Martin Luther King, Jr. was a man who used his faith and rhetoric to punch society in the face. He was a humanitarian to the depth of his being. His composure blew the minds of everyone who had the privilege of listening to him speak from behind a podium. His met others with a consistently fierce presence and defiant compassion.
The MLK holiday always ignites sharp thinking. It's a day of remembrance. It is a day of immense gratitude. And the days that follow can be spent in deep states of consciousness, reflecting on the lives our forefathers led and which ways of living we want to continue. Furthermore, we can decide when to be strong enough to let go of the old mindset and start anew.
I have looked deeply into my own experiences: feeling helpless as I watched my mom become a widow at age 56, sadly embracing a friend who is experiencing the throws of divorce, coming to terms with a colon cancer diagnosis. At some point it all started to make sense. We have every opportunity to turn our biggest challenges into our greatest gifts. In fact, this is the thinking of mindfulness master, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
We can take the pain of adversity and transform it into energy that lifts us into a new dimension of living. When change takes the wheel, we can insist upon claiming our power in the midst of surrender. No, surrender is not weak. Surrender takes guts and perseverance. It takes strength. We can look at adverse situations as simply unfair. Or we can choose to step up. We can decide to walk into the light so others can live knowing that they aren't alone in their pain. They can live contently, knowing someone else had the courage and commitment to take a stand despite the sorrow.
When we rise in unity to mindfully recognize our hurdles, we have the ability to march together using the power in numbers to propel us into a new way of living. Dr. King knew this and made it happen from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama in 1965. He announced his intention with such conviction that thousands of his brothers and sisters followed him regardless of the cost. It was worth it. 54 miles of movement and the message of peace threaded through each heart as they burst open down those roads.(1) What a beautiful story of nonviolent demonstration.
Dr. King called on his inner place of peace over and over again to encourage others to listen and think differently. He catalyzed a shift in millions of others. For his mastery in leading the way to freedom, Time magazine readers voted him 6th in the "Person of the Century" poll. And among many other prestigious honors, his perspective and allegiance to it also earned him a Nobel Peace Prize. We must learn from leaders like Dr. King.(2) He gave it his all. He sacrificed his life.
Taking a stand is urgent. Using our voice is imperative. We cannot afford to neglect service to others for the sake of humankind. For those interested in keeping the goodness going, take some notes from mindfulness master, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Let's allow his life and this day to remind us how we should live. Let these descriptions be ways in which others describe you.
Vigor - Take time for self study. You will learn the most about the world when you take pleasure in knowing the shadows in your own being. Live with reckless abandon. Stand on a platform and speak loudly and clearly. Circle yourself with people who believe your words. Lead with intention. Don't take no for an answer when the truth comes to you straight from deep within your heart. Don't be afraid. Be prolific.
Harmony - Let peace rule. Remember that hate crimes do not get any job done. Know that being right isn't what is important. Trust that being strong will get you exactly where you need to be. Understand that feeling weak is part of gaining more strength. When inner peace isn't accessible, find some way to release whatever pollutant is in the way. Haters are going to hate. Shift your attention elsewhere when they show up. Continue to believe in something better. Do not be afraid that death will be the end of you. Winning is temporary. Your biggest dreams live on as long as you share them. It's a lifelong practice to live in harmony with your surroundings. Sometimes that means you need to initiate big change.
Kick Ass - Yes. Whatever you do, be a master of kicking ass. Give yourself, your loved ones, your community a swift kick in the rear to wake up from tired ways of thinking. Do not criticize the current situation without offering reasonable options to get from A to B. Offer honest advice. Never, ever be concerned with moving forward when doors are opening. You can certainly gain the respect of someone new by putting yourself out there. You can influence a dozen or hundred or thousand more lives. Shake old patterns and practice the power of choice.