpose
to compose a country committed
to all cultures, colors, characters and conditions of man.
And so we lift our gazes
not to what stands between us
but what stands before us.
We close the divide
because we know to put our future first we must first put our differences aside.
We lay down our arms so we can reach out our arms
to one another.
We seek harm to none and harmony for all.
Let the globe, if nothing else, say this is true:
That even as we grieved, we grew;
That even as we hurt, we hoped;
That even as we tired; we tried;
That we will forever be tied together, victorious.
Not because we will never again know defeat, but because we will never again sow division.
Scripture tells us to envision that everyone shall sit under their own vine and fig tree,
and no one shall make them afraid.
If we're to live up to our own time,
then victory won't lie in the blade, but in all the bridges we've made,
is the promise to glade,
the hill we climb if only we dare.
It's because being American is more than a pride we inherit.
It's the past we step into and how we repair it.
We've seen a force that would shatter our nation rather than share it,
would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy.
And this effort very nearly succeeded.
But while democracy can be periodically delayed, it can never be permanently defeated.
In this truth, in this faith, we trust.
For while we have our eyes on the future, history has its eyes on us.
This is the era of just redemption. We feared in its inception
we did not feel prepared
to be the heirs of such a terrifying hour.
But within it we found the power
to author a new chapter, to offer hope and laughter
to ourselves. SO --
while once we asked, "How could we possibly prevail over catastrophe?" Now we assert:
"How could catastrophe possibly prevail over us?"
We will not march it back to what was
but move to what shall be, a country that is
bruised but whole,
benevolent but bold,
fierce and free. We will not be turned around or interrupted
because we know our inaction and inertia will be the inheritance of the next generation.
Our blunders become their burdens but one thing is certain....
if we merge mercy with might
and might with right,
then love becomes our legacy
our children's birthright.
So let us leave behind a country
better than the one we were left.
With every breath
in my bronze-pounded chest,
we will raise this wounded world into a wondrous one.
We will rise from the golden hills of the West;
we will rise from the windswept Northeast where our forefathers first realized revolution;
we will rise from the lake-rimmed cities of the Midwestern states;
we will rise from the sunbaked South.
We will rebuild, reconcile and recover. In every known nook of our nation
and every corner called our country; our people diverse and beautiful.
We'll emerge battered and beautiful. When day comes,
we step out of the shade,
aflame and unafraid.
The new dawn blooms as we free it,
for there is always light
if only we're brave enough to see it,
if only we're brave enough to be it.
THERE IS ALWAYS LIGHT.....LET'S SEEK IT OUT CONTINUOUSLY, AND THEN "...LOVE BECOMES OUR LEGACY".
*I'll edit once I see the poem released by Amanda Gorman.
Ever since I read My Grandmother's Hands by Resmaa Menakem and started a book discussion group on it, I keep pondering his idea of culture and how do we change our culture? What even IS culture, and our culture here in the US? What do we like, what do we not like? Honoring the many great things that created this culture to which many immigrants fled to be a part of, what can we recognize as unjust and ill-conceived? What do we need to weed out, what do we want to change and how?
From my interpretation on the reading, I believe culture starts from within. Trauma --both subtle and overt, current, historical and ancestral-- shape who we are, how we respond, and our view of reality. These traumas form what looks like our personality. Trauma that impacts the family looks like family traits. Trauma that impacts a people looks like culture. Changing a culture would require the desired change in "the tribe"...... and that change happens from a spark--one voice that projects and touches the hearts and minds of its neighbors and beyond. And, a major shake-up certainly helps create space for those voices to land. Enter our 2020 experience. What a shake-up to create the perfect environment for change!! Person by person, community by community, and in the age of the Internet, more potential for reach far and wide.
Are you ready to open up to this change? A change for social justice and a culture that creatively loves and supports one another? Starting with self-healing and turning inwards to be truthful with ourselves and to know our Truth, we can begin to grow into a personality that values daily practice of love for all living things. The more of us that chooses healing and builds our own capacities, the more that spreads, and the more it can change culture. A culture that cares, supports and lives curiously with others through conversation, connection, public policy and more. MLK Jr said, "Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness". I think this is what we get to discover in ourselves in listening for our Truth. In healing and clearing so we can hear our inner voice of peace and equanimity and vision and justice for all.
