Not only do we live in a living universe, but the living universe lives within us.
— Duane Elgin
Because I believe we are ultimately here to dance—to live our uniqueness fully and with joy. I also believe we are here to grow into mature human adulthood. My sense is that these are the same thing.
Contemplative practices can help illuminate our conditioning, and as old constrictions loosen their grip we become increasingly liberated to follow our authentic impulses. Loving ourselves, loving life, and serving life, can co-evolve as we increasingly embody the vast spectrum of who and what we truly are.
Below is one of my favorite quotes for inspiration. If you are ready to take this journey of all journeys, and to share your unique dance in celebration and service, then I'm right here to support you.
In 1943, De Mille was hired to choreograph the musical Oklahoma!, which became an overnight sensation and ran for a record-setting 2,212 performances. Feeling that critics and the public had long ignored work into which she had poured her heart and soul, De Mille found herself dispirited by the sense that something she considered “only fairly good” was suddenly hailed as a “flamboyant success.” Shortly after the premiere, she met Graham “in a Schrafft’s restaurant over a soda” for a conversation that put into perspective her gnawing grievance and offered what De Mille considered the greatest thing ever said to her. She recounts the exchange:
I confessed that I had a burning desire to be excellent, but no faith that I could be.
Martha Graham (Photograph: Barbara Morgan)
Martha said to me, very quietly: “There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep yourself open and aware to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open. As for you, Agnes, you have so far used about one-third of your talent.”
“But,” I said, “when I see my work I take for granted what other people value in it. I see only its ineptitude, inorganic flaws, and crudities. I am not pleased or satisfied.”
“No artist is pleased.”
“But then there is no satisfaction?”
“No satisfaction whatever at any time,” she cried out passionately. “There is only a queer divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.”
Margit Bantowksy, MA, is an artist, coach, teacher and facilitator.