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12 April 2009

Let them sing

(It appears the video embedding has been disabled above. You can find the video here)

Some of you may remember how much I loved this performance by Paul Potts on Britain's Got Talent.

This one by Susan Boyle is another reminder of how little we expect from people and how much we can be surprised and enriched if we open space for them to shine. To sing.

And if we close down the Judgment Machine.

Be surprised by people, and acknowledge your own judging of them. Paul and Susan are beautiful reminders of this lesson.


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hi patti,
I've been lurking on your blog for the past 18 days (in time to jump in on the 37 day challenge). Only good things have come since i started reading your blog regularly. after reading this post, however, I felt the urge to broadcast it over all my email lists (I rarely (if ever) send mass-emails). Thank you for the inspiration; thank you for spreading the love.

Thank you :)

I love that moment when the doubting faces in the crowd register their shock and amazement. It gives me chills. Then tears. I can't watch stuff like that without crying, it seems.

You go, Susan!

Amazing! I don't watch TV much at all, so had missed this. Thank you so much for, as they say, the wake up call.

You nailed it Patti.

What a great video and moment! Thank you for sharing it. Inspirational.

"Surprise" is a much finer emotion than "knowing", and to surprise your own sense of knowing is better yet. People are judged all the time by appearances first and then the rest of the stuff second; and when people look a certain way, look different from the norm, the "other stuff" recedes further and deeper into misty pre-judgment obscurity. And then something like this (above) happens; this woman's talent electrifies and the prejudices about the rest of her abilities evaporate as her voice disarms the judgments brought on by her homey appearance. In one flash she goes from being a joke to a genius. What is it that happens in the instant that these two concepts collide and genius wins?

Why does watching this (just like watching Paul Potts' video a couple of years ago) make us cry? I even knew what was coming this time, so I can't just say, "Oh, it was such a surprise." Is it because it challenges my own prejudices about someone who looks plain or unattractive on the outside having such a gift? Is it because I'm jealous of someone who looks "like that" being able to sing so beautifully? Is it simply the beauty of their voices singing so passionately? Is it watching someone realize a long-held dream? Maybe all of it combined?

I think this made me cry and touched me so because the possibilities in our fellow human beings are without limits. She had a secret that she was ready to share with the world. Really, isn't the most simple and elegant gift that a person can give is to just stand there and sing a song? A song that lifts spirits or touches a heart or eases a pain. No frills, no big expense, just a sweet effort to express the human experiences that we all share.

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