How many of us had a clear sense of who were were and what were here to express when we were young? I venture to say many of us, however, we were talked out of it, or walked out of it, by the expectations of others, cultural influences, the generally accepted ideas of success, or the need to earn a living right away. We wobbled, adjusted, or simply chose differently. There is no judgment in that. We just did what we did.
I love Netflix and I choose not to have television. So, this week, I watched a film that inspired me to write this blog post for you.
This film about a dancer, Anna Halprin, is as remarkable as she is. She knew who she was and is, what she loved and loves, and what she has been here to express from a very young age. A “post modern” dancer, she paved the way for growth and expression in dance for so many. But, it is the integrity of the life she has lead up to this point, that really knocked my socks off. No matter what critics might say, she put up her insights and understanding through her dances for all to see. She was a pioneer in collaborative dance–my words for it–where the dance evolves from the inside out of each dancer to create an amazing expression of a concept.
The point of the blog today, though, is what I came to think about as a result of watching this film: walking strong when you listen to the guidance, insight and urgings from within.
So often I say to my clients,“How much time do you take to sit quietly and reflect each day?”
Their most frequent answer: “I’m too busy. There’s not enough time.”
My response: “What are you busy about?”
And the usual answer is “I’ve got so much to do.”
It’s the “doing-ness” that usurps our time and eradicates our reflection on our “being-ness”. Who are we being?
I had a client come in a few weeks ago who had a desperate and insightful request:
“I don’t like who I am when I get angry and it gets out of control. Can you help me manage my anger?”
As anger management is a major component of my work, folks usually just want to get a few skills and insights to chill out and not erupt, often mandated by the court. This man knew that, even if he could not save his marriage, he still wanted to overcome his anger issues in order to live in integrity with who he wanted to be. He has a vision of himself that he wants to hold true to and it does not include erupting like Vesuvius and doing things he’s not proud of some hours after.
Do we know who we are, and are we clear about what we wish to demonstrate and express about who we are? Do we know what that looks, sounds and feels like?
There is only one way to live in integrity with ourselves: to take time to be with ourselves, consciously and frequently. When we don’t make time to sit in what we call Soul Solitude , to listen to our inner voice, and to reflect on the alignment of our vision, values, beliefs and purpose in our lives each day, we can easily get stressed, chaotic and overwhelemed. For some, they choose soul solitude so seldom, if ever, that they are simply running as fast as they can all the time. That’s exhausting and unproductive. They are simply busy. And, they are likely mistaking activity for progress.
So, back to the amazing Anna Halprin. She has an internal guidance system to which she holds true. She hold it dear as well, as is evidenced in the consistent integrity in her work. I learned a lot from watching her life story, and that of her relationship with her husband, a celebrated landscape architect, and her children. She must be ninety years old now as she was eighty-six in the film, performing in New York. After watching, I had to do an internet search to learn more. It wasn’t really a surprise to find that she is still teaching classes, sharing her values, vision, beliefs and purpose…and her amazing passion. It reminds me that I can choose to do the same in everything I do, in every relationship, in every condition and circumstance.