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Our unique recipe

Quite a few years ago, I had an acquaintance who was then a couple of years away from retirement. On one occasion, she told me that in Kindergarten, during a Swedish Lucia celebration (which is performed with candlelight and songs), she was asked by her teacher to stay quiet and how she had never sung a note in her life since. This teacher's words defined how she looked at herself for 60 years after that.

I was touched when I heard this story because I hold the opinion that everyone can sing and that all of us have a song. Not everyone may feel compelled to perform it in notes and lyrics, but instead in paint and with brushes, in dance or in movement, in clay or in wood, in writing or in speech, in drama or in cooking, with needle and thread, in teaching or in conversation, with touch or in photography or with tools. Or with something entirely different.

A former teacher of mine used to talk about how our characteristics and the experiences we carry with us make up our own perfect, divine recipe, and that there are things and roles on earth that our unique recipe is tailored for. No one can be you better than you and no one can contribute to humanity and the Earth in the same way that you can. Some of us may feel called to take on roles or tasks that are in the spotlight and visible for the world to see. Some of us know and feel that it is something completely different that we are here to do. Some of us may not be clear at all about what it is we want to do or what our next step in life is. And some of us may be busy simply living in the here and now. Regardless, I want to invite gentleness towards ourselves and be a reminder that each of us is needed.

About ten years ago, I went on a spiritual journey to Mexico. One evening our group participated in a music meditation where we sat down in a circle, our eyes closed, and simply listened to the music. One of the songs featured Michael Jackson, doing his thing. To this day I don’t know which song it was, but it was loud and he had lots of background singers. Then all of a sudden, in the midst of his peak solo moment, he shouted - and I don't think this was actually part of the lyrics of the song - "Back me up!" to his band members, and then kept on singing. At that moment it hit me that not even a singer as famous and experienced as Michael Jackson would sound the way he did weren't it for the harmonies and the energy presented by the other musicians and singers - and he knew it!

On this human journey that we call life, one of the most beautiful things for me is that we always have the opportunity - much like in the song - to back each other up. Sometimes someone will back us up and sometimes we are the ones who get the opportunity to do the same for someone else. What may seemingly be a small or humble action can mean a whole world to the person who is the receiver of it. The Dalai Lama once said that if we think we are too small or insignificant to make a difference, we should try sleeping in the same room as a mosquito! I choose to trust his word on that.

Warmly and gratefully,


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