24 Mar 2015

To grief, mourn - for a stronger soul, and a gift of song

The way we grieve tells us more about who we truly are than all our acclamation. After all,
you mourn if you cherished
you cry if you feel loss
you sob silently for the broken heart is one that no longer holds it all together

This week will reveal our hearts, yea, our soul Singapore.

A visionary, sacrificial, bold architect of our little isle-state, one who is synonymous with our national journey is so many dimensions, has passed on.

We have been -
children who played
Teens who sulk
Adults who sweat and swear

But children, teens and adults all share one reality: we embody a soul. In times of grief, we cast off  our trappings and don the same apparel of mourning. We strip to basics and wear the cotton and linen and slop around in slippers, keeping vigil, losing sleep, living a different timetable and purpose.

Grief is our internal process, thoughts, feelings, the weight in the chest, the churning in the gut, the unspeakable thoughts and feelings. Mourning is crying, journaling, creating artwork, telling our story, speaking the unspeakable. Mourning makes it possible for us to touch, express and release our grief. {trans-formative power of grief}

This is why I urge all Singaporeans to find a way to mourn. I am glad that was the word the Prime Minister chose in his announcement. 

The late Mr Lee stirs us all up in different ways. Most of us are filled with an admixture of admiration, awe and angst. We are grateful for his grit, we may not be so thrilled with some of his iron-clad ways. This is because he is just human, like you and me. He is responding to his times, with his personality, training and convictions. We will never find anyone totally agreeable to us. What moves humanity along is a level-headed and full-hearted embracing of persons for who we are, recognising the difference we all make to each other.

What feelings are within you? It may be purple today and grey tomorrow.

Mourning is thus a deeply personal experience. But when we share a grief and a loss, it can be a collective experience too; one that calls us to go beneath the surface and reach out to one another. One that calls us to pause and consider, for

Loss is not just an ending; it marks the beginning of a new way of being.

This is not the time to scramble or fear. It is the time to remember, revisit and recast. 

This SG50 year, we had a song competition. I thought of our little nation and all that we have built: the infrastructure and functional values. On the Maslow's hierarchy, we have met our security needs. We are at the place where we seek the higher order needs of soul and spirit; the stuff of fulfilment. I am immensely gratified and proud of the many good Qs, initiatives and ideas that have poured forth. The late Mr Lee has helped us built a robust foundation for us to pursue these higher order matters. 

As we walk the next leg, let us take a leaf from other cultures and societies for this journey - observing what works and what backfires or even unravels. 

But it is time for dreaming again. 

Dreams do come true
We set our hearts
And pledged
to be
to prosper and progress

Miracle island
Shining in the world
An inspiration
That small things can
Make a difference

Look at us now
With our pioneers
Setting pace
We arise
To cherish and aspire

Our journey continues
A richer soul
Where each one is part
Of the greater whole
hearts are free
Every dream grows
as surely as the river flows

{lyrics: jenni ho-huan tune: dorothy yew for The Gift of Song, 2015}

And while you dream awhile, let these pictures stir you: is this what you dream of, or is it something else? Top 10 cities {Lonely Planet}

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