Tuesday, January 20, 2009

making the untenable transform into one spoken word.

Everybody can be great... because anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.
Martin Luther King Jr.
The other day, I had to grab a cab from downtown to get home. Unlike my memorable trip to find Pip's house, I knew the way this time! However, when the cab driver asked me where I would like to go, I joked and replied..."Montreal. I'd really like to go to Montreal." He laughed and seemed game actually, but then I gave him my address and off we went, yapping away like we'd known each other from another planet or something. Gotta love the friendliness of cabbies!
Our conversation ran the gamut of topics, led mostly by my philosophical and very intuitive cabbie. I was fascinated by his "take" on Quebec and our constitution, on bilingualism, psychology, and the very idea that we don't own thoughts we just borrow them in the space where they dwell (try and get your head around THAT one...loveitloveit!).....and in fact asked him if he was writing this stuff down (he's not, but I did encourage him to become a blogger....and gave him the link to mine so he may be reading this!) Anyways, one thing he spoke of really stuck with me and for some reason it flows into my thinking on this day of hope.....Obama's inauguration.

In the middle of a story he was sharing with me, he asked me if I knew the original meaning behind the word "universe." I had never thought too much about it before except that it had such a vast infinite connotation.......something almost so intensely open-ended, its galaxy seemed untenable and beyond my grasp. When I think of the word "universe," it makes me feel so small and inconsequential, that whatever i do in this vast expanse we live in would never really make a dent of a difference. I tried to put pull together what I had always considered the meaning of the word...... but then he broke down the word into three.... uni-ver-se.... this one word was formed by three words.... translated as "single-spoken-word".....or another translation is "turned into one"

Universe means single spoken word.....
or turned into one.

Today, we all watch in anticipation and hope all the while holding our breath as a man who inspires like no other on this planet right at this moment takes the oath of office. Our hopes are pinned on his lapel. Somehow, Barack Obama has generated such a universal feeling of action, of possibility that only change can produce even in the face of such enormous obstacles....he has somehow turned us into one. Obama, with his compassionate words AND his compassionate actions thus far has wiped away the face of apathy and replaced it with inspired energy. He has stretched our imaginations to include the fresh air idealism which feeds a sense of oneness needed to create a major shift in the collective conscience and consciousness of all. When he uses the chant, "Yes we can!" he is calling on all of us to take part.....American, Canadian, French, Australian, British, Kenyan, Brazilian, Mexican...... Have you ever experienced anything like this rush of energy across this universe??

Universe..... single spoken word.....
turned into one.....
How can he succeed against such odds? Only if we help....only if we all take responsibility for the long "to do" list which sits on the desk of the President of the United States of America, only if we recognize our role, our duty to make a difference. Obama has been clear that he can't do it alone. He has been vocal about the long haul ahead of us.....economically, emotionally, spiritually, how it's going to be fraught with false starts and small steps towards a better place. What is threaded throughout his speeches, is a message of a single spoken word. We must listen.....and act.

Yesterday to acknowledge Martin Luther King Jr Day, Obama helped roll paint onto the walls of a homeless shelter for youth, beautifully and symbolically marking a challenge to all who are paying attention. Service in action.

Martin Luther King Jr said...."An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity"...... this is what I'm hearing from Obama.....spoken in his own calm, deliberate, intelligent manner....He is challenging us to live outside of ourselves, to recognize the thousand threads which bind us, to begin anew by doing. This leader of our times had chosen a single spoken word to capture the vastness of the issues of this planet.....


Perhaps this is how we can help make the untenable transform into possiblity....through our acts of service.... We begin to perform small acts in our communities, for our schools, in our neighbourhoods, at the local shelter, with a soup ladel in hand at the community kitchen, reading to a child at the library, donating to the food bank, buying locally, supporting one another, looking out for one another.....its all found in a single spoken word.


Barack Obama knows his destiny and success lies in our hands as well as in his own hands of action....this is the essence of a good leader. In his acceptance speech after winning the democratic nomination, he spoke of promise..."What is that American promise? It's a promise that says each of us has the freedom to make of our own lives what we will, but that we also have an obligation to treat each other with dignity and respect"......He goes on to say....."Our government should work for us, not against us. It should help us, not hurt us. It should ensure opportunity not just for those with the most money and influence but for every American who's willing to work. "

"That's the promise of America -- the idea that we are responsible for ourselves but that we also rise or fall as one nation: the fundamental belief that I am my brother's keeper. I am my sister's keeper."

