For example, early in August, I wrote about our friend, Terry. Terry was coming to the end of his chemotherapy treatments at the same time that we were going to be in Ontario for a wedding. So that meant that we would have a chance to have a visit with Terry and Jane. In the blog, I wrote that we were going to take Terry out to celebrate by going for ice cream.
We had a small window of time for this visit; Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday evenings of the week we were there. We decided we would go to their house on Monday for dinner and then continue to the famous Avondale Dairy for our ice cream celebration. All went according to plan until about thirty minutes after we arrived at Jane and Terry’s home. Terry had a sudden, unexpected, severe, delayed reaction to his chemotherapy, which he had completed ten days prior. Suffice it to say that instead of a trip to Avondale, the evening ended with a trip to the hospital followed by a very low-key Tuesday. As Terry said, he was wrung out.
Other than feeling horrible for Terry, I didn’t give the matter of the ice cream another thought. I assumed that we would do this on another trip. I was mainly concerned that Terry felt ok. But…. Terry had read the blog and he really wanted to make sure that this celebration could happen. He asked if Wednesday could still work if he felt better. He did, it did and we decided to go for it. So Wednesday evening we found ourselves sitting outside on a lovely summer evening, at Avondale Dairy, ‘toasting’ Terry’s health. Even more special was the fact that Terry and Jane’s two grown sons were free to join us on that Wednesday evening.
This is such a small example, but a perfect reminder to me that when I state a goal ‘out loud’, it has a way of taking on a life of its own. Other people seem to notice ways to help make it happen. And even when obstacles arise and make the likelihood of achieving the goal seem impossible, somehow success still finds a way to manifest. In the case of Terry and the ice cream, the evening seemed much more special because we came close to not having it.
I have experienced this same phenomenon in my life whenever I have spoken out loud. This has happened throughout 2017 as I have delighted in celebrating as much of Canada 150 as possible. When I originally wrote about this last year, many people interpreted my goal as me wanting to see or do 150 Canadian places/things. This really was not my original intention. Originally, I simply wanted to see and participate in as much of Canada as possible. However, as people continued to ask if I’d managed to do my 150 things, I began to recognize that I must be quite close! And I’m thinking that this month’s trip to the West Coast will tip the balance.
Once again, my stating the goal, allowed other people to get interested and invested. Once they were invested they wanted me to have success. That in turn kept me invested and accountable and perhaps even inspired me to ‘go bigger’ with my goal.
So, what ‘big mistake’ did I allude to at the beginning of this blog? It seems that a few weeks ago, I wrote about needing to rest my knee and about choosing to take the opportunity to do some other things. I wrote, ‘And if you happen to drive by our house you may hear me singing and strumming a few new tunes I am learning on my ukulele!
It turns out that my dance instructor, Reba J, read that blog. She often sets up dance performances for us at various Seniors Centres. After reading the blog, she excitedly asked me, ‘I didn’t know you played the ukulele! Would you consider playing a few songs when we do our performances in September?
Hmm… I know how to say NO. And I don’t have trouble saying it. I also know that I have long wanted to become a proficient ukulele player. I also know I love to sing and that I currently don’t have time to commit to a choir. But the truth is that at the time she asked, I could not play the ukulele. Oh, I knew a few chords and I could stumble through a few jingles but playing publicly was a long way off. Committing to play publicly would definitely put a priority on this goal. And so of course, to continue to step into my season of opportunity, I agreed and this week I am going to play my ukulele and sing at our Friday performance. In public. I am terrified. I am choosing to welcome this opportunity despite my terror.
Update on Friday’s Performance
I practiced and practiced. I thought that the seniors would enjoy ‘You are My Sunshine’ and perhaps ‘This Land is Your Land’. Whether they did or not really wouldn’t have mattered; these were the only two numbers I practiced. Usually there are about 20 – 50 audience members at any of our performances. Today there were well over one hundred. About half way through the dance performance, I was introduced. I asked the other dancers to help me sing and I asked the seniors in the audience to join in. I chose ‘You are My Sunshine’. I started to play. I had decided that I needed to be ‘all in’ and so I pasted a smile on my face and confidently started singing. Immediately, all of the dancers joined in and then the seniors added their voices. I have no idea if I played well; the ukulele could not be heard over top of the voices. I know I did not play perfectly. And yet, the result was perfect. The emotion in the room was overwhelming. Something about this simple song, that I learned as a child, brought forth feelings in everyone. It felt like magic. After the dancing was over, one older man spoke to me. He told me how much he appreciated the performance and especially the song. He is not a resident but his wife is. She has dementia and he was visiting her today. He said that as we were singing she was moving to the music and trying to sing along. He had tears in his eyes. I am glad I said yes when Reba J asked me to be brave.
What goal are you longing to tackle but have been too shy, or afraid to claim?
My inquiry for you this week is, ‘How well am I living ‘out loud’?
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