Personally, the more I listen to the many new voices creating podcasts and read the writings of the people who inspire me, the people I admire, the models who pave a path for me to see my own path, the more I know that if I listen closely and stay deeply connected with the true depth of meaning and value for my life, I will be like these people I admire. Only, it'll be in my own way and with my own voice. It's frightening and exhilarating at the same time.
For sure, this is only done in concert with the necessary work of self-healing. It has taken some years to get here but, thankfully, within these years I have felt dramatic progress steadily along the way and very often it is this progress that motivated the next progress. You need not look that far ahead, simply the next step into "right action". These are ongoing practices and continued seeking of community and like-minded voices-- as well as those who do not think like me --are a cornerstone for momentum. It is, in fact, often the voices of the latter that give me deeper pause and reflection. For the dichotomy of thoughts or the polarities of life is what often creates the most clear spotlight on vital matters. It is that which evokes the strongest of emotions that sometimes was/is the necessary spark to create the most impactful change or shift in thinking.
This year, in celebration of Martin Luther King Jr, I listened to a podcast with host Marianne Williamson and her guest, MLK Jr's daughter Reverend Bernice King. Through this interview, I kept hearing the message that activism is part of our work here and that MLK's words on sacrifice were akin to the sacrifice of Jesus and other such stories of heroic peoples. MLK said: "Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable..... Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals". This makes me think of my recent journal writing on "what we give up" and the fear of losing privileges, comfort, convenience, and a way of life to which we've become accustomed. What must we sacrifice? Are we prepared to struggle? Can we understand that struggle can simply mean our own personal angst in dealing with any sort of change, and ultimately that struggle creates a positive change and depth within us?
Marianne and the Reverend King end the interview with the idea that, while we look to our history of great people who sacrificed and led the way, these days the sacrifice and leadership is truly collective. Perhaps that can feel like a relief to those of us who feel yet ill-equipped for a huge, solo entry into boldness but still wish to pursue social justice and change in our world. But step forward we must. As a collective. As the Reverend Bernice King said, it must be a way of life, these steps for justice. What would that look like for you?
Still the start of 2021 and things seem to be taking shape through positive vibrational currents in the minds of many more of us. I feel it and I see it happening. I see that collective altruism and multi-level leadership or leadership by abilities-- what is your best role? MLK Jr Day is a day of service and celebration. "Give voice to your heart"* especially on this day, but let it be a spark of renewal and commitment for the year going forward. It takes every one of us to change a culture. I trust that these are the individual steps within a collective that will create a brighter future for and with our youth. For and with my children and all the children of this and the coming generations. What a wonderful way to invoke the spirit of Martin Luther King, Jr.
*My new 2021 calendar is from Istandforlove.com created by Sarah Love and today's message is "give voice to your heart". Apropros for this day. XO
"Success is liking yourself, liking what you do and liking how you do it". -Maya Angelou
For some of us, this comes naturally.
For others of us, this is a tall order. It could feel impossible.
For all of us, it is not only possible but the whole premise of life.
It seems we go through life seeking the holy grail of "success". The truth is, success is subjective. Your idea of success might be to create and build a company, go public, make millions, and be famous. Others find success to be seeing your child graduate high school. And yet others are successful if they can just coax themselves out of bed every day to live a "responsible" life after years of self-medicating with drugs and alcohol. The common link in all of this is coming to a place where you feel you're meeting a meaningful goal; you're accomplishing something that takes inner strength, courage, and great effort. It is also about integrity. Some may accomplish a goal that seemed like "what they wanted" only to be unsatisfied, finding out that it was filled with inner conflict, guilt and/or shame. Integrity is key. These common links basically come down to: liking yourself, liking what you do and liking how you do it.
With that foundational, simple yet profound goal or mantra in mind, make choices in life that help support this measure of success. Use it to discern what matters to you and how you can support yourself to focus on those things. What activities, practices, ideas, beliefs, steps, connections, intakes, and other uses of your time and energy help you live in this success. Yes, LIVE IN IT, not reach for it. The mastery is within your NOW and living with Presence. It will get progressively easier and more automatic with the commitment or it can be a struggle each day until the switch flicks. You may slip back and forth into self-sabotage and self-esteem until its more esteem, less sabotage. This process -- if you can recognize that you are in it -- is part of that success. It is YOU living the journey itself conscientiously that can be liked and loved. What an adventure you are living! Keep going with compassion for yourself.