"We are responsible for ouselves but rise or fall as one......"

Even if we don't live in the United States of America, we are enthralled because this man plans to lead us into working as one. His actions and his appointments indicate this. Turned into one. We are inspired when we hear the single spoken word....Service..... Let him reframe how we look at our universe so that we all feel significantly needed in the embrace of change.

It's possible. Yes we can.
Let the change begin.


OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

BEAUTIFUL, Dana....Just BEAUTIFUL! And the hope I feel that ALL this can happen is palable. That 'The People' everywhere all over the world who are looking to America with hope, will join in, too! There is a great feeling especially in the youth of our country--one saw it today all over the Mall....the enthusiasm...And I believe, the
willingness, as well---in fact I think they are YEARNING to be a part of something they can truly relate to that is positive....Because after eight years of no one speaking for them or to them, here is this young man who speaks to the best in them and to all of us older folks too...I think of The Peace Corp back in Kennedy's days...people flocked to be a part of that--to be of "service"....We have that chance again, and it is truly exciting to comtemplate!

How To Start A Business In South Carolina said...

It has been a long journey for improvements on civil rights and equality, and with Obama being sworn in, the civil rights movement have come full circle since the "I have a dream speech". I hope Obama can concentrate on increasing jobs, advancing education, and the decreasing of our dependence on fossil fuels.

Romany Angel said...

This man certainly has a big job ahead of him and I sincerely hope he can succeed in fulfilling the hopes, needs and expectations of a nation and the world.

That's a lot of pressure to bear on one man so let's hope that everyone does pull together as one and does their part to make the whole world a better place.

Ella said...

I love that opening comment. What a neat blog.

Some of the most interesting people I've met don't have a college degrees. Many people in my family were unable to go to college because of the Depression.

I think Dr. Martin Luther King was so insightful and full of love in his heart and ahead of his time for a country that could not embrace him because of his skin color. I was not brought up that way. I feel it so important to view people not by color, but by what in their hearts.

I think Obama will make his mark in history and I'm so happy to see this moment come in my life time.

I have an old friend that from Alberta.

Have a great day!


Awareness said...

Naomi...we all joined in today! The excitement is most definately felt north of the border. We pulled our kids out of school so they could experience the importance of the ceremonies. I came home at lunch and caught the oaths then listened to Obama's speech on the way back to work....in tears a few times that's for sure.

S.C. Business starter upper... welcome! If his speech is any indication, it looks like he's off to a grand start....He can't do it alone, that's for sure, but my feeling is he has the kahonies and the goods to lead the way.

Gypsy....he most certainly does. When he got out of the limo to walk with his wife along the parade route he looked amazingly cool and calm and full of joy! And he must be feeling the weight of the issues and the expectations upon his shoulders. He needs a solid, solid team around him who are on the same page, who can help him lead the country back to finding their spirit again.

Ella....thanks and welcome. I can honestly say the same....and many of those folks are the ones who dedicate themselves to service in their communities.
I too believe Obama will leave his mark....and I hope we collectively maintain resolve and patience in this man to pluck away at the multitude of issues and try to pull the economy, and the people out of the muck.

Independent Chick said...

Your quote at the beginning brought tears to my eyes... Your posts always seem to meld with what is going on with my life.

Great people who teach us so much and make great changes don't always come from the highest education. Actually, I am finding in many cases, little correlation between the two. Life for them has been the best teacher; they serve unconditionally. Admirable...

Selma said...

Such eloquence. What a fabulous post. What a fabulous cabbie. I will certainly be doing all I can to initiate change in my world. It's a great day!!

Marja said...

I was very touched by the happenings and by Obama I think he is a special spirit and gives hope to the world. I was also very touched by the words that universe means "turned into one" because in a differnt way it fits in exactly in where I am now at in my beliefs about the world. BTW I had a very philosophical conversation with the man who put a new glass in my window. Wisdom is everywhere.
Anyway I get now so many signs being on the right track that I feel very happy. Bless you and thanks again for your gifts to this world

kenju said...

Excellent! I love your new header and I like your Obamicons hope and progress. If we all work together, we can make that happen.

Carmi said...

I've got to take cabs with you more often. You always manage to turn what anyone else would view as an everyday occurrence into a unique way of learning more about the world around us.

Just the perfect exclamation point to my still-percolating thoughts on yesterday's historic transition.