During those 10 weeks, I learned quite a bit about myself and gained deeper understanding of myself and group dynamic. I think there are things that are understood within a group. Some groups are organized in the way they communicate those. In these cases you can better decide if you are a fit or share common core values. Other groups may be totally experiential and shift "personality" based upon those present at each individual gathering.
My hope is the sharing of my observations ... many deep explorations of myself and why ... will help you open a doorway within yourself that leads you to more joy, Self Mastery and flow.
1. When We Always Focus on the Same Things, We Stop Seeing ~ Okay, you may think I'm starting off superficially here, but I had a huge insight into another way I was not seeing myself. I tend to wear brown over black because of my skin, eye and hair coloring. I now own a black top only because I had to purchase a black shirt for our concert.
I've long held the opinion that I don't look good in black. I wore the top again yesterday with some multicolored, crazy-pattered leggings I own. Black was a nice balance for the loud colors I was wearing elsewhere on my body and the overall look was "slimming". I realize I am not any slimmer in black than I am in brown, but I think the darker tones allowed me to see my body as smaller.
I would not have tried on a black top were it not for this concert "uniform" request. While we should definitely focus on the colors that we feel good selecting, every now and then, it's important to try on some of the things we've avoided. Doing so might offer you a glimpse of yourself and your incredible body from an entirely different perspective.
2. Groups Don't Naturally Seek to Assimilate New Members ~ The first night of practice people gravitated to one another. A couple of months had passed since the prior session. People were reconnecting established ties.
One person invited me to sit with her on the first night at practice. I thanked her for reaching out. "I remember what it was like coming here on my first night," she said, "so I try to say 'hi' to new people." Throughout the 10 weeks we spoke each week. She was working through some unsettling events in her personal life, and I was happy to be there to listen and support her, even in a small way.
We can never know the impact that speaking to one person can have on our lives. Others can hold and offer key aspects in our understanding of the overall Plan, so be a seeker ... always making new connections which are as easy as a "Hi. How are you?" and waiting to hear the response. It's likely not personal if no one approaches you. If you want to make connections, connect! If you run a group, encourage people to get to know one another.
3. We Are Not All Inconspicuous By Design ~ Although I tend to naturally harmonize with others when I sing, on many levels I choose not to blend in. I think it's part of my soul signature. When integrating with a group, I rarely claim a space. I take a different seat each time. I say "hi" to everyone near me. I want to experience many people. I talk to someone new each week.
Ultimately, there's a part of me hoping to make deeper level connections. I have definitely learned not to wait to be invited in and to move forward when I want to join smaller groupings. In the past it bothered me if I wasn't asked to join one or more smaller groups within the whole. I lacked the higher perspective to see that my own ways of interacting, of not conforming and of not choosing a predictable position within the group were both my blessing and my burden. Our actions definitely affect our experiences. We do have to see ourselves and not always just everyone else.
I think we each are constantly growing, or should be aspiring to that movement. If you are quiet, please move forward rather than back. You are here to be seen and heard. If you cannot believe that right now, say "I am working toward the empowered me that sings out loud."
4. We Can Let Go of People Pleasing by Shifting the Target ~ There are some people, and I believe I AM one, who want everyone to be happy. Yet we need to recognize ourselves as part of that audience. Too many times throughout my life I've let the words or deeds of others, and/or my perception of life's experiences claim my happiness. Ultimately the only one I can make happy is myself.
Through this engagement I was asked to take a leadership role. After the concert I was complimented to my face; two days later received an email from criticizing my not following a specific protocol which was not communicated to me in advance. This secondary email would have been experienced as a long-term slap of rejection in my past way of being, but I chose to shake it off very quickly.
I connected within myself to a space of compassion for that person's perspective. I chose not to respond. I chose not to disagree. We can rarely show someone else something they are not currently seeing on their own. In much of our inter-relationships, people push their pain outward. It's our choice whether or not we want to absorb it. This release and re-focus was a conscious process for me ... part of my relearning how to Be which I share with others. It gets easier and less cumbersome with practice.
How can you employ this? What's one thing someone has said to you, perhaps not to your face, but in an email or on social media that's left you feeling sad, sorry, angry, hurt, etc.? Claim whatever responsibility you have for that reaction and let the rest go. Send them forgiveness and shake it off ... like a wet dog drying her fur! It's healing to find just one thing each day that moves you more firmly plant yourself in happy.
5. We Are Loved and Supported ~ I am blessed to have one of our young-adult daughters living with my husband and me right now. Our other daughter came for the performance from out-of-state. Two friends each drove about an hour to attend the concert. Having them encouraging me through my practice, seeing them in the audience, hearing their feedback after, and having their support when I received "that email" ... these are all key aspects of the joy I'll carry forward. My family through birth and life's path are there for me. Sometimes I just have to ask. When we ask the answer is likely "yes". When we don't ask, the answer is always "no".
Focus on the people who are there for you. If there is someone you'd like to have play a greater role in your life, draw them in. Ask to engage. They may be waiting for that outstretched hand. Create your life family, and don't take it personally when others choose not to engage. This has been a painful at times lesson for me, and I'm still learning it. Keep seeking out and nurturing those ties which are already there. Be loving to yourself by reaching out and asking/seeking what you need.
6. We Choose What You Hold On To ~ This is not a new insight for me. I have a separate blog here focusing on this topic ("No Time, No Room, No Need for the Pain"). I believe it bears repeating! I look back on the experience and I am grateful for a number of things that happened during those 10 weeks. Points 1 to 5 above have offered me additional views of myself that were not at the forefront of my vision previously. I'll note, too, there are other blessings from my choice to join this community chorus which haven't made their way to print ... beautiful sunsets, chance encounters on errands prior to practice ...
True, my heart was hurt on occasion, but what a shame if that's the walk-away. As an empath and emotional healer, I took on and owned a lot of personal pain and rejection when I was younger. I now see this as a choice. I am no longer choosing to live in that space. I realize I truly never had to be there, but I don't always see my choices clearly as that. I think none of us do, yet the reasons not are as unique as our finger tips.
I have learned to heal those hurt feelings VERY quickly. Sometimes I do not even experience them as mine; I recognize the set-up situation and choose not to experience them in a personal way.
I got to sing, not only at group practice but on my own throughout the weeks. I learned new ways to control my voice, to enunciate, to unify my voice with others'. I vibrated with words and notes of joy, love and peace. My daughter and I sang together. I helped create beautiful music with others. I brought my light to that space and felt the light of others. I witnessed bravery, growth and compassion.
Why would I hold onto the hurt feelings? Were you raised not realizing we have a choice? The choice is both empowering and our birth right ... free will! What is one thing you've experienced and now only remember the hurt feelings or denser energies from? Reassess and focus your remembering on the times of joy and love and laughter. Doing so is the ultimate in people pleasing past-present-future with your own peace and well-being on center stage!
Fortunately, you get to taste bitter, sour, salty and sweet. Only you can decide which you seek out and favor. I am sure I will continue to be put myself into and flow through the group experience because I want to continue to experience LIFE!
I love experiencing new people, new situations, new opportunities for self expression and self expansion. It's a given that sometimes I will find myself on the outskirts looking in. That is just an aspect of living "outside the box", yet "out there" is where I've found the greater space of growth, expansion and Self Mastery for the soul. The rewards are more time living in bliss and connection.
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