I promised you an update on my singing adventures. This past holiday season was busy for me. I had the month off from singing in the Buddhist Temples, and I spent most of the time singing Christmas Carols. On New Years Eve, I was at a British couple's house in Hollywood at 3:00, ready to ring in the British New Year. At 4:00, when the chimes on the Big Ben tower in England rang, I played "Auld Lang Syne" to sing in the new year with everyone. Later on, at another party, I did the same at midnight. Many people thanked me, saying that it was nice to sing right at the stroke of a new decade.
So the title of this post...
Over the course of the past few weeks, I have not sung many peace songs. I can really feel the negative effects, too. Yesterday's shooting of the Congresswoman (has anyone called this an assasination yet?), put me in a very frustrated, sad, helpless mood. I was crying, and it was hard to stop. The other day, I read an article on the Huffington Post about the unemployment numbers. They are so high. So unbelievably high. There is so much sadness in my country, and every time I read the news I feel so much of it.
My husband told me I need to stop reading the news for at least one week. I think he's right. I mourned for a bit over the idea of "closing my eyes" to the world. It feels irresponsible. But as my partner told me, it is irresponsible and unhealthy to read so many unpleasant, awful things.
When I asked him what he suggested I do instead, he told me what I already know, but needed reminding: You take that passion and you put it toward your skill.
So, today is my first day back at the temples, and my set list includes:
"Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream" which is an anti-war song from 1950.
"Imagine" which needs no introduction.
"We Shall Overcome" the famous Civil Rights anthem.
I always worry about offending people, so I usually stick with songs about inner peace, but I am just so sad by the recent events, I just feel like I have to sing these songs that really spell it out: our culture is in trouble. I'm in that place where you feel so bothered by something, that the concern of offending people has temporarily left my brain and it's been replaced with the question, "Who on Earth is offended by an Anti-War song?" Who?
My father is a Vietnam Vet. My grandfather was a WWII vet. My brother in law is currently serving in Iraq. I grew up in a military town, but I hate war, and I hate violence. And I hate small-minded thinking. I am very sad today, and I know many of you are too.
When I think about driving to Orange County later, and seeing those Buddhist kids, my heart gets a little lighter. These children are learning about peace every single day. They learn mindfulness, and self-awareness. They love PEACE SONGS. There is no chance of offending anyone with an anti-war song today, but I am really hoping that they feel what I am feeling when I sing
"Last night I had the strangest dream, I've ever had before. I dreamed the world had all agreed to put an end to war."
I want them to feel, and remember, how much I mean it, the way my African-American 5th grade teacher R E A L L Y felt it when she taught us about Jim Crowe Segregation in our Social Studies lessons. If I hadn't felt such a strong connection to her, I'd probably still be just another priveleged white girl from the South. This current generation of kids has never known of a time in America when adults weren't acting like spoiled children on live television (I'm referring to politicians AND reality TV).
I hope they feel how much I mean it. I am sad, and tired of seeing so much stupidity. All I can do is sing, though. My husband is right. I hope it makes some difference, and if it doesn't, at least I will feel a little better...........right?
Peace and Music,