Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The power of words

On the flight back to India, I watched one of those feel-good movies called ‘Akeelah and the Bee’ – for the second time. Due to some error, the airline played the same movie on the flight to Portland as well. I didn’t have a complaint though. The story of a tenacious African-American eleven-year-old from Los Angeles in her quest to win the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington D.C, it reminded me of my own days as a Spelling Bee contestant when I was in high school. Watching the movie throw up words I am unfamiliar with even today, at the quarter-century of my life – prestidigitation, argillaceous, ratatouille for example – it reminded me that education is not a means to an end but a journey in itself. I had no coach when I went (and won!) my Spelling Bee, and I still recall a conversation with a friend who asked me what I was doing to learn so many long and difficult words. My answer: nothing. It was the accumulated knowledge gleaned through years of reading, something I am indebted to my parents to, for inculcating in me.

The quote where Akeelah’s coach encourages her to believe in herself when she is besieged with self-doubt and lack of confidence, which I found out just today is taken from Marianne Williamson’s ‘A Return to Love’, is something that I would like to put up here just for everyone to read, let filter through their minds, and chew on. I only wish I had read it earlier. It’s taken me years to gain the strength that these words instill with just one reading.

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 doesn't serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking
So that other people will not 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 in just 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're liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others.

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