BY Parvati


This week, I have been thinking a lot about 9/11, the horrors of that day, the suffering thoughts and acts that led to the crisis and the suffering in so many that followed the crash. I have also been reflecting upon the way music connects, heals, inspires and touches people. Sound can expand, amplify and support human potentiality or be a vehicle for energies that destroy life.

Since today marks the ten-year anniversary of the tragic fall of the twin towers, I feel I need to acknowledge this memorial before digging more deeply into the question that I was asked this week. Interestingly, the question relates to the power of art to heal or destroy and how to discern when the energy behind a piece is in support of the evolutionary flow or not. It is a topic very close to my soul-home, and one that ties in perfectly with what I felt I needed to express today.Tomorrow, I will post the full question and dive more deeply into the specific question. Today, I need to honour and acknowledge 9/11 through my own experience of songwriting and singing.

Witnessing the twin towers fall was an experience for me of tremendous tragedy that also birthed a song of hope and possibility. That thought still brings pause to my mind. Why did something so horrific spawn a song called “You Gotta Believe”? What arose from my soul, after having seen the towers fall in real time, was not aggression and hatred, but hope and the call for connection. The experience reinforced for me the power of music to heal. It could also be a messenger of hope and love to uplift those that heard it.

The song that was born for me the day the twin towers fell was a reflection of my soul experience of the tragedy. Consciously, I would not have said the words found in my lyrics (below). At the time, if I was asked how I felt, all I would have been able to share was shock, anger and fear. But behind those reactive thoughts, my inner knowing had a different message. My rooted focus deep down in the midst of horror was on the goodness of life. My soul was anchored in the notion that we must believe, despite the presence of revenge, hate and evil, in human potentiality and our capacity to love.

Song writing, like any art form, is a mysterious process. For me, it is a sort of creative free fall based on letting go of control and the knowing mind while opening in trust to a mystical possibility of interconnection. What arises from the process is for me never known, but a respectful unfolding of the voice of the soul. It does not necessarily express my personality, but is an opportunity to tap into a zone where we are all connected. The way it is expressed is a reflection of my personality, the style of music, the choice of words. But deeper, it is as though doors temporarily open to a sacred space where we are all one. I can peer into it for a moment, breathe in the beauty to then bring back and share through an expressive exhale the splendor and expansion of it all.

The 9/11 tragedy obviously changed the city of New York, not only physically, but at a soul level. I lived there for some time before 9/11 and often felt on edge, tense and jumpy. There was a dominant, tribal law, a pulsating bass note that seemed to throb below the streets and emanate through the city. To me, it was intensely non-negotiable. It felt harsh and invoked an attitude of the survival of the fittest, a bestial, aggressive energy that said seize or be seized.

After 9/11, the city was brought to its knees. In the brokenness, horror and shock, something opened.  I found people more raw, real and vulnerable. Connection, community, honesty, sincerity, kindness, care and love were like diamonds that had been excavated in the blast from the human soul. They were sparkling and could be seen and shared, brought to the light through the impact of the crash. Tragedy has a way of cracking open our ego to reveal a more humble self.
The day the towers were hit, I unknowingly was working on a piano riff at my parents’ home. My creative flow was interrupted by my father who came running down to the main floor to let me know I needed to stop what I was doing and go upstairs to see the TV.

Shocked, horrified, I could not believe my eyes. Still shaking, the dust of the buildings not yet settled, I went back to the piano with all the emotion swirling about, the piano riff still fresh in my mind. What came out almost immediately was this song, “You Gotta Believe”. I had the honour to sing it for the city of New York some time later at the world famous Madison Square Garden.

Even when I sing it today, I still shake. You may not see, but I did in the video I share here. What you do not see in the video is that after the video camera was turned off, I cried. Singing it, thinking of those that died, those who suffer from violent crimes, brought me right back to the images I saw when the twin towers fell. I also thought of my dad who is now gone and felt grateful for the zest for life he taught me. These are the lyrics from “You Gotta Believe”:

If this moment were your very last, how would you want it to be?
What do you need to do to be at peace? Do you need to make that apology?
There’s no better time than this moment we now have
To live the way that you want to be.
What will be in your heart when you leave?
You gotta believe in the good of life and what you feel!
You gotta believe in the power of love and what is real!
You gotta believe! You gotta believe!

Would you want to go in the midst of fear or having a temper tantrum?

Do you want to wait until it’s too late To say you could’ve or you would’ve or you should’ve been?
Are you brave enough to look within? It’s easier to point out others’ sins
Than to see where we each have erred, how we could have shared, how we could’ve cared.
You gotta believe in the good of life and what you feel!

You gotta believe in the power of love and what is real!
You gotta believe! You gotta believe!

Life’s a wake up call how we’re all afraid to fall without the love we all need.

What will it take, more raising the stakes, for your eyes to fully see, for your heart to remember its divinity?
You gotta believe in the good of life and what you feel!
You gotta believe in the power of love and what is real!
You gotta believe! You gotta believe!

May we all believe in the goodness of life. May we all feel love. May we learn from these tragic reminders of our human frailty and live each day with fullness, gratitude and honour. Our human magnificence is a gift we are called to cherish, not take for granted. Our time on Earth is to be celebrated, not squandered mindlessly.

Yes, horrors happen. Sadly at this time in our human evolution, such atrocities exist. But greater than those who choose to live in the dark and act in suffering is the potential for human greatness and good. Those who live by suffering teach us to choose differently. When we look with humility, we can see through them that we choose not to hate, but to love, not to attack, but to understand, not to destroy, but to create. We each have a choice. It is in the way we face adversity that reveals our true self.

(More to follow tomorrow)