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Which Path?


Ahhh, it's another Bloom and another opportunity to connect with you, my dear reader. This "episode" is definitely not light nor fluffy -- it's serious and a little longer than usual. It might be something that's been on your mind as much as mine. I invite you to pull up a chair and see what comes up for you. Here's a reminder of The Seed that lead me down this path:

"When you don't know what else to do,

sometimes it's a good idea to just decide

to love everybody.

It's much more pleasant

than choosing to hate everyone."

I believe I've mentioned before my only aunt on my father's side, Jean. She was what was called an "old maid" back when I was young. She never married, worked in a bank in her hometown, and lived at home her whole life, first with my grandparents and then, just my grandmother. My Aunt Jean was probably considered socially awkward. She was very quiet, spoke little, was busy behind the scenes with her church, and didn't socialize much. Since I lived with my grandparents probably 50% or more of the time from my birth until I was at least six, I also had the privilege of spending time with her. While she wasn't exactly "chatty" with me, she did expose me to two wonderful things in particular: books and music. I had a little record player and she loaned me a variety of music. One of my favorites was Broadway musicals and I knew the words to all the "hits" from Oklahoma, My Fair Lady, West Side Story and many others. There was one that really stuck out for me though -- "South Pacific".

Author James Michener's first book Tales of the South Pacific was published in 1947. Two years later, Rodgers and Hammerstein II's "South Pacific", inspired by Michener's book, hit Broadway. There's one particular song in the production that rattled me even then as a child. Here are the lyrics to "You've Got To Be Carefully Taught":

"You've got to be taught to hate and fear,

You've got to be taught from year to year,

It's got to be drummed in your dear little ear --

You've got to be carefully taught!


You've got to be taught to be afraid,

Of peoples whose eyes are oddly made,

And people whose skin is a different shade --

You've got to be carefully taught.

You've got to be taught, before it's too late

Before you are six or seven or eight,

To hate all the people your relatives hate --

You've got to be carefully taught!

You've got to be carefully taught!

Copyright 1949 Rodgers/Hammerstein II, South Pacific

I might not have known the word at the time, but I definitely recognized what I would later learn was satire and it shook me to my little bones. By the way, when the show was first presented, critics and audience members initially requested that the song be removed. Clearly, it touched a nerve and made some people uncomfortable.

Let's put South Pacific aside for a moment. The world feels mad -- both crazy and angry -- lately. I hardly even watch, read, or listen to the news and yet, it seeps in and I am affected by it. I hear people talk about it and wring their hands. Once in a while, I'll check in with something Dan Rather has written or I might listen to NPR. I can only take the world as a whole in small doses, however I recently stumbled upon a video on YouTube from March 6, 2023 called "Choose Strength" by Arnold Schwarzenegger. Whatever opinions you may have of the previous body-builder, former governor of California, ex husband of Maria Shriver, I encourage you to look up this video. I'm not going to give you a link to it. I have no interest in forcing it on you. I'm going to fill you in on some of the highlights. But, if anything in this Bloom gives you a shudder, I urge you to find the video.

Arnold starts off talking about "those of you who have gone down a path of hate". He describes how some of us might consider others as inferior or "out to get us" perhaps because of religion or color of their skin. He makes the observation that many think that the only way to make their life better is to make the lives of others worse. He cites causes like being frustrated with the government or because "everyone else is doing it or thinking this way". He states that the path of least resistance is easier because it's not difficult to find a scapegoat for a problem and it means not having to try to make things better ourselves. He wonders if a "path of hate" makes sense to us. I loved one part where he points out that "no one who hates gets to the end of their life and says, 'Oh, what a [wonderful] life!' They died as miserably as they lived."


We all have prejudices -- a lot of them we "learned" as the song pointed out. The point is that we can change that. Some of Schwarzenegger's suggestions include consciously letting go of your hatred, ride through the discomfort of recognition and change, and working on ways to get your brain to think in new ways.

Back to "South Pacific" ... these are the lyrics at the end of "You've Got To Be Carefully Taught"

"I was cheated before

And I'm cheated again

By a mean little world

Of mean little men

And the one chance for me

Is the life I know best.

To be on an island

And to hell with the rest.

I will cling to this island

Like a tree or a stone.

I will cling to this island

And be free and alone."

When we step away from our hatred and fear, we might lose some "friends". This last part of the song could be a little depressing. Freedom sounds pretty good, but who wants to be all alone?!? That may be the beginning, but not the end. I believe we all have an inner knowing or truth. We might ignore it or even reject our connection and we might call it different things -- God, Source, the Universe, Allah, the Divine, a power greater than ourselves. When we are in alignment with it we feel better. Resistance to our inner truthfulness comes out as hate and hatred does not feel good.

There are so many opinions around us and even pressure from others. We need to remember that we can make decisions to support our connection to our divine wisdom. When we create a vibration that contributes to something better, we attract other people and situations with that same energy. We cannot create something new as long as we hold onto the old. Once we ask for the necessary change, it's important to be in receptive mode for what you want. Remember, life happens for you, not to you. The world will feel overwhelming at times. Sometimes the best I can do is read, sing, or listen to the song by Jill Jackson-Miller and Sy Miller, "Let There Be Peace On Earth and Let It Begin with Me".

Learn to ask for help -- this is big stuff -- and you'll be supported. Choose to believe something different. If you are/were convinced that the conditions or what others have can threaten you, give up those assumptions and take on some new ones. Give yourself permission to change your mind and trust what feels better -- this is what I wish for you and me, with all my heart.


Sparkles and Love,


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About the Author

 

 

 

Barbara L Cummings, MS, RN

the Mindful Maven and Mistress of Meditation, is a sassy Queen-ager, mentor, confidante and trusted guide who provides people with everyday life support. 

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