Night Clubbing in Barranquilla   7 comments

Last Saturday night a friend took me to an 80’s theme club called Oro Puro (Pure Gold). After we got in, not knowing what to expect, I was surprised to see photos of such pop icons as Alf, Superman (Christopher Reeves – my favorite), Charlie and Farah, Popeye, Barry White, the Bee Gees and many others on the walls and table tops. The music was pumping. They had monitors playing videos of some of the greatest dance music of all time. Later in the evening, three pretty Colombianas, backed by a guy on keyboards looking like a cross between Kool (of Kool and the Gang fame) and Elton John (60 pounds ago), came on stage. They belted out, singing in perfect English, a medley of hits as well choreographed as their dance moves. I am in heaven, singing along with them like the school boy at heart I can be.

But wait. No, this cannot be right! I am in Barranquilla, Colombia. Where is the Latin music? And look folks, this is cute but the Bee Gees and Barry White don’t go together! Following Ray Parker’s “Ghostbusters” with Michael’s “Rock With You” is like having a bowl of Cocoa Puff’s and then eating French toast. And playing Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall” right before Travolta’s Saturday Night Fever gyrations ignores all the rules. You don’t mix genres! This would never flow in the States.

But wait Wayne. Let go. Why are you here? What did you come out for? To be critical? Please! Breathe! And in that moment of letting go, for whatever reason, I remembered Marianne Williamson’s words, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not to serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

What I began to realize in this club with the 80’s theme was that I was getting in my own way. What was on my mind was my fitting in. Not just at the club but in Colombia. Yes, I am a foreigner. And yes, I am the only African American I have seen since I arrived here. These realities were feeding my insecurities and fear, becoming resistances to my own growth; pushing me away from my goals and my desires. I was in a safe place. In fact I have never felt in all my times in Colombia worry for my safety. People were laughing, talking and dancing. I needed to let go of the kind of energy that I have too often brought to places; seeking external validation of my light, my gifts and my being. I smiled. It must have been a big smile, as my friend asked me why I was smiling. I replied in my best Spanish that I was enjoying being here in this moment. She looked at me like I was crazy. It was harder to explain that I was letting go. And with letting go, I felt beneath the music the affirmation of the talent in the space; the love of dancing; and the love of 80’s music. Being able to share that love brought me closer than I have been in a very long time to living the life I am living because I am in love with living my life.

I came to Colombia and Latin America to liberate myself from some of the baggage I have carried for decades; the baggage that despite my career successes has inhibited me from manifesting the glory that I have within me. And, sure enough, as Marianne Williamson promised, once the light was released within me it was reflected back to me in the eyes and faces of those around me. What I was reminded of is that letting go, or detoxing as I have come to call it, will take time. I am waiting impatiently for that time to come. There is a lot more dancing to do.

Posted May 16, 2011 by Wayne in Uncategorized

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7 responses to “Night Clubbing in Barranquilla

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  1. Hi, Wayne — I don’t know if you remember me, but I was Director of Marketing & Communications at WSUV (Barbara Kerr’s counterpart) while you were president at Clark College. I was happy to find you on LinkedIn, and enjoyed reading your recent blog entry referencing Marianne Williamson’s wise words. That is one of my favorite quotes. I just turned 50 in March, and have found that many old fears dissolve away with age. Fearlessness and confidence are the gifts of age. I hope you are well (you sound fabulous), and best wishes to you on your continued journey! Keep in touch. 🙂
    – Lori

    • Yes, Lori I do remember you. Thanks for the very thoughtful note. I am glad that you are well. Happy belated birthday. Yes, Marianne is a light.
      I am truly blessed. Life is good, and I have great friends by my side. Please do stay connected.


  2. Good to know we successfully exported the best of 80s pop culture to Colombia 🙂

  3. Hey Wayne. I’m sure you don’t know me, but I graduated in 1982 from DuPont. Had many friends in Rand growing up and probably have had contact with you from one time or another. Rob Ryan let us know about your blog . . . and it was wonderful reading it. My goodness, Costa Rica sounds absolutely wonderful! I truly believe I’d be very afraid in Colombia, but am actually thinking about Costa Rica. Another “hometown” boy has a business and home in Costa Rica. He was a 1983 graduate at DuPont (Roy Hunt). I’m not sure what part he is in, but he loves it too. Enjoy yourself and take care!

    • Thanks Leah. Colombia has turned the corner and this part of the country, the coast, has been very stable for a long time. Either CR or Colombia, would be a great stay.

  4. Wayne: What a wonderful article. Really enjoyed it and look forward to more. Please keep in touch and keep writing.

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