We Are The Ones That We’ve Been Waiting For

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“Change will not come if we wait for some other
person or if we wait for some other time. 
We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.
We are the change that we seek.”
President Barack Obama
 
No matter what side you were on for the election, I think many of us agree that our country is going through some big changes.
A few days after the election I was set to do a concert in San Francisco sharing the stage with Deborah Winters, a wonderful vocalist and music director of a Unity church in the Bay Area. We both had planned out our sets, but then all week we called each other saying we couldn’t really decide what songs would work given how people were feeling. We cut songs, added songs, and processed our feelings about all that was happening in the country and within ourselves.
That night we both showed up and admitted to feeling a little down, hoping that we could lift each other up and put on a great show. In all my years as a songwriter, especially focusing on writing healing and inspirational music, that night was a miracle in being able to feel and see firsthand how music can heal.
We all laughed together, shed a few poignant tears, and sang about how love can heal. We finished the evening with my song Stand (“Let there be peace, I am a stand for peace”) and then for an encore sang the 60’s anthem by the Youngbloods, Get Together, (“Come on people now, smile on your brother, everybody get together, try to love one another right now”) I felt that a shift had happened in my heart. The situation was still the same in the world, but I felt different.
I believe if anything is going to bring all of us together – the different political views, racial tensions, fear that is going on for many communities – then music and the arts can help us through. Author Toni Morrison writes about the role of the artist to help us express and heal: “This is precisely the time when artists go to work. There is no time for despair, no place for self-pity, no need for silence, no room for fear. We speak, we write, we do language. That is how civilizations heal.”  
I have come to realize how it truly is up to each of us, doing what we can to be kind to each other, to understand our differences, and to stand up for what we believe. As the Hopi elders said: “There is a river flowing very fast… we must let go of the shore… keep our heads above water ….we are the ones that we’ve been waiting for…”

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