This is me on one of the most meaningful days of my life.
Not just because I had the honor of being the keynote speaker at a beautiful luncheon for 250 people.
But because of the lesson I learned from the experience.
(And I think there’s a pretty big one in here for you, too. So, I hope you’ll keep reading.)
LIKE MOST THINGS, IT STARTED WITH A DREAM.
For years, I’ve felt a deep calling to uplift and inspire large groups of women, sharing my voice, my art and my heart. And the message that it’s never too late to soar.
But as many of you know, I hadn’t exactly been soaring myself as I’ve been stuck in the muck of worry, pain and fear about my son’s addictions.
On most days, just getting to the grocery store was a major achievement.
SO, I HAD NOTHING LEFT FOR MY OWN DREAMS.
OR DID I?
Even though our family was in crisis, I felt compelled to somehow keep my dream alive.
So, each night before I went to sleep, I visualized myself standing at a podium on a big stage in a large room full of women.
I imagined how it would feel to stand there, connecting with every heart in the room.
To feel the tingly joy of my words and paintings inspiring tears and laughter.
To feel the freedom of expressing all the colors that I am (after a lifetime of feeling “too much.”)
And to feel grateful and ferklempt as a room full of women give me an uproarious standing ovation.
AND THEN, THE CRAZIEST THING HAPPENED.
Last spring, when I was in the depths of my own grief, I got a call from GriefHaven. A wonderful organization that gives support to parents and families who have lost a child.
When I heard that their previous speakers had been Polly Klass’s father and Ron Goldman’s sister, I asked “Why me?”
The answer: “This time we wanted someone funny, uplifting and inspiring.”
Honestly, I felt the exact opposite.
But how could I say “no” to something that flew into my life so magically?
And you know what?
Preparing my speech helped me rise out of my own grief, knowing I could help others rise out of theirs.
BUT NOTHING WENT AS PLANNED.
The thing I’ve learned about dreams coming true is that they don’t happen the way we think they should.
I was supposed to speak at 1 pm. but I didn’t get on stage til 2:30. (It took a lot of deep breathing in the ladies room to deal with that.)
Next, there were all kinds of technical glitches. Sound problems. And paintings popping up on screen that had nothing to do with what I was saying.
Then, I woke up the next morning, mortified that I didn’t I didn’t get any pictures of myself other than the blurry one you see here.
And weeks later, when I finally saw the video footage I was aghast at the shaky camera work, bad lighting and incredibly unflattering angles (like could my nose look any beakier???)
Ironically, that was the intention I had set for the day.
And boy, that’s what I got.
Though far from perfect, I felt more connection with the audience than I ever could have imagined.
Laughter. Tears. A big standing ovation. And the most heartwarming hugs and comments afterward.
So, in the spirit of connection, I am hereby sharing my perfectly imperfect speech with all of you.
(Even though my nasty Inner Critic Edna isn’t happy about it. The bitch just hates it when I share the light of my True Self.)
I hope you’ll take the time to watch it.
But even if you don’t, I hope my story reminds you to keep your dream alive.
THE MORAL OF THE STORY:
KEEP WATERING YOUR DREAMS.
Even if you’re too busy, too tired, too burdened, too overwhelmed or too stuck in the muck of whatever, you can still keep your most precious dreams alive.
Try doing what I did.
Before you go to sleep at night, imagine how it will feel to have your dream come true.
Envision it in full living color. Imagine the sights. The sounds. And the sensations in your body. (Is your heart fluttering? Are there tears in your eyes?)
Have fun with it. Fill in as many details as possible.
But when your logical mind (or damned Inner Critic) starts questioning your sanity and demanding “How?!” tell that voice to “GO AWAY NOW.”
After all, when you sit down at a restaurant, salivating over your favorite dish, you don’t tell the chef how to prepare his recipe, do you?
The same goes with your dreams.
Place your order—even if it’s “just” in your imagination. And trust the alchemy.
You never know how the universe is going to cook things up for you.
My speech is living proof of that.
AND NOW, WITHOUT FURTHER ADO, HERE IT IS.
It’s called Dragonflying Lessons. And I’ve been told it’s uplifting and inspiring. (And even funny in spots.)
Oh, and one more thing:
For some crazy reason, whenever I watch it on YouTube, my speech starts somewhere in the middle. (Maybe just to torture me.)
If this happens to you, just slide the little arrow all the way to the left for the beginning.
I’d love to hear what you think about it. And about the dream you’re growing in your heart.
And if you feel like leaving a comment, just scroll down to comment section under this post. (It only takes a minute. And who knows, your words could be just the thing someone else needs to hear.)
Thanks for connecting with me.
With soaring love and imperfection,