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Monday, February 4, 2013

Stretched!

Have you ever stretched yourself?

No, I am not talking about yoga (for once), or warming up your muscles before a workout... I am talking about the kind of stretching that is required for personal growth.

To be stretched means to do something outside of your comfort zone...something that you have maybe done before.  Really, if you think about it, the first time you do anything (as an adult), it is going to be uncomfortable, especially if it involves other people witnessing your first attempt.  This would be a great topic for a later blog post, but for now I am going to argue that this stretching, this discomfort, is important.  It is essential.  Because it is through this willingness to stretch ourselves, to test our limits, that we discover more of our true selves.  What we are actually capable of when we don't allow fear to stand in the way.

You see, in order to grow, change, transform, we need to stretch (or be stretched).

I only ask because this past weekend was a bit of a stretch for me.

A while back, in November I think, I was asked to speak at a fundraising event that was to be held in February at the local theatre - Horizon Stage.  Horizon Stage is a beautiful venue... I know this because I have been involved in many a production there as a drama student in both junior and senior high.

Poster for the event

To be honest, when I was asked, I didn't give it much thought.  Could I speak?  Sure.  Lord knows I love to talk (ummm...okay so maybe that is the understatement of the year).  And speaking is something that fits well with 'the plan'...you know, that list of (not-so-far-off) dreams.

I should tell you that I am so the person who agrees to stuff readily without considering it that much.  In other words, I love to say yes, leaving myself to figure out the details later.  I probably don't have to tell you that this has gotten me into trouble on more than one occasion...

So, I said yes.  And I didn't give it much thought until January rolled around.  Oh January.  My soul thanks you.  Thank you for the lessons that you invariably seem to bring forward.  Thank you for the opportunity to see yet an even deeper level of what I am 'working on'.  I know that you are a gift.

But the voice in my head?  It is so very, very Grateful that you have gone away for another 11 months. And this part of me celebrated your passing.  February 1 was a day of celebration in my life.  Nope.  That is an understatement.  I actually frolicked.  Seriously.

Erm.  Anyway.  As I was saying, I spent part of January trying to figure out 'the details' of my speech.  What was my intention?  What did I really want people to know/take away?  Was I sure that I could even do this?  Was I going to freak out?  Was I going to screw up?  What if I completely sucked?  And on and on and on...anxiety building as the date crept ever closer.

Saturday, February 2nd.  The big night was here.

And it was perfect.  Not that I was perfect (haha, hardly!) but the experience was perfect.  My dry mouth, my heart pounding in my chest, my shallow breathing.  Even my note to myself: Breathe.  Go slow.  Remember who you are (FLOW!)  Smile.  Have fun.  All of these feelings of discomfort, of uncertainty, paved the way to the actual experience.  Spotlight on, staring into a black hole, speaking to a silent room filled with 150 people.

And you know what?  It was fun.  And now I know that I can do this.  And I know that I like to do this.  And I want to do it again.

So the stretch?  Uncomfortable?  You bet.

But it was so very, very worth it.

Thank you for the opportunity Jillian Rutledge and the Mishah Ocean Foundation.

M. xoxo

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