I had the opportunity to ‘warm up’ the audience for America’s Got Talent
& Emmy winner band, Recycled Percussion
. The Newport, NH schools and its superintendent wanted the audience, overflowing with kids through grandparents, to hear the Choose Love message first.
I started off the talk showing a slide of a caterpillar and butterfly. I asked the audience, what do these things have in common? They shouted back, they’re the same thing! Then we watched a short sped up video showing a butterfly emerging from a chrysalis. I asked, has anyone felt like this lately, struggling, like this butterfly is, to get out of its cocoon? Every hand in the 500+ audience went up. I explained that the butterfly was strengthened through the struggle and that’s how he could emerge, beautify and fly away.
You’re not alone! We all struggle. But it is in the struggle that we learn, grow and are strengthened, just like a butterfly. We become strong, and beautiful because of the struggle, not despite it. This is an important lesson, especially now when the struggle is real. Escalating diseases of despair, pain and violence are erupting all around us. No longer can you say, ‘It will never happen to me.’ We all know someone who has been impacted by mental health issues, substance abuse or maybe even violence. Fear is real, but the opposite of fear is love. And the empowering reality is that love is a choice!
I walked the audience through engaging their best selves through cultivating a Choose Love Mindset. This results from practicing the formula for Choosing Love. Having the courage to face difficulty in your life rather than resist, avoid or even numb yourself. The ability to be grateful, even when things aren’t going your way, and to forgive, to free yourself from anger and strengthen relationships. When we step outside our own pain and help others, we help and heal ourselves through compassion-in-action. This is Choosing Love and understanding the WHY is essential. These daily decisions make us part of the solution to the issues we’re experiencing in our world today, and help us be the best versions of ourselves!
We are responsible for our children’s safety, health and wellbeing each and every day, and also what’s going on in our schools, homes and communities. This means only we can fix things. Waiting or expecting someone else to solve our issues isn’t possible anymore. We’ve waited too long, and suffered too much. The resulting anxiety and fear that is lodged in the back of everyone’s mind hampers our daily lives and impacts our precious relationships. Choosing love over fear opens up a possibility for us to create the world we want to live in.