I just watched a very inspiring video of Michele Obama speaking to a group of influencers in Chicago about young people and gun violence (which is a terrible problem in certain areas of Chicago).
She spoke very personally about her experience growing up there and how the only thing that made the difference for her was opportunity – opportunities created by her parents who made sure she had the chance to be involved in things that stimulated her.
She talked about Hadiya Pendleton, the 15-year-old girl who marched in the parade for Barack’s inauguration, who was shot and killed in the park a week or so later.
She talked about, of course, not only gun control but the need to create alternatives for kids who now spend all their energy watching their backs. I was very moved. At the end she talked about words versus actions, and making a real difference.
I guess it struck me so deeply in part because I woke up this morning feeling very weary of words, still thinking about the film I watched last night: PINA. What a powerful testament to the work of choreographer Pina Bausch, Wim Winders’ love letter to his dear friend.
Pina Bausch is dead now, but the dance company she worked with for more than 20 years is still performing her work. They spoke about how she saw them, and how she called them to go places in themselves they had never gone, or didn’t even know existed.
The film opened with her talking about the limitations of words and the power of dance to say what words can’t. It ended with her inviting one of her dancers simply to “keep on searching” to keep looking for the place in herself she had not found yet. And I was struck with the emptiness of words when they are not inspired with the energy of that personal discovery.
“You can’t take someone where you haven’t been yourself,” it is said. I am up against this every day now, as I must confront my own personal limitations (fears, judgments, insecurities and preferences) if I am to keep evolving and help create a better world. So for me today, my intention is to speak less, act clearly and live from the center of my being. Maybe I’ll succeed; maybe I won’t. But it will be worth a try.
Just for this day, what is your intention?
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