When I was eight years old, I began a nightly ritual that would continue for many years. Just before I went to sleep, I would lie in bed, light a beeswax candle on my nightstand and pray for world peace. As I snuffed the flame, I’d picture the earth and blow it a kiss, imagining a golden trail of fairy dust flying from my lips that would in seconds exponentially multiply and sprinkle across the entire globe.
Granted– I had my first bong hit in second grade, but I assure you I wasn’t stoned during these times. I got that shit out of my system by 12…but I digress… It’s more likely my Waldorf education, which encouraged belief in gnomes and guardian angels, contributed in part to a vivid imagination.
Over the years, my Pollyanna-like faith in humanity began to erode as reality set into my psyche. The older I got, the more I began to accept that corruption and “evil” were just part of life – unfortunate but inevitable components of the whole picture.
As it became more obvious that we can’t all just ‘get along’, my childhood dream seemed idyllic and naïve. I began to listen more to so-called experts, watch the news, and read the stats…and eventually my dream of a peaceful world was kicked out of my consciousness entirely by the Other Shoe dropping more hard facts and increasing my paranoia…
Recent wars, natural disasters and nuclear meltdowns, have left me feeling more jaded and vulnerable, with my Dream, more than ever, out of reach.
A few weeks ago, as I was preparing to attend a wedding in Washington DC, a friend of mine who happens to write a fantastic blog, reminded me of the historical significance of the Mall and the Dream of Dr. Martin Luther King.
So a few hours before the wedding, I decided to walk The Walk myself. Within minutes of arriving I was flooded with revelations (and tears) as I recalled the noble visionary who enrolled the masses in his great and seemingly impossible Dream.
What if Dr. King regarded his aspiration as merely a pipe dream? What if Abraham Lincoln had accepted slavery as “the way it is”? What if the suffragists succumbed silently to the suppressive patriarchy of their day?
It is the revolutionary who challenges the status quo and the visionary who holds the possibility for CHANGE. Ignorance, like a virus, will spread without these heroes who dare us to dream.
As I stood at the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, I realized that I have to keep hope alive. My “mature” mind, filled with data and details, had convinced me that things won’t change and that I can’t make a difference. But that afternoon my heart inspired me to be re-inspired, and urged me to Dream again…
In that moment my perspective changed to embrace again the hope of a child who saw the entire world within her reach, believing and trusting that her small kiss of fairy dust would have a great impact.
Perhaps things aren’t as big and impossible as they appear to be…
Of course Change is not easy. My personal attempts to bring about inner peace have allowed me to witness first hand the brutal wars within. Ironically, becoming more peaceful has required me to also become at peace with the parts of me that are not so peaceful… And as I’ve ceased beating myself up like I once did, I have increasing hope for the collective whole.
Why can’t change, that may appear impossible, transpire in my lifetime? I BELIEVE that the outdated ways of warring will one day be replaced by more diplomacy, decency and a cooperative effort towards waging peace. I BELIEVE that as our world becomes more connected, humanity will learn to accept and appreciate diversity. I BELIEVE that one day ALL Americans will have an equal opportunity to love and marry whom they choose.
A cynical mind, defended and full of despair, erects walls around the heart…
Today I choose an open heart, and bring new hope to a dream I won’t let die.
“Whatever you do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius and power and magic in it.” -Goethe