While it’s kind of cool I can do fancy yoga poses most people would never dream of doing, do you know what’s truly SUPER cool? You and I using our voices to increase Love! My wife Lisa and I went and saw “A Star is Born” with Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga the other day and a bit of wisdom he gave her early in the film really resonated with me. Bradley’s character said something like: “Everyone uses his or her talents, what makes you standout and be a star is using your voice.”
The question is what does it mean to use your voice? With the U.S. elections coming up, I think a great starting point is voting mindfully and responsibly, while also taking the issues out of the “ballot boxes” and into our lives. What this means will vary by situation and circumstance, as our race, finances, social status, sexuality, location, job security, communal network, beliefs, and so on will rightly shape how we engage the world. That said, I find one guiding principle to be helpful in informing how I use my voice: What’s the most Loving thing to do? What will increase thriving and flourishing for the greatest number of people?
I come back to this because the beauty of it is the answer it yields will be different for different people. For example, people lacking in health care or in the industry may emphasize better medicine for more people, those who are marginalized and their allies may stress equal rights and protections for all, a person burned by insurance could push for reforms in that arena, anyone attuned to nature and the harm we’re doing can champion environmental care, and so on. Using our voices means speaking up, acting on, and potentially giving to causes that resonate with our unique passions and circumstances.
Here’s the thing, Love asks something of us as sacrifice is an essential part of it, but never more than we have to give. Lisa and I, for instance, are pretty well off financially, so it asks us to give of our wealth to help others thrive and flourish. A struggling single mom, though, may have neither money nor time to share, so using her voice to increase care and kindness may simply be voting mindfully, encouraging her neighbors to do likewise, while showering people with encouraging and compassionate words. Conversely, a rich person may not yet have had his or her heart expanded to include material generosity, so sacrificial Love for this person may be getting uncomfortable and befriending people of different class, race, orientation, and so on.
Part of what I’m getting at is using our voices to increase Love comes with a warning label: This “may” (i.e. WILL for those with power and privilege, like white middle class America) include sacrificing for the benefit of others and moving toward people unlike you. The glorious thing, though, is Love always meets us where we’re at, but never leaves us unchanged for the better.
You matter! You’re amazing! We need you to vote, speak, and act to increase loving kindness! It just occurred to me I think your and my voice isn’t about us so much as it’s about being true to ourselves by being with and for others in our own uniquely relevant way! What do you think?
Grace and peace,