Silk Road – Part 3: What Peace Looks Like (cont.)

November 14, 2012 at 2:44 pm 4 comments

Scene from “Take The Lead” with Antonio Banderas

This is a continuation of the inspiration for the song “What Peace Looks Like” on my new forthcoming CD, SILK ROAD – Inspirational Journeys Across Planet Earth. If you missed Part 1 or Part 2, please go back and get caught up!

==========================

I wrote about the awakening of my social conscience in Silk Road – Part 2: What Peace Looks Like.  I was teaching in three schools in the inner city zone of South Central Los Angeles when the Rodney King Riots broke out in 1992.  Fast-forward now to the last eight years:

Hundreds of hours of travel and as many hours of pre-performance quiet added up to my reading some truly inspiring books, many non-fiction, and watching incredible call-to-action documentaries and films based on true stories. (Take The Lead starring Antonio Banderas, based on the life of well-known ballroom dancer and instructor, Pierre Dulaine, for example.)  My inner experience of these stories, along with my earlier teaching sent me on the road to “What Peace Looks Like,” one of the issue songs on my new about-to-be-released CD, SILK ROAD.

In 2007, I was on tour with my inspirational concert “A Canvas Of Colors.”  Very early one morning in the airport bookstore, I was browsing through the new non-fiction books, and  Three Cups of Tea laser-beamed out at me.  I had never heard of it until that moment.  While on that tour, my life changed again:  I couldn’t stop reading about how one man, Greg Mortenson, changed thousands of lives by committing to a singular goal: providing education for thousands of girls in countries where their schooling has traditionally been ignored.

Later, I dove deep into Greg Mortenson’s follow up book, Stones into Schools. It’s the continuing story of Greg’s incredible life work that goes forward today.

In 2009, I discovered another truly life-changing book, again, at the airport: What Is The What by Dave Eggers and Valentino Achak Deng.  This is a book that I believe should be required high school reading the world over.

What Is The What is the true story of Valentino Achak Deng, a Lost Boy of Sudan.  Dave Eggers teamed up with Valentino and wrote the book as a novel, since Valentino’s early stories are the war-torn memories of a very little boy.  The book is Valentino’s true account of running for his life one night at age 6, as a terrifying army on horseback tore through his village, slashing, burning and killing villagers in its wake.

Valentino survived unbelievable odds over the course of a decade.  As a little boy, he joined the long trek of the Lost Boys and walked for hundreds of miles. This story traces his fight for survival as he grew into a young man.  Today, he is building a sustainable future for the youth of his newly formed country, the South Sudan, through his organization, The Valentino Achak Deng Foundation.

Another extraordinary story stole my heart in the documentary film, War Dance.  It’s about children from the Acholi tribe growing up in Patongo, a remote war refugee camp in Uganda.  After the camp’s primary school wins the regional music competition, the students prepare and head to the national competition in Kampala.

The film follows several youngsters in their daily lives in Patongo.  As each one prepares for the music competition, they are preparing to step beyond the borders of the camp for the first time since they arrived as war refugees.  One of them is Nancy, a 13-year old girl.  She is on the bus that takes the group to the city of Kampala for the competition.

When asked by one of the filmmakers what she most looks forward to on this trip, she answers, “I want to know that peace looks like!”

Her unequivocal answer made me literally fall off my chair.

When I heard Nancy say, “I want to know what peace looks like,” I started writing one weekend.  I was called into action and the writing became the foundation of “What Peace Looks Like” whose lyrics I co-wrote with Peter Link.

“What Peace Looks Like” traces the horrors the children have faced in all of these experiences.  More importantly, the song instructs us with one overwhelming truth.  This truth runs through all of the stories in the books and films, and in my own direct experience.

The truth is this: the lesson of the children.  The lesson of the children is love.  Love IS what it’s all about.  Love IS intrinsic to humanity.  Love IS what conquers all.  And love IS sometimes the hardest thing to demonstrate in one’s life, in the face of overwhelming obstacles.

