Let It begin within Me

My entire life, words – be they in a book, a poem, sung or prayed – have always fed, sustained, calmed and emboldened me. And so, given the heartbreaking events of the last week, I turn to words to inform and guide.

Yesterday, I heard a Wise One share with a Student that if one’s intention is to bring balance to the world, one must be balanced in oneself. This is another way to say that one cannot offer what one does not possess or as within so without. Hearing those words felt like an answer to a prayer I was not consciously aware I had made. The floodgates opened and more words came, mostly in song, that reminded me that we will only ever really overcome someday by paying careful attention to what resides deep in our own hearts, souls and minds – as we are indeed One and the very thin line between “good” and “evil” cuts through all our hearts.

I could hear Michael Jackson singing this perspective so poignantly:

If you want to make the world a better place, You have to look at Yourself and make that change.

To reinforce this point, the powerful Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi came clearly to my mind and heart:

Lord, make Me an instrument of your peace…Where there is hatred, let Me sow love…Where there is darkness, let Me sow Light…

Even my inner child chimed in, sing and imploring:

This little Light of Mine…let It shine….let it shine…let it shine…

Eventually, all quiet on my Soul’s Front:

Ego: I get it!

My Soul: Do you really? Just in case…

And then it came, The Big One: the words to a most beloved song; one I have sung and hummed to myself since I’m a child and more than any other in my life; a song that has consistently brought me from the brink of madness borne of sadness by providing me with the invaluable gifts of light, hope, peace, clarity and profound comfort. The song:

Let there be peace on Earth  

According to Wikipedia, this beautiful song was written in 1955 by Jill Jackson Miller and Sy Miller. Interestingly given recent events, the story goes, in that same year “…a group of 180 teenagers of all races and religions, meeting at a workshop high in the California mountains, locked arms, formed a circle and sang…”Let there be peace on earth”…to help create a climate for world peace and understanding.”

2015, 60 years later, here we are…Let there be peace on Earth  

I’ll close with one of my many renditions of this masterpiece. When one cherishes a song, when it becomes part of your DNA/your signature, organically you tinker with it making it truly your very own (like a loved recipe). This version of Let there be peace on Earth does not stray too much from the extraordinarily moving original:

Let there be peace on Earth
and let it begin within me.

Let there be peace on Earth,
the peace that was meant to be.

With God as our Father,
related all are we (we are One).
Let us live with each other
in peace and harmony.

Let peace begin within me.
Let this be the moment now (right now!).
With ev’ry breath I take
let this be my solemn vow:
To take each moment
and be in each moment
in peace internally.
Let there be peace on earth
and let it begin within me.

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L.I.F.E: Series One

The L is for Love

“How deep is your love?
I really mean to learn
‘Cause we’re living in a world of fools
Breaking us down when they all should let us be
We belong to you and me.”  the Bee Gees

I cannot hear these beautiful lyrics without dissolving into a puddle of tears, they so deeply resonate for me -to this day. Really, what is Life without deep LOVE? Love unites -we belong to you and me. Love cushions and soothes ‘cause we’re living in a world of fools.  Love is a balm to weary Souls that are repeatedly broken down and not let be. Love is a beacon of bright light when one is lost in the Abyss. Love is inside and all around us. Sometimes it is palpable and obvious, other times it is frustratingly elusive, mysterious and ineffable. Love prefers that you not chase it, “Let me come to you,” it whispers. “I promise I’ll be worth the wait.”

The I is for Integrity

“To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.” William Shakespeare, Hamlet

With each passing year of life, it becomes more and more clear that integrity is crucial to a well lived and deeply satisfying life. It gets more challenging to bear The Mask as one matures. You simply do not possess the wherewithal and patience to carry the weight of conformity, pretending to be and do that which you innately are not. There is a part of us (the inner child, the soft still voice inside) that yearns to be true, to be free, to be consistently you in all circumstances and with all people. There is indeed this indomitable push to just be You – no matter the cost. Yes, be assured, cultivating integrity will cost you in effort, time, money, people, etc. Still, it is an investment that will pay unparalleled dividends to many and do so indefinitely.

F is for Faith

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.” Proverbs 3:5

These words are my favorite in the Bible, the words I come back to repeatedly when I desperately need to access my Faith. I often wonder how Life is navigated without faith in something or someone. So much transpires every day that defies logic and renders us in numb disbelief (think 9/11, cops beating on a man while he cries out “I can’t breathe!”, tsunamis, war, etc). How does one remain human, soft and open when one is relentlessly bombarded with distressing news? Faith. Faith (in all its various permutations) buoys and grounds. It is the root, the start of everything else that is meaningful in life.

E is for Enjoy

“Joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls.” Mother Teresa

Reading these poignant words by Mother Teresa (wisdom made flesh), I recall a conversation I had with a person of great influence in my life just a few days before graduating from college. “I am not happy,” I shared, nervous and near tears. ‘Life is not about happiness,” was the curt response I received. Ah, but it is I have since learned. Life is meant to be Enjoyed. Joy is not frivolous nor is its pursuit a sin. Joy is a powerful magnet, a net of love that draws us ever closer to our essence and to each other. There are few more delicious experiences in life than to wholeheartedly surrender to joy. Think about holding a baby or a puppy, a child’s unbridled laughter, eating warm bread or creamy ice cream, strolling a deserted beach on a beautiful summer day, watching the sun rise and fall, a full moon on a lake – all joyful and to be fully enjoyed.