I woke up in a slight state of anxiety last Sunday morning around 2:00 am with the realization that the laundry I threw in the dryer before I went to bed was still sitting there - the creases in the crumpled sea of twisted fabric deepening more with each passing second.
I know that sounds ridiculous and somewhat neurotic on my part, but my panic was around the simple truth that I am unapologetically lazy when it comes to things like ironing wrinkles out of my clothes. Yes, these are the things that keep me up at night in case you were wondering. I got out of bed and retrieved our laundry, knowing if I didn't that sleep wouldn't greet me the rest of the night.
Because I was now wide awake I turned on the television as my chosen companion to laundry folding - a luxury since the only shows I watch are starring either Thomas the Tank Engine or a big red dog called Clifford.
We have our DVR set to record Saturday Night Live because we're progressive like that. It's how Jimmy and I unwind when doing really romantic things such as laundry folding. Call us crazy but we think a lot of it is funny - though you should also know we don't get out that much. The episode this past weekend was hosted by Mick Jagger. Did you see it?
I was surprised at how funny he is but there was one skit that I just can't get out of my head so I decided to write about it here. If you saw it you will know the one I am about to share.
Four people (one of whom is Mick) are at a Holiday Inn bar hosted by an insurance adjusters convention. You know, the good stuff. There is karaoke and as their party takes turns getting on stage to sing songs performed or about The Rolling Stones, naturally. Mick's character, Kevin, is baffled as to why his colleagues think they are any good at resembling Mick Jagger at all.
"Kevin, if you think you can do better than go up there," they tell him. He says he can't because of his horrible fear and stage fright - and though I was admittingly hoping he would take the stage in his insurance adjuster outfit, he never does.
At the end of the skit his colleagues leave him alone at the bar and Mick starts quietly singing I can't get no satisfaction. End scene.
And there I was, at two something in the morning, laundry folded and unable to get this sad scene out of my head. All I could think of is the fears that hold so many of us back from our greatness. I mean, what if Mick Jagger really was too scared to get up on stage and decided to take the complete opposite road - dedicating his life to something other than grooving through life as only he can?
Can you imagine a world without the music of The Rolling Stones?
But it's not even about the Stones specifically that had me in inquiry over this. What if any of your favorite artists decided to deny the world their talents and just keep them hidden? What about all the artists who are currently too scared to be seen and keeping their greatness inside of them? Fear is the serial killer to the greatness in so many of us. Fear believes it has the power to steal our gifts and prevents us from sharing them with the world if we allow it.
Of course we all hold fear around certain things, no one escapes that, even (and especially) those who tell you they fear nothing. I bet you anything that MIck Jagger even gets nervous before a show. We each fear something, but when we choose to face that fear and push it aside to honor what calls to us, that is when we begin to live in the flow of our lives by doing what we were sent here to do. Do this enough times and, whoa, look at that you rockstar, now you've got moves like Jagger.
That one simple silly skit put so much clarity around the idea that selfishness does not lie with those who will do whatever it takes to go after their dreams - not even a litte bit. Selfishness is the act of letting fear win. Selfishness is what happens when we allow fear to rob not only us, but the world of our unique gifts. Yes, that's right. The world. Selfish is saying I'm too afraid, I couldn't possibly do that. No, I can't. Selfish is keeping your greatness locked away inside for no one to see. And turning the mirror around to call myself out, I see how I've been selfish so many times in my life.
Yes, I know it was just a skit from a comedy show but comedy is designed to highlight the absurdity in reality. It's why we laugh. Sometimes uncomfortably.
Imagine a world where your favorite artists, actors, musicians, cooks, comedians, film makers, documentarians, writers, crafters, photographers, healers, poets, someone who moves you or perhaps transformed your life in some way through their very being decided that they were too scared to be seen and so they just kept their talents to themselves, settling for a comfortable life, quietly drinking alone in a bar at the Holiday Inn... what would that look like?
Every single one of us has greatness within. We were each born with something to share, the power to connect and make a difference in people's lives simply through our being. Every. One. Of. Us. It is our responsibility and our birthright to find our unique brand of light and live it. Some of us know when we are children what our gifts are, others need to live a lot of life to excavate them. Both are okay - it's the work of a lifetime and in no way means we are flawed if it takes us that long.
But when you do discover that thing that you do naturally, the one that flows through you and is not of you, don't you dare keep it to yourself. Please please don't let fear talk you out of discovering your passions, connecting to it, living it, not comparing it to anything else, and sharing it with the world.
Show us your moves, the world wants to dance with you.