These true stories taught me one more time that as leaders, parents, teachers, and families of planet earth, we must constantly stay in touch with that life-force – that innate, inherently active quality called love.  Love is the antidote for all the ills on the planet.  These children are living proof.  And we must demonstrate that childlike love and trust in every department of our own lives and with each other.

“What Peace Looks Like” and its lesson from the children absolutely set the tone for me in this new forthcoming CD, SILK ROAD – Inspirational Journeys Across Planet Earth.

Next up:  A look at “On My Way To You” a gorgeous inner journey of the heart.

Here’s a further list of inspiring books and films:

Books:
What Is The What by Dave Eggers and Valentino Achak Deng,
Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson
From Stones Into Schools by Greg Mortenson
The Freedom Writers by Erin Gruel
Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Movies:
War Dance
The Freedom Writers with Hilary Swank
The First Grader
God Grew Tired Of Us
Take The Lead with Antonio Banderas

There are many more that I could list here, but these pieces I found to be particularly provoking.  It’s a short list.  Please comment and feel free to add your own inspiration to the list!

What Peace Looks Like
Music by Peter Link
Lyrics by Peter Link and Julia Wade

“I want to know what peace looks like”
The girl of Uganda said,
“I want to know what peace looks like”
She’s spent her life in fractured war
But now she’s stepping through a door
That takes her far from harm

“I want to know what peace looks like”
The boy of the Sudan said,
“I wanna feel what it feels like
I want to have enough to eat
I want to feel my mother’s heat
As she wraps me in her arms”

“I want to know what peace looks like

My wish, my hope, my dream
A night without the nightmares
I want to know the inner calm
The thread of self-esteem
I want to know what peace looks like
And I want to feel it too
Yes I do”

Oh Lord, the lessons of the children of war
The roar of their misfortune;
The hopelessness that lies before
And still they live to love again

Oh Lord, the lessons of the children of war
The roar of their misfortune;
The hopelessness that lies before
And still they live to love again

Because that’s what children do
Yeah that’s what children do

And if they can do it
We can do it too
Yes if they can do it
We can do it too

“I wanna to know what peace looks like”
The child of the ghetto said,
“I wanna go where peace is known
I’ve had enough of hopelessness
A cracked out mom and fatherless
And the gangs that haunt the streets”

And oh Lord, the lessons of the children of war
The roar of their misfortune;
The hopelessness that lies before
And still they live to love again
Oh Lord, the lessons of the children of war
The roar of their misfortune;
The hopelessness that lies before
And still they live to love again

Because that’s what children do
Yeah that’s what children do

And if they can do it
We can do it too
Yes if they can do it
We can do it too!

Entry filed under: Have I Got A Song For You!, Inspiration, inspirational Music, Inspiring Sites, Silk Road, Spiritual Thinkers. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

Silk Road – Part 2: What Peace Looks Like Silk Road – Part 4: On My Way To You

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Rhonda Key Youngblood  |  November 30, 2012 at 7:00 pm

    Finally I get it! I get the point of reading books such as these. The answer is right here: “These true stories taught me one more time that as leaders, parents, teachers, and families of planet earth, we must constantly stay in touch with that life-force – that innate, inherently active quality called love. Love is the antidote for all the ills on the planet. These children are living proof. And we must demonstrate that childlike love and trust in every department of our own lives and with each other.”

    THANK YOU!

    Reply
  • 2. juliawade  |  December 6, 2012 at 2:11 am

    You’re welcome! But thank YOU! I am so grateful for your clarity of thought and getting it.

    Reply
  • 3. Dilip  |  December 13, 2012 at 10:29 am

    Awesome and refreshingly true! Thanks Julia.

    Reply
    • 4. juliawade  |  December 13, 2012 at 10:35 am

      Thank you for stopping by Dilip! Here is a link to listen to a sample of the song– click and then scroll down to #8: http://www.watchfiremusic.com/album.php?dcid=218 I am enjoying your blog! I appreciate your thought-process very much!

      Reply

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