It's 6:30pm on a Thursday evening and there is a low muffle of chatter, as the last few thousand people are finding their seats before the show starts. The atrium is sold out, the microphones have been tested, the audience gets quieter and all attention is drawn to the lights at centre stage. The curtain rises and ….......YOU are the show. You take a breath before beginning to speak. As your eyes meet hundreds of others, how do you feel? There are a few reading this that will likely be excited about this scenario but most of us have a fear of speaking in public and may experience some anxiety with this opportunity. Why is this the case?
A toastmasters group reports public speaking is listed as American’s number one fear, before death at number five and loneliness at number seven. Apparently, we are less afraid of dying alone than of making fools of ourselves in front of others. I’m sure there are numerous theories to explain why public speaking is the number one fear of most of the population but I’m going to answer this question for myself and maybe as I bring forth my fears you may reflect upon yours.
Most young kids don’t have this fear of speaking out so I’m assuming it is a learned response. Years ago, I remember interviewing my 4 year old son about life and he had a confident answer for everything! However, his 8 year old brother was attempting to jump in and add a buffer to his very frank and certain responses. Gabriel confidently told the camera the population of Canada was 364, that the easter bunny was probably Santa dressed in a rabbit suit and that souls never die. He had no problems sharing his ideas because he was not being reprimanded for his comments. I just asked the questions, recorded them and allowed for his full expression. But somewhere in the journey my 8 year old son had learned you have to be careful of what you say, because it may not be correct. I imagine our traditional educational system with ridge parameters of right and wrong, have squashed many attempts of self expression. Those of you that managed to escape the reprimand of teachers, likely had peers or parents to challenge your voice. What were you saying and doing before some perceived authority silenced you? For most of us this is a life long journey to find our own unique voice in the mass mind. Although, those that do find their truth and have the courage to speak it, change history.
Of course, before they change history some may be killed or prosecuted in some way for being different. In 1633 the Roman Inquisition sentenced Galileo to indefinite imprisonment for reporting Jupiter had moons. Around the same time during the Spanish Inquisition thousands were being burned at the stake accused of heresy. A modern day example are all the holistic doctors who are killed for speaking out against pharmaceuticals and vaccinations as part of the medical industrial complex. It is no wonder public speaking is the number one fear. Individualization has been so severely punished that we have come to learn, from the cellular level of our ancestors, silence as a survival mechanism. Speaking out against the currently held views not only engages our fear of public speaking and embarrassment but in some cases maybe also engaging a fear of death.
Recently, I was in a shamanic healing session and I saw myself on a stage with thousands of people in the audience. Initially, there was a purposeful enthusiasm of sharing with the masses. But that feeling lasted all of about 6 seconds, until in my mind’s eye and imagination I saw a vision of the man on my left stand up, dressed in black, pointing a gun at me. I’m assuming it was figurative representation or symbolism for the attack perhaps we all fear when we stand out from the crowd. The fear of being shot down and massacred for our beliefs is buried into our history and burned into our imagination. How do we over come it?
In order to over come any problem we must jump out of the paradigm that created it and attach to some greater good that we value. Your own individual fears hold you captive until you connect with a greater service for humanity. Let me give you an example. A friend, Arold is certain that he would not be able to speak in public. English is not his mother tongue, he is very shy and would rather take a bullet than to get on stage. I know he values the lives and welfare of children and I also know one of his special talents, as a retired army guy, is hunting in the deep northern forests of Quebec. So I create an imaginary situation in which he was to speak out to a crowd of thousands. What was his reply?
Imaginary situation: There is a family hiking in the northern part Quebec 10 miles from your camp. Their little girl goes missing and she will likely die if she is not found within the next 24 hours. They are looking for a man with navigation skills of the area, who speaks both french and english to lead a team through the brush forest to find her. Will you Arold stand on stage, speaking to a thousand men and organize a search party for her return? He replies, absolutely. Why did he shift in his mentality from fear to certain action? Because…. love trumps fear. The little girls life and the purpose of finding her was greater than his own individual fears of rejection. He was willing to put himself out there for her life! This is the inspired action of finding your why. “When the why is big enough, the how takes care of itself.”
We are at a critical time in our history, there is a shift happening. In the collapse of an old paradigm, strong leadership is required to move the masses into the new age with grace and understanding. Strong voices speak for the nation and inspire change. Throughout the course of history there have been many famous speeches that changed the world. From Jesus Christ’s sermon on the Mount to the inaugural speeches of Prime Ministers and Presidents inspiring millions of people in their darkest hours. The power in the spoken word is magical, as in essence it is spelling our direction, vibrating out an intention and masterminding the manifestation of change. Before it was written, the word was spoken. Before it was spoken, it was felt. Speaking fearlessly with purpose and clarity connects your heart to the heart of the universe. And here in lies all the power of creation.
Click on this video link of a speaking experience that pulled out my fears of not being good enough and splattered them all over the stage. In fact, even the rising speaker competition that is recording this story and the story itself, both initially felt like wounds. I lost the rising 5 competition and I had thought I’d lost the audience in my story but sometimes you must lose the battle to win the war. The greatest part of being vulnerable is that your wounded heart, humbly calls in universal love and wisdom to fill you. If it is as Rumi has written, that the wound is the place where the light to enters, what is it we fear the most, the wound or the light? When the message is greater than the messenger, you step into your power. InJoy your show…….
Dr. Dena Churchill- International Speaker, Author, Health Innovator & Wellness Astrologer.