We had some rain last night and it is still grey outdoors. I have a long drive East to the Wheatbelt today and I’ve been checking on the weather reports periodically. I dislike driving through a storm cell there. They can be intense.
I realised this morning I’m supposed to give a talk tomorrow and it slipped off my radar. I’ll have to wing it. I’m done with stats and will go with facts instead. How am I this calm about it?! I’ll have hours in the car to put it together in my mind, I keep telling myself. The subject is something I’m passionate about, so the task ahead is restraint, not overkill. Public speaking is a fear experienced by most. As a student, it made my knees go weak, my throat dry and my voice, even softer. I recall the first presentation I made in my undergraduate years to a full class. At the time I worked at the university too and asked Security if I could access the lecture room over the weekend. I stood in an empty room and was in a state of panic over the thought of it being filled with people. I thought of strategies to overcome this. I was using a behavioural strategy to some degree (exposure) but the trigger was visual. So I decided to give the talk without wearing my contacts and told the audience I could not see beyond the first three rows, so if they had a question, they would have to call out instead of raising their hand. It worked a treat! I gave my talk without a stumble and went on to present a paper at a conference in Washington DC before I graduated, not that I’m clever, I was passionate about my research. I ended up walking away from it after I graduated.
Passion is good if it lights a fire that doesn’t consume. That work was consuming me. It was in every corner of my home. One day I started collecting all my journals and paperwork and placed them in the middle of the lounge room. I watched it for a few days and then decided, like one does, this relationship is not going to work. It took courage to do this. Doesn’t it always to end something? I had invested nearly ten years of my life in this. But, something had to give.
Since then I’ve learned how to exercise restraint. I’ve learnt how to practice including all views and finding a common ground. It is the art of win-win. I’m still a novice at this and tomorrow I’ll need the practice.
Tomorrow I’ll take my cue from a cormorant. I love how they spread their wings as soon as they get wet, a ‘come all ye faithful’ pose without a flock. An inclusive gesture for a solitary bird.
I know what I have to say tomorrow may not fall on ears that are receptive. My views may not align with theirs. But, I do know I can make the offer, the gesture, even if it is an audience of one.
Until next time
a dawn bird