“Take a sloppy step forward,” she told me, “You want to do everything perfectly and you are waiting until you know the next step will be perfect.”
I was flabbergasted as Rhonda Britten gave me some of the best advice ever. Words I will never forget flowed through her that day many years ago.
“You can wait forever or…”she paused and held my silent gaze, “how about this…I give you permission to take a sloppy step forward.”
I met Rhonda years ago, after she had just published her books “Fearless Living” and “Fearless Loving.” I took some classes with her and she met me at the time I was still on the fence and waiting for the right moment to step out into the world as an author and teacher myself.
At the time I did not feel worthy of being anyone’s teacher. I did not feel worthy of my name, my book, or any titles. I wanted to wait until my confidence grew. At that time I thought someday I would feel confident enough, wise enough, brilliant enough to actually step out into the light.
We do not learn to walk by waiting. We do not learn to ride a bike by watching. We learn best when we just do it. Our confidence grows with each successful step. And we grow wiser with each fall that we take.
I have taken many sloppy steps since that moment when Rhonda gave me permission to do so. My first talk was a memorized speech. With sweaty palms I gripped the podium and watched a clock facing me that no one else could see. I tried to slow down but I raced through my thirty minute talk in less than twenty.
If not for the gentleman in the front row I might have given up. But as I picked up my notes I heard him say to the woman sitting next to him, “That was good.”
That was all I needed to help me take the next step, to do my next talk, a bit slower and more mindfully. And then the next one, without a clock. And the next one without memorizing. And so on and so on, to where I learned to just show up and allow Spirit to speak through me.
And eventually I wasn’t walking, I was gliding.
It got easy.
Until I fell down.
I really did. Last month moments before my class was scheduled to begin I stepped outside to touch the earth and center myself. I caught my heel on the first step, and fell down several steps onto a brick path.
Falling to my knees I touched the earth hard.
Introducing myself in a disheveled lace dress, knees bleeding through my ripped ivory tights was quite the humbling experience.
It took me right back to the beginning. My confidence fell. I started to believe I was doing something wrong.
Then I remembered Rhonda looking at me and letting me know it was okay to take a sloppy step forward.
An old friend showed up for this class with a woman he felt needed to meet me. I didn’t feel like I was making a very good impression as I fumbled to begin the class holding a washcloth against my throbbing knee. As I tried to stop the bleeding I searched for the right words to say.
The woman that came to meet me watched me bleed, and then she opened up to me.
Healing happened for both of us as unconditional love streamed in and through me for her.
Would she have been willing to let me see her pain if she had not seen mine first?
There have been many times I have fallen down, in different ways of course. Over the years I have had some amazing success and some humiliating failures.
I have learned how to fall gracefully, and not so gracefully.
I teach others the importance of asking for help and support, and I have had to learn how to do the same.
In falling in front of others, we learn who will be there to help us up again.
We learn that it takes a lot of strength to be vulnerable.
The greatest lessons are often painful ones, until we have the courage to share them.
Take a sloppy step forward. I know you can.
Don’t hesitate, just do it.
We’re all human here, and we will understand if it’s anything less than perfect.
In Love, Light, and still wearing my heels,