Diary note No 16 – The loser

I came in last last night.

A loser, comprehensively vanquished, whitewashed, beaten, massacred.

In a phrase, I was thrashed.

Not just pipped at the post

Not just a photo-finish

Not nudged out by a nose.

I wasn’t even placed.

Everyone was better than me in the speech contest.

That’s the end of my effort to become World Champion (for another year).

Was I that bad? Yes.

Was the speech a nightmare? No.

The speech was fine.

A woman

came up to me with tears in her eyes.

Thank you for your wonderful speech. I was so moved by it. Like you said, all I’ve wanted all my life is to be listened to, to be heard. You put your finger on what matters most to me. Thank you ever so much. It was great.”

The speech was well worth delivering.

It meant a lot to at least two of us.

The speech was magnificent, despite my delivery – not because of how I delivered it.

The judges

found my speaking style poorer than every one of the other contestants.

They punctured my self-esteem.

My hubris.

Don’t you love it

when judges do that for you?

How considerate.

How thoughtful.

How generous.

What a gift.

I owe a debt of gratitude, don’t I?

Are you wearing your hearing aids?

Unless I’m wearing hearing aids I won’t make the great speech you’re hoping for.

You know, my friends, that unless you hear brilliantly, It’s impossible to speak well.

Before I speak I need to put my hearing aids in

  • My mother had excellent hearing all her life. She listened at keyholes. She kept in touch with her children’s phone calls about important matters which might impinge on the extended family.
  • She had phenomenal hearing. She once heard me and Brian Cox lighting up Woodbine cigarettes behind the copper beech tree in our garden.
  • She had patient hearing. She spent hours in the kitchen listening to me spout on about my beliefs, my thoughts, my feelings.  She even asked me questions about my political rants.

My mother couldn’t afford to buy hearing aids.
Her hearing aid was the acute attention she paid to me -whatever & how ever I spoke, plus the attentive ear she gave to others, all her adult life.

—————

And what about you?

The most important thing I know about you, I see written all over your face.

Deeply chiseled into your Toastmasterly character

Engraved

  •  You love to be heard. You are no wallpaper – You are the leading actor in the Oscar-winning movie  “My dramatic life” – you are the Linchpin.
  •  In your deepest heart, you wantthe person sitting next to you to wear hearing aids, before they speak to you.
  •  You want them to listen to you as if their life depended on it

Last evening, I was cooking spaghetti Like my daughter said over spaghetti in the kitchen last night, “Dad, all I want for you is your attention, that’s what I call love.”

This evening, you expressed it through your body language, the way you settled into your seat.

You wanted all of us speakers to pay attention to you our . It was as if you spoke to me “Paul, pay attention to me before you speak.”

Where are your hearing aids now?

Isn’t it so uplifting to be in the midst of a community of friends who listen to each other – genuinely listen.

Friends genuinely listen to you, friends listen well.

Imagine
you’re going to leave here and go out into the garden and hillside of a wider community.

Imagine
you’re going to take your hearing aids with you – just as your best friends do.

Imagine
like my mother,  you have excellent, phenomenal & patient hearing.

I must arise and go now, and take my hearing aids out.

Let me trust you to leave your hearing aids turned on.

Let me trust you to listen well

I trust you to speak superbly and wear your hearing aids with pride.

 

Diary note No 11 – Blarney Toastmasters

I was ‘Master of Ceremonies (MC)” last night.

About 20 people in a room in Blarney Woolen Mills hotel.

All keen to become better at public speaking – formal & informal.

All expecting a good experience.

The meeting was mettlesome.

Two members of our Toastmasters Club introduced themselves to the audience.

They each spoke for about five minutes in prepared speeches. There was plenty of applause.

I felt good to be in the room.

Bluebells – new poem by Paul O’Mahony 

Poem

draft:
 
 

Bluebells

When you go out to the bluebell wood

to paint the white bells blue

holding hands with your granddaughter

I advise you go by night

with light of the moon

– so you don’t paint the wrong bells

so neighbours don’t catch you mad

so you show her how to make magic

how to restore order in the universe.

Don’t squash the bluebells.

____________

With thanks to William FitzGerald  the storyteller