I was terrified. How could I have agreed to speak at the Rotary Club Father/Daughter banquet? I was 12 years old and I said yes when my father asked me. He believed I could do the talk, so I said yes.
My stomach was queasy on the drive to downtown San Jose and the hotel conference room where the Rotary club met. I thought I might very well freeze or speak poorly and people would not like me. I wanted to be liked, especially by my father.
The club meeting opened and the men joked and put quarters in a jar whenever their names were in the daily newspaper. My father put his quarter in the jar with mock-apology (I knew he actually liked the publicity though he pretended not to).
I got more nervous every second. Finally they announced that two girls would give presentations. First was the other girl. I have no memory of that presentation, I was just trying not to be sick to my stomach.
Then I was up at the podium. Someone had to adjust the microphone down to my level. I looked out, and all eyes were on me. I looked around the room. Was I going to faint or disappoint?
No matter, I had to do it, and I began my talk. I increased the power of my voice and noticed that they were more alert. I went on to emphasize my main points and they were more focused on me.
Soon I was really enjoying myself, enjoying hearing my voice, enjoying seeing and hearing a response to my words and ideas.
At the conclusion, I had a standing ovation. And I felt elated, successful, well spent, fearless, capable. A force.
My mother told me years later that she remembered how elated I was when I came back home after giving that talk. She said she had never seen me that happy. “You found your calling,” she told me.
When I was 24 I got married and shut down that part of me in order to support the ego of my husband who was an actor and had the need to be the only one people listened to. That didn’t work, and divorce came soon. It took me many years to nourish the seed of “the Speaker” back to flowering.
At these moments in our life when we feel aligned with life, when we feel that anything is possible, we are expressing our true nature, our Ayurvedic Blueprint. We are not thinking or controlling. As Yogi Baba Hari Dass often said: “Work without concern about the outcome. Work, be yourself, and the outcome will come of itself.”
That was the lesson at age 12 at the Rotary Club Father/Daughter luncheon. It’s strange how we can shift ourselves to suit changing circumstances and lose touch with our true expression.
But it’s never too late to have a happy childhood! We can start expressing our true nature in an instant.