After years of singing around the world, bringing mantra to people as a tool to transform their lives, I was deeply inspired by what I found in Estonia during our concert tour there this fall.
Estonia came under the control of the Soviet Union along with Lithuania and Latvia in 1940. During this occupation, among many other policies, national Estonian songs were forbidden. But they were kept alive underground in people's homes and various gathering places. In 1987 a singing revolution began for Estonia, in which national songs began to be sung in music festivals. Although the songs were not the only mechanism for revolution, they were certainly instrumental. On September 11, 1988 a quarter of the country (300,000 people) gathered in a festival called "Song of Estonia" held in the Tallinn Song Festival Arena. It was here that citizens and political leaders expressed their intention for independence, which was finally won on August 20, 1991.
There was a precious moment in our concert where the Estonian people sang, and I just listened. Their voices were soft and angelic. As I listened, I could hear the sounds of the voices of the people in Tallinn on that day when they claimed their independence. I could hear the voices in all the homes, for the many years, singing their songs with love, joy, and courage. I was deeply humbled.
I now ask the question of myself as a citizen of the United States of America and this Great Mother Earth - how I can gain independence and inspire others to do so as well? I would like to be independent of the slander, religious, political, and cultural divides that have shockingly become the norm in our world. I would like to be free of greed that abuses the environment and the world's natural resources so that our coming generations can enjoy this earth and life on it as we have. I would like to be free of the fear and the deep-seated anxiety that keeps so many of us silent and powerless.
This revolution, is a revolution of the heart. Each of us has the opportunity right now to rise up, to stand up, and lend our voices to truth. We must do it with love, courage and strength. For in this standing up, we stand up for all people and all life. Truly, this is our way to a collective peace and prosperity. And frankly, I think we need songs. Lot's of them. First the song comes, then we sing it, then we act on it. It is a simple law of human nature and revolution.
So, here's my freedom song. What's yours?
Step by step,
Little by little,
Day by day,
Trusting in all that comes our way.
Each of us a vital role to play.
Freedom from fear, come what may.
Photo Credit: Brigitte Maya Denis (Brussels, October 8, 2016)