Sunday Serenity: I Love You

April 25, 2010

This song has been a favorite of the boys and I for a long time, and the rhythm is so much fun to dance to. It also stands as a good reminder to me of something that has been weighing heavily on my heart.

Lately I feel like every time I turn on any kind of news program, or read a newspaper, or even check the news on the internet, I see so much discussion of hatred. It is not exactly spoken of in that harsh of a tone, but that is really the undercurrent.

I know that for me, I spend a lot of time thinking about making a small change to the environment, or to the foods that I eat, or to my children’s education, etc, but the reality is that I have never thought much about making a small change to the attitude that I carry towards others.

It feels like with all the discussion on politics, and policies, and religion and intolerance, and fear and hatred, we are becoming a world so divided we have a hard time seeing the inherent good in each of us. There are just days when I get lost in the rhetoric, and I feel like the good in the world is slipping away.

The fact is that, naive or not, I still know that humanity is inherently good. Yes there are strong opinions on many issues out there, and a lot of them deserve healthy discussion, but if the belief is that the “other side” is always in the wrong, then we will do nothing but spin a web of division that can be very difficult to repair.

The only thing that I can think to do is choose not to participate. For me, that does not mean stopping participation in discussions, because I think that is so important in times like these. No, I am just choosing to no longer participate in negative discussions.

It seems silly to have to challenge myself to change my attitude during my interactions with people, but I have to admit that I do. I need to not feel defensive about who I am, or what I believe, and I need to stop and think about where the other person is coming from as well.

If serenity lies in our ability to find peace within ourselves, our selves must also be able to make peace with the world we are interacting with. As Ghandi so beautifully put it, “Be the change you wish to see”.

{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

AdirondackMama April 25, 2010 at 1:10 pm

"Be the change you wish to see". Too funny, I wrote something similar this morning. It was how I got through my funk.

You are not naive, you are hopeful. That is a wonderful thing to be. I am with you on the not participating in it. You know, I think that if more of us try this, the negative ones would just end up shutting up since no one gave them the reaction that they were hoping for.

Happy weekend sweetie.

Reply

amy twomey April 25, 2010 at 1:42 pm

what a beautiful post. I agree completely and you said it perfectly. "Be the change you wish to see". We need bumper stickers, eh? smile
amy

Reply

Julia B April 25, 2010 at 2:20 pm

Love it! We enjoyed grooving to this tune this morning!
…I had a similar discussion yesterday with a colleague – 11 hours in the air can bring about the best conversations- in my job I meet people from all walks of life…if there is one thing I have learned, it is that the most unlikely people can suprise and even delight us…and there is always something to be learned. At the end of the day, there is a certain comfort in knowing that regardless of background and beliefs, we are all human with the most basic needs in common.

Reply

MamaBird April 25, 2010 at 2:38 pm

Thank you for these thoughts this Sunday morning. Just what i needed to read!

Reply

Sarah Jane April 25, 2010 at 2:55 pm

Amen. I just finished reading the Happiness Project and not long ago Simplicity Parenting. It's made me think alot about what words I want to speak. It's easy to be negative and jump on the "can you believe 'them'" bandwagon. So I've been trying to keep to things that are true and kind. Not easy. I saw a family member recently who said, "You're so quiet." Usually we sit and gossip. I'm learning new joyful, creative things to discuss, but for now I'll be quiet!:)
P.S. LOVE that song.

Reply

Brooke April 25, 2010 at 3:22 pm

Oh, Heather! You spoke my heart! I get so angry from what I see and hear… I need to work on that attitude! Thank you

Reply

Brittany April 25, 2010 at 4:01 pm

This quote from Gandhi moves me so much that I have a necklace with "Be the Change" on it – along with "Loving Kindness" – as a daily reminder to myself of how I want to be in the world. When I am feeling hopeless in the face of so many terrible things in the world today, I also turn to this quote from Edward Everett Hale to remember what role I can play – "I am only one, but I am still one; I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do."

Thank you you for today's thoughtful post and thanks for introducing Michael Franti & Spearhead to me…I just purchased this album off of iTunes and I'm listening to the song you shared on my computer as I type this.

Reply

HilarieMae April 25, 2010 at 4:17 pm

Thanks for sharing this!!! I love it!!! It's so nice to hear music that is uplifting and celebratory! Happy Sunday!

Reply

Ann April 25, 2010 at 5:11 pm

Love this song, thanks for sharing

Reply

Ivy April 25, 2010 at 5:41 pm

Love the song and really appreciate your sentiment!

Reply

jessica April 25, 2010 at 5:43 pm

Lovely! You do know the secret–that amongst all the yuckiness there is inherent goodness. I always need to remind myself of that when I do end up reading the newspaper or watch the news. I always wonder how different the world would be if the news reported the good instead of the bad.

Reply

Rachel April 25, 2010 at 6:23 pm

LOVE LOVE LOVE Michael Franti and Spearhead….his message is so powerful and positive. Whenever I need an attitude adjustment, his beautiful music is usually a part of it! Thanks for the tunes and the good reminder!

