Speaking of the Laguna Art Museum, I had a speaking gig there yesterday afternoon. I was initially concerned about people showing up, since I'd had a number of regrets from good friends via email. I needn't have worried. I don't know exactly how many chairs they set up for the event, but virtually every one was taken. I'd guess there were maybe fifty or sixty people there, a good crowd, very receptive, very appreciative.
I've been writing about this quite a bit in the past few weeks--about my ridiculous performance anxiety and my growing number of venues for talks about "Persist." It's a matter of great satisfaction to me that, so far, things have gone so well. For the session yesterday, I had prepared an outline for what I wanted to say and brought notes with me. But in actuality, I hardly referred to the notes at all. The words came when I needed them, the ideas flowed. The absurd fear that I'd suddenly get frozen in mid-sentence never materialized. And I found myself, this time, enjoying the feeling of being in touch with those who came to hear me, actually having a tangible sense of their attention and enjoyment. I spoke for perhaps half an hour, and after that the questions came, thoughtful, intelligent, responsive to my thoughts and probing for further elaboration. That seemed to me the best kind of endorsement.
As I've noted before, I'm treating this as a new medium to explore. While I'm careful not to allow myself to get over-confident, I have come to the understanding and acceptance of the fact that I do have the skills I need, and that I still have much to learn. That I can learn with the feeling of support and encouragement from listeners make this an all the more welcome period of experiment and growth. Forgive me for patting myself so heartily on the back. I have yet to make a fool of myself, and I'm sure that will happen. But who ever learned to ride a bicycle without falling off?
To anyone who joined me for my talk yesterday and who tunes in to The Buddha Diaries today out of curiosity, I say welcome... and thanks for being a truly wonderful audience!