Waiting for permission to shine

I sing. I’ve always liked to sing but previously  kept it a bit on the down-low. Humming a bar here and there. Belting one out in the shower, if noboby was home. But as far as hobbies go, I turned my attention to other musical pursuits – piano, guitar. Things that felt a bit less personal. Safer. Less chance of accidentally exposing myself in front of a group.

Recently in the past few years I’ve taken up singing again. I thought it was silly to not be something I really enjoy, so I enlisted in some classes, and hired a private tutor to help get me work out things I didn’t understand and get me up on my feet. I absolutely love it! So what’s the problem?

You have to give something of yourself to sing. Really let go and make a connection to give a gift to your audience. There’s something about giving an emotional gift that makes it’s giver have to confront their own power and embrace it. S-C-A-R-Y!

Who am I… to delight? To inspire? To create joy? I realized with a shock how much I was holding back when I sang. I was not really giving a gift, I was focussed on “not sounding too terrible”, or “hopefully this won’t offend!!” Where is the joy in that? I completely lost the plot on this one – the sole reason I am singing is for joy and fun, and yet I was completely disconnected from the source of it!

I started wondering, does this phenomenon trickle into the rest of my life? Where else am I holding back? Waiting for permission or an invitation to fully engage, and demonstrate my gifts to others? And keep in mind, this concept wasn’t a revelation to me. I’ve had a copy of Marianne Williamson’s quote on my wall for years:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Perhaps I thought that by posting this poem I had my proof that I was doing it – facing my demons!  A little paper armour in my war on fear. And of course, it has inspired and stoked me over the years, but, I hadn’t totally internalized it.

So here it is – a confession of sorts: I have been waiting for permission my whole life to let out my talents. I have hidden them, minimized them, talked them away, made others feel more important, focussed on helping others to find theirs. Anything to avoid developing and nurturing my own!

And the truth is, I have been dying to let them out (and yes that is a pun). Of course! I have felt stymied, blocked, unsatisfied, untruthful, thwarted, underutilized, and inauthentic.

So no more! I’ve done with waiting. I give myself permission and I can’t believe I waited a good chunk of my adult life to give it to myself.