What’s Holding You back?

 In Sandra Seh!


Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears. ~Les Brown

We have all been there. Frozen like deer in the headlights. Panicked! Can’t move! Can’t function! Can’t get on with things.

We know we need to start.   We tell ourselves to “ get cracking” and yet the words in our head whisper- ”it’s not gonna work’; “are you sure you know how to do this?”  And we stop and nothing gets done.

We have all been there. We beat up ourselves about our lack of action, about why we don’t keep our promises, about why we are so afraid.

It was Eleanor Roosevelt who said, “You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.”

My first foray into storytelling,of actually standing in front of an audience took over a year before I had the courage to tell a story.

For over 30 years In Toronto there has been a group who meet to tell stories at an event called 1001 Friday Nights of Storytelling and the only rule is you cannot read a story-you have to tell.

I was there at the beginning and the people telling and sharing stories were mostly librarians who had been doing it for years in their story circles.  Each Friday night we were transported as we heard about kings & queens, about magic and fairies and I was hooked.

It was wonderful and different.  The stories were being told to adults and it was then I remembered, this is how stories were always shared, by the griots (storytellers) who knew the history and secrets and shared with the community.

I couldn’t wait to tell a story.  Growing up in Jamaica, which has a very vivid oral culture, stories & proverbs were told all the time and I had heard my fair share.

But I had to find a story and learn it to tell in a public gathering. I remember the complete fear I felt but also the absolute conviction that I had to do this thing. This was to be my calling, for years I had talked and “told stories” but now I was going to do it “properly”.

I practised and practised and when my turn came, my feet were shaking but my voice was confident and I had overcome my fear.

It was great and I have never regretted that decision to get up and tell a story that evening.

It took preparation. It took practise. It took courage.

But most of all, it took letting go of fear and just saying yes.

Go for whatever is holding you back.  You won’t regret it.

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