Putting it Out There

Spring break begins tomorrow and my children’s school celebrates this with Arts Day. Performers in a variety of genres are donating their time and talent to give our children a taste of what is possible. Each performance is an expression of self, each has the potential to change a child’s life. Every artist makes a choice, to keep their message inside or to put it out there.

During the first performance, the children were getting a little restless. The music told them to move, assembly protocol told them to sit. So they sat. They wiggled. They watched and waited. Until one little boy, one brave little kindergartener could wait no more. He stood up and danced. He didn’t care who was watching. He just put it out there. Soon, others followed. Before the end of the song, the entire school was up dancing. That little boy changed the momentum for the morning. That little boy was my son.

I watched and marveled at his bravery.  So care-free, unencumbered by expectations,  he stepped out of line and they followed. That kind of freedom was something I did not know at his age and something I am learning still in my forties. It is that same freedom that hastens my grey hair and tests my limits every day. But I have to remember, there are two sides to every quality.

It had me thinking about our choices. about when we choose to put ourselves out there and when we don’t. About risks we take, chances to be seen, freedom. I thought about all of the self-imposed obstacles, the fear of rejection, the fear of flying.

I received an email reminding me that tomorrow is Deed Day at Gundlach Bundschu, a winery in Sonoma.  It was the day they bought the property 158 years ago. They held a poetry contest to honor their grandfather’s love of the written word. The task was to write a poem, related to wine, one word for every year. If you’ve been reading for a while, you know the story.

I thought about where I was six years ago when I decided to put myself out there for the first time, to enter the contest. About how I did it again, and again, baby steps in sharing my words, thoughts, ideas. They were small steps, the audience relatively safe, but they were huge bounds in my battle with fear. Fear of judgment, fear of rejection, fear of failure.

I thought about my tendency to stay seated, follow the rules, meet expectations. What if I hadn’t ever entered that? What if I had just remained seated? What would I have missed? What HAVE I missed? Today, watching him dance, I saw joy. I saw honesty. I saw acceptance and confidence. He is teaching me: to share, to be, to lead, to fly. To take the risk and put it out there. To dance without regret.

Today, I toast the Bundschu family, for persevering over generations and for the impetus to write. I toast all the families who pour themselves into their work so we can pour another glass. I toast the artists who pour out a portion in poetry in every genre. I toast those who overcome fear and those who step outside of formation and dance.



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Being a stay- at-home mom can leave one thirsting for a taste of the outside world, a world in which sentences are composed of more than three words. Being an educator means one is always seeking an opportunity to explore and learn. Being a woman with a need to connect can be a challenge when adult conversations are rare. In wine, I find the marriage of art and science, agriculture and storytelling provides limitless areas to explore. But it is the people that keep me engaged. The tenacity needed to keep the family dream alive, the risk to start anew, the trials and principles. I love the history of the vine, the impact of a season, the sentiment in the bottle. That is why I write. I write to tell their stories, to share a piece of mine. I write to learn as I teach others. I write to connect with new friends, to disconnect from the world. I write to celebrate what makes each of us unique, and that which ties us together.

11 thoughts on “Putting it Out There

  1. Very nice post, Alissa! Seth Godin is always reminding people not to listen to their lizard brain, the one which induces the fear. It is very difficult to overcome that lizard brain – but you do that all the time. Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love this!!! Hooray for your little guy, and hooray for all the brave little kids who put themselves out there, fearless! And to the parents who are following in those brave kids footsteps 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s hard to put yourself out there, it takes courage, but it’s like the old adage, “Nothing ventured, nothing gained”. You have so much more to gain by taking that bold step of faith and just trying. Nice post, keep doing what you do, you do it well 🙂


    Liked by 1 person

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