Take a risk, let your hidden talent shine
In the ancient city of Chiang Mai in Thailand, behind the crumbling twelfth century walls of the fortress, is a maze of winding streets and alleyways.
I was lost in the evening darkness with my husband Bill, enjoying the cool mountain air drifting down from the mountains of Burma, when he squeezed my hand and stopped.
Drifting in and out at the edge of our hearing was the cry of a blues guitar.
Bill squeezed my hand harder. “That is Boy!” he whispered. “I recognise his style!”
Boy (Thirasak Konchanthet) is the finest blues guitarist in Northern Thailand, a country that still reveres the blues ever since the days of the Vietnam War, when countless American GIs visited for R & R.
He owns Boy Blues Bar, the biggest and most rocking music club in the city.
Boy is a Thai man with long, crazy, frizzy, grey hair and a never-ending smile from ear to ear.
Boy was playing at a private birthday party but when he saw us in the doorway, dropped his guitar in the middle of his song, waded through the crowd and hugged us.
“It’s been two years since I’ve seen you! Two years my club has been closed! But Sunday night is the grand reopening! Bill, you must come and play with me! All the good players will be there!”
Bill has played blues harmonica with him many times. It was an invitation we would never refuse!
Boy’s club is on an open-air platform raised high above the night bazaar in the Old City.
It was packed with at least 300 people, hoping with all their hearts for some great live music.
In the middle of the audience stood a striking woman with long, dark hair, dancing with every bone in her body. Deeply tanned, covered in fantastic tattoos, Joyce Phillips was unmistakable, vibrating with an inner energy
I could feel it across the crowded space. I rushed up to her and she threw her arms around me, laughing.
Her eyes lit up, and in her deep Australian accent she looked over and said, “C’mon Bill, let’s make some music!”
Boy called them up on to the stage; she grabbed the microphone, Bill plugged in and with no hesitation, they started. Boy smiled his dazzling smile, the drummer hit it hard, the bass player shook the stage, the keyboards blasted, the harmonica wailed, Boy did a blazing guitar run, and most of all, Joyce sang her heart out!
The audience roared as they rocked the house! Joyce sings like Janis Joplin, giving it everything she has; she is a fireball of energy, shaking, twisting, turning …
I just stood still, in awe at her performance.
Joyce is 61 years old and had never sung in public until six years ago.
“I have been going to this club for years, always dancing in the audience. There was an open mic. night, and I don’t know what happened exactly … I found myself on the stage and I just sang! Where does it come from? Who can say? I found my gift, or better yet, my gift finally found me!”
Joyce now shines like the star she has always been; hidden deep inside her was this wonderful voice, and it burst forth in all its power one unpredictable night!
Dear readers, we may think we are ordinary, but we are not! In every one of us is some special talent that may lie hidden for almost a lifetime! Perhaps, we only need a word of encouragement, or the sudden daring to take a risk.
Close your eyes, open your heart, let that gift within you shine!
Nina London is a certified wellness coach, Qigong teacher and laughter leader. Her mission is to support and help cancer patients and survivors and inspire mature women to make positive changes in their body and mind. Share your inspirational stories with Nina at www.ninalondon.com and follow her on Instagram @coachninalondon