As I write this year’s Annual New Year’s letter, we are firmly in the throes of a deadly pandemic. In America we are emerging as well from four tumultuous years of political upheaval. The societies within which we live—our individual communities appear precarious at best. Our entire lives have been turned upside down. We can’t hug a friend or shake hands with a colleague. At work, if we can even go to work, we are not allowed to speak with a friend or co-worker without wearing a mask and being socially distanced. (I have always taught that our mouth is where the words come from but our eyes tell the story. Now this truth is ever more important.)
One of the principle goals of Vocal Awareness is personal sovereignty. This principle refers to our intrinsic right to be who we are; to enjoy life on our terms to the best of our ability as long as we do not bring harm to others. However, at this moment in time, we may simply be doing our best to survive, believing that survival is all that we can hope for.
My philosophy never considers or allows the concept of simply surviving. I choose to say,
“We don’t merely survive; rather, we are like the Phoenix that soars from the ashes.”
Something I have been doing of late and have done throughout my life when seeking greater understanding or personal clarity at strategic moments in my life, is turning to renown teachers, writers, poets, philosophers for insights and their recommendations on how to help me always embody the truth of my axiom that ‘the glass is not only half full, it is filled to the brim’.
So this year, I thought I would share several of my favorite quotations in hopes that they may provide you with answers or spiritual/emotional support which in turn can enable you to be the Phoenix in your own life and by extension perhaps help others to fulfill their possibility as well.
Paraphrasing from a beautiful story from one of my favorite authors, Gabriel Garcia Marquez,
“If for a moment God were to forget that I am a rag doll and granted me a piece of life, I probably would not say everything I think; rather, I would think about everything that I say… My God, if I had a piece of life, I wouldn’t let a single day pass without telling the people I love that I love them…I have learned that everyone wants to live at the top of the mountain, without knowing that real happiness is in how it is scaled…”
One of my favorite poets, Ranier Maria Rilke,
“I want to unfold. I do not want to stay folded anywhere. Because where I am folded, there I am a lie.”
Paraphrasing the following also from Rilke:
“I believe in all that has never yet been spoken; I want to free what waits within me so that what no one has dared to wish for may for once spring clear without my contriving. If this is arrogant, God, forgive me. But this is what I need to say. May what I do flow from me like a river, no forcing and no holding back, the way it is with children…”
“I dream in my dreams all the dreams of the other dreamers, and I become the other dreamers.”Walt Whitman
…”Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now.”Goethe translated by W. H. Murray
“To acknowledge your truth is not arrogant. To not acknowledge is!”Arthur Samuel Joseph
“Solitude gives birth to the original in us, to beauty unfamiliar and perilous—to poetry.”Thomas Mann
“Just as a small fire is extinguished by the storm, whereas a large fire is enhanced by it—likewise a weak faith is weakened by predicament and catastrophes, whereas a strong faith is strengthened by them.”Viktor Frankl
Paraphrasing from the Desiderata. This extraordinarily beautiful meditation was found on a wall of old St. Paul’s Church Baltimore, MD by Max Ehrman in 1927.
Be yourself, especially do not feign affection…You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars. You have a right to be here and whether it is clear to you or not no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should…Be at peace with God…Keep peace with your soul. With all its sham and drudgery and broken dreams it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.”
May these exquisite words and courageous thoughts nurture your spirit.
May 2021 be a transformative year!
Happy New Year!