I do not know with what skills He will fill me and send me back to this earth- Rumi
Back in August 2014 I decided to do a financial literacy workshop for the women at a Domestic Violence Shelter on topics such as budgeting, managing bank accounts, credit cards etc. I am terrified of public speaking. But I am passionate about serving and helping people. Women’s empowerment is a cause very close to my heart. As a CPA I felt my knowledge would benefit women who were working on starting afresh. So I pushed my fears aside and decided to get in touch with the coordinator. On the appointed date I showed up at the shelter and was guided to a large room with about 12-15 women.
As I started talking my nerves were obvious but I kept reminding myself to focus on the audience, keep them engaged and see if I needed to stop in between to allow them time to process the information. There were some women with interpreters so I had to proceed at a comfortable pace for all. Slowly I forgot about my nerves and before I knew it I had touched upon most topics I planned to cover that day, shared some worksheets, answered questions and closed with a quick summary. However I had finished sooner than expected.
With 30 more minutes to go I was a little embarrassed that I hadn’t planned enough activities to cover the whole hour. I told the coordinator if it was alright with her I wanted to do some motivational speaking. So I spontaneously started speaking about believing in ourselves. Having lived abroad on my own for 11 plus years I had gone through a lot of struggles trying to make it on my own. Through it all I had to give myself a lot of pep talks, applaud my accomplishments, pick myself up after failures and teach my fearful self to keep walking and believing that I am going to make it with flying colors. And I did.
So when I stood there ready to speak words just started pouring out of my mouth instantly. Only this time I had a bigger audience. Pretty soon I saw eyes watching me intently, their look changing to one of deep concentration as if they were soaking up every word I was saying. Soon enough heads were nodding in agreement, a little spark was beginning to form in their eyes, some were smiling, some teary eyed as if they had an epiphany and remembered that they were more than what had happened to them.
As I came to a stop I saw inspired people applauding with big smiles and strong determination in their eyes. Surprised at the response and feedback I got I remember feeling dazed. After I got into my car I sat there for a few minutes overwhelmed by the hugs and positive feed back I got. Memories of me doing everything I could to fight my inner demons, struggling to stay strong, and overcoming some of the most difficult phases of my life washed over me and I cried. I don’t know how long I was sitting there but by the end of it I felt peace. I felt that all those struggles had a purpose that lead me to this place where I could speak to these women without fear about something I had to tell myself everyday. And in that moment I understood somehow my efforts over the years towards personal empowerment had served a much bigger purpose than I could possibly imagine.
©2015, Vani Murthy. All rights reserved