On September 5th, I had the incredible honor of speaking at British Parliament in London, England as part of Merit360. Merit360 is a wonderful, 2-week event that brings together powerful young leaders from all across the globe to tackle the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
During those 2 weeks, I was blessed to present a workshop, mentor SDG group #16 (Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions), and, on the final day, speak to the assembled crowd of dignitaries
Here is what I said...
Look in the eyes of the people on either side of you. Hold out your hands, and take their hands in yours. Now close your eyes, take a deep breath in, and sigh it out...
As you’re sitting there holding these people’s hands, I want you to envision the world you desire to create. Imagine yourself immersed in this world – it’s all around you. What do you see? What do you hear? How do you feel? How do people treat each other?
As you are imagining yourself immersed in this beautiful world that you desire to create, at the same time, I want you to – very gently – be aware of the wounds you carry within you now. Just notice them. Notice that they are there.
Now take a deep breath and say to your wounds, “I’m sorry you are in pain. I’m sorry I haven’t fully honored you until now. Wounds, I honor you.” As you honor your wounds, notice how they respond to being honored. Notice how they feel. Notice how you feel. Notice the subtle peace that is slowly settling in. Notice how deeply you are breathing now.
Now, as you breathe, be aware again of the hands that are currently in yours. Be aware that those hands belong to people with their own wounds, too. And know that, when it comes to your pain, you are not alone.
Now, when you’re ready, gently give those hands in yours a slow, reassuring squeeze - a squeeze that says, “I feel you. I hear you. I know you are wounded, too. And I honor your wounds, as I honor my own. We are not alone. We are all in this together.”
Finally, take another deep breath, and again imagine yourself in the world you desire to create. See it. Feel it. Trust it. Know it. Know it can come true. And know that everyone in this room – and many, many others all around the world, are here to help you create it.
You can open your eyes.
The issues we face today – the issues we are fighting so mightily to fix – ultimately aren’t about climate change, poverty, inequalities, conflicts, etc. Yes, those do need addressing. But they’re symptoms of a deeper issue. They’re symptoms of our wounded humanity.
Humanity needs healing. But how do we heal humanity? By first and foremost healing
ourselves - by honoring our wounds and allowing those wounds to guide us to discover our greatest powers: the power of empathy, the power of connection, the power of peace.
Humans’ deepest desire is connection. Therefore, as we honor and connect with ourselves, we heal. As we heal, we light up. As we light up, we light up the world.
The world needs our light. So let’s get out there and shine!