Report by: Kevin Walsh.

The meeting of the Fermoy Toastmasters Club scheduled for Tuesday, February 27th, was cancelled due to the severe weather of our recent Arctic Spring. Through all of our very many years, it is remarkable how few of our intended gatherings have ever had to deferred owing to the capricious vagaries of the elements but obviously sometimes it will happen and while everyone is disappointed about that, the safety of our members and friends is always our first and overriding priority. But nothing lost or daunted for now we turn our sights and our minds to our next meeting on this coming Tuesday, March 13th, at 8.15 pm in the Fermoy Youth Centre.  The hoped for long warm summer days are still several months off but now we bring forward our version of springtime full of promise and hope, eagerly and happily planning, preparing and enjoying many more hugely enjoyable, heart-warming and brilliantly effervescent meetings with the ever motivating leadership of our President Kevin O’Neill and the untiring commitment of our Meeting Organiser, John Sherlock.  Also the annual speech contest season is approaching and that too will be a time of very special and intensely pleasurable activity.  Our outlook is ever positive and optimistic because we all participate in and share the fruits and the delights of activities that amply enhance and illuminate the lives of us all.

      Toastmasters is never about standing still, but moving ever forward. It is not about merely looking back on past achievements with pride and gratitude as we do, but as already said we joyfully look forward to attaining our future goals and building on personal growth towards ever greater achievement. In Toastmasters there never comes a time where anyone can say they have done it all. Instead the excitement of new challenges ever beckon as together we strive with light and cheerful step in friendship and mutual goodwill to explore and realise our fullest potential. That is what makes all of our meetings and activities so stimulating and refreshing. We are ever on the move sharing our talents and energies to push back the boundaries of possibility, to give ever more of ourselves so that together we each receive an ever greater sense of personal satisfaction and pleasure in a spirit of great fun and mutual enjoyment.

      They say that the shortest and the hardest word to say is no.  In fairness we all have to say it sometimes for very good reasons. But all too often when someone says no they can be turning away from a bright prospect in life and slamming the door on a brilliant opportunity by refusing to contemplate the possibility of change and of doing something different and stimulating.  How easy it can be for all of us as individuals to limit ourselves and to set tight boundaries that cut us off from life-giving alternatives.  All too often what comes from saying no is merely a sterile nothing.  Instead Toastmasters is a warm and ever open invitation to come and say YES to setting out on a new course and a new vision. Saying YES to going forward with generosity of spirit and conviction to gain proficiency in the beautiful arts of expression and communication leading to ever higher personal development, confidence and achievement.  It is about saying YES to a brilliant source of renewal, entertainment and pleasure with conviviality and bonhomie. In a word it is all about saying YES to a celebration of the pure joy of life.

     And the secret of success in all things is enthusiasm. We all do well what we like doing best.  For to be full of enthusiasm is to cast aside all doubts and constraints, to tap into the inner energy and zest that all people have and once your heart is truly in all that you strive for and seek to pursue, whether in the sphere of business and work, at home and in the family or joining in community or leisure activities, if your heart is truly in it, if what you do is your passion, then you will always find a way, your courage will never falter and there is no limit to how far you can go on the road of lasting happiness and fulfilment in life.

     What all of us who participate in Toastmasters never cease to be amazed by is the discovery of just what we can do and how far we can go just by making that modest effort with belief in ourselves and how special each of us are. Nothing worthwhile can ever be achieved without taking that vital step and making that all-important effort. And we are not alone for we are together in friendship building each other up and having so much fun along the way. For it is all a matter of letting new horizons fire our imagination and growing ever stronger and happier not by trying to imitate others but rather by each and every one of us simply being ourselves with our own thoughts and words and following our own path at our own comfortable pace.

     It is lovely to come into a bright meeting room sharing a pleasant convivial atmosphere. The gathering is called to order and soon we are experiencing the joy of standing up for a few moments to express our own immediate and impromptu thoughts, experiences and insights about life in the topics session. To listen to the range and diversity of views, stories and opinions is just so immensely stimulating and mind broadening, finding in turn that it enables us to reach inside and generously share that originality and uniqueness that truly is our own. It is an immensely liberating and empowering experience, one that makes you feel good and positive inside.

     Then you discover the wonder and the joy of going to the lectern for a few short minutes to give a talk about something that matters to you. Looking down on a room full of smiling faces wishing the very best enables all of us to give of our very best in turn and to experience the thrill of it all, the wonder of what we can do, finding in the brevity of the speeches not a curtailment of self-expression, but rather an essential cutting away of all that is unnecessary and superfluous, to clarify our ideas and to give them wings in a light, economical and easy listening style, then sitting down with genuine satisfaction inside at having achieved something truly good. And knowing too that our contribution receives the further enhancement of positive feedback by way of evaluation offering no criticism but praise of all that has been so well done and suggested ways to become even better. We are all together seeking the rainbow of an ever better life on a sweet and happy never ending journey.

     The entire experience is just so immensely uplifting, stimulating and remarkably joyful. No wonder that so many find that they return home from our meetings feeling refreshed and elated and a great sense of looking forward to the next. As I do myself even after years of active club involvement. We hope that you will come to enjoy our next meeting on this coming Tuesday, March 13th, at 8.15 pm in the Fermoy Youth Centre and will look forward to seeing you all.  For further information, please contact Mary Whelan at 087 7971006 or Kevin Walsh at 058 60100 or log on to our mobile-friendly website or find us on Twitter @ FermoyT.