April 5, 2012 § 2 Comments
Our voice is powerful, powerful in what it can do, not do, and undo. It can be as much an engineer of clarity and union and strength and transcendent meaning, as it can be lazy and aggressive, divide us, feed the ego it’s dissolving meal, and leave us weak and broken.
The quest to purify our own voice is no different than it’s ever been. Spend a lifetime learning yourself, identifying what you really need, and you’ll learn to speak bravely in the hunt and capture. Learn compassion in the way you communicate your needs, the way you listen and feel for the needs of others, and learn to give and take for the sake of both, and two extraordinary things will happen:
You’ll get more than you ever thought you needed, and you’ll need less than you ever thought you would.
As if encompassing clarity in our own voice isn’t difficult enough, there’s a new dimension to the challenge in this world of explosive interconnection. We’re linked more visibly, instantly, inextricably than we’ve ever been before, and our one voice joins a second voice, a collective one, at unprecedented ease. Governments can topple in a weekend, in a week a video can flash in more eyes than the population of Japan, and our rush to react can be as giant as our vanish and vacancy. For every colossal ounce of shape-shifting potential this lends, there is massive fragility in our speed.
Fifty years ago, Charlie Brown was on the cover of Time Magazine, Andy Warhol debuted the Cambell’s Soup Cans, Cuba and the Soviet Union signed a trade pact, Nelson Mandela was arrested for ‘inciting rebellion,’ John F. Kennedy announced his aim to put a man on the moon, the Beatles found Ringo, Dylan went electric, the Vietnam War was smaller than a fist on the horizon, and whispers of a personal computer began a skeptical stir. The world was no less confusing, arousing, conflicted, lost, or found as it is now. But now, something new and especially dangerous happens, we confuse the expression of action as action itself. We confuse clicking, ‘liking,’ voting, tweeting, talking, debating and watching and waiting, as enough. But it’s not. It’s the beginning of a story, so many stories, so much potential, but just scattered beginnings. We’re losing the art of writing whole stories, stories round with body, resolution and endings.
Our challenge this week, in this long-drawn campaign to live more thoughtfully and compassionately, is to recognize our powers of voice: our speaking voice, our collective powers, and above all – the soundless, echoing voice of our real action. In speaking and projecting, both in vocal chords and megabites, be slow and mindful. Make room for your needs as much as you make room for the needs of others. And, lastly, of utmost importance, don’t die full of beautiful intentions and hope for change, make something real. It is as much a doorway, as it is your responsibility.
I set the goal a few weeks ago to find100 people of the thousands who read to support me in form of an act; to part with $12 per month and by sponsoring one these awe-inspiring children in their quest to have a voice; to lead and be heard. Since that day, 33 caring people have stepped up, which means I need 68 more, in less than 25 days.
I need you; your act. And I’ve made it as simple as it can be:
Send me an email, a facebook message, or a pigeon (firstname.lastname@example.org),and paste this sentence in the body:
“I’d like to forever change the course of another’s life.”
It’s that easy, and it’s real.
Thank you for caring enough to read, and for some of you – for staying with me all this time.
Eunice was just eight years old when she was ushered with her older brother into a children’s home in a Nairobi slum area called Kayole. The home was horrendously overcrowded with orphaned children, near 300, without adult supervision past 7 p.m. Food was scarce, abuse was unbridled, and her older brother spent his nights sleepless, defending Eunice from the abuse that plagued the home. When her brother, whose name is Francis, reached to Flying Kites for help, we were honored to welcome them into our home.
Since then, only a year and a half ago, Eunice has climbed from last in her class to number eight out of twenty one. Despite the depths to which her young life has taken her, she remains resiliently open to great joy and it never ceases to amaze us.
Eunice is fearless but never foolish, a characteristic that has gained her equal harmony between the boys and the girls in the house. She is a precocious young girl who is both humble and full of fire. Eunice has a flair for making funny faces, playing card games, and just like her older brother, a gift for dancing, rapping, and writing poetry. There is a depth to Eunice that gives her a presence that belies her young years and enables her to connect with both children and adults in an incredible way. Eunice has a laugh that can instantly cast a bright light over an entire room. To see her and her brother arm in arm together is melting, and the echoes of their laughter and the inspiration they gain from one another is as definitive of love and conquering as anything.