Tuesday, November 25, 2008

November 24 - The Spiritual Dimensions of Obama's Leadership

It is a timely moment for authors Corrine McLaughlin and Gordon Davidson to pull together a comprehensive summary of the many spiritual layers of Obama's presence and leadership in their above titled article.  

I resonate with all of it – much of it a mirror of what I have been writing on the Choose To Unite blog, and the song/video itself!  This is my favorite passage:

"Obama signifies more than the emergence of an inspired, gifted leader.  He is like a catalyst dropped into a supersaturated solution, that builds a crystalline structure around itself based on its innate pattern, and then transforms the whole solution.  The supersaturated solution is the collective spiritual awakening that has for years been calling out for a leader to unite our nation and establish right relations with the world.  Suddenly, it has crystallized around Obama.  His ideas and presence among us, speaking to the 'better angels of our nature,' as Lincoln did, has crystallized a movement that says, 'Yes we can!'  We can be better than who we have been, both as individuals and as a nation."

While lengthy, this essay is definitely worth the read:    http://www.visionarylead.org/articles/Obama.htm

55,000 views on YouTube of the Choose To Unite video.  An auspicious number, for a song of "universal support for the birth of our new world!"

Monday, November 10, 2008

November 10 - Reunited States of America

Our Choose To Unite videographer Grant Taylor wrote the morning after the election to the Santa Fe New Mexican; his letter was published in yesterday's Sunday November 9 paper:

"We've chosen a true leader and healer, someone who touched our hearts and the powers within us.  Our votes transcended politics, for we have truly chosen a leader of the people.  The power that elected Barack Obama is much greater than he himself, as he acknowledged in his first speech as president-elect.  It is the power of change and a profound choice for freedom that we made for ourselves and for our country.  The unity and oneness of community we are feeling, the courage to realize our mistakes and transgressions, and to change our character in the midst of difficult times – this is what should propel  our hearts into this bright open future.

There is a Barack Obama inside each of us; this is how he became elected.  Our vote represents this recognition.  And what we recognize, we can become.  Let's use this power of unity, this shared common purpose and take the hope and love that we have for the future and celebrate it here and now."

Read the other inspiring letters in the Nov. 9 New Mexican:  http://www.santafenewmexican.com/Opinion/Vote-heard--round-the-world


"...[Obama] has promised to unify our country, and we should take him at his word... there is no reason to withhold support to the man, given the challenges ahead... I urge the 48% of us who voted for John McCain to... let go of divisiveness that has prevented progress.  It is Obama's turn, and he will soon show us what he can do. We own him that chance and the opportunity that he has earned."  (Mike Young)

"...He won because he is black and white, a mix of two races, not just one... Barack knows and understands both sides in whatever issue is brought forth to our country and the world... We will no longer live in the dark and controlled by a few... Deep down, we know: We are far greater than who and what we think we are.  Deep down, we give profound thanks for this historic change in our country, our lives."  (Helen Oates)

"...We all bonded with a rare example of leadership, a candidate for president with unfailing dignity, setting an example of resolve, asking for our participation in searching out and exercising a more ennobling vision of social responsibility toward one another... As a result... [Americans] prepare with renewed hope for the opportunity of sharing the responsibility for the good health of this precious little blue marble and its inhabitants, our home in the universe."  (Tal Streeter)

Sunday, November 9 – milestone of 50,000 views of Choose To Unite on YouTube!  Sharing a comment from friend Nancy McGuire (a mother and life coach):  "The video is even more pertinent today than it was during the campaign.  It is a call to our citizenry as to what we need to do to go forward as Americans under President Obama... Choose To Unite.  This video is more brilliant in the context of where we are at right now in the transition, and the words will be used as the mantra moving forward..."

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

November 5 - Hallelujah! Our New President!

What an ocean of feelings must be washing over the country today.  When it registered that Obama had won, I had the feeling of floating down, down, down to a very safe and still place on the ocean's floor where the currents are calm – no matter how waves are churning on the surface.  I felt the depths of justness and mercy in this outcome, and the magnitude of what it means at so many levels – for individuals no matter what their race, for our country, and for the world also holding its breath for Barack's success.  

For me, I am overcome with tears of joy, relief, gratitude, awe and pride.  I am so proud of our country rising to meet this opportunity to "create a new day" in "the highest way" (to quote the Choose To Unite song).  I am proud that over 100 of our country's major newspapers wrote with wisdom about why they chose to endorse Obama.  I am proud of how people showed up to vote, determined that this time their voice would be heard, their vote counted.  I am proud of how vigilantly so many people worked behind the scenes for this outcome.  

