This Sunday brought me back to the Center for Spritual Living, and once again I left feeling so uplifted, I could fist pump the whole way home in the car. Helping with that energy today was the Gateway to Agape Choir (www.wix.com/pookilee/gateway-to-agape) filling their sanctuary with exhilarating movement and sound. But it’s not only the energy that astounds me at CSL, I’m also intrigued by their authentic informality. For instance, following a musical fill during prayer, the choir was to open into the song “Let it shine” but the pianist, the directors son, was confused. Without embarrassment, he openly talks to the congregation and director to find his place. Later, during Rev Marigene’s sermon, comments blurt out from the congregants’ seats. One comment stimulates Marigene to go off on a tangent about wasting time in her own “Zone of Incompetence” struggling with web design or housekeeping, reminding us to not be afraid of asking for help. One of the songs asks us to hold the hands of a partner, look into each other’s eyes and sing to each other, “I give you the permission to be free and passionate.”
Free and passionate! In so many ways, I am now doing that. Listening deep so that I break free from the “oughts” in my life and follow my gut more sincerely. Yet as I sat in this room this morning, full of an energized sanctuary clapping, dancing, and calling out in abandon, I could feel the heavy cloak of self-consciousness over my shoulders. A voice from my past that said, don’t go nuts. Don’t look crazy or call attention to yourself. Stay IN CONTROL! A visual flashed in my head of our choir at my old church where my friend Nancy and I were the only two with any emotion or movement at all – and that was simply a gentle smile, eye contact and a sway! Once, when my therapist suggested that we might work on vocalizations from the inner child/soul, I cowered in self conscious fright! Vocalize? Yell? Moan? Oh no, that’s too psycho!
Whether it’s a product of my mom’s anxious teaching, “What will people think?”, my daughter’s teenage eyeroll in view of her “embarrassing” mother, or the unspoken message from a professional community, I’ve gotten the memo loud and clear: “Stay cool. Don’t let them see you sweat or get too excited!”
Yet, allowing myself to slowly break free of this cloak within the sanctuary this morning, it’s amazing the amount of energy and rising joy that is created and multiplied with others. It’s contagious. It fills you and just bubbles up.! At first the stiffness is readily apparent; self consciousness is such a HEAVY CLOAK ! When abandoned, it’s electrifying and energizing! It’s the power felt when screaming from the mountaintop. It breaks barriers on so many levels. We don’t have to be so uniformed and controlled! Don’t you just love informality, humility and wild abandon in a person or group? That ability to relax all that practiced perfection, opening yourself up at the heart? And in doing so, it frees it up in others as well.
As a child, we are so free of this self doubt and fear. We believe that anything is possible. We can act silly without an external eye on ourselves. What would it take to grasp this abandon again? To believe? Wipe away the cloak of self consciousness and doubt to have that kind of faith that says anything is possible? Can you imagine what that might enable you to accomplish?
I pray for that today. I’m ready to reach my full potential. Drop the insecurities. Believe! Vocalize, dance in abandon, sing out loud with my eyes to the heavens! Grasp that energizing power to be WILDLY FREE and PASSIONATE !!