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unconditional confidence and the artist’s body (or any body) in space

In 2012 i saw a luminous performance by Lucinda Williams in Fort Collins Colorado – she and her band, at many points in the evening, were levitating above the stage floor. I am reminded of author Elizabeth Gilbert in her brilliant TED Talk about http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=86x-u-tz0MA artists and ideas of genius. Gilbert’s talk culminates in a wonderful examination of the word Allah and its transformation found in the Spanish word Ole’. Last night was a glowing illustration Gilbert’s talk.

Lucinda Williams was a body confident in space. I would offer that the truest artists’ (and people in general) who have unconditional confidence in who they are and the body (this includes mind/heart) they inhabit – just “are”. They command the space because they are not afraid of the space – Last night Williams mentioned that she enjoyed the venue that she was in and it was a pleasure to sing there because of the acoustics – but it was much more than that.

Whether one is singing, dancing, painting or “standing on your head” in the words of Louise Nevelson. If you are not confident in your body, if you do not know yourself, you will be unable to create and more stunning than that – you will stunt the creative spirit of others. You are distracted by all of the things you want to change – thinking that changing them will help – when in fact you are fine wherever you are and if you are a creative you make the work in whatever form because you are propelled by your own genuineness, directness, honesty, with yourself and the world.

This is one of the reasons I teach art – if my students can learn to “not be afraid of who you are” as was taught by the great Trungpa Rinpoche, your life will be rich with understanding that the greatest things spring from open space – and that if you constantly work to manipulate your space and the space of others you will never be genuine. In the long run – it is not about how it looks, it is about your satisfaction with who you are and more so what you truly contribute to the society in which you live for the brief time you are here.

Williams could have been anywhere – granted the venue was a good one – but she brought to the table something that we should all be keenly aware of as humans.  Be genuine – know yourself. Your dissatisfaction in the space that you inhabit – your home, your studio, a restaurant, a classroom, a bus station, someone else’s home, a hotel room, a movie theatre – is not about the space. It is about how you inhabit that space and how you inhabit yourself – who you are – your misery, your bliss, what things appear to be does not matter. What does matter is this……

Is the space luminous as a result of your presence?


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