"The World is Wide Enough" - Lessons from Hamilton
Updated: Apr 25, 2020
The following is a post that I intended to release earlier this year. As I mulled over what to share next, I uncovered the 11-minute voice memo I did the day after seeing the Broadway show, Hamilton. Before reacquainting myself with my account, I initially thought, ugh, maybe not the best thing to post. But after listening to the recording, I knew the time to share it was now.
For me and many others, this is a time of reflection. People will gain clarity on the vision for their life, and once COVID-19 is in the rearview, they will see and feel things differently. One of the things I hope people gain clarity on is "pursuing you." Pursuing the person who was meant to be but who got lost along the way. That is what this time is for. If we individually reset, the world will see a significant shift as well. And so goes my thoughts on Hamilton... Last December, I was gifted with the most beautiful gift, a trip to NYC, my hometown, and an experience that never gets old to me - going to the theater. I never expected to see Hamilton at least not for several years because, as we all know, getting tickets is crazy town! But my love was kind enough to make it happen. He asked me what the best thing about the play was. There are two things, maybe even three. Whenever I go to the theater, an attachment to it is the folks who are on that stage - the actors, the musicians, whoever helped put it together, had a dream. They went all out to achieve it and watered a seed that was planted in their heart. They nurtured it and sacrificed. It's just amazing to me to see people who went for something and achieved it. That's why I love the entrepreneurial spirit. I love anyone who is chasing a dream. Maybe chasing is the wrong word, but it's working through fear. It's being courageous. It's not letting people get in your way and tell you what you can and cannot do. It's beautiful. It's always the overarching thing for me. So definitely three things.
The second thing was I was so...my soul was exhilarated by seeing the diversity of the cast - Black men playing Thomas Jefferson and George Washington. The beauty of different hues on the stage - Alexander Hamilton, being played by a Latino gentleman. I mean, oh my gosh, I cannot even explain how thrilled I was to see that and how honored I felt to be sitting in that space as a witness to it. And to see Lin Manuel Miranda pay homage to my race, pay tribute to our struggle. He understands what many of us know, but the loudest voice has overpowered. It doesn't make that quiet voice less powerful. It's just that people are drawn to the most booming voice instead of the low, steady hum of goodness and coherency.
And Mr. Miranda understood what I understand, and one of the reasons why my nonprofit is the Mosaic Forum - we are each other's messenger. When I started the Forum, there were five of us. Myself, who is African American, a Latina, a Caucasian woman, a woman of mixed race, and an Afghani Muslim woman. I asked each person, and made a promise to each woman, to pick up the banner of the other. I promised to fight as hard for their people as I would for mine because, in the end, we are all one tribe. To see that Lin Manuel Miranda understood this and put it onstage, my God, it was soul-stirring! This play can change your life. I haven't been able to stop thinking about it.
The third thing that left a lasting impression on me was something that Alan Burr's character stated. I will probably not say it in the same way, but you'll get the gist of it - the world was wide enough for both Alan Burr and Alexander Hamilton. We're always competing with one another. We get in trouble because we've conformed to someone else's vision for our life. We think that other people are going to dull our shine, and they do because we are not bold enough to step out from behind their shadow. If we showed up in the world as who we were intentioned to be, who God made us to be, there would be none of that.
The world needs every one of us. That's why we're here. We all have this beautiful combination of gifts that only we have. It's not the first time anyone has heard this, but we need to get reminders. We each have an amazing, well laid-out plan for our lives. If we show up as who we were meant to be, the world is indeed wide enough for us all. The world becomes smaller when we show up as someone else. We all have a seed of goodness in us. A grain of purpose. A seed of passion. I heard this earlier today, and I say this all the time about myself - a person of endless curiosity. If we live in that sweet spot of being open, living in amazement and curiosity, tremendous joy and opportunity await.
The world is wide enough for you, for me, and the billions of people who are on this planet. Tap into who you really are. That's what the world needs. There's a quote that's more eloquent than what I just said, but it's so true - the world needs you to show up in your purest form. When you start doing that, this life is an adventure. I'm so blessed that I decided to show up and continue to show up. I continue to learn and uncover layers about who I am, for the good and bad of me, but I keep showing up. I invite you to do the same.