What’s on your joy list?

I have recently rediscovered a long dormant passion: I love to sing.

That doesn’t mean others love that I sing, but I surely do.  In the car, around the house, whenever the spirit moves me, I break out in song – often surprising anyone within earshot, especially my teenage son.

No matter what mood I am in when I start, singing always lifts my spirits higher. It fills me with joy and allows me to be totally present with the feeling and the sound (as bad as that sound may be).

It all began when this little eight year old girl, who didn’t possess her sister’s talent for playing piano, had to settle for singing lessons.  It was a humble beginning, but little did the world know that by the time she was ten years old, this seasoned vocal performer would be rocking it on the Chief Halftown show.

What, you’ve never heard of Chief Halftown?  Decked out in full Indian headdress, his show was all the rage among families living near Philadelphia in the 1960’s.  The live show aired during primetime – 7:30 on a Saturday morning.

(At least 7:30 on a Saturday morning is primetime for kids – and the airtime is a logical reason why you may have never heard of Chief Halftown.)

But my family of seven was all abuzz – one of our own was headed for the lights of the big city!  I was among thousands of kids who made it on his show to perform. There was no vetting process (you would know that for sure, if you heard me sing), and no one was ever turned away for lack of talent.

When my turn came, I was no longer this scrawny bespectacled kid with buck teeth and long hair in a head band struggling to find a starting pitch.   No, I was Julie Andrews, the diva of Plowville, Pennsylvania.  With inexplicable joy and a complete lack of inhibition, I belted out “Climb Every Mountain,” knowing, just knowing this was my destiny.

As it turned out, it wasn’t quite my destiny.  Life shifted into a faster speed once I left childhood behind.  The blur of an endless stream of responsibilities that came with a corporate job while raising my children somehow crowded out the impulse to sing, whether on a television stage or just when the moment seemed right.  I sang to my children when they were young, of course.  In fact, since singing to your young children somehow gets you mother’s brownie points, I did it a lot.  (All moms want those brownie points – c’mon, fess up!)

But the singing was for them, not me.  As they got older, I would no longer climb mountains as Julie Andrews, or tell people not to rain on my parade as Barbara Streisand.  And there would surely be no more Raffi and Baby Beluga sing-alongs.  Without really noticing it, I had let a part of my essential self, a crucial part that allowed me to be completely in the moment and totally immersed in joy, simply fade into the background.

I love my life and feel gratitude for it every day

One day not so long ago, I decided to sit down and make a list of things that bring me joy.  I wanted to really, truly appreciate all the possibilities that  each day could bring and look around at all the life there was to live.

The list was long, of course.  But naturally, singing was near the top.

So now, I’ve reclaimed that essential part of my self.  I’ve recaptured the greatness of that child on the stage.  I am Julie Andrews all over again and climbing every mountain, no matter whose ears it might offend.

I ask you, my friend: what’s on your joy list that is missing?

Where is that long lost moment of greatness you claimed as a child, the one where you let yourself soar – the one where you let your true self, the essence of who you are, light up the room without any regard for what others thought?

Listen to your heart and be true to the song you want to be singing, the one that once had you destined for greatness.  Make room in your life for you to feel that inexplicable joy.

That Austrian mountain is just waiting for you to climb it.

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