Image by Gerd Altmann
As much as I love silence, I also love music. Music uplifts me and speaks to me. Which is probably why the lyrics of a song are so important for me.
Popular oldies (still my favorite) that have negative lyrics do not appeal to me. I will hit skip when a song affirms negativity. One such song comes to mind, a classic Peter Paul and Mary song, about a lemon tree... which suggests not to trust love. As much as I love the tune and rhythm of the song, I hit skip on that one since I don't want to affirm the negative belief about love that is expressed in that song. I don't want that programmed into me.
So many times I will find myself humming a tune and stop to ask myself "what's that I'm singing?" and realize that my subconscious is sending me a message. And just now (October 21 2019) as I finished watching a youtube video of a speech given in Iowa by Marianne Williamson, I found myself singing a Bob Marley/Peter Tosh song: Get Up Stand Up (Stand Up For Your Right). (videos featured at the end of this article)
"Most people think
Great God will come from the skies
Take away everything
And make everybody feel high
But if you know what life is worth
You will look for yours on earth
And now you see the light
You stand up for your right."
earlier in the song we find:
"Preacher man, don't tell me
Heaven is under the earth
I know you don't know
What life is really worth
It's not all that glitters is gold
Half the story has never been told
So now you see the light, eh!
Stand up for your right. Come on!"
And this principle, "get up stand up stand up for your rights", applies to every aspect of our lives, perhaps more so for women, as we've historically had a tendency (ingrained into us in childhood) to just shut up, sit down, and be quiet. I call it being a Barbie Doll - pretty, powerless, and plastic.
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Whether male or female, giving up our power to other people in our lives is negating the uniqueness of our being. Whether the "others" are our parents, our friends, our mate, our boss, our political "machine", they do not own the right to your being, your opinions, your Self.
We Are All Part of the Puzzle
Each one of us is a unique piece in the puzzle of life, and just as in any puzzle, if you're missing a piece, things won't work out the way they're supposed to. If we step back because we think we aren't good enough, or what we have to say isn't smart enough, or our beliefs aren't important enough, then we're preventing the puzzle from reaching completion.
Each one of us has a role to play in life... and that includes at home, at work, in public, and in setting the tone for our future, both our personal one and our planetary one. Not one of us is powerless, mostly because as we join with the other puzzle pieces, we start to see the possibility of the completed puzzle.
I don't know if you've every worked on a jigsaw puzzle, but it's something I learned to do as a child. And I recall how we would start with finding all the edge and corner pieces. First we'd assemble the frame, so to speak, or the foundation. And yes, those pieces were the ones that got things going. But just as important as the pieces on the edge, the pieces in the middle, while their importance shows up later, are essential. Each and every one of those puzzle pieces was essential to the completion of the puzzle.
I recall one time getting so frustrated because I had completed the whole puzzle... well, almost! The problem is that there was one hole and the missing piece was not to be found. Had I dropped it and the dog ate it? I looked and looked and couldn't find it. And somehow a day or two later, there it was on the carpet beneath the table. How it got there, where I had previously looked, I don't know. Maybe someone was playing a joke on me and had been hiding it, and now had put it back where I could find it? Regardless of how it got there, or how "late" it was in showing up, it still was needed and appreciated when it showed up.
It's Never Too Late To Show Up
And so it is with us. However late in the process we've decided to take care of our health, or our mental well-being, or our peace of mind... It doesn't matter if it took us a long time to get here, or a short time. All that matters is now! And now, we've decided that our health is paramount, our happiness is paramount, and so is the health and happiness of those around us, whether they are two feet away from us or 2000 miles. To paraphrase a popular phrase (and not diminishing the original use of the phrase), ...lives matter. Your life matters, my life matters, ALL lives matter.
And when I speak of "get up, stand up, stand up for your rights", I am speaking of the rights of all to inner peace, health, well-being, claiming happiness (not just pursuing it). Each of us is a puzzle piece... whether that is by helping out in a soup kitchen and then following your heart from there; whether it is volunteering at your local school, and following your heart from there; whether it is being more loving at home, at work, in public, and following your heart from there.
The good news is we all have a heart. And yes, some of us may have had it broken or hurt many times, and some of us may have built a wall around it to protect ourselves. But it's time to realize that while the intention of the wall is to keep "bad things" out, it also keeps "good things" out.
Living behind a wall blocks you from love and joy and from participating in the creation a better world. It's time to "get up, stand up" from behind our wall, whether that wall is apathy, addiction of any kind, entertaining distractions, low self-esteem, etc. Whatever we've used as a barrier between ourselves and "the world out there", it's stopped up from being truly alive and being who we are meant to be... whoever that is, which only each individual knows. But, it's probably more than we are being now.
If we are only partially out of the darkness, we're still in the darkness. If we're hanging out in the wings on stage, we're still not on stage. If you are the puzzle piece that's under the table, your absence is still felt by the whole puzzle. So, get up, stand up... and do your thing! Sing your song! Be your radiant self and let your light shine.
To close with additional lyrics from the song: "So now we see the light (What you gonna do?) We gonna stand up for our right!" And your ultimate right is to be true to yourself, to your innate possibilities, to your inner truth.
Get Up Stand Up | Playing For Change | Song Around The World (lyrics)
Videos that may inspire you...
Marianne Williamson in Warner, NH: "We need to wake up..."
"...and to remember that our democracy, and our declaration of independence, and our constitution don't just give us rights, they also give us responsibilities. And our responsibility is to take those rights and to make sure that they're protected and blessed during our time on this earth; that we take the priciples of our democracy and shore them up in our time and make sure that they're expanded to the best of our ability so that they're not just talk in anybody's life; and to be willing to push back against any assault upon them from any forces, and also to then to the best of our abilities, bequeath them to our children as good as the way we found them. That's our job, that's our task."
Presidential Candidate Marianne Williamson Live in Dubuque, Iowa
"we're not going to be quiet..."
Marianne Live from Las Vegas:
"We are living at a time where we need a deep meaningful and fundamental course correction. And I believe that ...it's time for the people to rise up and for the people to step in."
Random Acts of Kindness
by Dawna Markova.
Named a USA Today Best Bet for Educators, this is a book that encourages grace through the smallest gestures. The inspiration for the kindness movement, Random Acts of Kindness is an antidote for a weary world. Its true stories, thoughtful quotations, and suggestions for generosity inspire readers to live more compassionately in this beautiful new edition.
Info/Order this book. Also available as an audiobook.
About The Author
Marie T. Russell is the founder of InnerSelf Magazine (founded 1985). She also produced and hosted a weekly South Florida radio broadcast, Inner Power, from 1992-1995 which focused on themes such as self-esteem, personal growth, and well-being. Her articles focus on transformation and reconnecting with our own inner source of joy and creativity.
Creative Commons 3.0: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License. Attribute the author: Marie T. Russell, InnerSelf.com. Link back to the article: This article originally appeared on InnerSelf.com