By Anna Mello
Recently I sang a song called “Eye of the Storm” by singer/song writer Jen Hajj, who was a guest musician at our center a couple of months ago. I mentioned that this song had a profound effect on me, and I said that I would share this experience in writing. Although there are many musical selections that touch my soul deeply, the timing of this song literally brought me to my knees and evoked overwhelming emotions.
Some people know this about me, but there are many who still don’t. Although I have become a regular volunteer singer at CSLT over the last couple of years, the fact is, that for many years I did not join a choir or sing in front of large groups of people, even though I loved to sing, knew I could sing and wanted to sing. For some reason I didn’t feel like I was a good enough singer to be in a simple high school or church choir, and even when I finally did, it took me awhile to really allow myself to fully share what was inside at that time.
Around 2002, I was involved in a spiritual book study group through Unity, and it was revealed to me that I was supposed to solo. I was so nervous, but I shared this with the facilitator and the group. The facilitator, who was an Arizona State legislator at the time and involved with Toastmasters, firmly, yet lovingly told me to get up and sing for them right then, and she didn’t care how long it took me, or if I had to stop for tears or whatever, but she assured me that I was going to finish! Well the tears did come, and I did finish; however the tears that flowed did not only represent my fears, but was a sense of release or the birth of something that was supposed to come out and express. The next step for me was to sing by myself for the whole congregation. I was extremely anxious, more so than most people ever fully knew. In fact, I started to realize and notice that I would try to avoid the anxiety by sabotaging myself and physically getting sick. When I started to honestly take a look at this, I had to admit to myself that I had done this before, in other areas of my life and with things that I said I wanted to do, but didn’t because having an excuse for not doing them was more comfortable than facing my fears of being vulnerable.
After talking through this with a few trusted people, I decided I was going to solo for my birthday and it was going to be the gift to myself from myself! Well of course, all of the physical obstacles came up, but I committed to this challenge and told myself I was going to do it, no matter what! As I worked through my own habits of resistance and mind chatter, an original song “Come Within” emerged with the starting lines being, “Oh my child, say the WORD and you are healed. Come within and know that we are ONE.” I continued moving through my physical and emotional healing and finished writing the song and actually did fine on my first solo, despite the nervous ticks, wobbly legs, and the need to remind myself to breathe. I continued to solo at least once a year on my birthday at Unity, and started to take on challenges in other areas of my life as well, and began reaching some of my big goals that I set out to accomplish. Since I’ve been here at CSLT for almost four years now, I continue to grow in many areas, but I honestly feel like I am on WARP speed in allowing some new changes to emerge from within, and I feel like I am at an increased level of awareness with everything and everyone around me. In addition to our Sunday services, I undoubtedly, know that this is a result of taking the offered classes, and making a commitment to use the spiritual tools that are taught in this philosophy. All of the classes I’ve taken have been very meaningful for me, but Foundations and Visioning have been my favorite so far, and have opened me up so much! I know this is a result of stepping into the practices whole heartedly, and loving myself enough to allow my full potential to continually unfold and express. In doing this I am finding that sometimes that means having to pick up my oars and point my boat right towards the “storm”, AKA “the scary stuff” or the excuses I make up to keep myself small and comfortable. The problem with playing small is that it keeps me from getting to the “eye” and “I” of what is truly desired in my heart.
Jen Hajj’s song was so profound for me, and literally had me on my knees in tears when I heard it the first time, because a couple of weeks prior to her being our guest musician, one of the symbols and messages that I received during a visioning class was a tornado and the words “eye of the storm”. At the time, I just allowed the vision to be what it was and didn’t analyze or try to figure it out, since the process of visioning is to surrender to Divine Mind and trust that what needs to come forth will reveal itself naturally. When Jen Hajj showed up the following Sunday, it was the first time I had met her and heard any of her music. Afterwards, I introduced myself and bought a CD, but didn’t really take time to even look at it because I had another commitment to rush off to. I put it in my binder and forgot about it. The next week, I was needing to make some final choices on some significant job changes and was getting uncomfortable with taking the leap that I knew I needed to take. I decided to take a break and work on choir music, and when I took out my binder, I saw the CD that I had forgotten about. On the front cover, the name of the CD read “I of the storm”, and one of the songs on the CD was “Eye of the Storm”. At that moment, I recalled my visioning and I played the song. The words were EXACTLY what I was feeling and needed to hear, and while I was so grateful for recognizing the synchronicity with my visioning, it was also extremely overpowering for me, and stirred up those anxious feelings once again. I was excited AND nervous because I knew I had to face some more of my fears and expand from “the box” that had become familiar, knowing I had outgrown it and didn’t want to be in it anymore. I reached out to one of our practitioner’s Lynne Heygster, who was teaching the class, to help me get grounded in spiritual truth and we shared a spiritual mind treatment together. I even made an appointment right afterwards with our own Zach Saber from Wellness First, to help me release some of the physical pain that had shown up as well. So now I have at least made peace with getting into “the boat”, and I’ve started rowing once again towards another “storm”, committed to facing my doubts and fears as I row into the “eye” to get to the “I” of this new storm. The “I” is my authentic Divine self, the self that shines as bright as it can, without the need to receive 100% approval from everyone and without worrying that allowing myself to shine might be taking away from another’s light. In this moment, I know and live from the truth that Divine light is inherent to everyone, and expresses in each one’s own unique way, and I encourage others to shine their light BRIGHT and bless us ALL! I am continually inspired by witnessing people around me step out of their comfort zones and allowing their lights to shine brighter and brighter. It is my sincere hope that we can lovingly honor and truly support those in our spiritual community and all around us, who are taking chances and moving outside of their familiar places to discover their Divine potential and passions. It may not always appear “perfect and polished” on the outside to everyone, especially at first, but I hope instead of criticizing, we can appreciate the bigger accomplishments that are springing forth and interact with loving kindness to one another. And, as we step out, when we do come across those critical experiences in our lives, may we remember that we can choose to lovingly look at what we can learn from them and then remember the sacred “I AM”! Can you imagine what we would each look like, what our Center for Spiritual Living Tucson would look like, what Tucson and the world would look like, if we all rowed into the “I” of our own made up storms and allowed our authentic light to shine as bright as it can and then share it and encourage others to do the same?! WOW!!…… Let’s get out our sunglasses!!!!
If you’re interested in the artist and song mentioned, you can check her out at http://www.jenhajj.com/i-of-the-storm.html