How could phrases often repeated in church like "Thanks be to God," "The Lord is just and good" not run through one's head in a moment like this?  We are blessed.  May the Grace of God continue to be with us as we move forward with a grounded, caring visionary leader.  We are in this together, and together we will see this through.

"Hey, People of the USA!"  Thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you.  

Barack & Michelle Obama - Thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you.

43,000 Views of Choose To Unite on YouTube.  Sharing a comment from Eric George, arranger and performer of the Choose To Unite song: "This is not just an election song.  If Barack wins, this song will be completely relevant throughout his time in office" (observed in June, 2008, as we were working on the song).  And another similar comment on our website:  "This is not just a campaign song, but one of universal support for the birth of our new world."

I felt this so clearly last night, looking at the crowds in Chicago.  It felt like looking at our video!  The song and video have "held the vision" through the election, and I know will continue to do so through Barack's Presidency.  We are "empowering a leader who represents our range" and we will continue to bring our strengths and voices forth.  "Diversity... Community... Unity... Love and Equality.  We are the Change."

Monday, October 27, 2008

October 27 - Letter Published in the New Mexican

I submitted the below 10/15 post to Santa Fe's New Mexican right before leaving on a trip, and on the road have learned it was published. It was unedited, except for the title; theirs is a great (more direct) one:

"Let's Get It Right - Vote for Obama"

I deeply appreciate this response posted at the New Mexican online, by artist Michael Allstead:
"Thank you Susan for saying what is truly in the hearts of a lot of us out here. I read your column in the New Mexican and was warmed by the positivity of hope for our country with the help of Barack.  We the people must pitch in to make things work as they should. A great leader will need the support and trust in him to change our direction to the world we all truly want to live in." 

Sharing YouTube comment on the Choose To Unite video (33,000 views to date): 

"What a wonderful piece.  What a great unifying video.  Let's go for it – Obama represents us all. Let's pray for God's protection, wisdom and love."

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

October 15 - Character as a Foundation of Civilization

Immediately following our September 25th Los Alamos Times interview, I was inspired to write about the lyrics of the Choose To Unite song, as posted on the October 7 blogs, as well as a piece about Barack and Character.  Because it feels in tandem with Frank Schaeffer's article (see October 14 Blog), this feels like a perfect moment to post it.

 "In a time where the world is topsy turvy, certain people remind us that a person of character is still the foundation of civilization." I heard this sentence in a recent talk, and asked the speaker for permission to use it in the context of this writing.

It is finally time to plead.  "Hey, People of the USA" – Wake Up!  A large percentage of We, the American People have been in a slumber, or trance – unaware of or ignoring the degree of the nation's spiraling decline, its tenuous position in the world, the fragility of our very existence vis-a-vis nuclear threat and environmental destruction.  It is not computing that crisis contains opportunity, and opportunity has been placed in full, living technicolor view in the form of Barack Obama.

People like Obama are extremely rare and do not come around often.  But this exceptional model of a human being is here now, and this country would be literally insane not to usher him in as the leader he was brought here to be with the strengths and opportunity he offers us. Who else brings such a brilliant mind, clear communication, natural presence, hope, vision, stamina, and the ability to inspire, organize and galvanize millions of people?  Who else has such honesty, genuine human warmth and solid values as a husband, parent, citizen?  Who else has such clear seeing and personal integrity?  And who else with all these assets would be willing to take on, and capable of leading through, the utter chaos and disastrous state of affairs that we find ourselves in?  Who else has broad strategic vision regarding the overall complexity of challenges that we face?

We are certainly not the first example of humanity "going to sleep" on a gift of grace placed in our midst, right in front of our eyes.  One obvious parallel is Jesus.  Even though the ever present "crowds" witnessed and were awed by the miracles God performed through Jesus, in the end, they could not believe who he could potentially be and rejected him.  In the end, fear and an inability/unwillingness to see and trust the truth prevailed.

Barack Obama is a messenger (emphasis on the role of messenger vs. messiah).  My prayer for our country is that this time around, we do not do what we have done over and over, which is to "shoot the messenger."  Lessons keep coming back around until we can get them right, and this is truly a moment to get this one right, rather than repeating the same several thousand year old error.  Our survival depends on it.

"Let us trust God, and our better judgement to set us right hereafter.  United we stand, divided we fall" (Patrick Henry, 1799).  "United" means everyone, regardless of differences on the surface such as skin color, age, gender, economic status, religious beliefs.  Beneath these outer categorizations, humans have in common hearts, the ability to discern truth, and great capacity to love, heal and be transformed.  We have arrived, finally, at the threshold of uniting in our humanity, embracing the diversity of forms that God has created, as guardians of life and this precious planet called Earth.  It cannot be overstated how everything is at stake now.

