While many songs used in Giving Voice (GV) promote peace, two particular ones have been used a lot for this purpose. And they have formed the bedrock of Giving Voice for Peace.*
This was the first song Jill had ever created. It has been shared widely over many years, in a variety of contexts. She describes it as offering the opportunity to experience peace. Diane, for instance, a childhood trauma survivor, reports –
“Listening, I have the strangest sensation of watching something on the surface yet being aware of a stillness underneath at the same time. It makes me feel very settled inside, peace and contentment spread through me ... I feel everything is OK, there is no need to worry about anything. It gives me a really lovely good feeling. Thank you very much."
"It helped my dearest friend die in peace” Netta, referring to Jill's studio recording
“Tonight I spent time with the ‘old man’. I felt a terrific sense of sadness ... and then deep peace.” Hannah
"I need this song as I struggle/emerge into this new phase of being. I need to sing it too.” Janet, childhood abuse survivor
“At first it seemed so simple and as the verses flowed on, subtle layers of meaning overlaid each other like lacy wings, and I found the cumulative effect magical and evocative. Each verse reminded me of experiences from my own life”.
Nuala, trained singer
Also by Jill, this song offers a powerful means to transform negative attitudes and beliefs about the ‘Other’.
Rachel wrote the following as she was training as a GV Teacher –
“I found this song difficult at first … It took me a while to fully take it in … Since September 2001, I’ve used the song in a variety of contexts:-
In November that year, I was in a place of deep grief, about Dad [who died 5 years ago], and about the world, the attacks on New York and the bombing of Afghanistan. I was numb and in shock from it all, bewildered, angry and overwhelmed. It was about 10pm, and I felt I wouldn’t be able to sleep. Then I got into bed, switched all the lights out, and listened to the tape of this song, which I had just received. It cut through all the pain, anger and … numbness and brought me to a place of peace … I drifted off to sleep and had the most sound, rejuvenating sleep I’ve had since September 11th. I was unusually alert the next day …
Thanks to the song, I’ve found it easy to keep my attention on finding love, acceptance and respect for myself, during many difficult encounters. Such a difference from my usual ways of being! Sometimes I’ve been so surprised by what it offers me, it just feels miraculous …
I used it during the 2003 war in Iraq … so that I was able to really face the extent of the horror (as far as it was being conveyed by the media) without cutting off or feeling completely overwhelmed and depressed. It really worked …”
… gradually, I’ve experienced a deepening of my awareness and acceptance of its meaning. This song is all about how I am ... my own fear and resistance to love ... my own limitations and prejudices ...”
Lynne's first experience with GV involved this song:
"It was truly life- enhancing ... The thought that flashed into my mind in the silence that followed was:
‘ 'love is the only thing that remains behind the paradoxes of life’.
'The Time Has Come' holds together life's paradoxes of pain and beauty …
What helped me discover this was the song, the blend of voices, and Jill’s sharing of the song’s history, together with her congruency. By 'congruency' I mean her authenticity in everything she said and shared. I am so aware of paradoxes and contradictions in myself and life. I utterly believe love is the only answer, yet living and trusting and believing it as a possibility is another matter so when the thought flashed into my mind of its 'own' accord, it was a profound moment."
In her response to Lynne, Jill shared why the song came to exist – which was so that she herself could address the painful paradox described, in a situation where she would otherwise have ended up shirking it: the lack of trust/belief in the possibility/reality of love in its most profound sense, in the context of being roundly confronted with the horror of our inhumanity – past and present. She went on:
“It enabled me to address this, and continues to enable me to do so - to move through many uncomfortable feelings, and many limited/ limiting beliefs, to a state of KNOWING (which perhaps the ‘congruency’ referred to reflects). What propelled me to 'find' (i.e. create) the song was the knowledge that, if I myself couldn't move beyond judgement and all the rest of it, how could I expect anyone else to? And if I couldn't start addressing this, then I had no right to expect or hope that human ‘inhumanity’ could ever stop. Learning to live without negativity is infectious. It can change the world!”
Giving Voice for Peace*
Here two participants describe the impact of engaging in GV for Peace. Both did so 'at a distance':
"The issue I worked with completely dissolved. It was astonishing! The issue was to do with a particular person, where I was being really judgemental and negative about them (and had been for a long time). I hadn’t been able to do anything about this at all. But the next day, when I saw her, I experienced none of this negativity at all." Meg
Comment from Jill: the facilitation through the song led to Meg realising, understanding, and changing. The change came about through the depth of her understanding; this was such that she was able to experience and realise – i.e. make real – the change: something which is not possible unless understanding is of sufficient breadth and depth.
"Screaming baby daughter … aware of being pulled away but kept bringing myself back to the song (one which I had previously avoided)… After c 15 minutes I started to experience peace, despite what was going on in the other room. Sensation a bit like when I meditate … Lovely. Worry-free!!" Deirdre
Deirdre's experience illustrates to some extent one of the things we know through GV – that an initial negative reaction to a song can ultimately prove to be the precursor of some profound learning. More about this is revealed in our book, Unlocking the Power of Song: a Companion for Challenging Times, together with additional information about the songs mentioned, insight into how people have unlocked their power, and guidance on how you can do this too.