I signed up for a class in creating a solo show. I did Part 1 in the fall. Part 2 starts in a couple of weeks and ends with a performance. That I will do. In front of, you know, people.
I’ve wanted to do this for a long time. In fact, I did Part 1 about 5 years ago but, for a host of reasons, never got to Part 2. Now it’s happening. I’m excited. And also terrified.
How is it happening? Because I signed up. I pulled the switch. I bit the bullet. I ponied up. I put my money where my mouth is. I walked my talk. (So far, at least. I’ll report back in April when I’m on the other side.)
My assignment between now and when it starts (and throughout, I’m sure) is to write for 10 minutes a day. That’s doable, right? Yes! But when I sit down for those 10 minutes, I notice I already feel behind, panicky, like a total fraud.
I do my best to coach myself through it, drop into my body, remember to breath, tell the truth, and keep going until the timer goes off. Sometimes I write the crap my mind says, right there on the page in parenthesis, just to get a look at it. It’s sort of horrifying. I cannot imagine saying any of that to someone I care about, let alone someone I care about while she’s IN THE MIDDLE OF DOING SOMETHING BRAVE.
Sometimes I write the antidote right there on the page, also in parenthesis: Slow down. Breathe. It’s okay. You’re not behind. You got this. Keep those fingers moving, honey, just keep going.
Anytime we choose to honor a desire, a calling, a pull from deep within, we will meet resistance. I know I’ve said this before but it bears repeating: Resistance isn’t personal. It’s not a sign that you suck, that you’re not good enough, that you missed your chance, that you’re a coward or a phony. It’s a force of nature, like gravity. If you set your coffee down mid-air, you don’t feel like a failure when the cup immediately falls to the ground. You’re like, Oh, that’s right: gravity.That’s what it does.
Resistance is the same. It’s reliable. It shows up when we show up to do the hard or scary or new thing. It just does.
Our job is to not take it personally. And to keep going. It will sometimes feel like a harsh wind blowing you back. Your job is to keep going and how you do that is by staying right where you are.
That’s all you have to do—stay. That’s how you make progress.
The commitment to stay is the progress, even though it doesn’t feel like it’s enough, doesn’t feel meaty enough, doesn’t feel like you’re covering enough ground. You are. I promise.
Whatever it is you’re doing, stay.
Know you don’t have to fix, change, or hide what is happening. Just tell the truth and let your experience bend as it moves through the way light bends, refracting through a prism.
Don’t leave. Let it come out the way it comes out–the writing, the dancing, the drawing, the conversation, the music, whatever.
I sometimes imagine myself on that final class walking onto the stage. I see myself standing there in my bare feet and a simple black shift with a beautiful drape.
I have a pointer in my hand. There is a screen behind me. I am looking at people who are looking at me.
I’m having an amazing hair day.
Energy is barreling through my body, pounding my heart, numbing my legs, squeezing my chest. It’s just molecules moving at different speeds. I remember what Josh Pais says, whatever it is, “Ride it, don’t hide it.”
I say a word after a word.
I don’t leave.
That’s how it works.
A word after a word after a word is power,said Margaret Atwood (she would know).
A poem after a poem.
A conversation after a conversation.
A step after step.
Staying through whatever comes up.
What about you? Where is your soul asking YOU to stay?