Public speaking is a spiritual practice for me. I started that practice in the only way I could have really. If someone would have told me I was going to be good at it or that I should do it, I never would have believed it. But, it was presented as just the next logical step. If this who you want to be when you grow up, get up on the stage, talk, share, pray, just do it.
I was terrible. I was frightened. I stumbled all over myself for what felt like day after day for months. That was almost two years ago. I’m still not an expert, but I do it. It’s mine to do.
I don’t rehearse. I don’t even write most of what I say in advance. I get up there, get present with the energy in the room and myself, and I speak. I don’t write. I fight with it. I’m frightened of it. And, it’s the next logical step. Not because I love it, or enjoy it, but it’s mine to do. So I’m trying to do it.
I wrote this a few weeks ago in an attempt to describe what the experience is like for me:
My fingers hesitate over the keyboard anytime I start to write with my own words.
Like somehow I am entering into an unbreakable commitment to Life and the world. Or even scarier still a commitment to myself. The fact is, that I don't want to make a commitment. I like the feel of words rising from my belly, pulsing through my chest and dancing out into the world across my tongue and lips. As those words swirl out into the atmosphere and dissipate with the weight of them still hanging in the air, that's when I feel like I am truly expressing. Not when my fingers hit the keys, or when the printer spits them back at me or even worse when my pen is pressed to paper. But, when life and love find each other in every fiber of my being and their tangled embrace becomes so dynamic that they have no choice but burst into life from that gaping chasm at the center of my being that I call a soul. From that part of myself that is excited and exhausted at the same time. That is old a born anew every time that I remember that I really am brave enough to let Life in and pour the contents of my constantly broken heart out into the world.
But, I can't put that down on paper or post it on the internet. It would look like spilled paint on the sidewalk as it lay there for decades while people walk by and wonder what sort of catastrophe had to happen in order to cause that mess. Until they stop wondering and just walk by without noticing it anymore. Then, someone's insides (my insides) on the ground are just something people walk past on the way to where they really want to go.
I don’t know. Maybe somewhere in my mind I’m afraid that’s all words are when they are written down- a mess. More plausibly though, as my relationship to spoken words flourishes, I recognize the power of words and continue to shy away from what an answered prayer to “level-up” means for putting my words onto paper or screen as it were. But I’ll keep doing it, it’s mine to do.
At the beginning of a new year so many of us focus on changing things in our lives that society or convention tells us we should be doing a certain way. We think that life would be so much better if we just follow a road map that tells us how much we should weigh, what food is best to eat, what kind of clothes are fashionable, and which habits are favorable and unfavorable. So, we resolve to change ourselves to fit into a mold and we never stop to consult our own inner wisdom. The one authority that truly knows what is best for each one of us as we strive to live authentically and in harmony with all of Life.
For the last several months I have felt myself being propelled by my willingness to experience life in authenticity and with a new understanding of fulfillment. I felt like I kept stalling out. Taking a few steps only to end up standing still and often feeling frustrated because I know something is waiting for me but I can’t seem to get there. So, I decided to take my own advice and recognize that all those blessings I want; all the Good that I am seeking is already here in this moment waiting for me to receive it. Limitless possibility and endless opportunity are present in my life.
Here is my advice:
1. Get rid of things that no longer serve you.
Not just things. Yes, clear out the clutter. Stop holding onto things for ‘someday’. And for heaven’s sake, stop waiting to use things only on special occasions!
But, this little plan means much bigger things when we are willing to recognize ALL of the places where life just isn’t working right. Why isn’t it working? Often times, if we recognize where we are holding onto old beliefs and habits that just don’t fit the person we are right now we can let them go to focus on becoming the person we are meant to be.
Yes, this is often a painful process. Maybe we don’t want to donate our old prom dresses and bridesmaid gowns. It’s difficult to admit to ourselves and others that relationships are not working and in need of new healthier boundaries. But wounds heal and scars fade and the only way that those things happen is because we are willing to move on from the pain. Let it go. You are serving no one by clinging on to things that keep you small.
2. Get out of your own way.
All of those clichés about being our own toughest critic or harshest judge and worst patient are pretty much true. Other people are usually too involved in their own stuff to care about our stuff as much as we think they do. And if they are overly involved in our business- it’s just a way of distracting themselves from their own. Believe that!
But I digress-the point is that we are judging ourselves most harshly and our experience of life is a direct reflection of all those things we think we do and do not deserve. So, stop it. The only place that gets us is stuck exactly where we are. By telling ourselves that we are unhappy, unlovable, unworthy or undeserving of life’s blessings in any way we are perpetuating and putting energy into beliefs that are just untrue.
The truth is that every one of us is blessed and the best way to fully experience our blessings to be willing to recognize them. Every moment that we spend focusing on what we don’t have or worrying about the outcome is a moment we are not realizing the things that we do have. Sometimes it’s coffee with a friend or an unseasonably warm day in December walking in the park. It’s the love and laughter and abundance and riches that we are in the thick of and when we stop blocking all of those marvelous things with our regrets and insecurities, more and more experiences like that show up in our existence.
So, that’s it. I’m following my advice. My mantra continues to be Limitless Possibility, Endless Opportunity and I’m enjoying all the little things that are showing up in places I didn’t think to look. I hope you’ll take some time to let your gifts find you too.