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Accounted for, but not Present

24 Mar

sugarmaplegreen-lowIt’s been an interesting 15 hours for me. Last night I was part of a panel at an event for women called “Reinvent your Future with Confidence” hosted by NEWS4Women Delaware. I was very excited to be included on the panel, and was energized by the opportunity to hear what others had to say on this topic, and to share my experience. To kick off the panel, we heard from Valerie Biden Owens, sister of Joe Biden, mom, wife and pretty damn amazing woman all on her own. I was inspired by Valerie and held on to her words as I listened to the 3 women before me on the panel.When the evening started I was excited. I felt confident that I had something to share, and I love the energy in a room full of women who have come together to support and learn from each other.

And I was the last speaker on the panel. To be clear, I requested to be last. I’m still not sure if I made that request out of fear or from a place of power, but I did make the request. I knew that each of the women would be brilliant, and believed that I could do the best job as the person who shared my own thoughts woven in with those of the others. I’m pretty sure I made that request from my confident self.

The evening happened. It was fun. We got lots of good feedback. I was right – my fellow panelists were brilliant. I could feel the energy in the room humming as each panelist touched on something that made the room come even more alive. Adina, the panelist before me, talked about courage. I started by admitting that it was taking a whole lot of courage to follow all that had already been shared. I laughed and did my thing. It was fine. Probably more than fine. I felt alive and aligned with my ‘why’.

Then I went home. And it started. The voices in my head. The ones critiquing every word I said. The ones that started with, “why didn’t you say ….” and “you forgot to say ….” and on and on. I dreamed about a do-over. One where I was brilliant and articulate and didn’t stumble over the word caricature. I woke up still evaluating and comparing. (If you don’t remember, I love the quote “comparison is the thief of joy”). I was shoulding all over myself and joy was nowhere in sight.

I found that while doing my morning meditation I got lost in thinking about my talk and comparing myself to the others. Interesting, right. It happens. And I forgave myself and gave myself a gift – a hot yoga class. On my way to class I drove past the studio and had to turn around and go back. Then I walked past the door into the studio and had to backtrack. In class I was embarrassed when the teacher came over and whispered, “when you have a chance, please turn the other way”, since the rest of the room had their heads toward the mirror and my feet were facing that way. When I left class I went down the wrong stairway and had to walk around the building to find my car. Even as I type this I’m wondering if I’ll hit the publish button cause my words are feeling clumsy.

I’m here. Accounted for. And so not present. And practicing noticing my thoughts and not being my thoughts and still not fully present. Here. Now.

My goal is to release these thoughts in the next five minutes. They have chased me around since 8pm last night. That’s long enough to feel this pain. I notice over and over again that my work does not end. It’s part of the journey. And in this moment, I can smile about it.

The truth. I shared from my heart last night. I was clear that I was there in service of our growth. I spoke my truth and shared what has worked for me, and for many of my clients. I was not perfect. Sometimes it was clunky. And there were things I forgot to say. No one knows that but me, and now you.

And today is a new day. I don’t want to miss it.

What do you do when the critical voices in your head don’t seem to want to stop? How much time do you spend beating yourself up? Where do you turn for support?

And how’s it workin for you?