In our choice of our next President, let us choose what we and the world need and deserve.  Let us choose a person who embodies and inspires greatness.  Let us choose a person who has the depth of character and vision that can offer a foundation for future civilization.  Let us be guided by truth and light.  May we be blessed with right action and get it right, this time around.

"He has showed you, O man, what is good.  And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God" (Micah 6:8).  Barack Obama does. So must we.

October 14 - "Obama Will Be One of the Greatest (and Most Loved) American Presidents

When I read this article in the Huffington Post, by author Frank Schaeffer, I cried.   All the way along, I have so deeply felt the truth about everything he writes.  So has Grant Taylor, our videographer/editor, the one who forwarded the article to me.  What Mr. Schaeffer writes is why we both felt so committed to the Choose To Unite project.   "Obama is our last best chance.  He's worth laying it all out on the line for."  

Particularly compelling to me was a summary paragraph toward the end of the article:  "Only a brilliant man, with the spirit of  a preacher and the humble heart of a kindly family doctor [the metaphor I used in our interview - read the October 9 blog!] can lead us now...  We're about to enter one of the most frightening periods of American history.  Our country has rarely faced more uncertainty.  This is the time for greatness.  We have a great leader. We must be a great people backing him, fighting for him, sacrificing for a cause greater than ourselves."

October 9 - Los Alamos Times Interview posted on Choose To Unite website

On September 25, a week after Obama's Espanola, NM rally, three of us involved in creating the Choose To Unite song and music video were interviewed by The Los Alamos Times – New Mexico Coalition for Community Access Television: myself (director/producer), Grant Taylor (videographer/editor) and Madi Sato (female vocalist on the song that Eric George arranged and performed).  Eric was out of town and to our regret not able to join us.

As I was preparing for the interview, something that came to me to emphasize was the crisis that our country finds itself in, and a comparison to an emergency we are all familiar with – someone fainting in a crowd.  A call goes out, "Is there a doctor in the house?"  And there is relief when a doctor steps forward to take charge of the emergency.  In that moment, the person's skin color, age, gender, country of origin or religious beliefs are not an issue.  What matters is that the person has the immediately needed medical skills - that they are a doctor.  In our current crisis, the call is, "Is there a leader in the house?" What a relief that someone (by the name of Barack Obama) has stepped forward with the skills that are immediately, specifically tailored to what is needed – leadership. Enlightened leadership, at that.

We received a copy of the interview and posted it last week on the Choose To Unite website.  Anyone who enjoyed the song and music video will enjoy the same positive, uplifting energy in the interview, which can be viewed at: 

Sharing an email comment:  "This video is a treasure! Thank you for following your heart and creative inspiration to bring it into being.  It appears in perfect timing.  It has a clear strong message that touches the places of spirit between and among us in love and mutual caring."

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

October 7 - Lyrics: We're At a Crucial Moment

Six months after the lyrics for the Choose To Unite song came through, with the song and music video produced and posted on YouTube, I pause to reflect on some of the meanings in the lyrics as originally written:
Let us follow the cue of the honeybee
And work together in community
We're at a crucial moment – it's no mystery –
If humans don't unite, we are history.

The phenomenon of the disappearing honeybees represents a crisis, one that most people are probably not quite aware of the actual magnitude.  Albert Einstein is reported to have said, "If honeybees become extinct, human society will follow in four years."

In a parallel way, it is becoming increasingly visible that our country, which has been in a downward spiral for years, is in deep crisis.  We are now at a threshold, a potential turning point. Things will go one of two ways: we continue to go down, or we change the trajectory. This is why the message of change is so important and why this particular election, at this moment in history, is so important: it determines the course of our nation's future and our place in the world.

October 7 - Lyrics: Let's Move From Darkness Into the Light

Let's move from darkness into the light
Let's end the fight and choose to unite

In the musical arrangement of the song, we deleted these lines, instead weaving their essence through the whole song through flourishes of "See the Light!" and "Choose to Unite."  

Moving from darkness into light is about understanding, shedding light on truth.  This is a time where we need to see beneath the surface of things and understand the bigger picture of what is at stake – quite literally, our very own future and that of our children.  "Ending the fight" means ending war and violence, ending warring sides (including political parties), ending the division in our own minds that would make us right and others wrong. Choose to unite is an active verb – making a choice to work together toward everyone's well being (creating a win-win game), recognizing that we are in this boat called life together.

