On October 27, I had the honor and privilege of giving my first TED Talk. For years, I have watched inspiring TED Talks and hoped to one day do the same. When I was invited to propose a talk for #tedxwinstonsalemwomen related to the theme “It’s About Time,” the phrase “be the magic” kept coming to mind. It wasn’t an unfamiliar phrase at all. In fact, one of my mentors regularly reminds me to do just that. (Thank you, Raymond.)
For a few days, I struggled to find the words to fill my proposal. I knew that “I knew” but I was having a hard time articulating what I knew and felt. Finally, I asked the Universe (God/All) to assist me and I wrote, without thinking, what became my talk, “It’s About Time to Be the Magic.” My proposal was accepted and I was so excited to join the ranks of the brilliant and inspiring speakers who came before me. But by the week of the talk, I wasn’t really feeling like the magic. That feeling was compounded by the sudden passing of my aunt just the day before and within just months of my dad’s transition. I was grieving and deep down, I feared that I couldn’t model my message enough to get to the stage, let alone get there and talk! Furthermore, ALL of my attempts at memorizing my script had failed!
But somewhere else inside of me, there was a sense of ease and awareness that this moment was so much bigger than what I could fear or see at the time. And, I knew that the speech that I was inspired to write was, foremost, for my own instruction.
Throughout my life, I’ve experienced times when I knew that I would have to tap into a different part of me in order to survive and/or access new possibilities. I have become familiar with that feeling over the years. Each time it has come, I’ve been guided to or through a major shift in my waking life and/or consciousness. The morning of October 27, felt that way. So, as I waited for my turn to stand on the “red circle,” I whispered a prayer:
“Universe/God, angels, ancestors, Dad, and Auntie please surround me. Suspend my ego and motives so that whatever is supposed to be said moves through me. Hide me behind you. And allow me to leave whatever I need to let go of on this stage. Amen.”
Suddenly, I felt the most loving warmth around me and I knew that the love of all that exists was with me. I felt myself step out of the holding room and things came back into focus when I left the stage. Friends laughed when I told them that I didn’t really remember what happened in between. When the fog lifted, it became overwhelmingly clear that my prayer was answered and that I was experiencing yet another shift.
While I don’t fully know everything that is in store for me, I do know that life isn’t about having it all figured out, knowing exactly what to say, or always feeling the most confident. It’s about showing up and being present in spite of your fears about “who you are not” so that who you truly are can emerge and thrive. Most of us have been leaving our truest self on the bench praying for game time. (I couldn’t resist a football analogy. Washington is playing.) When we are present, even in the face of fear and grief, we give our highest, most authentic self, the opportunity to show up and be the magic.