In late August I offered my first poetry concert. I took a risk and stepped into new terrain. The concert involved speaking 14 poems from memory and from my heart. I was accompanied by cello music. While speaking in front of an audience comes easily to me from my teaching and facilitation, stepping into a creative offering was new.
I wanted to convey the principles of Unlocking Pleasure by speaking poems that bring me, and I hoped others, great pleasure. This idea came to me last year, and I held the vision as step by step it came into reality. Along the way I wondered – can I really do this? There was some fear, but a significant part of me felt – yes I can! I was confident and that felt good.
Self-confidence is an asset. There are a lot of theories as to why some people have it and some don’t. Confidence is never 100%. Every person has areas where he or she feels confident and other places not so much. Often people feel confident with what’s familiar, but you need confidence to step into the unknown.
As a former psychotherapist I can attest to the stress that a lack of self-confidence causes for people, holding them back from fulfilling their dreams. Sometimes people push forward, but with massive self-doubt that churns up more pressure and confusion throughout the activity.
Confidence is probably one of the most valuable assets you can get from a “good enough” upbringing, but it also can be built in adulthood. This is one of life’s true pleasures, to go forward with confidence in yourself and your abilities.
For years I have wanted to have a creative skill I could share. People often told me they really like my voice, so I thought maybe singing, but then I discovered speaking poetry. So I’ve been practicing speaking poems that reflect the many aspects of taking, having and giving pleasure. I look for opportunities to speak them in different kinds of settings.
“Just do it!” is one of my favorite sayings. Confidence comes from doing things, practicing putting yourself out, and the experience of success. Confidence comes from taking risks and allowing yourself to be stretched. You have to be your own loving parent and walk and talk yourself through the wobbliness of first steps.
Also, let those around you be an additional support. My 28-year-old daughter who studied drama in high school was the ‘good parent’ to me the morning of my concert. She offered some energy exercises to quell my pre-performance jitters. I let myself take in her words of encouragement, telling me I could do it, and it would be good.
I was willing to take the risk that I might not remember the lines, or be able to hold the space, or that I might disappoint myself. But it worked and I was well within my range of competency. I feel a new strength now and a satisfaction from deepening my creative capacity. And I feel the pleasure that comes from confidence.
What are your experiences with pleasure and confidence?
Next entry: More on Risk Taking
Previous entry: Pleasure is a risky business!
Madeline combines her experience as a gifted teacher and facilitator with her exquisite sensitivity to guide us into unlocking pleasure. In her gentle way she helps us to make friends with our bodies, softening the places where we feel resistance, shame and pain and learn how to tune into the myriad sensations of pleasure. She embodies her teaching and the expression of her own pleasure is contagious. Madeline creates a safe space to (re)discover that we are wired for pleasure and can overcome the negative conditioning of fear, trauma, and messages of “not good enough”.