Regarding seeing beneath the surface, it seems (ironically) that darkness motivates our light (white) candidate, and light emanates from our dark (black) candidate.  Discerning truth beneath surface appearances is critical at this juncture.

October 7 - Lyrics: We are the Change We've Been Waiting For

We have a chance to create a new day
The path of Oneness is the highest way
We are the change we've been waiting for
Come out brothers and sisters, open the door

The idea of change may understandably not be appealing to many people, given that it inherently contains seeds of uncertainty and fear of the unknown.  And, we have a reality facing us, that change is happening, like it or not. While we don't have control over the changing nature of reality, we do have influence over whether we resist change (increasing short and long range suffering) or whether we open ourselves to facilitate the change that is in motion.

The intention of the song was to plant positive seeds of hope and possibility.  Change comes from individual choice and decision to make a difference, which is why WE are the change.  So join the cause and open the door!  Let's cross the threshold that offers itself to us, now!

October 7 - Lyrics: Time to Take a Stand for Dignity Restored

Deeper needs of the people have been long ignored
Time to take a stand for dignity restored
It's our sacred honor to ourselves and our hearts
To do what we know is right and our parts

Clearly, even basic needs are not being adequately met – needs as basic as safety, good education for our children (who are the country's future), healthcare, housing – not to mention higher ones such as respect and dignity, being listened to and cared about.  With masses of people stripped of dignity and basic meeting of needs, violence inevitably reigns.  We must take a stand on the side of what we know in our hearts to be right, good and true in how we treat our fellow humanity.

We are members of "one body."  Like the physical body, there is no member which is extraneous – every person has a unique role to play that serves the healthy functioning of the whole. Everyone is needed, every voice counts, and in this election, every vote counts.  For anyone on the planet at this time, full presence is required.

I think purpose is one of the reasons Barack Obama is touching so many people at such a deep level. He came here with a purpose and he is fully living it – this is such an inspiring thing to witness because we know at some level we too have purpose.  Watching Obama in action not only reflects this to us, but inspires us to bring out the highest that is within us.

October 7 - Lyrics: We're Here to Make a Difference and Make it Today

War and violence our souls destroy
They rob our peace and extinguish our joy
Let us honor our gifts and diversity
And our children's future liberty

I feel that at the core of all our most pressing issues is the tragedy that life itself is not valued. Life in all its forms, including human, is often treated as "disposable."  When we hold life as our highest priority, we will be promoting harmony and peace.  Expressing our unique gifts – who we are – makes us inspired and productive.  Living from our purpose and true selves creates upliftment, joy and freedom for ourselves and others.

We the people of the USA
We're here to make a difference and make it today
Be a model of security
Not from fear, but love and equality

Another intention of the song was to inspire to action – that come election day, no matter what was going on, each person would be committed to making a difference by casting their vote.  An unprecedented amount of Americans have felt called to make a difference contributing to this campaign in diverse ways. This is our moment to make a difference, and it is up to each one of us to do everything we an to contribute to the change we want to see happen.

I believe in the idea that humans are inherently wired for altruism, compassion, love and connection.  We have all witnessed miracles when someone takes an extraordinary action from a place of love and care for another human being.  True security comes from love and unity, qualities that strengthen.  Fear and separation weaken.  What might the world look like if we (individuals and countries alike) functioned from one of the Bible's highest directives to "love our neighbors as ourselves?"

October 7 - Lyrics: Remembering We Are One United Family

Let us feel our brotherhood from sea to sea
Remembering we are one united family
The light will shine in us you'll see
Giving us hope and opportunity

Notice how the following statement feels when you hear it: "We're in a crisis.  Fend for yourself, you are on your own." And then how does this statement feel?  "We're in a crisis. Working together, we can find a solution.  You are not alone – we are in this together." Fear and separation weaken and erode.  Love and unity connect and strengthen.

My prayer for our country is that we can remember that we are part of the same human family, and as Americans, a blessed one in many ways. I pray that we can be a model to ourselves and the world and transcend boundaries – be they cultural, racial, religious, gender, age, social – which in a crisis, fade into the background in terms of what is most important and most called for.  What matters is bringing forth the intrinsic available resources and working together to contribute to the survival/thriving of the whole.  

The skill that is most called for now is enlightened leadership.  Clear seeing, intuition, knowing what is needed, the ability to delegate to responsible exceptional specialists, and the ability to organize and galvanize the people at large by far make up for any lack of specific experience.

