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On a Hope and a Prayer

Posted on November 02, 2011 @ 6:29 PM in Uncategorized

This post is a day late because I just returned from the Deep South, where there’s a reminder of Civil War, slavery and segregation at every turn.

Having grown up safely in Canada, but looking across the Niagara River at Buffalo, New York every day, I recall the race riots, civil unrest and the Viet Nam war protests.

As a child, I remember my Dad hurrying me across Lafayette Square in downtown Buffalo where long-haired teenagers were burning draft cards and American flags in public.

My parents, relatives and their friends on both sides of the border had lived through the fear of the Cuban Missile Crisis.

At school in Canada, we too had fallout shelter signs and ridiculous air raid drills where simply cowering under our desks could seemingly save us from nuclear holocaust.

We watched the JFK assassination on TV and wondered why all the adults were crying.

We could see plumes of smoke billow up from the Buffalo skyline as arson and vandalism escalated in a show of support for the civil rights movement and race riots that had erupted in the larger US cities.

They were frightening and dangerous days, but the grown-ups hid the negative side from us.

They chose to fear and worry among themselves rather than burden our little hearts with something our little minds couldn’t possibly comprehend yet.

At a time when the Blacks and the Russians were blamed for creating such fear and causing so many problems, it’s understandable that bigotry and xenophobia should flourish.

There are times when those days seem forever lost in memory. While it’s good to forget, it’s also important to remember. I’m grateful that the South helped me do that.

Today, our troubles are blamed on other cultures and ideologies. I suppose it’s human nature to fear those who are different without trying to understand why they are.

The following has been attributed to Marianne Williamson and I’ve also seen it called “Nelson Mandela’s Prayer”. Either way, it’s an affirmation that the best is within us. All of us.

It does more than offer us peace and hope as individuals. It gives us permission to be bold in all our actions. Serving others and leading by example should be part of our business culture, too.

Our greatest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.

We ask ourselves, “Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?”
Actually, who are you NOT to be?

You are a child of God.
Your playing small doesn’t serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.

We were born to make manifest the glory of God within us.
It is not just in some of us.
It is in every one.

And as we let our own light shine,
We unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.

As we are liberated from our own fear
Our presence automatically liberates others.

Amen to that.

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