My LIVE Streaming Journey Entry #1

I launched my first solo LIVE streaming show yesterday on YouTube. It took a great deal of emotional and mental effort to prepare for the launch. Thankfully, when I looked into the camera lens, I had an encouraging friend who came along side of me.

She wasn’t physically present, but was there digitally. The joy that flooded my soul was amazing. Knowing someone was there to support me in this virtual world made my day.

Soon after, five or six additional friends joined in the comments. I couldn’t stop laughing and smiling. I received the love being shared. Their encouraging words changed me.

You see, they were all live streamers that understood how exposed we feel during a live show. The medium requires transparency and authenticity. There is no hiding behind anything.

Forced Behind the Scenes

I’ve been partially hidden as a behind the scenes person for the majority of my life. Part of the reason was due to several incidents that kept me from being in the limelight. The first one was my fat.

I’ll never forget sixth grade. I had to wear pants that were labeled husky, while my friends wore slims. This was at a time in my life when family and relatives referred to me as being thick.

The ultimate embarrassment came during the sixth-grade play performed for the entire school. We did a second show in the evening for parents.

Due to my drumming skills, I was in the Hawaiian dance scene. That’s right, I was shirtless. My blubber was exposed for all to see.

The dance was a historical one where bamboo poles are lined with razor like blades. I held two poles in my hand with the other ends held by a partner. We would tap out a rhythmic pattern by tapping the stage floor or the poles together in time to the music.

The dancers had to step between the moving poles without getting cut by the blades. If they got out of step or landed funny after their cartwheels, they could receive deep cuts in their legs or arms. Of course, this was just a play. The guy who botched up was carried away for the sake of drama, not injury.

There was a problem for me with being bent over and tapping the poles in a rhythmic pattern. My blubber hung down making me look even fatter than I was.

My hope was in the dancers doing so well that no one would notice me next to the volcano backdrop. The fake palm tree shaded me from some of the bright lights. I positioned myself to be as invisible as possible.

Ridicule and Rejection

After the performance I hoped no one recognized me. I wasn’t in the mood to field fat jokes or husky comments from the nicer people. I didn’t want to face the ridicule or rejection that might follow the show.

During my live streaming show, flashbacks from the volcano dance shot into my mind. I was exposed. I was baring my soul in front of 19 people (and hundreds during playback).

While a few dropped from the show, most stayed and shared encouraging words with me. Some were inspirational, others motivational, but all were kind and loving. The possibility of rejections was supplanted.

Words of affirmation and encouragement made me feel strong. I felt courage surge through my body. I had friends that knew I could succeed and they stuck around until I knew they were right.

This creative bunch of friends have collectively become known to each other as unicorns. In folklore, unicorns represented purity and grace. They brought healing to others and were appreciated by a hurting world that needed hope.

My unicorns are pure in heart. They each want to come across as their authentic self. They also bring healing to their audiences. Some bring healing with humor, while others bring various types of emotional healing.

They have demonstrated compassion, grace, and even mercy. We have learned to boldly be who we are for all to see. There is no shrinking back. With their encouragement, I will continue to go live.

Join me as I continue on this journey. You’ll be able to see me for who I am. The transparency of the show is intriguing and you may learn a thing or two along the way. I’ll post links to my next show later this week.

Copyright © 2021 by CJ Powers

To Judge or Not to Judge

Have you ever felt judged?

Or, have you ever worried about cancel culture destroying your future due to your opinion?

Many of us understand how poor judgment can ruin a person. Yet, we tend to jump on the bandwagon rather than defend a person who might be guilty but wasn’t proven guilty.

The real question is whether you’re going to join the proverbial lynch mob. To help you decide, I’m going to share with you a test I learned about this week. The T.I.N.O. test helps you determine if you should get involved with judging others or not.

Here are the four steps as shared with me…

T is for Time Consuming

Try to determine how much time this activity rising from judgment will take from your life. We only get 24-hours each day and you have goals and dreams to chase. If your efforts take precious time away from your goals, walk away.

