Years ago, I was in a conversation with a friend, a motivational speaker, who asked me a question that became a defining marker of intention for me. He said, "Kim, if you could sum up your message in one sentence, what would it be?" Surprisingly, with no hesitation, I said, "I can sum it up in one word!" "Even better," he said. "Freedom."
That's my word. Freedom. It has been a reminder to me when I feel lost in my endeavors, like I don't know what I'm doing, like I've veered off course. I stop & ask myself why I want to serve – to help uplift others as I rise. The answer is simple for me. Free people have no need of violence, hatred, injustice, territorialism, bitterness, & the myriad other plagues of the heart. Free people are busy being the people they are created to be – sharing with each other the gifts they have brought to this world simply by the act of their birth into it.
Martin Luther King, Jr. had a dream – a dream that I buy into wholeheartedly. From his biography on the official MLK, Jr. site:
"Dr. King’s concept of “somebodiness,” which symbolized the celebration of human worth and the conquest of subjugation, gave black and poor people hope and a sense of dignity. His philosophy of nonviolent direct action, and his strategies for rational and non-destructive social change, galvanized the conscience of this nation and reordered its priorities. His wisdom, his words, his actions, his commitment, and his dream for a new way of life are intertwined with the American experience."
The actions of MLK, Jr. are indeed intertwined with the American experience. His words echo the truths set forth in this country's constitution for all people.
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness."
~From the U.S. Charters of Freedom, the Declaration of Independence.
These concepts, these truths, are at the heart of my endeavors – from the creation of Live Inside Out (LIO) to the authoring of the novel, Heaven as well as the music that accompanies it. No matter what kind of inequality & oppression is suffered by others, no matter where it is suffered, we will all experience the energy of this oppression as a force in our world, so it is imperative for our own well-being that we lift others as we are lifted. We are global citizens, citizens of the Universe, in fact. (similar post)
This spirit of lifting others has inspired me to create the LIO Foundation this year & I'm thrilled to have just awarded the first scholarship! I'll be telling you more about it very soon.
I ran across a perfectly fitting quote for this endeavor in The Alcalde, the alumni magazine of my alma mater, the University of Texas. Student Michelle Quinones is interviewed about how a scholarship helped her escape a life of violence & poverty. She says she heard this quote from American theologian Howard Thurman in her first week at UT & it became her mantra.
"Don't ask what the world needs, ask what makes you come alive & go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive."
What's your sentence? Your word? Your mantra?
Live it! Shout it out!
Let the Sound of Your Freedom Ring!