I woke up this morning at 5 AM full of nervous energy. I had barely gone to sleep a few hours earlier, but I knew I wasn't going to be able to get myself back to sleep. I could feel the wave of panic coming, and it was so strong I thought I was going to be sick.
I can't do this.
I could feel it, deep in my gut. I couldn't do this. I wasn't ready. Why had I agreed to this? I suddenly realized I hadn't made any sort of sign for my booth. I felt my stomach seize up in pain. How could I forget something so obvious? How would people know what I was doing? They wouldn't. Therefore, nobody would come. That seemed even worse than the idea that someone would come, and I would have to speak, clearly and confidently, about who I was and what I was doing.
I can't do this.
I had agreed, a few weeks prior, to lead students in meditation at an event at the local University. This would be my first paid event, and in the weeks leading up to it, I felt grateful and excited. I could do this!
Or could I? When I woke up in panic I kept thinking about how many factors would be beyond my control. I had never led meditations in public before. What if the venue was too loud and no one could hear me? What if my mind went blank and I didn't know what to say? What if I said weird stuff and people walking by heard me? What if... what if... what if....
I knew the first thing to do was to stop making it all about me. I was showing up to share meditation with college students, hopefully so that their lives would be less stressful and more adventerous, creative and fulfilling. Introducing people to meditaiton could have real, positive long-term benefits. This wasn't about my fears and insecurities. It was about sharing something. Giving away what I know, and receiving first of all payment in return, and second of all a sense of connection and expansion in my journey. I was doing this for them and for me. I would gain something and so would they.
But at the same time, I had to remind myself I was not doing this for their approval. Showing up to offer something I believe in is a lot different than showing up so people will tell me they love what I do. I can show up and share. I can't control what happens beyond that. I had to let go of my desire to have a specific result. Whatever happens happens.
As I laid in bed I began to repeat the word trust. I trust myself. I trust in this world. I trust the Universe. I trust the forces that brought me this opportunity. I trust in who I am and who I'm becoming. I trust. I trust. I trust.
With each reiteration of the word trust I felt better. I began to remember the other things I'd done that had scared me. I had once MC'd a spirituality fair. Each time I got on the microphone to introduce somebody and I heard my voice boom out through the auditorium my mouth would go dry and my eyes widen with panic. I was quiet afraid for the first hour they were going to fire me, which would have been extra horrifying considering I was a volunteer. I had once done an open mic reading of my own work, and while on stage, my whole body visibly shook with fear. I had made YouTube videos, even though I would break out in sweat when I thought about people seeing and hearing me.
It's kind of scary to be seen. To be heard. To step into your own light and come out of the shadows.
I thought of all those moments, and I imagined I went back to myself then. I hugged myself and told myself, "Thank you." Thank you for showing up. Thank you for being willing to learn and make mistakes. Thank you for being willing to be unsure and vulnerable. Thank you for being unbelievably brave and shaking with fear as you stepped outside your comfort zone. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
I was in the trust. I was in the gratitude.
I can do this.
I could do this. I would do this. I want to do this, because no matter what happens, it's better than laying in bed all day, dreaming and hoping. Hopes and dreams are beautiful. But there comes a time you have to get out of your pajamas, cast aside the nerves, and make those dreams happen. All it takes is one step after another. Today I will take a step. And one day, many weeks or months or even years from now, I will look back on this and imagine I'm hugging myself, saying "Thank you. Thank you for showing up. Thank you for taking a chance on yourself. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you."