I heard from a member of a highly trained police team who respond to hostage situations and very dangerous incidents that during their training to become top cops, they had to undergo tests of fitness, endurance and stress.  One of the “tests to overcome fear” was to get in front of a crowd of fellow class mates and….what do you think would be the most stressful, scary thing for them to do?  They had to sing – Karaoke!! Yeehaw!! Ride Em Cowboy! Should I sing “Bad Boys, Bad Boys, What You Gonna Do?”  Yes, these muscle laden, highly trained, crime fighting men and women had to get up on stage, in front of everyone and SING!  You’d think this would be one of the easier tests in the training?  NO!!!! For some it was terrifying!  One said he’d rather scale a nine storey building than sing!  I thought WHAT!! To me, singing on stage is fun; it’s a way to express oneself and to make people smile!   Give me the microphone – I LOVE TO SING!! But, would I climb a tall building – HELL NO!

What made Joe the Super Cop so afraid to SING??  Public Speaking or getting in front of a crowd is the #1 thing people are AFRAID of.  Why?  Most of us are self conscious to begin with – changing clothes several times before going out to a party, being in public and perceiving others are judging us and watching us.  So, imagine the tension if all eyes are on YOU.  Gulp!!!   Yep, I’m terrified!

I’ve sang in front of 10,000 people at Comerica Park in Detroit, I’ve sang karaoke, I’ve spoken in front of hundreds of people and I’ve gone to a party alone.  How did I, Charlene, also known as “Shy-Anne” as a kid, ever do any of that?  It wasn’t easy.  The first time I sang in front of a crowd at a fundraiser in a small church, I was terrified to the point that I had to make several runs to the toilet before going on stage.  The night before, I had nightmares.  I knew my family was coming to support me.  Oh, God, that’s worse, they know me!! I had a dream that my brothers were in the audience throwing tomatoes at me!!  I was knee deep in tomatoes, beet red, holding my microphone!  The fundraiser that night was to help the local food bank.  It was too late to back out now!!! I stepped on stage and the music started to play.  I gasped and started to sing.  That was back in 1996 and since then, I have entertained by singing and speaking at hundreds of events.

I can remember growing up on a farm and playing on a wagon with my cousin Rachelle.  We each had a corn cob in our hand (our make-believe microphone) and sang and danced to the invisible crowd of fans.  We’d talk to them and bow after our performance. Rachelle and I would also lie on a hill of green grass, in the summer, looking up into the puffy white clouds in the blue sky.  We’d talk about our dreams, what we wanted to do “when we grew up”.  I said that I would be in front of thousands of people, singing, and making them smile.  I had NO FEAR then, at the age of 10.  What changes in us, what stops us from believing, achieving, being confident and fearless?

I call it “Charlene’s Piñata Theory’.  The Piñata, a paper animal, as we know, is stuffed with delicious mouth watering candy.  Since we were young, we’ve been stuffed-like-a-Piñata, with good candy (positive) and spoiled candy (negative).   The “candy” came from all kinds of places: our parents, our grandparents, schools, friends, church, TV, radio, the neighborhood and even our country! We were stuffed, stuffed and stuffed!! Some of that candy or stuffing made you feel amazing, happy, loved, or confident.  Some of the candy was good to have, in a pinch, but really not that valuable.  The candy stuffing got inside of you, through listening, seeing, smelling, feeling and inhaling. Some of your candy stuffing gave you a belly ache.  You got sick from it, you became sad, depressed, confused, and said “why did I get this bad candy….why ME!?”

So, how does Charlene’s Piñata Theory apply to doing things that we are afraid of?  How many times have you sat in a crowd and seen someone speaking or singing or being the life of the party and you secretly said, “I wish I could do that!”  Well, you can!!  You have to open up your Personal Piñata and examine what kind of candy is inside of you!  Visualize all of the candy or stuffing as being stored in a holding tank called the Subconscious Mind! Your Subconscious Stuffing is more powerful than you could ever imagine!  There is so much stuffing or data in there, that no computer could possibly hold it all!  That stuffing is driving your bus, with you sitting in the back seat of the bus, watching the scenery roll by. The Subconscious Stuffing automatically works at operating you, without you “thinking”.   It controls your emotions, responses, body functions, riding a bicycle and so on. Things that you don’t need to “consciously think about” such as picking a sandwich from the lunch menu or learning to drive a car for the first time, come from the subconscious mind – your life data bank.

