“I'm starting with the man in the mirror (oh)
I'm asking him to change his ways (oh)
And no message could've been any clearer
If you wanna make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself and then make that
--Sung by Michael Jackson
Light one candle for the terrible sacrifice
Justice and freedom demand
But light one candle for the wisdom to know
When the peacemaker's time is at hand
Don't let the light go out!
It's lasted for so many years!
Don't let the light go out!
Let it shine through our hope and our tears.
As I directed the International Youth Peace Camp for a number of years, these two songs would circulate through my mind regularly. Lately, they have been serenading my mind, especially after reading about some of the pains and agonies of the refugees trying to cross the U.S. southern border, or the women and children evicted from their homes because they couldn’t afford the increased rent, or the imbalance in the economic lives of employees and their CEOs, or the trauma of floods washing away one’s home or farmland, or the legislative desires to have a “preferential option” for wealthy taxpayers (something totally contrary to Catholic Social Teaching’s principle of “preferential option for the poor).
I would often get depressed about it all and was starting to let “the anger tear me apart.” I would start to blame all those in power, those who had some economic and political control over others. I would wonder why they couldn’t see what needed to be done, why they couldn’t see the way I saw things.
My anger and frustration were and still are no good for me. So, I took Michael Jackson’s advice. I started to look at myself and see what I might be able to do to make the necessary changes in my life that could really channel my anger and frustration toward positive actions. I realized that I had a lot of personal power. Yoga calls this “Shakti.”
I have the power to eat differently, the power to choose a lifestyle and a mindset that is non-harming and nurturing toward others. As my beloved Mary tells me, “Choose something that makes you joyful.” So, I would plant vegetables in the garden. I would sing the above songs. I would sit and use the yoga breathing tools of nadi shodhana (alternate nostril breathing). I would relax in the 61 points practice “shavayatra.” All of these calmed me down and brought “lightness” back into my mind and my life.
After that, I lovingly typed an email letter to my U.S. congressman, or my State senator or assemblyman and told them what I thought they could do to make the world a better place. They represent me in the lawmaking world and they needed to know what their constituent thought.
Finally, I let it all up to the Divine Mother for I had changed the man in the mirror. I had lit the candle within myself and let it shine in the world, “always believing that justice [and peace] will somehow prevail.”
I pray to the Divinity with all of us!