Standing O

Sometime around 1980, I walked to the podium at the annual meeting of the Order of the Eastern Star in Edmonton, Alberta and talked to about 800 delegates about the need to rejuvenate the Star in order to attract younger members.  I received the only standing ovation of my life.

I was so scared on the way up and so shocked on the way back.  I did it.  And it definitely felt that a huge serving of well-being had been added to my life.  Decades later, I’m not so sure.  In 1980 and 2014, I was and am complete.  Perfectly okay.  Acknowledging the value of goals and achievement but not needing them (except when my wayward mind convinces me momentarily that I do).

Here’s another standing o and its accompanying ego rush:

He found that his heart was suddenly full of happiness and simple gratitude.  It was just good to find out you still had a heart, that the ordinary routine of ordinary days hadn’t worn it away.  But it was even better to find it could still speak through your mouth.

The applause started even before he finished his last sentence.  It swelled while he gathered up the few pages of text which Naomi had typed, and which she had spent the afternoon amending.

It rose to a crescendo as he sat down, bemused by the reaction … Then they started to rise to their feet, and he thought he must have spoken too long if they were that anxious to get out, but they went on applauding.

I don’t need multiple representatives of the human race to say “Bruce is good”.  I just need to keep expressing myself, letting the world’s reactions be as they are.

There’s another side to standing ovations, of course – me as an audience member either getting up at the end of a great performance or staying glued to my seat.  If the singer, actor or speaker truly deserves accolades at the end of their presentation, there comes that moment of choice for me.  If I want to stand up, do I wait for other folks to elevate before I do?  Do I glance furtively to the left and right to gauge how I should act?  Or am I the source of my behaviour?  This is what I choose in my better moments, occasionally suffering the embarrassment of rising and clapping before the person is done.  Oh well.  I can live with that.

It’s just such a pure experience to reveal myself to the assembled multitude
“Here I am.  Love me or loathe me.  It’s okay”
Naked visibility

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