Imagine standing in front of a room of people for two minutes and saying absolutely nothing. Just standing there. Making eye contact. Breathing. Connecting. No words.
This is what I signed up to do, yes literally paid for, in a class I'm taking called Soul Speaks.
Throughout the class, each person has three individual turns standing up in front of the group to speak about any subject or...drum roll please....to be silent.
It is not about content, it is about connecting and letting the essence of who we are, our soulfulness, shine through and be seen and heard and authentically blessed. After each turn, we continue to stand in front of the room as group members call out "showers of appreciation" based on our essence and what they witnessed from being in our presence. Then the facilitator quickly captures these "showers" as the class calls them out and she writes them down in a pretty notebook. "This is the truth of who you are" she says when she hands the notebooks to us at the end of each class.
As our names are called in random order, we are encouraged not to be prepared, not to think about what we are going to say (or not say) before our turn. My ego does not like these directions of not preparing. It screams in my head, "Quick, come up with something brilliant, you have to be prepared, make them laugh, keep them interested ..." That's my typical mode of operation in front of a group. Do whatever it takes to keep them interested or else...they could get bored with you and you'd be rejected.
This is not about giving a brilliant speech or being an excellent speaker. It's about authentic connection. In front of a room full of people. Talk about feeling vulnerable.
I've had the gift and pleasure of authentic connection, in silence, throughout most of my life. Mostly with four-legged beings aka horses. I've always felt more comfortable in my own skin with animals because they don't judge and I don't have to be anything other than myself to be accepted by them. I've got nothing to hide and even if I try to they can see past my bullsh&*. You can't hide anything from a horse.
On the other hand, it's that vulnerable connection with people that's always scared the sh*& out of me. My ego flares up and says "what if you're not good enough, funny enough, entertaining enough..." Over the years, I've become very good at breaking the ice, asking questions, keeping conversations rolling because then I don't have to be fully seen. I can easily hide behind my words. Being verbal protects me from being vulnerable.
Hence, I signed up for Soul Speaks. To confront my ego by deliberatley standing in front of a group of people while keeping my mouth shut. As my business expands and I'm doing more speaking presentations, I find myself talking quickly out of fear that my audience will get bored. Soul Speaks appealed to me because I was curious to hear what my soul, not my mouth, would say, given the chance to speak.
During my last class, I stood in front of the group for two minutes. I challenged myself not to speak. I made an experiment out of it, just to see if I could do it. I made eye contact with each person in the rows of chairs in front of me. I felt the blood rush to my face and felt my heart beating fast. Yet I kept breathing and making contact. For once, I didn't feel the desperate need to impress, entertain, engage and keep people from getting bored. That I could stand there and that was enough. I WAS ENOUGH. That was my takeaway. I got to experience it firsthand and the audience clapped for me when my turn was over.
By breathing, I was at home in my body while I was making eye contact. It was exhilerating and validating. Here are some of the showers of appreciation that people called out after my two minutes. "Bursting, powerful, wise, captivating, soft and comforting." This was the feedback I got while I stood there in SILENCE from a group of people that barely know me. Sure enough, my soul did speak, loud and clear.
I'm a firm believer now that our souls do speak loudly, when we shut our mouths and trust we are enough. That is the truth of who we are; the scary part is letting it be seen and heard. But what a gift to ourselves and others when we do let our soul speak.