“It’s all about ME!”
Occasionally I’m asked to be on a stage under bright lights with a microphone facing an audience staring and maybe listening. Before I go up there I hear a voice, “It’s all about ME!” The voice is familiar and reassuring—I’ve been here before—anxious, tense in the chest, heart racing, body hot and sweating, worried about looking bad, boring, or mediocre.
Instead of telling him to get lost I thank the voice for helping me to ready for the moment by thorough preparation, paying attention not only to my words, but to things like my hair, my face, my clothes, my zipper, laptop adapters, presentation slides, notes, so I won’t be embarrassed or stressed because of gaffes, tech problems, or gross oversights.
Then I remember why I’m there—to simply tell people what I know, no more, and no less. Since they invited me and have gathered, I’m there to share what I’m learning about living and dying over an increasingly long life, audaciously thinking it might help them to live better.
Praying that I channel my ancestors, enabling me to go beyond my individual limitations, I surrender and become a vessel for wisdom to flow through. Knowing I’m there in service calms my fears and inhibitions of crossing false borders between Me and Them. In a state of grace I go on stage with the once shrill voice shouting “It’s all about me,” now obediently quiet.