How often are you looking for, and providing, encouragement?

Today is June 26 and the Navigate the Chaos question to consider is “how often are you looking for, and providing, encouragement?” Encouragement is a two-way street. One side of the street is described by Ralph Waldo Emerson when he wrote “Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be.” The other side of the street is a belief to “encourage each other daily.” To both receive and give encouragement, that is today’s reflection.

Paul McCartney of The Beatles provides an example of both receiving and giving encouragement. In the spring of 2018 James Corden and The Late Late Show spent the week in London, and invited music icon Paul McCartney to join him for an epic new installment of Corden’s "Carpool Karaoke." During the interview McCartney told the story behind the hit song "Let It Be," off the band's final studio album in 1970. According to McCartney:


"I had a dream in the '60s where my mom, who died (when he was 14), came to me in the dream and was reassuring me, saying, 'it's gonna be OK. Just let it be.' She gave me the positive word. So, I woke up and I went 'What was that? What'd she say? Let it be? I've never heard that. That's kinda good. So, I wrote the song 'Let it Be,' [and it was] about positivity.”


"That's the most beautiful story I've ever heard," Corden said before the two broke out in an emotional duet of "Let it Be" that brought tears to talk show host's eyes as he drove. McCartney was looking for inspiration and found it in the spirit of his mother who came to him in a dream. But McCartney would also encourage others through his music. One such example was the song “Blackbird.”

The Beatles released “Blackbird” on November 22, 1968. McCartney was first inspired to write the lyrics after hearing the call of a blackbird while he was in Rishikesh, India.


Ultimately, the song developed into a powerful message about the unfortunate state of race relations in the United States in the 1960s. According to McCartney:


"Way back in the Sixties, there was a lot of trouble going on over civil rights, particularly in Little Rock. We would notice this on the news back in England, so it is a really important place for us, because to me, this is where civil rights started. We would see what was going on and sympathize with the people going through those troubles, and it made me want to write a song that, if it ever got back to the people going through those troubles, it might just help them a little bit, and that's this next one."


He explained that when he started writing the song, he had in mind a black woman, but in England, "girls" were referred to as "birds." And, so the song started with the line “Blackbird singing in the dead of night.”


McCartney added that he and the Beatles cared passionately about the Civil Rights movement, "so this was really a song from me to a black woman, experiencing these problems in the States: ‘Let me encourage you to keep trying, to keep your faith, there is hope.’"


Blackbird singing in the dead of night

Take these broken wings and learn to fly

All your life

You were only waiting for this moment to arise

Blackbird singing in the dead of night

Take these sunken eyes and learn to see

All your life

You were only waiting for this moment to be free

Blackbird fly, blackbird fly

Into the light of a dark black night

Blackbird fly, blackbird fly

Into the light of a dark black night

Blackbird singing in the dead of night

Take these broken wings and learn to fly

All your life

You were only waiting for this moment to arise

Receiving encouragement along the path of navigating the chaos can help us move forward while providing encouragement can help others along their path.

Are you just looking for encouragement? Where do you often find encouragement?

How often are you intentionally encouraging others to help them navigate the chaos?

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