Elloa & Nige playing "Rooster & Lily."
Friday, December 3, 2010
fearLESS Friday with Elloa Barbour
Elloa is one of those people who I feel like I've always known. And like many of my connections these days, I've never actually met her physical self. I've tried to explain this online connection with several people who really don't get how connections could be so strong when I haven't actually met the person-I usually explain it like this: It's like you just get the essence of the person without all the other stuff in the way. Just the precious essence. This is how I feel about Elloa. Though we've never met face to face, I feel like I know her shiny, sparkly insides--the stuff that really matters.
What a treat it is to have you here today, beautiful Elloa. Thank you so much for saying yes.
By Elloa Barbour
Elloa & Nige playing "Rooster & Lily."
When Julia asked if I would write this week’s ‘"FEARLESS Friday" post, I joked to Nige, my beautiful companion, that I was glad I wasn’t writing about "Fearless Tuesday." Tuesday was audition day; Nige and I auditioned for the parts of Rooster and his moll, Lily, for our local theatre company’s 2011 summer production of “Annie!”
And I was scared.
Auditioning for anything is usually a frightening experience for me. It’s also something that, until Tuesday, I hadn’t done for years. And I had never done a singing audition, unless you count the one time in school when each person had to sing "Happy Birthday" (which I managed to do an alright job of. Phew!)
There’s something fundamentally frightening about standing in front of a panel of people and showing them something I’ve created, particularly when that creation has to come through me in the moment – dancing, reading, speaking, presenting, acting. It’s almost as if my very identity depends on it.
Logically, of course, I know that this isn’t possible – that what they think of me is none of my business, that I will walk out of there in just a few short minutes and I will still be me, that this tiny window of time couldn’t possibly change the essence of who I am – but my body tells a different story. From sweaty palms, to flushed cheeks, to skin covered in dappled rosy patches, to the strong, pounding heart inside my chest, thumping so loud I’m sure that everyone in the hall – no, perhaps even the entire village - can hear it, everything inside of me is saying, “Run, run, RUN.”
With all of these overwhelming physical sensations playing themselves out inside of me, it’s easy to forget one of the basic aims of A Course in Miracles, the text that I study and try to live my life by:
“Removing the blocks to the awareness of love’s presence, which is your natural inheritance.”
I needed a miracle.
Fortunately, miracles are as easy to come by as teabags – you just have to know where to look for them (aisle 6). The secret clue, given to us in the moment of conception but hidden away under layers of illusion for years to come, is simply this: connection. Finding my way through the twisted tunnels of despair and anxiety would be much easier if I just found enough courage to make eye contact. I declared my intention and commitment – to see myself and everyone as innocent in order to return to a state of love and peace – and looked up at the perfect witness that sat before me, offering me the sweetest gift I could ever receive: the chance to be seen and heard.
Away I went, exposing thought after thought, judgement after judgement, leaving no stone unturned. It didn’t take long for the tirade of attack and blame to part, opening the trapdoor into my basement, the dark and scary world inside of me, the place where loneliness lives.
Memories poured forth as tears began to stream down my face: the audition I ran away from when I was just 12 years old because I was too scared to sing, lying to my teacher saying I had to go home to babysit, me dropping out of acting school at age 11 because I was frightened of shining and believed I didn’t have a right to do so, my classmates turning against me en masse at age 11, protesting to the teacher that I shouldn’t play Nancy in our summer production of ‘Oliver’ because I’d had a solo in the nativity.
And the moment of realization: this was when I started to believe that I can’t sing.
To stop here would be an incomplete journey. I was connected again, in touch with the beautiful child inside, allowing myself to be unreservedly witnessed in this place, but I wasn’t home yet.
I needed to correct my mistaken beliefs if I was to truly return to love.
As each one surfaced, I named it, I have been trying to prove my fear, that I don’t deserve to shine ….. [take a breath, pause, look into his eyes] … and I am willing to see this differently.
Over and over again, until each core belief about myself and the world had been named, until I had declared with each one that I was willing to change my mind about how I saw it. And then, a whispered prayer, asking Spirit to help me change my mind so that I could remember the truth.
Finally, correction. Finally, home. Asking for help to transform each belief and remember the truth, reaching inward until I found what I was looking for – the highest declaration of truth, the most beautiful possibility for myself. I deserve to shine. I am lovable. I am enough. I am safe. I am creative. My witness, Nige, asked the most important question of the day: “Elloa, do you accept the truth, that you are lovable [beautiful/deserve to shine/enough/safe/creative]?”
Do I accept? My moment of decision. What I decide from hereon in will determine the outcome I experience. This was a potent moment indeed.
Say yes, Elloa, a tiny, gentle voice whispered from within my heart.
Yes, yes, YES! Yes to life, yes to being me, yes to taking a risk, yes to the little girl who so wants to be on stage, yes to having fun, yes to feeling afraid and doing it anyway, yes to all of it.
And the audition?
The panel were smiling as we entered the room. I was aware of Love’s presence. Fear had taken a back seat, and Spirit was behind the wheel again. Hurrah! We acted one of the three scenes we’d been given, the panel laughed! There was chemistry! I felt at ease! And it felt really, really good. Then, the song. I was just there, in front of four people whose eyes I could feel on me, but I was totally in the zone. I almost forgot that I was Elloa. The second chorus came, and up I stood, shoulders rocking to the beat. Nige and I intuitively bumped our hips into Deb's. The panel laughed again. Suddenly, a mistake, a split second “Oops!” and on I carried, unfazed by it. Finally, the big finish, and the next thing I knew, they were thanking us and saying we could go, that they had seen enough and that it was the best laugh they’d had in two days of auditions. Wow.
Have we gotten the parts? I don’t know yet – snow began to fall the following day and hasn’t stopped, and the mail service has had to stop delivering. Somehow, it doesn’t matter whether I get it or not. What matters is that I had so much fun doing it, and what matters is that I had the courage to walk through my fear beforehand, discovering that on the other side of it there is freedom.
Fear isn’t the cruel jailer it used to be. Nowadays, fear is a springboard for me, catapulting me into an experience of forgiveness and healing – if I choose to take responsibility for my thinking. Each time I peel back the layers, I reveal an innocent, shining child of God who shines more brightly with each revelation.
And maybe, just maybe, I’ll get to sing “Easy Street” again one day…
Elloa & Nige playing "Rooster & Lily."
Elloa is a student and teacher of A Course in Miracles. She lives in Sussex, England, near her beloved Nige, and she adores drinking tea, connecting on a heart level with people, and seeing the innocent child at the centre of everyone.