October 7 - Lyrics: We Will Keep Our Faith and Hope in Change

We will keep our Faith and Hope in Change
Empowering a leader who represents our range
From East and West and South and North
We are bringing our voices forth

We absolutely must not give in to fear, cynicism or despair. We must hold the vision of what we want, and take a stand with our voices and actions. We are being asked to bring forth the gifts we have been given to strengthen the whole – including the gifts of our courage, hearts and voices, and the privilege of casting our vote.

I believe there is one candidate who embodies the values in the Choose To Unite song, who truly cares about people and higher possibilities for our nation.  A candidate who has the skills – enlightened leadership – to navigate us through the tremendous complexity of issues contained in the crises and opportunities that are upon us.

I believe that person is, as the song sings, Barack, Barack Obama...

Sunday, October 5, 2008

October 5 - "This Is My Song"

This morning in church we sang a hymn (written in 1934) with themes of oneness, unity and the commonalities that unite us as humans:

"This is my song, O God of all the nations,
a song of peace for lands afar and mine.
This is my home, the country where my heart is;
here are my hopes, my dreams, my holy shrine;
But other hearts in other lands are beating
with hopes and dreams as true and high as mine.

My country's skies are bluer than the ocean,
and sunlight beams on clover leaf and pine;
But other lands have sunlight, too, and clover,
and skies are everywhere as blue as mine.
O hear my song, O God of all the nations, 
a song of peace for their land and mine."

The path of Oneness:  I am passionate in this lifetime to express this universal message through my creative work in any of its forms, including the recent "Choose To Unite" song for Barack Obama.

Would I ever be humbly honored – as so many people have suggested to me – if the campaign heard and used "Choose To Unite" as their song also – received and produced (as a gift and resource) specifically for Barack's values and core messaging, made in the gestalt of the grass roots effort that forms the basis of the campaign!  

Grant Taylor, our videographer/collaborator on the "Choose To Unite" music video, also expresses the message of Oneness every time he says, "I feel the whole world should have a vote in this election, because its results impact not only the U.S. but the world."  

Sharing comments from YouTube:  

"Your vision brought to bear an extraordinary video which embodies, capitivates and conveys Senator Obama's vision for this country."

"What a wonderful expression of innovation and creativity, two things for which Barack stands."

"Totally enthralled by the way it incorporates all the best of our President Obama!  GOBAMA, YES, WE CAN!"

October 5 - Grant Taylor in the New Mexican

Grant Taylor, videographer/collaborator on the "Choose To Unite" music video, wrote this letter to the editor and was published in the Santa Fe New Mexican in the Opinion section this morning:

"We are in a critical moment of 'choice' for America's destiny as a country.  As individuals, in the intensity of a crisis point, we may feel that the next step we take will lead toward either life or death.  Our country is going through the same thing.  We need to surrender all of our past beliefs, prejudices and the habitual thinking that has brought us to this crisis – all that has produced the illness, the pain, and the lack of hope.

Individuals in crisis need to surrender themselves, allowing Nature to exert itself.  We need to let in what is right, just and good, allowing wisdom to work through our bodies and spirits.  I pray that the people of our country will surrender to God and His will and let Him cast our votes for the one who will bring us less violence, peace and a more loving country."

Monday, September 29, 2008

September 29 - Surviving as a Nation & Choose To Unite at 22,000 Views

"If Obama loses, our children will grow up thinking of equal opportunity as a myth. His defeat would say that when handed a perfect opportunity to put the worst part of our history behind us, we chose not to.  In this event, the world's judgement will be severe and inescapable: the United States had its day, but in the end could not put its own self-interest ahead of its crazy irrationality over race."

"You may or may not agree with Obama's policy prescriptions, but they are, by and large, serious attempts to deal with the biggest issues we face: a failing health care system, oil dependency, income stagnation and climate change.  To the rest of the world, a rejection of the promise he represents wouldn't just be an odd choice by the United States.  It would be taken for what it would be: sign and symptom of a nation's historical decline."

– Excerpts from "What Will the Neighbors Think?" by Jacob Weisberg, Newsweek, September 1, 2008.  Read full article:

Sharing YouTube Comments: 
"Outstanding song and video.  Hey people of the USA, let's Rock that Vote."

"Fabulous, inspiring and effective. If you are thinking of not voting, think again – what if your vote could make the difference?"

"We've never seen a person (black or white) like Obama."

"Let's all protect this great man who is our last and best hope if we are to survive as a nation."