I is for Irrelevant to My Goals

If judging the other person detracts from your goals, it’s not an activity worth engaging in. Some will argue that if the issue holds a significant value within your goals, you should engage.

But if not, don’t get absorbed. Your goals are too precious.

N is for Negative or Energy Draining

Most of us need a lot of positive feedback to keep us moving down the path of our goals. A person who doesn’t get inundated by negativity might enjoy judging others. Be cautious of those judgments that drain you.

When judging slows the progress of your personal goals, it isn’t the right choice.

O is for Outside of My Control/Influence

There is no reason to judge others if it won’t move your goals ahead. If you think judging will help someone to make better decisions, you may have a control problem.

My Views

Years ago, a Hebrew man named Yeshua told a story to give perspective. His story was about a man with a speck in his eye. Another man immediately noticed the speck and pointed it out. He had judged and condemned the man for not having pure eyes.

Yeshua pointed out that the man making the judgment on the impure eyes had a large I-beam hanging out of his own eye. The one judging the other had greater impurities in his life than the man with the speck. When I heard that part of the story, I thought that Yeshua was judging the man with the I-beam hanging out of his eye. But he wasn’t.

Yeshua didn’t point out if the first man was rightly or wrongly judged. Nor did he suggest the second man was accurate or inaccurate in his judgment. He suggested that the guy with the I-beam should deal first with his own issues, and then, help the first man with his.

Yeshua’s story wasn’t about judgment, although he alluded to its foolishness. His story was about us taking care of ourselves first and then helping others.

If we are helping ourselves or helping others, we are helping, not judging.

If we are judging, we are not helping.

You can use the T.I.N.O. method to determine if you should judge or not. As for me, I have no reason to judge others. But you can count on me taking care of my issues first, and then offering my help to you.

Copyright © 2021 by CJ Powers

When Joy Bubbles Over

I’ve had the opportunity to observe numerous people that thrive when they have fun. Their lighthearted soul is playful and filled with imagination. Many times, innovation springs forth from those delightful and well-hearted souls.

We all appreciate their results of tinkering and fooling around in life, as we often benefit from their creations. Most of the tools we use in daily life were created during a fun-filled moment. Even our entertainment was sealed in fun.

So why are there so many who want to bring an end to the creative person’s fun?

I remember visiting a church where everyone had a forlorn look about them. Their countenance displayed hardships and burdens. It was an unpleasant visit. But before I left, I felt compelled to ask the reason for a mood worth lamenting.

The gentleman told me that everyone was filled with joy on the inside, something that no one could take away from them.

I knew he was lying, but he didn’t know that he was lying.

You see, when joy is present it can’t sit idle. It must bubble up and spill out into life. The joyful person always infects those around them with fun, laughter, and warmth. It’s not possible to contain such joy.

Over the past 18-months, many have lived with a fear hanging over them. Any hope mentioned during the previous administration was shot down. Others attempting to bring humor to our absurd cultural changes were silenced by Cancel Culture.

Big tech blatantly closed thousands of accounts that shared words of hope, joy, and humor. They stated it was not factual or that the shared words could harm people. They silenced any who didn’t agree with their fear-based narrative.

And yet, at the local level, creative joy-filled individuals found ways to make their neighbors smile.

It’s time for our leaders to put fun and love, front and center. We need people who will allow their inner joy to bubble up around us and quench our aching hearts.

During my playful moments, I’ve considered creating a streaming show that is all about fun. Sure, there’d be some great insights and take-aways shared, but it would be done in an entertaining manner. I wouldn’t want anyone to leave without a smile.

Since many of you have followed some of my experiences, how about letting me know your thoughts on what this show could be like. I’d love to hear from you and consider any fun idea that pops into your mind.

Together, we can impact those around us and create a new national agenda filled with fun, love, and hope.

Copyright © 2021 by CJ Powers