The energy that I throw out into the world is infinitely more important to me than the energy that comes in. People will respond to me as they choose, or not respond at all. I have no control over that. But I can create intentions and then follow through with the skillful actions that I want folks to receive.
I was volunteering today in the Grade 5/6 class at South Dorchester School. It was basically assembly and party day before the Christmas break. And I wanted to express.
During the carol sing and brain teaser contests, there was room for me to read “Twas The Night Before Christmas” to the 200 kids. I sat in a rocking chair and moved from page to page, with the illustrations beamed to the screen behind me. The real action was what comes next. Many of the children knew what I was about to do but it was a surprise for most. After I finished reading, I said “You know, I’ve read this story for years. I wonder if I could do it without the book. Do you think I should try?” Lots of yeses from the assembled clan. “Okay, but you need to be patient with me.” Gosh, it was a perfect setup.
I got up from the chair and leaned towards the kids and then launched into Twas at superspeed. My record is 1 minute and 3 seconds. Young eyes widened as I ran all the words together, and mouths turned into little o’s. The kids who had heard me before were just laughing. Such happiness for me, and for many of the young souls I was facing.
I love creating moments, really to animate moments, as in bringing them alive with something special. This morning’s Twas certainly qualified. May I have many more such experiences before I exit the stage.
During the class’ afternoon party, while being jolted with cupcakes, candy canes and marshmallow/rice krispies treats, I asked Tiffany if I could sing a song. I wanted to sing Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”, leaving out the verse with a sexual theme. Tiffany said yes. A week ago, the trustworthy voice in my head told me that I would sing the song to a roomful of people “in the near future”. Well, twenty 10- and 11-year-olds certainly is a roomful.
Before performance time I got nervous, worried that I might start the song at too low a note, so that I wouldn’t be able to reach the deep “Hallelujah” note later on. I told Tiffany that I wasn’t going to do it, and almost immediately my insides started churning. I had just made a choice that wasn’t life affirming, wasn’t brave, and my body didn’t like it. A girl sitting next to me (I’ll call her Mary) told me “You can do it, Mr. Kerr.” So I flipped one more time, this time back to courage.
I haven’t memorized the words to “Hallelujah” so I stood up with cell phone in hand and gave ‘er! I started on a note that was a bit too high, so no worries about the deep note later but some wavering on the high ones. It didn’t matter. I didn’t care and the kids didn’t care. They sung the choruses with me.
I survived. I thrived. I expressed … with an energy that I believe reached some of those kids. It feels like I’m building up the “out there” muscle. And that makes me happy. The world needs more personal expressions, more inspiration and more courage. I’m willing.