Monday, September 22, 2008

September 22 - Barack Obama in Espanola & Choose To Unite at 18,000 Views on YouTube

Barack Obama came to Espanola, New Mexico for a rally last Thursday the 18th, on just a few days notice.  I immediately signed up to volunteer; what a great opportunity and experience it turned out to be!  I wholeheartedly recommend anyone who is an Obama supporter to get to a rally if one comes anywhere near you.  

There is something amazing about seeing a figure so well known on the screen and in print step in front of you in real life.  It makes the experience of them all that much more real.  I've been saying all the way along "Barack is so real," and I say it again.  He really is what he presents himself to be. And my impression of his leadership/organization skills was beyond confirmed by observing (as a volunteer from the inside) how impressively the rally was run.  Seamless.

What surprised me the most was the minute Obama stepped onto the walkway to get to the stage, my arms flew up and I exclaimed "Barack!"  It was an instinctual, primal reaction of love and joy.  I shared this unexpected response with a friend who reflected, "that's what Barack is here for – to open hearts." This must be at least part of why Obama has become such a beloved figure, not just in our country, but all over the world.  (And why, perhaps, he also seems to be so threatening to others.  Perfect love casts out fear, as stated in the Bible.)

An image that will never leave me was looking up at Obama while he was speaking, in his usual pristine white shirt, framed by the New Mexico powder blue sky  – the identical image that is in so many of the campaign logos!  But this was a real sky, the kind we have almost every day in New Mexico.  How perfect to see Barack embraced by it.  One of his first comments was about the glorious drive up from Albuquerque, and how blessed we are by the beauty of our landscape – something to be grateful for every day.   I feel this is true for so much of our country filled coast to coast with spectacular landscapes.  "America the Beautiful" sings of this.  America, America, God shed his grace on thee.  I hope that we can, in turn, live up to the seeds of potential that have been planted over the centuries in this experiment called America. 

One of my favorite moments in the rally was in the introductory speeches when a Catholic Priest offered a prayer.  Here was a crowd of almost 10,000 people that had waited for hours in the blazing sun, ready to rally for Senator Obama.  People had to totally restrain themselves to not start cheering at several points in the prayer.  At one point, however, restraint fell apart, and the whole crowd cheered – quickly regaining restraint because, it was after all, a prayer.  I pray that the prayer offered that day is answered – that wisdom and truth guide our choice in our next leader.

I loved Governor Richardson's talk, especially his point that "we do not just need Barack Obama to win the election, we need him to win by a landslide."  That too has been my vision and prayer.

Barack Obama's entire 32 minute speech is well worth watching (filled with his usual warmth, humanity, humility, humor, seriousness, and outlining of the most current pressing concerns of the audience) and can be viewed on YouTube:   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WldjwTCoxRo&feature=related.

Sharing a Comment sent in from MI through the ChooseToUnite website:  "Love your song and wondered if there's a place online where I can download the Choose To Unite Obama song.  It is so uplifting and powerful!  I'd love to have it alongside will.i.am's anthem and Dave Stewart's American Prayer.  

All three would be great to play at any Obama event or party."

Note about that comment:  First, I am beyond honored that Choose to Unite is being associated with Yes We Can and American Prayer!  Secondly, so many people at the New Mexico rally were saying to me, "they should be playing our song!"  I have not yet succeeded in connecting with the national campaign around the song; that too remains a prayer.  Choose To Unite is a huge gift, and a great resource, from an impassioned grass roots community of people in our swing state of New Mexico.  And third, thanks to this comment, I added on both YouTube and the www.ChooseToUnite.com website direct links to iTunes to download the song.

Viva Obama! and Obamanos! (a catchy play on the Spanish word, vamanos Obama, which means let's go Obama)!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

September 17 - Arianna Huffington in Santa Fe & Choose To Unite at 16,000 YouTube Views

Thank God for these "events" that descend on our town to keep the inspiration and hope up when things in the world are spinning out of control.  I was fortunate to hear Arianna Huffington (of the Huffington Post and blogosphere) speak at two events – at the Santa Fe Community College, where Barack spoke at his rally in February, and at the Lensic Theater.  I laugh at myself to admit I have never heard Arianna – in reading her witty, magnificently articulated words, I never imagined she had an accent!  In person, I fell in love with her being and her accent immediately!  I'd love to share a summary of her message:

This election finds our country on the brink of two possibilities – progressing (moving forward) or regressing (going backwards).  The good news in the middle of all the bad news is that we have a great candidate in Obama who inspires and offers transformational leadership. For all of us who know who the right choice is, it is not enough just to know.  It is imperative that we each personally do everything we can to ensure that he gets elected.  (Precisely the reason I dedicated 5 months to making the Choose To Unite song and video!)  

