The Bliss Blog

The Bliss Blog

Greater Gift

One of the things that I love about being the scribe for the Bliss Blog is that it keeps me real, vulnerable and transparent and offers permission for others to do the same. That’s part of the message today. Sometimes, despite our best intentions, visualization, seed it what you will, outcomes are not as we expect them to be.  I had the opportunity to come face to face with that dynamic recently.  I was invited to be part of an event that had me on stage with amazing, powerful, passionate, talented women. That in and of itself is not really a stretch, since I think I was a born performer, accustomed to being visible even as a child…little Shirley Temple. Rarely have I had stage fright. What made it gulpy and stomach flipping was that my ‘performance’ was going to be critiqued by the audience and a panel of local celebrity judges. At the end of the evening, there would be two winners; the first chosen by the former, the second by the latter. 

In my nearly 30 years as a speaker, I have never been in that position. Of course, evaluations have been filled out after professional classes I have taught, but this had an entirely different flavor.  I went into the experience, well rehearsed and yet willing to be spontaneous. It was a sharing of 30 years of my life in five minutes…talk about time warp. I spoke of pain and pleasure, of challenge and triumph, of holy smokes experiences that still have me shaking my head in bewildered awe at how things turned out. Some of me stood apart from myself, witnessing this 52 year old who played “things I wish I knew when I was you” with the 22 year old self whose long haired, wistful photo stood beside me on a music stand loaned to me by my friend Annabella Wood. Behind it was strapped a set of pink and blue, glitter encrusted faerie wings, serving as a backdrop/frame. I wore my more mischievous red and purple, silk be-ribboned, feather fluttered wings embellished with a purple boa that my Mom had made for me years ago, draped across my shoulders. 

I felt self conscious and simultaneously detached. When it was all over and the trembling stopped, I sat down and enjoyed the next round of speakers as I had those who shared before me. Each one was a marvelous story teller, unfolding her own wisdom teaching before the mesmerized audience. Each deserved to win.

Once I completed my offering, the dialogue with the Divine went into high gear.  “I really wanna win; even though this is not about winning and everyone here is in support of each other’s talents and strengths and I nailed it (like an Olympic diver, entering the water with knife-like accuracy) and and and…”  Whew, take a breath, woman!  Re-entering, “Ok, I surrender outcome and trust that the highest good will prevail.”   Back and forth my mental marching went,  until the announcement came and two others were chosen.  A sense of thud….and also, a feeling of excitement and gladness for each of them, since they were also inspiring and entertaining.

Once I was in the car heading home, the screeching monkey mind thoughts kicked into high gear…”If you were as good as you thought you were, you would have been chosen…what does that tell you; you imposter?”   and then my wise self countered with “and you know, sweetie pie, that all things happen for a reason. What’s right about this situation?”  “Nothing.”, my petulant little kid pouted, lower lip stuck out.  “Come on now, you know better than that. Practice what you preach. What did you talk about tonight? If something isn’t as you want it to be, make a positive change; don’t complain, do something.” 

I called my friend Ondreah on the way home and told her all about my evening, including how I was readily able to shift my perception and was feeling ever so much better.  She counseled that I was once again, pushing past my feelings, ignoring that little girl who wanted to be validated and loved best of all. She encouraged me to tell my inner 4 year old it was ok and just let her feel, for goodness sake. When the time was right, I could return to the regularly scheduled programming of being (said tongue in cheek:)  a grown up and moving forward to the next life lesson. You’d better believe that I threw her one heck of a pity party, allowing her to rave for a short time and then I dragged her outa there when I realized that she and I were the only guests present…not much fun.  

Then a startling revelation struck pay dirt!

If I had ‘won’ the contest, I wouldn’t have learned what I was now immersed in…that as much as I present myself as being supremely self confident and assured, that is merely one dimension. There are so many aspects of this 52/22/4 year old wise woman-child that call out for acknowledgment and validation, not from the world, but from myself.  And THAT is the greater gift.                                                      

  • Audra Supplee

    Dearest Edie,
    I LOVE your bliss blog! I love your honesty and compassion.
    Also, I know exactly what you mean about best intentions, seed planting, affirmations, etc. I did the same thing. I printed out two signs that I hung all over my house: “Congratulations Sunshine Sister Idol Winner!” and “Great Job Engaging the Audience.” After that I kicked into high gear. I practiced even after the ice storm when the power went out and I was editing my speech by candlelight. I practiced my speech in front of a timer to keep it at about four and a half minutes to give room for audience reaction. I practiced it at my Toastmasters meeting and got feedback on how to tighten it. I even got to practice it at work for co-workers. My success was definitely a group effort and I am grateful for all the talented speakers who offered me suggestions (I was also reading everything I could get my hands on about how to improve my presentation).
    When I put up that first affirmation on my wall I said to my husband, “Ya know, if everybody does this, it’s not gonna work for somebody.”
    You are an extremely talented and confident speaker. You had a powerful message. Maybe you tried to put too much into it? Five minutes is WAY too short. If you had focused on only one aspect, one lesson from your life, you would have blown me out of the water!
    I was terrified that night as well! Not because of the judges, not because of the audience, but because of that little timer that would cut me off at exactly 5 minutes. Even in Toastmasters where they time our speeches, you get 30 seconds of wiggle room.
    What a night! I look forward to hearing you speak again! Thanks

  • Nadine Sidoriak

    I enjoyed your story, it was inspiring. I especially liked the phrase that “all people are on loan to us” that encourages me to be sure to tell those people I love everyday that I do love them, even when they just ignore me(yes I have teenagers)….
    Thank you for sharing your story!

  • Annabella Wood

    Great blog, Edie. I was there, and you were great. Tell your 4 year old she has a valid point. And know that you were in great company. Every one of you (but one whose identity I will not divulge) felt like a winner to me. My hat is off to all of you, and I hope to be included in your ranks one day.

  • Molly Napolitano

    Great post Edie. I’m looking forward to meeting you in April.
    Stay well…

  • Miriam Evers

    Great article Edie. Sounds like you did win the contest, but not in the way that you expected. :) Congratulations!

  • Edie Weinstein

    THANK YOU ALL a gazillion times over! I really did get the exactly perfect experience that I needed. AND Audra I deeply appreciate your comments on all levels since (in case other folks didn’t know here:) she was the People’s Choice winner and certainly deserved the kudos she received. Like other aspects of my life, narrowing things done is one of my biggest challenges. I had a life coach a few years ago who advised me to “drill deep, not wide” when it came to my creative work, since my resume is so vast.
    I hesitated to write on this subject for today’s blog entry, not wanting it to seem like sour grapes. Instead, as ‘the queen of reframe’, I was able to turn it into a big win and grist for the mill for other presentations and workshops.
    Love and Blissings…

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