BE in your success.
Like yourself for living all your ups and downs.
Feel full within yourself.
"Your passion is your qualification. It is your leading qualification". -Danielle LaPorte
"Desire is transformed into drive when a dream creates a passion for action" -Dr. Robert Anthony
And excerpts from GuruMeher Khalsa's book Senses of the Soul: "Desire serves....to take you from needy to fulfilled". -and- "In Desire Consciousness, there is no containment and no contentment; but beneath it all the while is the Soul's Desire for you to experience complete fulfillment". -and- "...to let Desire do its job....Between unbridled expression and stifled suppression lies the ability to clearly discern our real needs". -and- "Desire is a powerful thing..... it is just pure energy that is there to help you get what you need. Where it takes you depends on how you use it". -and, from an interview of GuruMeher sharing his steps to success: "Follow your passion, but find a way to develop self-discipline."
Your heart's desire is the call of your Soul to allow you the experience of Wholeness-- "complete fulfillment". We all have needs but only some of us are "needy". Those who escape that label are the ones that know their needs and how to get them met. And that is a matter of discernment and self-discipline. The outline or boundaries you set for yourself is the tool of that discernment and self-discipline. It's the container in which you can powerfully connect with your true desires and needs, as opposed to the free-floating, overwhelming and misguided desires of want want want.
Passion is the energy of drive. To act. Upon the discerned Desires. As said by composer Yanni: "All you need is passion. If you have a passion for something, you'll create the talent". Whether you feel you have the talent or not, check in with yourself. Listen in silence, breathe and relax your mind and body, let go..... allow yourself to simply feel without judgment. Your feelings are your Soul's voice. What do you desire? What drives you? You may need to sort through other emotions --Anger, Fear, Guilt, Shame, etc. Your immediate need may be a base need: to feel safe, to survive (think Maslow's hierarchy of needs). Find a way to meet these needs. Create your container, like an imaginary pencil sketch with lines that don't limit you but holds you.
Looking at the numerology, this year brings a focus on our personal power ("3" from '21 or 2+1) and our expression ("5" from 2021 or 2+0+2+1). Our personal power has everything to do with our drive, our passion, our action and ability to manifest. Aligned with our Soul's needs to bring us to complete fulfillment, the container of self-discipline helps us channel our efforts to project and express ourselves with passion. With zest!
I've been drawn to my Passion essential oil these days, which led to this writing. DoTERRA's Passion includes the oils of cardamom seed, cinnamon bark, ginger root, clove bud, and sandalwood. It's called the Inspiring Blend and includes spiciness, digestive aids, and grounding. A beautiful, uplifting scent to connect with our Soul's Desires. I like to use the handy rollerball version "Passion Touch", before my meditation and throughout the day on my wrists and behind my ears, to spark joy and excitement around all that I do.
Live your heart's desire, friends. If you're not there yet, find a way. You are worth it.
A lesson that weaved through my year was about living with embodied beliefs...and where I did and didn't truly embody an idea. It sounds good to be mindful but did I really do that? It's a forced exercise if not coming from deep within. Another major lesson was about the container that holds my ideas-- the healthy boundaries. The year before that was a deep immersion into personal emotions (my soul's voice). Altogether, I start this year in a clay pot of somatic living....listening, connecting and acting upon my Soul's wishes. I call this soulsomatic living. She's been ignored, repressed, denied, overruled by an Ego that thought it knew better, could protect better, and had my best interests at heart. No, that Ego voice was caught up in the noise and was simply louder as I smothered the sounds of inner friendship.
I'm beyond grateful for what the past years have helped me see and super excited for what my Soul intends to show me. So let's go!
In grace, grit, compassion and light-- I'm ready for a soulsomatic life. Join me!
I am the Essential Soul Mama. I am a mama, a soulful-spiritual teacher, an intentional storyteller, and a lover of stories of all kinds, in all forms. I write about parenting, natural health options, mind-body-soul connections, and anything that elevates our lives.