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."