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 planting..call 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.