Wasn't Amanda Gorman just breathtakingly captivating when she recited her phenomenal poem during the Inauguration ceremonies a week ago?
Here are a few of my favorite lines:
The Hill We Climb
Somehow we've weathered and witnessed
a nation that isn't broken
but simply unfinished
We lay down our arms
so we can reach out our arms
to one another
We seek harm to none and harmony for all
It's because being American is more than a pride we inherit,
it's the past we step into
and how we repair it
We've seen a force that would shatter our nation
rather than share it
And this effort very nearly succeeded
For while we have our eyes on the future
history has its eyes on us
We will raise this wounded world into a wondrous one
We will rebuild, reconcile and recover
- Amanda Gorman
I asked permission to use them in the preface of my book, Soul Authority for Transformation Trailblazers, and I'm happy to announce that she was for sure the break-out star at the event. Just to get a hold of her and her people will probably take some time. In any event, she got my vote for running in the 2036 Presidential race.
Not only did I love her poem, it helped me to write the preface of my book, which summarizes the premise, scope and perimeters of my book integrated as well as I could with our current cultural and political climate.
I'm so happy to offer you all a sneak preview:
I believe that the reason why we’re having such a difficult time uniting on common ground right now is because we first need to set our sights on higher ground. To really meet eye to eye, we need to lift our gaze out of the haze, heal our debilitating wounds, and climb to the top of this hill that we’ve been stuck on for centuries.
To truly connect, heart to heart, we need to raise our vibrations to the likes of our shared Earth Mother with humility and genuine reverence. Her stillness makes it so much easier to quiet our monkey minds and understand at the core of our being that we’re only harming our own family members and ourselves when we harm her and one another.
It’s a tall order and one that we may not fulfill in our lifetimes but this shared aspiration and goal may be enough for now to tie us together in focus, effort and fate.
Remember that no matter where we are positioned around that mountain, its peak is a point of reference that all of us can rely on when lost or disoriented. It’s also a point of inspiration that offers anyone who is willing to tackle the climb, the widest, longest and most beautiful views of life and the best big picture clarity.
Sadly, many of us have forgotten how exhilarating it is to enjoy this higher vision and truth that awaits us at the top because we have gotten so caught up in dealing with the real and imagined threats coming from the other side of the mountain.
Meeting in goodwill and peace on higher ground requires that we embark on this journey with the best of intentions.
We need to curb our survival instincts to race to the top and stake it out with our flags.
These common assumptions often get in the way of our higher vision. Take a moment to see if you can relate.
Your first inclination is to conquer this vantage point to fight off others who haven’t made it yet. A part of you feels entitled to attack anyone who gets too close to you or the top because:
1) they should know they’re trespassing. You were here first so it’s yours (whoever may already have been there for centuries and didn’t stake out the territory should’ve been smarter and doesn’t really count).
2) if you don’t take ownership of what you’ve worked so hard for, someone else will take over your spot and just roll you down the hill.
3) you need to form alliances with as many allies as you can to overpower your enemies or you won’t survive.
You may be wondering: What’s wrong with these beliefs? They make perfect sense to me. There isn’t enough room for everyone at the top. Isn’t survival of the fittest the rule of nature?
Here’s the caveat. Competition in the natural world doesn’t resemble the ruthless dog-eat-dog and winner-take-all methods that we humans have learned to operate from when threatened.
Survival of the fittest doesn’t mean proving to the world that we are too great and powerful to learn from and heed the natural consequences of our actions (or the law for that matter). We will end up blowing each other and the whole mountain up if we continue down this path.
Many of us have lost our connection to our true nature and can’t re-member who we truly are. It makes it hard to trust ourselves and the depth of our layers, hardened emotions and uncomposted history. It makes it even more challenging to trust others who seem very different from us.
It may help to re-member that we are nature. We are expressions of earth and subsets of an infinite field of love far greater than we will ever fathom.
Nature’s ways are quietly confident, generous, complex, nuanced, intricate, layered, abundant, cooperative, regenerative and diverse. Nature also offers us natural consequences, not to punish us, but to guide us along a path that’s balanced, for our own good and protection.
Nature is not trying to make us feel small or minuscule although we might feel this way when our egos get too blown up and we don’t want to align with scary truths. Remember our vehement reaction a few centuries ago when we first learned that the sun didn’t revolve around us and the earth and we weren’t in the center of the universe?
We are going through a similar shift, so don’t believe and trust everything your ego-self feels and thinks until you have sure footing on higher ground.
When your ego deflates in deep moments of reflection, you may notice your soul feeling empty and sad and wanting to be inflated.
One way to do this is by imagining Mother Earth’s perspective and looking at the world from her high vantage point. She looks forward to embracing us all at the top of the mountain, in light that shines upon her from sunrise to sunset. At night, she will provide us the warmth of a sacred fire that burns through the darkness and cold.
She sees us not as potential threats but as her children: potential risks to ourselves unless we re-nature our de-natured modern minds.
She looks upon us with tenderness, those of us east of the mountain basking in light in the morning; those of us west of the mountain basking in light in the afternoon. Sometimes dark clouds collect on one side of the mountain and block the rays and light of the sun for a while.
I hear her say: Don’t be afraid to let it rain. Don’t be afraid to let it pour. Love your tears. Give yourself enough space to feel your feelings, grieve, grow and reflect on their guiding wisdom. This is what will cleanse your soul and give you a fresh start.
From our Earth Mother’s perspective, there is no right or wrong way to climb her mountains. Some like to climb straight up in a line. Others meander, zig zag, or prefer to spiral to the top.
Depending on your starting point, you may need to go left, or you may need to go right, or you may do both and find your own independent way.
But forcing others to do exactly what worked for us creates an oppressive climate and divisiveness.
Exercising our freedom and soul authority doesn’t mean getting to do everything our way. It means empowering ourselves and one another, and effectively containing the fears and hate that hurt and overpower.
These limits don’t deprive us of our freedom. They make space for it.
In this sacred, protected space, you will be able to access the strength and courage to see and be the light.
And when embodying your light and soul authority, you will feel as solid, supportive, and grounded as the mountain, as generous as Gaia, and as powerful as her love, a love that doesn’t diminish but keeps multiplying when shared.
More amazing Amanda material from her Ted Talk "Using your Voice is a Political Choice" (Nov 2018):
“One of the things that irritates me to no end, is when I get that phone call, and it's usually from a white man, and he's like, "Man, Amanda, we love your poetry, we'd love to get you to write a poem about this subject, but don't make it political." Which to me sounds like, I have to draw a square, but not make it a rectangle, or build a car and not make it a vehicle, it doesn't make much sense, because all art is political. The decision to create, the artistic choice to have a voice, the choice to be heard is the most political act of all. When someone asks me to write a poem that's not political, what they're really asking me is to not ask charged and challenging questions in my poetic work, and that does not work, because poetry is always at the pulse of the most dangerous and most daring questions that a nation or a world might face.” Word. Or when asked, please address the truth and the issues but don’t make it divisive. How about the dismissal of existing default divisions = denial?