Lets’ picture this: Today you are approached by your boss to give a presentation in front of your peers.  Likely immediate response: nervousness, belly feels queasy. Where did those feelings or responses come from?  From your stuffing of course!  Because, along the way, someone stuffed you with the notion that getting in front of a class is scary.  Besides, you seen little Emily vomit on the stage, in Grade six, because she was so afraid to give her speech! Then the kids laughed, the teachers ran and scooped Emily off the stage. Gulp!  Not a pleasant memory. Based on your personal past experience, speaking in front of others is scary, it makes one sick and people run!  You acknowledge this experience and consciously (thinking it, saying it out loud) over-ride your subconscious “data bank” (your stuffing) saying, “Hey, I see that image, I remember it! BUT, I am not afraid to speak in front of others.  This is my NEW experience. I am confident, I know my stuff (literally) and I’m going to knock their socks off!”  There, you’ve just recognized the impact of your old stuffing and how to meet it and beat it, (there’s your Piñata stick!) head on – with new positive, healthy stuffing. You said NO, that experience was in the PAST and this is NOW.   You choose consciously to select new stuffing, which is then downloaded into your data bank of life, to draw from in the future.

Do you ever set a goal and fail to follow through? The “failure” comes from letting the stuffing in your subconscious mind get the best of you!  Really!  In the past if you set a goal and didn’t follow through, that recorded “failure” is downloaded into your data bank or subconscious mind, which then becomes your excuse or failure stuffing.  Then, on top of that, you said with conviction, “I’m doing it this time!!!”, yet, you DON’T.  At that point your spirit (that is not part of the stuffing) gets hurt and says, “Really?” because it is so used to hearing that song with no melody to back it up.  When we let ourselves “down” over and over, the excuse/failure stuffing gets really cozy in your Piñata.  And, our spirit becomes weakened, resulting in low self-esteem.

I have lost 8 lbs in four weeks, since January 4, 2016, by exercising and eating healthy.  I have a GOAL to lose 20 lbs by my daughter’s wedding in June!  I’m doing it and I am going to WIN, because, “I’m not going to listen to the stuffing of defeat!”  I know that inside of me, I have courage, conviction, drive and knowledge.  All I had to do is make a new recipe of positive stuffing and throw the old stuffing in the garbage!   When we achieve WINS, one step at a time, our hidden cheerleader, the spirit, is “dancing with a star” and the star is YOU!!! Spirit is gaining confidence in you again, with pom-pom’s waving and your inner voice screaming, “Way to Go Sister!!!” In order to achieve new things, we need to “override” previous programming with new programming.  We choose to take a different road, fearlessly.

A 93 year old woman told me that when she was young, she had such a wonderful life.  Gertrude’s eyes gleamed with joy and I could see her mind going back in time, to the good old days.  Every wrinkle on her face was beautiful, her spirit glowed radiantly.  She told me that she flew a plane when she was in her early 20’s in Toronto.  I was flabbergasted!  This ole gal had more spunk than most people I know half her age and the top of her head wouldn’t touch a 5 ft marker! Gertrude was a gem, a diamond! When she spoke, I listened intently. I knew that Gert had priceless stories to share, giving me a glimpse of her magical era, as seen through her eyes. I said to Gert, in amazement, “Weren’t you afraid to fly a plane?!!” Without skipping a beat, she said, “Only when I had to land it!”  We roared in laughter, from the bottom of our toes! Gert continued, “It was beautiful!  I was above the city, over the lake, the sky was clear.  I was so blessed that my parent’s could afford to pay for my lessons and I took the opportunity.” Gert was made of powerful stuffing!

All of us were born fearless and with unlimited potential.  However, we’ve been stuffed ever since. We’ve had fun stuffing, sad stuffing, knowledge stuffing, religious stuffing, talent stuffing and stuffing that made us laugh or cry.  Some stuffing made us compassionate, caring and loving. Some of us chose to share our stuffing with others.  When you look honestly at what’s inside your Piñata, you then understand yourself better.   Some people have had negative stuffing since birth and others enjoyed stuffing fit for royals.  Look at your stuffing and others stuffing with the aid of Charlene’s Piñata Theory.  Not two people are stuffed the same.  We can change our stuffing, by loading in new positive stuffing – downloading new data.  And, we don’t need to be busted open with a stick to see our stuffing.  Sometimes, people help us see it, unwrapping us, one layer at a time.  We are so close to our stuffing that sometimes we can’t see the forest through the puffy trees

I had to unload a lot of stuffing after going through a divorce that left me broken.  With the help of an amazing Psychologist “Manny”, I was able to see the stuffing I didn’t recognize, acknowledge or understand.  And, by golly, I got it!  I said to Manny, “how could I have been so stupid!!”  Manny related the stuffing in my relationship, to the stuffing from my childhood.   It all made sense!!  I automatically drew from my subconscious data bank or stuffing to pick mates, to respond to mates, to help save mates.  I was addicted to bad boy stuffing!! However, once I had “new information and knowledge”, I took this yummy stuffing and ate it up!  And when a new opportunity came to date, I remembered the taste of the old stuffing and said, “No way, I got a belly ache from that! It hurts!”

It doesn’t matter what you want to do, JUST DO IT.  It will be scary at first, but once you start learning, start practicing over and over, start gaining confidence, the FEAR will DISAPPEAR.  Your PINATA is smiling!  And, don’t forget, you are loaded with darn good, delicious, yummy, amazing stuffing!!

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