|by KD Farris, Ph.D.
Belly Up: Confessions of a Professional Speaker
Have you ever been off your game? When all your knowledge and sensibilities were disconnected from your body and thinking-mind for ten minutes, one hour, or say, even for one full day? A time experienced without your trusted, tried-and-true methodologies by your side? A complete and total severing of all you know and all you need in a moment? Tongue-tied when itís your turn to speak, lead-footed when itís time to leap, a deer-in-the-headlights when itís time to prance? A complete and utter high-jacking of your present state of mind?
That kind of bad day, lost hour, nightmare event, when you realize you are not sleeping, you cannot wake up, that what is going on has possibly several more hours before concluding, and all you can do is try to keep your dignity in tact? A time when losing consciousness would be a blessing? But rather you stand in horror as your mouth does speak and your body does move, but only as controlled by some sinister alien from a distant evil planet.
These unexpected, out of control periods of time for which no one can prepare us, will at some point, at some time, come to us all. And it is only after the visitation that we can later realize how the ways we respond to these life-changing events predict the rise or fall of the fruits of our labor and materialization of our hopes and dreams.
If we can see it, it is how we humans react, take in, integrate, reason with, utilize, process, survive, and carry on from such spellbound moments in time that is what the spiritual life is preparing us for all along.
Situations where we can go belly up are everywhere waiting to happen. In advertising, itís that big fish client youíve prepared months and weeks to be in the same room with Monday morning. In acting, itís the audition for that famed director youíve admired the last fifteen years. And for myself, it was that special speaking engagement Iíd been preparing for and looked forwarded to since booking it in June.
Yes, there was a lot going on that day, much to do, lots of newness in the mill. But experience would have told me, going in, that the evening was to be like any other. Iíd tune into the crowd, top up my outline, take the stage, do my thing, step down feeling pretty good, and on the drive home would reassess and find at least three things I could have done better; the next day Iíd take time to improve upon them, and then fold the improvements into my outline which would make me all the more prepared for my next event.
What a surprise I got when I took the stage, looked at my notes, and realized that they were of absolutely no value to me at that time. What a shock it was to find myself cold and blank, as though I had woken up in someone elseís life and was giving a lecture on a topic about which I knew absolutely nothing.
Rather than having access to my twenty years of experience of teaching, writing and presenting, a complete and utter wipe of the mental hard drive had taken place and my Macintosh start up symbol icon was quickly going from smiley face to down-turned mouth, instead.
Rather than being graced with all I knew of my lifeís work, I could only see, hear and experience that which I had no clue. Only the doubt, confusion, and lifetime of unanswered questions were standing by my side. And on I went for the time assigned me, grabbling to explain with confidence that which I, for now, had only doubts.
On the long drive home, my mind still empty, my questions crystal clear, I felt a slow swelling as a parade of emotions moved through. It was confusing to know that by way of my agenda that evening, I had crashed and burned, but that by way of a greater happening, I was on the brink of something Iíd been seeking all along. Everything Iíve learned on this path to conscious freedom told me that I was in the hands of fate now. For only a divine orchestration could have stripped me so perfectly of all that Iíd been prepared for, leaving only the axiom of this next level of truth to be explored.
Gradually, over the next few days, what I was unable to answer on the stage that night brought all the light of my life shining down upon it. There was nothing else to focus on, the question had become simple: What was the gift in the unplanned event of that day? What was the opportunity in the "failing" of that night?
What came out of this walking nightmare was the answer to a yearís worth of prayers. There had been places in my work where I was stuck and could not figure out how to build the bridge from one part of my work to another: a book I had been unable to complete: a career move Iíd been unable to take, a momentum within which Iíd been continually stalled, a question I had no answer for. I have never in my life been so unprepared for and yet so incredibly grateful to a shift such as this in kind and in size.
Graceful living is as much about what to do on a bad day, as it is about what to do on a good one. And what we are able to gain from the worst of our experiences is evermore in the fabric and foundation of the successes in our lives.
For me, the disaster of the failed event has become the single greatest happening of my career. For only since then I have been able to navigate through a yearís worth of sticking places in the development of my person, my work and my career. And what a high I have been on since then as the floodgates have opened and I have been freed to walk into my future.
These are the kinds of wonderful highs and lows that can be expected if you are making your way in life boldly, succinctly, and passionately. Only if you are playing the game of life can you pitch a no-hitter. And only if you are on the playing field can you be a part of the losing team.
Graceful living isnít only what we do correctly with preparation and forethought that changes our path and the meaning of time, but also how we respond to the sweeping hand of chaos and disorder when it reaches out from the mysteries of life and swats you, without warning, up and into your futureóa future that you not only are destined to be a part of, but one that you hope and wish for with all your focus, concentration and prayer.
© Copyright 2003 KD Farris, Ph.D.. All Rights Reserved.
Read KD's Past Columns:
October 2003 - "Serenity: As Calm, As Clear
May 2003 - "What are Your Needs?"
April 2003 - "Techniques for Clearing the Space for Communication" - Part II of II
February 2003 - "HESHE & Clearing the Space for Communication" - Part I of II
January 2003 - "Body & Soulful Living"
November 2002 - "Getting Into MESHE with Your Home Through Minor Adjustments"
October 2002 - "Being in MESHE with Clearing Clutter"
September 2002 - "Discover Going on Retreat"
July 2002 - "Build Your MESHE - Seek the Space: A Process for Reclaiming the Shadow"
June 2002 - Revisiting: "The MESHE Concept - A Path to Soulful Living"
May 2002 - "Bodywork 101"
March 2002 - "Being Present Within Your Prosperous Life"
February 2002 - "HESHE and The Third Bird"
December 2001 - "Manifesting Your Perfect Partner with Personal Truthz"
November 2001 - "Remembering What We Already Know"
September 2001 - "Be Led By What You Are Trying to Avoid"
August 2001 - "Draw Your Way to Clarity, Health & Balance"
June 2001 - "Tending to the Negative Mind"
May 2001 - "Gentle Conscious Living"
April 2001 - "MISON and The Moment"
March 2001 - "The MESHE Concept - A Path to Soulful Living"
KD Farris, Ph.D. is a successful counselor, healer, and bodyworker. For more than twenty years she has taught
extensive workshops based on MESHE, HESHE, MISON & ORBIT as well as many other self-discovery topics.
KD began developing her integrated bodywork and counseling techniques in 1983 under the tutelage of many prominent doctors and healers throughout the United States.
Her education into the spiritual and physical aspects of the human experience served as the foundation for her private practice and the development of a new philosophy. She combined her techniques into four guiding principles, which she shares in her book, MESHE, HESHE,
MISON & ORBIT: What My Grandmother Taught Me About the Universe. She teaches a companion workshop series, where she creates an interactive environment demonstrating the material from her book with tangible, life altering effects. In these workshops, individuals discover a
deepening of their relationship to self, others, and life itself.
Through individual counseling and group workshops, she has taught her results-oriented programs to many different types of people including those confined to mental institutions, substance and food abusers, and generally, people in life transitions, struggling with intimate
relationships, or who lack direction in their lives. Visit www.kdfarris.com.
KD is currently touring a new body of work, Talking About People in Transition, Also Known As
Liminal Space. She will be writing about liminality and its relevance to day-to-day living in upcoming issues of Soulful Living. For more information on this new and exciting topic, or to learn about more her private practice, workshops and lectures, visit
Contact KD at: info@MESHE.com