Mr. Cringan was a much-loved music teacher at my high school. I studied with him, but it wasn't in class that he changed my life. It was on the stage.
Our school produced amazing yearly musicals. Brigadoon, Finian's Rainbow, they all came alive in that auditorium. In junior high, I went to see one of the performances and was blown away by the sheer energy of it, not only on the stage but also in the auditorium. The show was exceptional and the place was alive, hopping and full of joy. It was so amazing that I started imagining what it would be like to be a part of it!
When I did get to high school, I desparately wanted to audition but figured the competition must be fierce and that there wasn't much chance of making it.
And here's the magical moment.
Mr. Cringan announced that anyone could be in one of his shows. Anyone. If you came to rehearsal all the time, you could perform on stage. There was room for you. No matter what. You just had to want to be there enough to show up.
I love this man for what he taught me. The excellence if the show didn't come from competition and weeding out. It came from harnessing joy and desire. Everyone on the stage wanted to be there. No one had to sit in the audience feeling sad or resentful or left out. If you wanted to be on the stage, you could be.
The Universe is like Mr. Cringan. There is room for you on the stage, my friends. There is. You've just got to show up and sing.