My oldest daughter recently promoted from eighth grade, and is now an official High Schooler. At her promotion ceremony I sat behind the mother and sister of a girl who had a solo with the choir. They sang a song about how the voice of one can make a difference, about letting go of judgement and ending hate. It was another of those moments where society and separation fell away from my awareness, and I felt so connected to the collective that I felt like I was that beautiful voice encouraging myself to dream, to do those things my heart longed for, and to embrace myself.
When the girl starting singing her part I heard the mother say something about not knowing she had a solo. I listened to the comments of the sister, about how beautiful the girl’s voice was. They both shared how amazed they were that she could sing like that. Part of me wanted to judge them in that moment. I wanted to say “why doesn’t she feel safe enough to share this part of herself with you?” but I didn’t say it. I sat with that thought, the feeling that came with it, and instead began to open myself to their reaction. There was no anger there, just genuine surprise and awe. That girl did a brave thing, standing up in front of her entire graduating class and singing her heart out, exposing herself and her passion. The tears welled in my eyes and spilled over, her vulnerability and courage as she stood stripped bare in that moment moved me. It moved everyone in the place that was present and listening. Several people around me discreetly sniffled at various times, apparently feeling very strongly as well.
I looked again at the mother and sister of that talented new High Schooler and noticed their beaming smiles, the joy on their faces. Maybe she didn’t share that she had a solo for another reason. Maybe she didn’t feel safe to share it before showtime. Maybe she wasn’t sure if she would really do it until the last moment. Who knows? It is not my place to make a snap decision about it. The point is that Mom and Sister showed up, participated, and got to share in an unforgettable moment. I hope they encourage her passion, hope they help her cultivate the talent and unrealized potential there. Passion like that needs the freedom to expand and the room to roam.
The power of one person can feel nonexistent, like a drop in an endless bucket that is the people on our planet. The kicker is that one person is more like a raindrop falling into a body of water than they realize, and once that catalyst touches the other rain drops, the energy casts ripples far and wide. We get to choose the charge of our ripples, be they negative, positive, or neutral. Have you ever been around someone who expressed an opinion about something and you felt bad inside, like you were less? Hearing about a tragedy or experiencing toxic people can feel like that. Experiencing feelings that trigger the negative can color how you see yourself, as well as how you see others. Suddenly you will be seeing the negative all around and feeling worse and worse. Have you had someone say something that resonated, that felt good inside your body? A feel good song on the radio that you find yourself nodding your head to? That woman down the street that always has a kind word to say or a genuine smile as you pass? A moment like that can make your whole day, and you spend it singing to yourself, dancing in your car at a stop light, or wearing a megawatt smile all day long. Sometimes your experience is neutral, no charge at all, just chugging along as you go. Either way the charge tips, there is a reason why you feel that way.
Putting awareness on the charge of how you receive communication can teach you so much about yourself. Noticing emotions can clue you in to when you are judging yourself, and gives you the power to transform that judgement into something else, thereby giving you the power of choosing and/or changing your charge as you need to. Letting go of judgement starts with yourself. How are you ever going to see how awesome you are while telling yourself that you aren’t, or not allowing yourself to feel your feelings? I see memes all over the internet that say things like “I just want to inspire people”. I think I understand the sentiment behind that statement, but not so much the focus on outside and external. Why not inspire yourself? Why not live those dreams and light the fire that lives within you? The ripples created by happiness, by people living their passions and their dreams ignites other by proximity. Enthusiasm is contagious. Love is contagious. That fire within you that is your passion (or passions) is love, which can be shared with others. The key about sharing is that you can’t consciously share what you aren’t aware that you already posses. Isn’t life cool?