We attend Unity church, and are involved with the Family Youth Ministry programs at the church, specifically the Youth Of Unity, or Y.O.U. programs. The Y.O.U is the teenager program that teaches the principles of Unity, the lessons of the golden rule, leadership, teamwork, and spirit.
The program includes four weekend retreats throughout the year including the East Coast Region. These programs usually have as many as 100 in attendance. Twice a year the programs are held at the YMCA camp Tockwock in Maryland.
Each program is full of inspiration as we all sing together, cheer together, enjoy entertainment provided by the Y.O.U teens, and listen to truth talks. The truth talks are among my favorite as these are well presented, heartfelt, talks Y.O.U. teens share with the entire group. Generally, I need tissues when listening to these inspirational message of the amazingly strong, courageous, encouraging teens; or should I say teachers.
This past March, at the Leaderhsip Conference Miss Kindra Rae Wyatt shared her story. I remembered meeting her at the previous Spring Y.O.U Rally. She was running for a leadership role as Communication Officer for the Regional Council aka “regi’s”. Those interested in running stand in front of the Y.O.U audience answer questions on leadership throughout the weekend on Unity principles, lessons of their life etc. Not knowing her prior to this event I remember thinking that Kindra was a shoe in for the position. However, she did not get the position, another young lady did. She too was exceptional, and after seeing her evolve in the position this year, she did an amazing job. Kindra accepted defeat with grace.
This past March, at the Unity Y.O.U Leadership Conference, Kindra shared her truth talk which was based on the experience of her loss the previous year. I was grabbing tissues as she taught us all the valuable lessons of failure and the benefits found as a result.
Here is Kindra.
Here is Kindra’s truth talk essay.
I’ve been involved with Y.O.U. long before I knew what it really was. My older sister, Rose, was a regi, so growing up with concepts like ‘heart talks’, ‘joysongs’, and ‘rally’ were commonplace. Though I’m sure I imposed it upon myself, I felt this absolute sense of need to live up to her, to be as important to my community as she had been in her time. 8 years of age difference is a lot to live up to though and finally, as I went through my time with Unity and eventually, Y.O.U. , I felt like I was just crafting my experiences to become regi. I had purposefully taken on leadership roles in my home church as chapter president, led family groups at rally and had even begun a formal 4-year leadership certification at my college.
This goal was shattered during Spring Rally of last year when I ran for regi. And lost. I hate to admit that I don’t feel like I handled it gracefully. I hate to say that it hurted. A lot. Not only did I feel like I had failed, I also felt like others had expected me to fail. Try as I may to put the positive Unity spin on things, underneath everything it still felt like a personality contest to me and my loss felt like a mark that said “you’re just not good enough”.
How could I get over that? How could I get over the people who I thought loved me most, seemingly rejecting me? However, what surprised me as I finished out the rally weekend and went home was not the pain that I had felt immediately following the results or a pervading sense of rejection. What blossomed out of this experience was a new sense of purpose. Finally, I was forced to look at how I see myself, rather than how others saw me – I had to live from the inside out.
As I was writing this, I started looking at 2 repercussions – 1) I looked at how much I learned “training” for regi – the lessons in leadership that I gained have proved to be absolutely invaluable in my life and in my college career. 2) What if I had become regi? How would that have shaped this year for me? The week of fall rally, probably one the most stressful for any new regi, happened to be my week of midterms. I was stressed as is and probably wouldn’t have been able to put in the effort necessary to do justice to that Rally. Moreover, I certainly wouldn’t have had the time to write the 3 essays for a $10,000 scholarship that was due that weekend. I am pleased to say now that I was the recipient of said scholarship, an honor that has transformed everything. “Losing” at becoming regi may have been the tipping point that my life – with the scholarship that I received, I’ll be studying abroad in Bangalore, India for all of next year. Whether or not I had recognized it at the time, NOT becoming regi was probably the most powerful experiences of my life.
I believe now, fully and without question. Maybe not in God – I’m not sure I’ll ever believe in a mighty figure or even in the idea of a higher power. But maybe I believe in energy now – I believe in life plans, in future endeavors, in the self-realization that comes from learning and growing and failing and succeeding. I trust myself and from there, from the inside, that trust can only spread outward, giving myself more fully to those I love and even those that I don’t. This is my truth, my rock, my core, my belief, my mantra, my THANK YOU to Y.O.U. – for changing my life and for teaching me to live from the inside out.