A few weeks ago, I attended a retreat in San Diego, the theme was ‘Dream Big’. We were asked at the opening “What is your intention for this weekend?”. I had been thinking a lot about this on the way to the retreat because of the struggles and blocks I was facing before I came. I resolved to “trust and surrender” to break through my barriers. What I didn’t know was that I was getting ready to get the biggest trust exercise that I never even thought would be possible that weekend.
Sing a little something
A joke had been going on all weekend that I should sing for the group because my roommate heard me singing in our room. This was not a singing retreat, it was a personal development retreat. This may not seem like a big deal for some because it’s who they are, they can just sing on command….I can not. I freeze. All these scenarios come up about forgetting words, “What if I mess up?”, “What if my voice cracks?” “What if I try and they don’t think I’m good, I will be humiliated”….no. Not in public. Funny guys, but no.
On the last day, I was getting on the mike to share (something completely unrelated), and a woman joked “oh, Kelley’s going to sing!” I did my usual of laughing it off and said a sarcastic “no”….mistake. The coach leading the retreat was on the scent and started to investigate. “Go ahead” she says because she knew I was afraid, “just a little something…doesn’t have to be long”. But afraid was not even close to how I feel about singing in public. Sweaty hands, mind was blank, I must have been pale, everyone was looking at me, I was petrified.
I want to be care free
Really, I wanted to be carefree, I did. I wanted to be the person who could be care-free, to show my gifts, but my mind completely froze…completely blank, waiting for this moment to be over. It felt as if I was naked in front of everyone. I wasn’t going to do it. Nope, move on, nothing to see here!
My heart was pounding, pleading, grasping for anything that would get me out of this situation. But the coach kept pushing. She knew…she knew it was a huge fear and that I needed to push through it. The room was so quiet…everyone was waiting, looking, encouraging, willing me to sing. The quiet and tension was deafening.
Finally, one of my close friends at the retreat said “Kelley, you helped me last year when I faced one of my biggest fears of speaking in public, and now I am here for you, you can do this.” As I looked into her eyes, full of tears of love and encouragement, she gave me strength. I knew I wasn’t getting out of this.
I took a deep breath….let it out, 1, 2, 3. Another deep breath…let it out, 1, 2, 3 so many thoughts raced through my mind. Everyone is still waiting, what am I going to sing. I got it…no I don’t…I have the song…what are the words? Breathe….1, 2, 3… With my head down, eyes closed and voice trembling…
When you try your best but you don’t succeed
When you get what you want, but not what you need
When you feel so tired but you can’t sleep
Stuck in reverse
I did it. When I looked up, all the ladies were in tears. They had come through this with me and I will never forget that experience. I went through the fear. At the time, I was in shock, but soooo grateful, I can’t even begin to express my gratitude.
The #1 Lesson I learned
I didn’t realize it at the moment, but even after all of that, when everyone was telling me that I was a good singer, I. Did. Not. Believe. Any. Of. It. They were just being nice. I believed they loved and cared about me, but I knew they were just being nice about my singing. And then I realized…this was what I do. I don’t believe people when they compliment me…I don’t believe they care. They are lying. This is what my monkey mind says. But everyone there SAW me…SAW all of me in that vulnerable state…naked…imperfect…nearly broken.
I am loved no matter what
My people love me even when I don’t. They carry me when I can’t move. I can FINALLY see this, I am loved no matter what. No matter what I do or how bad I “fail”, I am loved. With this amazing support, I CANNOT fail!
It doesn’t matter if I mess up. It’s all part of the journey. And each step, good or bad, is a step to growth and a learning experience that puts YOU where you are today.
I never knew my “lesson” about surrender and trust would be an exercise of breaking through a fear that had nothing to do with what’s been at the forefront of my journey, but has everything to do with it. I’m forever grateful for this amazing gift.
What about you?
What’s your biggest fear, and what are you going to do TODAY about it? How much longer are you going to spend in fear and stuck living a life that doesn’t light you up? Do something today that puts you outside your comfort zone…and stretch!