Choosing to Shine

A few years ago, I started on a journey to practice shining more. Shining my talents, abilities, and forms of creative expression. For me, shining means stepping into something and not letting fear run the show. I came to see how often I shirked back from shining – out of fear. Fear of ego and fear of out-shining others.

In a little under 3-weeks, the culmination of my journey thus far will manifest in a solo spoken word performance and CD release party here in town. To say that I am nervous would be a remarkable understatement. But, as I’ve been sharing with folks lately, I’m proud of myself because despite having feelings of doubt and fear and uncertainty, I’m still doing it. I’m still moving forward, one scary moment at a time. My tracks are recorded and mastered; my CD’s are ordered; the gig is set; my booklet of lyrics is at the print shop. It’s happening!

If you’re interested in checking out my event page for this upcoming gig: https://spark.adobe.com/page/hC5Y8cQ32xv1e/

Something I’ve realized over the years is that fear isn’t rational, which is a big part of what makes it challenging to work with. If fear were a rational process, it would be fairly easy to talk our way out of it. But we all know that engaging in an intellectual dialog when it comes to a certain fear we have is futile. For example, let’s say we’re afraid of flying. Would it reduce your fear, even an iota, if someone were to give you the facts and statistics about how flying is safer than driving? No, probably not. Fear cannot be addressed in the head, it has to be addressed in the heart of our experience. In order to work with fear, we have to get out of our head and into our heart.

So that’s what I’ve been working on. Since fear lives in the head, I’ve been breathing in and practicing to exhale and delve deeper into the fragrant and calming waters of the heart. I’ve been practicing to use gentle and loving speech with myself: I see you fear. You are present and part of my experience AND I’m choosing not to let you run the show. You can hang out and all – but I’m choosing to shine.

I love that the following poem is so well-known. I’ve encountered it in a variety of places over the years – my most favorite spot being the middle school my stepson went to a few years ago, where an excerpt hung in large lettering on a banner in the hallway.

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Spoken Word

love

For the third year in a row we’ll be starting our winter series Open Mic Nights at the Open Way Mindfulness Center here in town once a month starting in December.  They’ve been a wonderful way to bring folks together during our long, cold mountain winters and to share in the abundance of joyful creativity that is such a part of our mindfulness community.  Our Open Mic Nights welcome families and kids and my 14-year old step-son is often the first to volunteer to kick off the show with his comedic stylings :)

One of the things I have most enjoyed about these gatherings the last two winters is that we’ve had such a vast array of offerings.  We’ve had songs and instruments, rap, poetry, art work, comedy, readings, group sing-a-longs, tai chi and yoga demonstrations, improv group games, show and tell, dance, and more!  The variety has been just wonderful.

In my preparation for the Open Mic’s to start back up I’ve been inspired to write.  I play guitar, sing, and write songs and lately I’ve been drawn to spoken word pieces.  Spoken word can take many different forms and for me it has become a blend of rap, verse, and song with just my voice and no musical accompaniment (at least not yet!).

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