Reading at the Art Share

I locked up my bike. I was pretty nervous about the reading. I used to perform a lot. But it’s been a while. I do presentations for work, but that’s not the same.

Reading my own story, I could be judged, not just on my performance but on my material. I had signed up to read at the New York Insight Meditation Center Art Share. Not exactly the stress of Amateur Night at the Apollo, but still, stressful.

Just breathe, I reminded myself.

Buddhism and its practitioners are known for non-judgment. What a great concept — not judging.

I was reading a story that I knew to be funny, poignant, true. It was a mash-up of a few blog posts, one of which was about a mindfulness walk on a retreat.  As I walked, I took out my phone to snap  a picture and then it happened — I got caught in the web of social media — answering emails, texts, updating my Facebook, all while trying to meditate. I had gone on the retreat to get away from it all, but unwittingly plunked myself right back  into the thick of it all.

The reading went well. I got some laughs, some nods, some smiles.

After the reading, I felt that post-performance high — that arm-stretched-in-the-air pose of a gymnast who has just nailed her floor routine.

I bumped into an acquaintance who was about to teach a yoga class. She told me that my reading went well.

“Thanks,” I said, feeling grateful.

That’s when I realized the purpose of doing a reading or blogging or putting myself out there — is to turn acquaintances into friends. And to feel grateful.

I got on my bike. I rode home feeling proud and humble at the same time.

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