It doesn’t get any simpler than that.
As Oscar Wilde so aptly put it, the only point of it all is to be yourself. Much to my surprise, after seeing Wim Wenders brilliant film, Pina, I imagined that I would’ve liked to have been a Pina Bausch performer for a decade or so. Pina’s dancers were exhorted to be scary, to embody joy, to risk everything for a true gesture or moment. That’s how I want to live my life!
Her dances are visceral portrayals of emotion, the senses and our relationship to the primary elements, earth, water, stone—the human animal transcending the limitations of words. However much I love the power and beauty of verbal wordplay, the unspoken physicalization of feeling brings me even closer to the ecstatic and the divine.
To dance is to worship. To make love is to enact passion. A poem can be exquisite. A kiss can change a life!
Self expression is multi-faceted. It is wisely said that we are here on planet earth to feel our feelings and speak our truth. The artist is the spokesperson for society, and everyone of us has artistic expression at our command. If you can walk, you can dance; if you can speak, you can sing; if you can write, you can be a poet. Yet, some notion of how to do it correctly, inhibits most of us from daring to show our true colors.
Most of us are comparing ourselves to some perfect version of ourselves, a non-existent self that is always graceful, always eloquent, always in tune with the context, the circumstances, and what is wanted from those we might be out to please. This comparison leaves us constantly failing. In order to soar, we must first be willing to stumble along the way. Taking risks is the key to great art—as Pina Bausch so well understood. Taking risks is the key to full-out living, as well. However, very few of us are not inhibited by the specter of perceived humiliation or judgment. I believe there was a study at Harvard that showed death to be the number-two fear AFTER public speaking. A majority of us would rather die than feel embarrassed or humiliated by a sub-par performance. This is crazy. Who is rating us?
Life as a classroom, where every experience is yet another (blessed or damned) opportunity for growth, is nurtured by curiosity—beginner’s mind, the ability to play at living—to dance like a five-year-old, to sing like a toddler, to write like an idiot savant and to giggle at whatever appears. BE YOURSELF: Everybody else is already taken.
—Photo ||-SAM Nasim-||/Flickr