Arianna felt our recruiting focus should be not on "Undecideds" ("if someone is undecided, they have not been paying any attention to what is going on") but on the "Unexpecteds."  84,000,000 (yes, 84 million) Americans who were registered and eligible to vote in the 2004 election did not.  "Even 10% of that contingent would change the dynamics of this election." This particular election – at this time – is not the right time to not vote or go with an independent party.  We cannot afford to take the risk that the election gets handed over to McCain.

Most importantly, she emphasized, we must not, cannot succumb to fear, which science has shown puts us in our reptilian brains (she was using the word "lizard brain" which had the audience laughing).  In fear, we lose the capacity to stay connected to our hearts and clear seeing/knowing of the truth, a capacity we all have and if we stay connected to that, choices are obvious. Fear makes us fall into the easiest, lowest common denominator, which is the low road.  The low road never gets us where we want to go; it is the higher, harder one, that can. Between now and the election, elevating fear is the strategy of those that would have this country regress, and we can be sure they will elevate it to the level that the number one focus goes on national security.  

Sharing the last words of Choose To Unite: As Eric George sings his final round of "Hey People of the USA," "Open the Door," and "Barack, Barack Obama," Madi Sato sings over the round "Diversity, Community, Unity, Love and Equality... We are the Change..."  

The whole point of the song's lyrics and rhythms is to bring positive, uplifting, inspiring energy into peoples' minds and hearts, at a cellular level... to fortify us to stay hopeful and focused on our vision.  Share it with everyone you know! (We now have direct links on the site and YouTube to get to the song in iTunes.)

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

August 31 - 10,000 YouTube Views

A consistent piece of feedback on the video has been how authentic and real the people in it are – which is absolutely true! No one was "acting" – people were all being who they really are.

A great example is Edwin Lemus, who we found and invited at the last minute to video the "four directions" ritual for the final line of the song ("East, West, South and North, we are bringing our voices forth"). As we then got to know Edwin, we learned that he had just spent several months traveling around the country, doing honoring ceremonies in open fields for our future and Barack Obama. While doing these, he "saw" that with Obama's leadership, unprecedented prosperity will be experienced by all, in particular, prosperity to our souls.

One of my greatest hopes for the video is that it inspires people to be real, to focus on what really matters, and to see what is true on who can offer us real leadership that supports the greater whole.

Barack Obama is one of the most "real" people I've seen in the arena of politics (or anywhere, for that matter!). We have a deep conditioning to unwind in our country around mistrusting what is real and buying into what is not real. "We have a chance to create a new day..." Let's seize it!

Sharing an e-mail Comment written from Hawaii by a women of mixed heritage: "...Thanks for seeing beyond the human eye..."

Thursday, August 28, 2008

August 28 - Our Next President

I had called Grant Taylor on the 4th of July and asked if we could shoot some firework sequences that evening, to use as the final visual in our music video.  I wanted the feeling of "Celebrate! Barack Obama, our next president!"  How glorious tonight, at the end of Barack Obama's nomination acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention in the Mile High Stadium, to have fireworks soaring all around the historic gathering.  Our Next President! My conviction is higher than ever that Barack Obama is the right leader for our time.

The road is not going to be easy.  All the more reason for each one of us to take a stand and do whatever we can – in our own ways – to help usher in the change that this time is asking of us.  The question never was about "is Barack ready?"  The real question has everything to do with "are we ready?  We are the change we've been waiting for!"  I have tremendous faith in the potential of our God-given humanity, and faith that we are being offered a leader who can bring forward our potential. Let's give Barack, and ourselves, what we all deserve:  the opportunity to move forward into all that we can be with strength, clarity, integrity, brilliance and – most of all – heart.   

Sharing a personal note from friends Gary Smith and Nancy Meze:
"Susan's work has a way of reaching into the heart and stirring it up. Her new music video "Choose to Unite " motivates and inspires the best in us just as her photographic work has inspired us through the years. I find myself singing the song and watching the film to tap into the joy I look for in my life. The total visual and especially peoples' faces have made a very positive imprint in mind and heart. Isn't it wonderful to see the joy in these friends expressing "unite politics" rather than the "politics as usual" look of most? Thank you, Susan, for your vision, hard work and that of "the cast of thousands" there in Santa Fe!!

Monday, August 25, 2008

August 25 - Opening Evening DNC - "Real People"

All I could feel watching the opening speeches tonight was gratitude and appreciation that the Obamas – and the people they surround themselves with – are such "real" people. (For some indescribable reason, I continue to burst into tears whenever I see either Barack or Michelle on the screen). Truly real, as in authentic, genuine, no pretenses. They are human (thank God!), feeling deep compassion and care for – and commitment to – humanity. How could we want anything other than that leading and serving our country???

