A few years ago, I decided to start helping out at my local Brownie pack. Our little meeting and the weekly rituals involved (no sacrificial lambs, just songs and games) became one of the highlights of my week and I knew that regardless of the craziness that was going on in my world at the time, come 7.15pm every Thursday we’d stand together and sing our goodbye songs.

At the first promise ceremony I went to as an adult, and took part in as a leader, I was moved by another song we sang together. This Little Light of Mine is known to many people around the world, and I loved the words and the setting. I was proud that we were sending them off into their lives outside Brownies with a sense of confidence, and I hope that they might remember the song when they get older.

At around this time, some other words appeared too, once again via my quote-loving friend. I was starting to make some pretty bold steps with my harp playing, and the fear this produced was overwhelming at times. I found some strength from these words at the time.

This week I will be spending a few days in the company of some very talented and very young musicians. I’ve not been able to prepare as well as I’d like, and I really don’t want to play badly.

So I’m reminding myself of these few lines from A Return to Love by Marianne Williamson, which are often incorrectly attributed to Nelson Mandela. I don’t feel the religious significance but this doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate the words.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.

We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

(The picture is of a beautiful church window from a concert I played at in Stonehaven a few months back)


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