That means that in being born you have already achieved the impossible.
One of the lessons of 2020, is that there is no such thing as security and stability. Intellectually we all knew that. But living that truth made us believe it in a much deeper way.
Many of us mourned the absence of solid ground and scrambled for something to hold on to. But even the life rafts we normally clung to had holes in them.
Actors, writers, directors and the lot always knew that. They chose a life based in art, which put them on the shakiest of shaky ground. But, suddenly, here came 2020 and with all ground trembling underfoot, choosing art didn’t seem so crazy anymore.
Let’s look at why:
You live life on life’s terms.
Change. That’s all you need to know about life. Bodies change by the microsecond. We gain and we lose possessions, friends, partners and family, we have tremendous amounts of hope and just as much fear. And it all changes. That’s life. And that’s art. Art is a fluid experience that lives in the spaces of change and growth.
One never masters art – art is never “done.” It simply provides a framework within which to explore the impermanent nature of life and of the human heart.
No wonder a job/career chosen for security or safety feels stagnant and cramped in comparison!
Each day is an entirely new landscape to the artist – difference is welcomed, sameness shunned. Artists thrive on the ever-changing nature of life, of themselves and of their art. Actors and artists of all stripes know that stability is laughable, that solidity is death. Bring on that shaky ground, those leaky life rafts and constant winds of change – this is the terrain where great art is created. Spaciousness is non-negotiable – solidity is death.
You Find Out How Brave You Are.
It takes courage to create risky, exhilarating art and it takes courage to live the life of the artist.
What is it about artists – actors especially – who not only want to lead with their hearts, but also want to bear their hearts to others? What an act of courage. To search and train until you find the exact emotional truth that will resonate with millions.
To expose yourself and your heart and risk the judgement of others.
And what about that artistic life? A rollercoaster that is at once thrilling and heart stopping and frustrating and sorrowful. And do the results ever match the passion and the hard work? Some times, the answer is no. But what a life it can be. Immersed in an artistic process that encourages growth and expansion you can be the happiest person alive – results be damned. Living this life flies in the face of societal norms and if you choose it – that’s brave! And to be happy during your time on this planet – what higher achievement could there possibly be? In my hospice work, I have never met an person who reduced their lives down to resume bullet points. Actor, business leader, athlete it was always the same: What they are most proud of in their lives is the commitment to what they were put here to do and loving those they are here to love. The biggest regret is always about feeling they backed off – they didn’t commit to the gifts that were given to them in this lifetime.
The true artist takes this miraculous existence for the ride it deserves. All 10,000 joys and 10,000 sorrows.
THERE WAS A 1 IN 400 TRILLION CHANCE OF YOU BEING BORN AS YOU.
Doing anything other than what you were meant to do here is an arrogant rejection of this miracle.
Head over heart.
The thinking mind’s job is to keep you safe. The heart’s job is to illuminate body sensations and turn them into emotions. A combination of both sounds great – but the mind is insistent on safety and will overwhelm the heart if given the slightest opening. It takes awareness and dedication to quiet the mind so you can be led through life by the tender heart. But artists really have no choice. Art is about feeling – how you feel and how you can make others feel. Your thoughts are of little importance.
Leading an artistic life inherently makes little sense to the thinking mind. It’s not safe, has very little security, and may never work out as a primary income source. So, if art is a part of your life – if at some point you chose art – you are stuck with your heart.
The thinking mind is always there to keep you out of danger and to keep you intellectually stimulated but it won’t lead the dance of your life.
You will go all in with the heart and lead a life of sensations and feelings. Joy, vulnerability, sorrow, love, pain etc. are not thoughts, they are feelings. Your job is to be aware of them, to lean into them until you fall into the center of your heart.
You get more interesting.
Comfort is a constant craving. Nothing seems to bother us more than not being comfortable.
Your comfort zone may feel good – and we all need to live there occasionally – but beware: too much time spent seeking and falling into comfort will dull the mind and heart.
It’s not stimulating, exciting or particularly joyful and yet our intolerance of discomfort is so great that it drives us to seek the numb familiarity of comfort.
How tragic to live a life that is led by the search for comfort. It’s like admitting that your whole life goal is mediocrity.
And guess what – at least half the time you won’t be able to achieve it! Life is inherently uncomfortable because the truth about it is constant change. What a waste of time to chase this phantom called comfort when being fully alive and leaning into the natural rhythm of life with all of its discomforts is available to you at any time!
And really, how good is your work going to be if you are all about comfort? I am at most comfortable lying on the couch reading. Anyone want to see that? I thought so. You need to be the artistic warrior who never settles – whose goal is to explore more deeply, no matter how uncomfortable it feels.
When you orient your gaze away from comfort and toward excitement and passion, you come alive in ways that open you up to risk and adventure. You can finally be free of smallness and fear and live and act like your hair is on fire.