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.