Tuesday, May 31, 2011

#Trust30 Day 1: 15 Minutes to Live

#Trust30 is an online initiative and 30-day writing challenge that encourages you to look within and trust yourself. Use this as an opportunity to reflect on your now, and to create direction for your future. 30 prompts from inspiring thought-leaders will guide you on your writing journey. Sign up below to receive the prompts by email. If you like this pledge, check out reverb10, it's inspiring. 

Gwen Bell – 15 Minutes to Live

We are afraid of truth, afraid of fortune, afraid of death, and afraid of each other. Our age yields no great and perfect persons. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
You just discovered you have fifteen minutes to live.
1. Set a timer for fifteen minutes.
2. Write the story that has to be written.

I think I had an unfair advantage/disadvantage. Earlier today, I saw the prompt and I copied and pasted the information in a draft so that I would be ready when I got to California after my travel. I didn't have time to do it right then because I was getting ready for my trip.

On the plane, the words to a song flickered into my mind, but I can't figure out what song it is. Something about "possibilities" which led me to think of "Hazy Shade of Winter" but that wasn't it.  I thought for a long time about the story that HAS to be written (that's how I read the prompt) and I realized that I'm not sure what story I would write. My first thought was of Roby and all the people in my life, past and present, who have given me love and support. I have been very fortunate in my life to be surrounded by loving people, good friends, mentors and supporters.

Another song came to me - a song that I never really sang when I was a kid but that has always resonated with me. I decided that was part of the story I needed to write in my "last" 15 minutes.

"This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine...let it shine, shine, shine, let it shine."  The simple beauty of this song makes me cry whenever I hear it. But I cry not just because of the beauty, the message, the pure clarity of children's voices when they sing it.  I cry because I have always been a little afraid of letting my light shine.
I think I have spent most of my life hiding my light under a bushel for a lot of different reasons - many reasons that I don't fully understand. 

As a child, I was boisterous, emotional, excitable, artistic, and imaginative. As most children do, I had moments when those characteristics served me well and I had moments when they didn't. For some reason, even though I KNOW that there were so many more moments when I was supported in being who I was, I have the opposite moments burned in my mind. Small things - things no one would think a child would internalize. Big things like a disapproving father and a shy/reserved sister - I idolized them and I took their silence as disapproval. I started to dim the light at a pretty young age.  I think sometimes that dim light was like someone lighting a candle in a really thin tent - sort of luminous in the darkness.  (Please don't misunderstand what I am saying - I'm not trying to be egotistical, just thinking on paper).  Luminous in the sense that any time you are true to yourself and your emotions and your person the internal light of YOU shines out into the world.

As I grew up, I was used to trying to be dim. Don't be too smart. Don't be too curious. Don't ask too many questions. Don't want too much.  As I got older, I found people whose light was like the sun next to my little candle and I loved it - I could feel the heat but I didn't "take the heat" for it. I lived in the shiny, brightness but I also had to be careful there. Don't get swallowed up. Don't lose yourself. Don't let the candle get any bigger.

I guess the story that has to be told is that each of us is a light in this dark world - to someone, in some way. We each need to be a light and we need to be careful that we don't dim the lights of others. It happens innocently most of the time, but we are all sensitive creatures, aren't we?  We have to pay attention to each other.  That's what I wanted to say. My immediate reaction to this prompt was to tell other people's stories - I am a story teller, after all. But I knew I couldn't do that. Self-reliance. Digging deeper.  That's what this month is about.  Maybe this isn't exactly what Gwen Bell meant with her prompt, but this is what it brought to me.

1 comment:

  1. To me you are a bright light, I can feel your kindness through the web. I feel we all hide are light and only show it to certain people. I was one who was trained to be silent. And really one to be in a corner unseen also. This was my moms gift to me. I had to learn to over come. I can not be a center of attention person. But when I connect to a person who I feel I can trust. My light will shine. I am now more open to not fear people any more either. Unless they reek of meanness. I think these are our lessons in life. We have to learn to overcome.
    I am glad you made it to Ca safely. And look forward to hearing and maybe seeing picture.
    Have lots of fun. And don;t work too much. :)

    twitter is strange.



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