Thursday, 11 October 2012

coming out of hiding

In celebration of my difficulties yesterday and Jim's encouragement, I'm re-visiting David Whyte's idea of coming out of hiding...

To find good work, no matter what path we have chosen, means coming out of hiding. Good work means visibility. We have all had dreams in which we face large audiences without clothes, without notes, without an inkling of what to say; the faces expectant, waiting, terror in our eyes, the focus entirely on our lone naked figure. Let me tell you that the terror involved in that dream is almost entirely and utterly accurate and most of our intuitions about the dynamics of facing large audiences are horrifyingly exact. 'Just be yourself' people say, as if they have suddenly thought of something entirely original, and as if they have forgotten the terrible, wrenching initiations most religions insist on for arriving at that elusive self. To be yourself is to be no self at all but to be a frontier, the frontier between you and the audience - the large audience of a waiting crowd or the smaller more intimate audience of our immediate co-workers. Their ability to see us and know us in ways which give them a close knowledge of who we are and what we are attempting to do in the world, can seem too much, too intimate, too soon. Vulnerability and intimacy can make a very frightening shoreline. But that is a wave line we must walk in work. Work is exposure, our fancy ideas about ourselves a sandcastle built right on the edge of the incoming sea.

In ten days' time I'll be at another Authentic Artist workshop. Hoping to sing, despite it all. Hoping to play my simple chords, hoping to experience singing the world without my body going into agitation. Ha! Let's see....

Undo it all
Take down the bunting
Those cheery flags
That got so used
to waving in the breeze
Saying, look, here
An accomplished adult
A successful professional

Take it all down
Calmly, folding up the colours
into a neat little pile
Put them into a drawer
For old things

The line is bare again
The wind no longer moves
those happy little lies
There's no cleverness
on display
Just the line
A tightrope
Against the backdrop
of the mountains

Image by Oliphant via Flickr

I'm mixing my visual metaphors here. These are Tibetan prayer flags which symbolise something entirely different. But this is how I saw the  image of the bunting in my mind, stretched out across the sky......

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