“I believe reality is a marvelous joke staged for my edification and amusement and everybody is working very hard to make me happy.”– Terence McKenna
Elizabeth Gilbert used that phrase in a Facebook post that was brought to my attention the other Sunday by my power posse. I mentioned how, during my February workshop in Switzerland, I freaked out because I’d run out of material by Saturday afternoon when I still had Sunday to go.
Speaking in public, up until now, has been one of my demons, one of the last “stories” I seem to protect. My heart races, my fears start jabbering and my thoughts get to moving so fast that I’ve considered buying them a training bra.
A couple of marvelous women from the workshop in Bern (one was a banker, the other, a mystery writer) invited me for drinks and dinner Saturday night. My old self, the one with the running bra thoughts, would have declined. After all, I needed to go back to my hotel room and work diligently on tomorrow’s workshop.
But if I was truly “smokin’ what I was selling,” I would go for the joy and the fun and trust the universe.
I took the hit! I went for drinks and dinner, had a marvelous time and woke up to the Divine serendipity of great ideas for Sunday’s workshop. It went great!!!
Last Sunday, I spoke in Denver at the I Can Do It! conference. Same crazy running bra thoughts, same fear.
It went quite well. Or at least I thought so. I got lots of rave reviews and a long line of people wanting me to sign books. I felt good. I went out to celebrate with two old college friends.
But that night, when I returned to my hotel room, an email popped into my inbox from a woman who had attended the workshop.
She said she was disappointed. She was writing, she said, to help me, to point out how uncomfortable I seemed and how I wasn’t the caliber of the other speakers.
Needless to say, my crazy thoughts had a field day. They even urged me to ignore one of my chief Course in Miracles lessons–“In my defenseless my safety lies.” I was tempted to write her back to ask, “And this helps me how?”
I also considered canceling all my upcoming gigs. But then I remembered another one of the things I “sell.”
If you don’t like the way your lipstick looks in the mirror, it’s pointless to fix it on the actual mirror. You have to fix it in yourself where’s it’s actually fixable.
I realized that as long as I still “yammered on” about my fears of public speaking, I was going to continue to see that reality in the mirror. She was just voicing that part of myself that still believes the old story, that still thinks criticizing myself will somehow improve me.
And I realize that those critical running bra voices offer NOTHING helpful. I just need to observe them. And love myself anyway.
Pam Grout is the author of 17 books including E-Squared: 9 Do-it-Yourself Energy Experiments that Prove Your Thoughts Create Your Reality and the recently-released sequel, E-Cubed, 9 More Experiments that Prove Mirth, Magic and Merriment is your Full-time Gig.