It was a warm summer evening in June. I was a senior in high school, and everyone in our class had been invited to offer a performance piece as our “Senior Farewell Event” for friends and family. I decided that I’d sing Oh Very Young by Cat Stephens. It’s a song that is a bit challenging rhythmically, and I’d had very little time to practice. But, throwing caution to the wind (my typical style), I decided to just GO FOR IT! I’d never gotten much beyond a chorus role in our school’s annual musical, so this was my big chance to prove myself as a singer!
It didn’t go so well. About halfway through the song, I lost my rhythm. My lyrics were out of synch with the piano, and it all started to sound quite terrible. I remember feeling my stomach knot up as sweat began pouring from my skin. I looked out into the sea of faces that I desperately wanted to impress, hoping no one would notice that I was fumbling. I could feel my face begin to flush as I struggled to stave off the tears. But then the flood came, and I could hold them back no longer. My voice started trembling so intensely that I had to stop singing.
I walked off the stage mid-song and ran into the arms of my mom, who was sitting near the front. I cried and cried, feeling deeply embarrassed and ashamed. Clearly, they were right all along-I didn’t have what it takes to be a singer. Memories of my father’s voice echoed through my head. “You don’t have the talent for Broadway, so you should just forget it.”
And so I decided, on that day, to give up music. I didn’t sing another note for many, many years. I focused on academics in college and allowed my love of singing to fade away into the background. So I am now sometimes stunned to find myself about to release my debut album, Sacred Alchemy, on September 7th. To be honest, part of me is terrified. I am scared to mess-up my vocals at my CD-Release party, nervous that my live shows won’t measure up to my album, and worried that folks just won’t like my music at all.
Yet while I still feel this fear, I’ve learned to not let it govern my life. I treat it as a signpost that lets me know when I am hitting up against my growth edges. I breathe, and I do my best to lean into it (which is NOT always easy to do!)
You see, I’ve always had a dream of making a music CD in my lifetime. I sense it’s an important vehicle to help re-awaken the sacred feminine in our culture and our hearts. For me, the experience of chanting sacred mantras and writing new songs to the Goddess has been a very important part of my spiritual practice. When I sing these sacred words, I often find myself in a space that exists outside of time. I feel my heart open and my awareness expands beyond this 3D reality. It’s so deeply nourishing. And I feel I’m meant to share this vehicle of sacred music with others-beyond what my personal ego thinks or wants. And so I am going for it yet again, despite what my rational mind is telling me (it often tells me to forget about the whole thing).
As you read my story, I wonder what is in the way of pursuing your own big dream? So often with our clients in the Soulful Women programs, it’s fear that stops them. But it’s time to consider the COST of letting fear run your life. If you are anything like me, the cost is great. It means sacrificing our hopes and our vision of a grand possibility for our lives. It means burying the unique gift I can offer the world in favor of playing safe or looking good. It means letting a little piece of my soul die each day that I don’t step towards my destiny.
So I am here to invite you into a different possibility. I am here to let you know that this can be the season that you RISE UP above your own fear to let a bigger destiny move through you. And I am here to remind you that NOW IS THE TIME.
Your longing is your soul whispering its plans for you.
All you need to do is listen to that longing, and take a bite-sized next step towards your dream. Like me, you can do it on a wing and a prayer, without looking back. And open to receive greater than imagined rewards.
Devaa Haley Mitchell is a spiritual guide, public speaker and musician, offering Soulful Women programs and devotional music to support the awakening of our planet. Rooted her deep desire to “democratize access” to some of the most stimulating women alive today, she founded and hosts the Inspiring Women Summit. This virtual gathering has grown to 55,000 participants from more than 160 countries. [www.inspiringwomensummit.com]
Devaa also founded and co-leads the Soulful Women Wisdom School, along with Elayne Doughty, offering deeply experiential and highly transformative programs for hundreds of women each year. She is considered a true pioneer in translating the ancient mysteries into a very modern and accessible context. Devaa also serves as the Chief Transformation Officer at the Shift Network, Inc., which she launched with her husband, Stephen Dinan.
For the past 20 years Devaa has studied and experienced many systems of personal growth and spiritual development. She is finishing her doctoral work and will receive her D-Min in 2012, after being ordained an interfaith minister by the Chaplaincy Institute in 2005. In addition, Devaa received a BA in Anthropology with Honors and an MA in International Development from Stanford University. In her former life, Devaa was the founding Executive Director of the Full Circle Fund, dedicated to building a new generation of civic leaders. Full Circle uses the “venture philanthropy model,”–identifying great nonprofit organizations and serving them with financial grants as well as hands-on help in key areas and access to to networks that can accelerate organizations to the next level. In addition, Devaa worked as an Associate Consultant at the Boston Consulting Group where she offered management advice to Fortune 500 Companies.She also served as the Director of Member Engagement at the Institute of Noetic Sciences. She also worked as an Associate Consultant at the Boston Consulting Group where she offered management advice to Fortune 500 Companies.
In addition, Devaa was awarded a fellowship from the Fulbright Foundation and was also one of 26 contributors to a book called Radical Spirit, which focuses on Gen-X spiritual perspectives.
A core part of Devaa’s path includes sacred music. She recently launched her first CD, Sacred Alchemy, an album with a transformational purpose– to reawaken and liberate the many dimensions of the sacred feminine. Each song has a specific feel or texture to it evoking the archetypal energies of different Goddesses from the world’s spiritual traditions. For example the song “Tara” explores the softer yin aspects of compassion, “Saraswati” reveals the playful and creative energies of the muse, “Shekinah” offers the wisdom of the Crone, and “Aphrodite” expresses the sensual pleasures of life.