Day 6 on YouTube, at 6100 views of Choose to Unite...

Sharing a YouTube Comment: "This video expresses the possibilities for the USA to get back in tune with our country's highest ideals with the leadership of Barack Obama. The lyrics bring the needed tempo of change our country needs. Our country with a new Democratic president will again realize the respect and appreciation of the world and its peoples."

Sunday, August 24, 2008

August 24 - 5000 YouTube Views as of Sunday Morning Before DNC

The big crunch to get the video done – aside of course from the fact that a pivotal election is a mere two months away – was to have it on YouTube before the Democratic National Convention started.  As of this morning, we just crossed the 5000 mark of views on YouTube!  Keep on sharing!!!

Sharing a personal note from friend Diane Kennedy:  "This is an extraordinary and beautiful manifestation of your prayer for our country and specific intention to make both an immediate and lasting difference for all of us.  The video has inspired me in new ways. Congratulations!"

Saturday, August 23, 2008

August 23 - Lightning & Horses

Why the inclusion of the images of lightning and horses in the video?  

One of my goals was to have the video not just portray but to embody Barack Obama's energy and the values in the campaign.  One of the first ideas for images that came to me was "lightning." When I heard Barack speak in Santa Fe (February 1) it was as if I were struck by a bolt of lightning as to who he was and what his purpose is:  "The right leader for our time."  I remembered that a photographer colleague had a lightning image on his business card, and made a mental note to call him.  A few days later, I was chatting with church pastor Eva Gonzalez, who mentioned there is a figure in the Bible (Old Testament/Judges) named Barak; knowing Biblical names have translations, we looked up Barak.  There were several translations, one of which was – you guessed it – lightning!  I called Steve Walenta the next day, shared the project story, and he gave us permission to use his fabulous lightning image that we see in the video.

Horses.  Beauty, grace, power. Nobility and freedom.  Swiftness and precision in movement/action. Strong yet gentle. Deeply caring. Throughout history, horses have consistently transported humans into new realms and broader capacities - ie. giving us new range in being able to travel greater distances than we could on foot; reflecting and teaching us about who we are in invisible (emotional, spiritual) realms. Horses are bridges between worlds, a role related to Barack Obama's at this time in our history.  (An excellent Atlantic.com article speaks of Barack as a "bridge between worlds" - see article on Links and Resources page of www.ChooseToUnite.com.) Sean Sauber contributed the beautiful horse clip in the video - wild mustangs who, in unity, run together with lasared strength, focus, and momentum toward their destination.

Sharing a YouTube comment:  "LOVED this creation!  Cried, laughed, got chillbumps from head to toe, and I was electrified!  Totally enthralled...with the way this incorporates ALL THE BEST of our President Obama!  GOBAMA YES, WE CAN!"

Friday, August 22, 2008

August 22 - 4000 views on YouTube

Thank you everyone for sharing... we are receiving feedback via email that people around the world are dancing to this music!  (My dream is to one day see Barack Obama dancing to his own song!)  
We crossed the mark of 4000 views on day 3 of the video on YouTube.  
Sharing a few YouTube comments:
"This is so awesome. I love the spirit of New Mexico that comes out in every second of this video.  Who could not vote for a candidate who inspires people in this way?  Great job! Great fun!"
"Yes We Can, open the door!  Let's see the light!  Love those soon-to-be-Moms rockin out! Yes We Can be the Change!"
"All I can say is, that if Obama has influenced these people to dedicate so much time and energy into making this music video, then there must be something to the guy.  Go Obama!"

More comments highlighted on http://barackobama.com/page/community/blog/susanslotter 

Thursday, August 21, 2008

August 21 - 2800 Views on YouTube

Two days on YouTube and the network of viewers has grown to 2800 - thanks everyone for spreading positive energy and inspiration! And we value your Comments on YouTube...
Sharing a YouTube Comment: "Thank you for the inspiration for Change - and the hard, attentive work it needs. And thanks for finding all of those beautiful New Mexicans, dancing and singing, carried along by your own inspiration. Go Obama! Go American voters!!"

August 19, 2008 - New Barack Obama Music Video Posts on YouTube

Finally, after five months of dedicated effort from a community of Santa Fe souls on fire for Barack Obama, the Choose to Unite music video posts on YouTube!  "Hey People of the USA... Choose to Unite... See the Light!"