Reply

eliz~ so wabi sabi April 25, 2010 at 6:55 pm

We have so much to learn from each other. Approaching every interaction as an opportunity to give and to receive generates peace and light and is a lot of fun too!
Thanks for this inspiring post.
Love, blessings, and gratitude~

Reply

larissa April 25, 2010 at 7:07 pm

Thanks so much for this post! i'm so with you on not participating in negative discussions. negativity doesn't solve anything and makes everyone upset – and being upset is not compatible with being a positive role model for my kiddos. we just love this song – abigail dances to it all the time. enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Reply

Adrie April 25, 2010 at 7:24 pm

Hooray for this! It is so true, and so hard to say even to ourselves, much less in a space like this. Courageous.

Reply

kyndale April 25, 2010 at 10:13 pm

It's always the best to be positive. One thing my yoga teacher has been talking about is not assuming what others motives or thoughts are. I love to always look at people as human. We're all learning. Some are more enlightened than others : ) Happy Weekend!

Reply

jai April 25, 2010 at 11:59 pm

I have been really trying this week to replace negative feelings with a feeling of love…….something I read about once in a bahai blog. For some reason just everything everyone is doing around me is annoying me and everything I am doing reminds me of something that someone once did (no matter how long ago) that really annoyed me. So when I am feeling this way….I just stop take 7 breaths (that number just seems to work for me) and imagine love filling my heart….certainly changes the way I handle the day. Thanks for the song :)

Reply

AG Ambroult April 26, 2010 at 1:04 am

you said it, sister 😉 It DOES feel like the world's divides are becoming greater. Politics at the moment seem to be so acidic, so "I'm right/you're wrong." Is it now, more than ever, or is it just that I'm awakening to it all? Either way I don't want to part of that hateful conversation. Thanks for the inspiration to turn it around…

Reply

Nicola @ Which Name? April 26, 2010 at 4:30 am

I will have to link through to see the video, but I just wanted to say I have been thinking about this too, but not quite in the same way. Some weeks back, for the weekly photo Corner View I participate in, the theme was wisdom from an elder. I chose my grandmother, who is one of the few people I know who simply does not speak ill of anyone else. I want so much to model that behavior and have been sadly noticing how incredibly difficult that is!
Nicola

Reply

Earth Mama April 26, 2010 at 1:17 pm

Oh my!This is so great! We were just listening to this song last night. And the funny part is that there is another song on that cd that really was resonating with me and then there is a line that says…you have your one Earth Mama and your one Earth Papa…and I was planning on making it into a post this week! Too funny! I really think Michael Franti's words are really powerful and shout out a lot of change that we are all wishing for now!! I get very inspired and pumped for change when I listen to his music…and it defintely makes for some great dancin' music.

:)Lisa

Reply

Valarie April 26, 2010 at 3:36 pm

I love this song. It's so great. Your post touches a soft spot in my heart. I, too, am tired of hearing about hatred. Why can't the positive things in life sell just as much news as the negative. About three months ago I went on a news fast and it really helped me to be able to have that choice, to participate or not. I always seem to know what's going on in the world but I choose which things I give attention to. Great Post.

Reply

mandy April 26, 2010 at 6:01 pm

I also love that song. Your words that go along with it are very timely for me. We recently moved and it's always hard making meaningful connections with other parents, but perhaps especially difficult if I fence myself in as a natural food cooking, cloth diapering, co-sleeping, no-tv watching, attachment parenting, pacifistic, vegetarian, and on and on right? I've found all these ists and isms can come across as threating. i want to meet other kind people and to foster community with others. so i don't talk politics and all that jazz, because as moms we all have so much in common.

Reply

Jennifer April 26, 2010 at 11:36 pm

We love that song and dance everytime we hear it! Your post really hit home for me. I don't think you're naive. I think you're an optimist. My cousin/friend was getting extremely negative about politics/world and I asked if we could not discuss politics and she chose to end our friendship over it. She has continued to send me negative political emails. This experience has made me reflect on a lot of topics that you write about in this post. Specifically, I'm having to learn to keep my serenity and stay focused on my love for her when I open these emails. It really helps reading your post and the comments from your readers.

Reply

sewperstitious April 27, 2010 at 6:34 pm

Thank you very much for letting me discover that wonderful music!

Reply

Angie April 28, 2010 at 4:25 am

Thanks for a good reminder, Heather. My step son and wife actually walked out of their wedding to this song last spring, so lots of happy, loving memories there, and I really also love what you have taken from the song. Always love the encouragement that I find here!!

Reply

Jennifer May 8, 2010 at 3:32 am

Oh, Heather! So well said! Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. And I LOVE the song!

Reply

geek+nerd May 8, 2010 at 5:02 pm

Oh my gosh, I've been saving this post so that I could watch the video, and that song made me so happy! So much dancing! YIPPEE!

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: