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Playing the Pipes in Mostar

by inspire on February 4, 2008

There’s really no limit to how much love can grow and blossom in our lives. As Elizabeth Kubler Ross (1926-2004)  the world renowned author said - when we get to the end of our lives what  really counts is how much love we gave and how much we were open to receive (see Graceful Passages). Of course there’s also no limit to how much fear can grow and control our lives. One very powerful question which I’ve mentioned in a previous article “What motivates you“, which can help us ensure that it is love and not fear that grows in our lives is – what would love do now. As we respond to this question when facing decisions about our families, our career, our communities and our world, we may have to face perceived fears but it is in facing them that they dissolve and lose their power over us. Our loving response most importantly ensures that it is love that grows and blossoms in our lives.

I love to play music yet I can remember many times in various different gatherings over the years where I would love to have performed but I didn’t because I was afraid. I would come away annoyed with myself for not playing. What was I afraid of? Afraid of not being good enough, being embarrassed and making a fool of myself or some other self defeating belief. However as the saying goes – face the truth and the truth will set you free!

Just after September 11 2001 I went on a peace trip to Bosnia. On this trip we were to visit Mostar. I didn’t know much about Mostar except what I heard on the news  - it had been devastated during the Balkans war. 

We were told we’d go from the Christian section of Mostar into the Muslim section and that we were to keep a low profile, particularly as the war in Afghanistan had just begun and many were calling it a Christian/Muslim war. I knew I’d need to be careful about where I played the pipes!

The night before visiting Mostar we were having a briefing about the visit and the group facilitator said “I think its best that you don’t bring the pipes to Mostar as we dont want to attract any unwanted attention”. I looked at him and reluctantly said “ok”. However, as I listened to his words old feelings of rejection returned. These feelings I’d had many times before and each time they dampened my dreams. I wasn’t sure what to do but I knew I would love to play my pipes. I returned to my hotel room and reflected on fear and love? What would fear do now? What would Love do now?

For sure fear wouldn’t play. Fear would hold its head down in rejection and mentally be angry with those he felt rejected by. This would close the door even more on my dreams. I thought about many times in my life when I’d acted from this place of fear. Granted this was about playing in a place where there had been tremenjous fear in the recent past but for me it really was about looking this rejection dragon in the eye and once and for all dissolving it. How could it be dissolved?

I knew the answer to this one, it was easy. I love to play music, particularly the bagpipes – its what I love to do, its what I love to be! So quite simply love would play the bagpipes in Mostar and Love would dissolve this old dragon.

Of course there was also the question about not getting others approval. Not only from the group I was with, who may not like the bagpipes announcing their arrival in Mostar but also from the people of Mostar who may not like them either?

I tossed and turned - will I or won’t I play. I felt this was one of the most important times for me to decide – would I come from a place of fear or a place of love? I even dreamt about it that night. By morning I knew. I must play whatever the consequences.

I wasn’t looking for anyone’s approval. I was, once and for all, going to face my fear and do it in a place that had experienced the real extremes of human fear in recent times. With respect I informed the group facilitator and mentioned if anyone didn’t want to be near me when I played that’s fine. He was fine about it and indeed we laughed. We decided to put the intention out to the universe and let the moment present itself.

As we approached and arrived in Mostar I couldn’t believe the destruction I saw. – houses and buildings blown to bits, the walls of apartments blown out by an incoming missile, walls with literally hundreds of thousands of bullet holes in them. It reminded me of some of the WWII documentaries I’d seen on the battle of Stalingrad. I wondered what were the seeds of such hatred and destruction? I wondered could this have happened in my own country Ireland, if the troubles, bad as they were, had really escalated? Even if there had been no visible destruction you would know that something terrible had happened here because the energy of war was palpable.

We spent a number of hours in Mostar. In particular, we negotiated our way into a Mosque to sing a Muslim prayer for peace. In spite of all the fear that was being broadcast about September 11 and the war in Afghanistan here was I sitting in a Mosque with a group of people, most of them American, from all walks of life, who believed in peace singing a Muslim prayer for peace and I watched as the Muslim man in charge of the Mosque was moved to tears. It was to say the least a deeply humbling experience!

 Dove in Mostar

As we walked through the streets after leavning the Mosque, one of our group asked me had I seen the photo she took? As she took it a white dove flew in front of her camera. I was expecting to see a tiny dove in her photo she showed me on her digital camera. Given that we’d been waiting around for a couple of hours and I hadn’t seen any doves, I was very surprised when she showed me the picture across.

Just before we left Mostar on that life changing day, the moment to play the pipes presented itself. We entered a Church which was being rebuilt after being destroyed during the war. As I took the pipes under my arms I felt this incredible presence and it felt so important to be playing. Around me the group stood in semi-circle. As I played I entered a beautiful place of deep peace, a profound place of inner calm. It was like when my Father was dying I felt that no matter what my opinion was about his dying, there was another intelligence at work that knew what was best for all. Its when we surrender to this intelligence and become instruments for its divine manifestation that the real magic occurs. As I played in the Church in Mostar I felt I was being held in the divine hands of this intelligence and everything was happening perfectly.

The tune I played was Amazing Grace which reverberated throughout the concrete walls of this large Church. Many of the group watching were moved to tears and in the days after came up to me and said ”you’ll never know what you did for me Sean when you played the pipes in Mostar”. I’d moved them in ways I couldn’t ever imagine.

Pipes in Mostar 2001

You see as you decide to respond to the question “What would love do now?” you begin to create magic and sometimes you don’t even know what you’re doing – but your connection with the greatest force in the universe, Love, is helping others realise it too.

Let this week be a week in which you do ask yourself “What would love do now” and follow through on the answer that presents itself.

May Your Most Fulfilling Dreams come true …

Sean M Kelly

PS: Remember next Evening of Inspiration is Tuesday 12th February in Stillorgan Park hotel at 7.15pm to 9.30pm.

Click here for details:

How to Manifest Your Dreams

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Marilyn Brookhart February 4, 2008 at 9:51 pm

How well I remember that enchanted and magnificent day in Mostar! You lead us so beautifully into that dream of peace and helped us connect with our higher spirit. Our mission was truly realized that day. Thank you for all you give and share.

Richard Cullen February 5, 2008 at 6:13 am

Well done for facing the fear. Thanks for sharing this story Sean and for the countless stories you share through your newsletter and meetings. They are an inspiration. Many thanks

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