Thursday, February 2, 2017

                             

















                                     “You are a gift to me.”

     Which parts of you are asleep? Are you breathing? Where is your focus? Are you really aware, or are you just taking in the sites of life without really seeing anything? 

     I just spent two and a half days with a very close friend. I’m not sure how much breathing we did, as we were so busy sharing, thinking, dreaming, empathizing, brainstorming and laughing. There wasn’t much space for breathing, but she was a breath of fresh air. Was part of me asleep before she arrived? Yes, but I knew that before she got here. I knew that there were ideas and feelings kindling in me that could only be awakened with the right question, a certain response or a “Do it!” 

     Some people bring out the silly in us. Some bring out the sorrow we have buried. Some inspire lofty thinking, and still others put out our flame. A true friend uplifts. She never one-ups. She encourages, rallies, cheers, gently nudges and applauds.

      Yesterday morning, I dressed up in my costume for my upcoming one-woman show. I performed ten minutes of my show for my friend. She sat there with a mother’s prideful grin on her face, taking in every note and every nuance of my performance. At the end, she stood and clapped as loud as she could. The sound of her clapping hands was like thunderous applause in my head. I knew I had succeeded, but she gently nudged me forward afterwards by her comments.  She said, it was a 9.5 performance, but she followed the compliment by saying, “But I need more Sandy.” She wanted more of a connection between me and my audience (in this case, her.) Now whether my real audience will want that is irrelevant. Her comment was justified, and here’s why. My concentrated effort for a flawless performance overshadowed my passion for what I was doing. I needed to allow my passion to be the focus instead of my perfection. She challenged me to dare to allow my passion to trump my perfection. That is scary to someone who was always taught to aim for a perfect end product. Quite simply, she was asking me to feel the music and let it show. If anyone but my friend had made this suggestion, I might have been offended, but with her, I knew it was sincere and supportive.

     My friend awakened in me the notion that I am free to make a mistake and still be successful. She reminded me that I can perform imperfectly and still touch my audience. She set free that small controlled part of my message that I was afraid to unleash for fear of making a mistake. I was afraid to be that vulnerable part of me—the part afraid of public humiliation and imperfection.

     Over those couple of days, we shared ideas, strategies, feelings about each of our personal projects. We empathized about our feelings of not being “enough,” even though we both know we are way more than many. We laughed about our anxieties and our idiosyncracies. We listened to each other. We listened to the end of every sentence, and there were many sentences. 


     When we left each other at the airport, we hugged and agreed that we are each other’s gift, and how grateful we both are.