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Finding Your Voice

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Finding Your Voice

Is fear holding you hostage?
Agapi  Stassinopoulus
Agapi Stassinopoulus More by this author
May 03, 2013 at 10:00 AM

When I began work on my first book, I was living on my own in a one-bedroom apartment in New York. I had entered a new territory, with a new sense of responsibility and commitment to myself and my work. After some initial excitement over getting a book contract, the honeymoon was over: there I was, alone, facing the unknown. I was filled with trepidation and unsure of how to say what I wanted to say—not even confident that I had anything original to say at all.

My voice was being held hostage by doubts, comparisons, and fears of rejection. I was struggling to put words on paper. Then, when the words did start to come, other voices would join the chorus, criticizing and judging. Your ideas are too simplistic. You’re not qualified to write a book about the archetypes. No one will listen to what you say. All this cacophony was drowning out whatever truth wanted to be expressed.

In the middle of this uncertainty, quite unexpectedly, a friend from out of town whom I hadn’t seen in a long time called to ask if she could stay with me for the weekend while she attended a neuroscience seminar in the city. A very intense person, she came across as someone with a great deal of authority, always assuming she knew what was right for you. I was reluctant to say yes, but I decided to uphold my Greek tradition of hospitality.

The night my friend arrived, I shared the doubts and difficulties of my writing with her, and to my surprise, I found that she was listening to me without offering any advice. I kissed her good night and tucked her into bed in my living room. It was Friday night, and she had to leave early the next morning to go to her seminar. I was a bit surprised when she knocked on my bedroom door the next morning, while it was still barely light outside, asking me to wake up.

“I’m sleeping, darling,” I called out. “Can we talk later?”

“No,” she said urgently. “I have an insight about your book—a message from Spirit. It can’t wait.”

I thought, You’ve got to be kidding me. Couldn’t Spirit wait until I’ve had my morning coffee? But, half asleep, I plopped down on the living-room sofa. At the time, I kept an easel with a pad of paper, on which I would note inspirations and ideas that came to me during the day. She placed the easel in front of me, thrust a marker into my hand, and said to me, “Write this down.”

Then she started dictating: “I have everything I need to write this book. But I lack one thing: confidence. And the reason I lack confidence is that I think I am going to do it on my own. I am forgetting that I have inner support, inner allies, inner knowledge that comes from something beyond me. I am not alone. I already have the information in me, and I need to trust it. If I am open to receiving this assistance, all sorts of support will come my way.”

Oh, sweet Jesus, I thought to myself. There I was, half asleep, and she was channeling the Greek oracle at six o’clock in the morning.

She continued, and I wrote: “My task is to be committed and not distract myself. I should keep a log of when I am distracted and when I am committed. That’s the way I will build the muscle of my inner commitment.” She told me I had a pattern of seeking my fulfillment through other people, and the reason I was experiencing a challenge now was that I was being called to experience my own fulfillment, which was new for me. I was breaking a very deep, old habit.

She was right. I wrote it all down in red marker, every word. It was a catalytic moment, and I felt so alive that to this day I have saved that paper as a reminder that confidence and strength come from the knowledge that we are never alone.

About Author
Agapi  Stassinopoulus
Agapi Stassinopoulos was born and raised in Athens, Greece. At age 18, she entered the prestigious Royal Acad¬emy of Dramatic Art in London and afterward became a member of the Young Vic. She moved to the United States to do film and television, and Continue reading