The other day I was looking for a poem to read at a meeting for an inspirational start. I pulled Mattie Stepanek’s book Heartsongs from my shelf. I was surprised to realize – after opening the card that I had stuck in the front of the book when I’d received it from my friend Maria Roman – that I probably had not read Mattie’s work in nearly 10 years. (The card was dated almost 13 years ago, 28 April 2002.) I think Mattie must have planted seeds with me back then and his was one of many voices whispering to my heart as I moved through my cancer diagnosis and treatment. Thank you for your beautiful songs, Mattie.


I have a song, deep in my heart,
and only I can hear it.
If I close my eyes and sit very still
it is so easy to listen to my song
When my eyes are open
and I am so busy and moving and busy,
if I take time and listen very hard,
I can still hear my heartsong.
It makes me feel happy.
Happier than ever.
Happier than everywhere,
and everything and everyone in the world.
Happy like thinking about
Going to Heaven when I die.
My heartsong goes like this-
I love you! I love you!
How happy can you be!
How happy can you make this whole world be!
And sometimes it’s other
Tunes and words, too.
But it always sings the same special song.
But do you know what?
All people have a special song
Inside their hearts!
Everyone in the whole world has a special heartsong.
If you believe in magical, musical hearts.
And if you believe you can be happy
Then you, too, will hear your song.

-Mattie J. Stepanek

Mattie Stepanek was a special young man born with a rare form of Muscular Dystrophy, which robbed him of his mobility and eventually it robbed him of his life. As a dear friend Penelope says on her blog, My porphyria blog, “you can see from reading his poem, it did not rob him of his love for life and the people in it. He was a very talented young man who actually became a published author and inspired disabled and non-disabled people alike. He caught the attention of Oprah Winfrey and appeared on her show several times. He was a very sweet, creative and loving young man”


About Vicki L Flaherty

I am most alive when I am creating, whether through my writing, gardening, photography, or my work. Running and yoga enrich my being. I am happiest when I’m with my husband Jim. Travel opens me to new possibilities and greater awareness. I find a special joy in helping people succeed. I’ve done something valuable when I’ve helped a colleague or friend see their brilliance and express their full potential. I have awesome opportunities to do this as an industrial/organizational psychologist through leadership, mentoring, coaching, career and other talent programs. As I've focused on living more mindfully, I've found special joy in expressing myself through poetry and photography, and in truly being in relationship with those I meet along my journey.

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