Unexpectedly, I am self-conscious.
Unexpectedly, I wonder if my words have meaning. Depth. Substance.
Most mornings when I write in this space, I am simply present. No artifice. No ‘gotta make people think this, feel that’. No, hmmm, what message shall I give today? It’s just me, the velvet night turning light outside my office window, the desk lamp casting a golden glow upon my keyboard and Beaumont, curled up on the floor behind me, sleeping.
This morning, the critter awoke and ego mind leapt into the fray. “You gotta make sure your words have meaning, Louise. You gotta write important stuff!”
The critter is a devious character. He likes to try to convince me that what I write must come from my mind. “Your heart is too soft,” he says. “Your heart will get you into trouble. Take care. Listen up and listen only to me. I will tell you what to write so it sounds important. Like you know what you’re talking about.”
And I laugh. Eventually.
The critter is not my friend. Though he thinks his job is to protect me, he’s really only acting out from my fears and limitations. He wants to keep me in the ‘box’ even though I know within my heart, there is no box.
Yesterday, two remarkable things happened. I followed a link to a man’s blog that resonated so deeply within me I felt seen, heard, known, even though I do not know this person. As I read his words I experienced courage. Humanity. Humility. Love.
And I knew, I am not alone.
Last night, I had dinner with a group of people organizing and performing at tonight’s Music for a Winter’s Evening where I will be speaking.
Malcolm Guite is an English poet, singer-songwriter, Anglican priest, and academic. (Wikipedia) He will be performing with Steve Bell, is a Canadian singer-songwriter and guitarist based in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. He is among the best-known Christian musicians in Canada and is an accomplished songwriter and record producer. (Wikipedia)
And then there’s me. I’ll be speaking just before intermission. Telling my story to inspire the audience to give with heart to two agencies, Next Step Ministries and Oxford House, who work with women healing from addictions, street-engaged life, prostitution and homelessness. I italicize ‘my story’ because for me, it is no longer ‘my’ story. It is a story that I no longer own, but is simply the gateway through which I step to live my purpose and life intention — to touch hearts, open minds and set spirits free to dance in a world of love, joy and harmony.
As we sat at dinner last night, Steve asked me to share a bit of ‘my story’ so that he would know how to introduce me when it’s time for me to take the stage and share.
I gave them the cliff’s notes and when I was finished, Malcolm pulled out his iPhone and read a poem he’d written about Mary, Mother of Jesus.
And the conversation soared.
And I knew, I am not alone.
Now, I have never sat at a dinner table in a restaurant and had a man, or woman, read a poem with such grace. It did not feel out of place. It did not feel uncomfortable and even though this morning, after a night’s rest, my critter mind wanted to revert back into its shell an play small, I remember how it felt sitting at that table. It felt… beautiful.
And I thought, this. This is the kind of world I want to live in. A world where people share from their place of magnificence, where we connect through that magnificence so that each of us can remember and feel and know we truly are magnificent.
And in our magnificence, we let go of mediocrity, our desire to play small, our fear of standing tall. We let go of giving into the voices that whisper in our heads to shut up! Stay down! To not shine. To not be our most magnificent selves.
I want to live from that place — where we each share our unique brilliance to make the world lighter and brighter so that together, we truly do awaken our humanity to see, we are all the same kind of different, and in that difference and sameness, we are each being the best kind of human we can be.
So Mr. Critter. I see you. I know your fear. I know your voice. And I want you to know. Your box is not my place to shine. My heart is my home. And when I am living from my heart, I’m safe out here in the light. Sure, I may stumble. I may even fall. But I have the best defense of all out here because out here — I am not alone.
And btw — there are still tickets available. They’re only $27.00 and the evening promises to be one of heart, music, soul and inspiration. I hope you can come!