“Our greatest fear is not that we are inadequate, but that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us.” -Marianne WilliamsonI absolutely love this quote from Marianne Williamson. It is so true. There is something so powerful when someone is illuminating a room with their presence, and not hiding their gifts to the world. Ironically, this quote is usually attributed to Nelson Mandela. It wasn’t until I started researching my first Snorting Out Loud presentation that I found out Marianne Williamson actually authored this. While I absolutely love and respect Nelson Mandela, I think it rather interesting that this is attributed to a man, as opposed to a female writer and philosopher. Attribution aside, this spoke to me. I had this taped to the wall to remind me not to be afraid to shine. Not to hide my true self. Not to be what I thought others (or myself) expected me to be. Think back to when you were three or four years old – or whatever your earliest memory is. What did you love? What were you like? Chances are your memories are wonderfully simple. You loved swinging. You loved playing house with your best friend. For me, I have some very clear memories or really more feelings. I remember clearly that I wanted to be an actress. In fact, at some young age, I was absolutely positive I was going to be a famous Broadway singer and actress. I loved musical theatre more than anything. I started trying out for shows at the age of four. At a slightly older age, I would ride my bike to the community theatre and try out for musicals, along with much older kids and adults. It was just so clear. I also have wonderful memories of sitting in the driveway of our house in Palo Alto watching the neighbor boy, Stanley, shoot baskets. I thought he was the most divine creature, and my mother tells me I would say, “He is just like a wonderful chocolate bar, and I want to eat him up.” Who says that? A child who has no filter and loves life as it is. And who hasn’t been told you aren’t supposed to think someone different from you is absolutely beautiful. I was also in love with another four year old in the neighborhood, David, who I played house with. And I loved my best friend, Leah, who lived across the street, and whose father was in theatre. And I loved running around the neighborhood to all the different families, especially around meal time, and especially the Mexican-American family whose mother made the most fantastic food in the world. My belief in becoming a great actress was so clear in fact that for a period of time, I told people my name was “Candy.” I thought that was a great actress name, and it was the name of the character in the hit TV show at the time, Here Comes the Brides, who was in love with Bobby Sherman. Who I also loved. I was too young to realize it was a name often used by strippers more than actresses. 🙂 This was a period where I also developed a habit of singing little songs to myself. These songs could be about anything: going to the store, swinging on the swingset, eating dinner. Anything. And they always had the same basic melody. It never occurred to me to not just sing out loud whenever the desire hit me. I share these memories because to me this was the last time I remember a time when I completely and fully was letting my true light shine. And when you are shining your light, you are so pure in your joy for the world and those around you. What is this light? Your true light is your: Unique gifts to the world Inner beauty and power Connection to the universe Potential to be all you can be It’s what makes you, YOU. So think back to a time when you know in your heart you were letting your light shine on the world and being your true self. Try to hold that glimmer of light in your hand as we continue on this journey.