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Our Dance With Life
Life is the ultimate creative act. But most of the time on some level, unconsciously, we are so threatened by its power, this mysterious magical power of creation that we try to contain it. We cage it lest we be overwhelmed by it. In my case I spent a long time secretly longing to be overwhelmed and swept away. To move as one with life in a dance.
I was fortunate enough to study improvisation theatre at Chicago’s famed Second City with the legendary Martin De Maat in the 1980’s. In improv I learned, even though it wasn’t said in these words, that the big trick was surrender. To make any scene work, aka really fly, you had to let go of any preconceived ideas and just be there, in the moment with your partner. In fact, if you just focused on being with your partner, deeply listening on a visceral level to your partner and seeing, honoring and supporting their magic, miracles beyond your wildest imagination happened. That the minute you tried to control the scene, the scene died. (You essentially just committed second degree murder.) This was hell for me because no matter how much I got this intellectually, and was awed by the intrinsic beauty of it, how I could viscerally feel that it applied to life and creation most of the time I just couldn’t seem try pry my fingers loose. In the moment I fell most often back on the same subconscious tricks I used in every moment of everyday to make life work. I didn’t trust the scene, I didn’t trust my partner, and I sure as hell didn’t trust myself…but none the less in the middle of it I would be determined to “make it work.”
Here is what I know deep in my bones that has its root in this time over 30 years ago: “making it work” is how you successfully poison any creative endeavor. In my best and most beautiful creative moments, on stage, with another person, in my writing, teaching, chart work ANYTHING I somehow let go. Somehow I pry my fingers right off the edge so we can move together and dance. Then the magic happens.
Essentially at its core this is a practice of letting life be about discovery vs knowing. Discovery is dynamic, vs knowing which tends to be static. When I say I know someone of something. I have essentially frozen them at some point in time, when I continuously discover them we are both becoming, together in the moment.
My life’s work involves assisting others in prying loose their fingers so the magic can happen.
As the poet Rumi said, “Let yourself be silently drawn to the greater pull of what you really love.
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