There is a Martha Graham quote that has motivated me for the last twenty-plus years. I keep coming back to it, in my art, in my writing, in my leadership roles. Always making tentative gestures towards my own expression of life.
“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it.”
I have been diddling around my whole life pretending to wait for it to be my turn to have my life. But in reality just diddling around afraid that I would do that thing that I really want to do, be that person that I really want to be and fail. Or look like a fool. What if I put my whole heart and soul on the table, stripped naked in my vulnerability and failed. Time is up it is time to live out loud.
THE REST OF THE STORY
But then there is the rest of the story – the last half of the quote that is usually not noticed:
“It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work.”
This Is It!
WHAT? It is just my job to do and be my most desired self? What? Now? It is time! My capacity and capabilities are sufficient to the task. This is the day, the month, the year, to be! I will lead and be led. I will write and travel, teach and learn, make art and sell it.
Stand back I might get on you!
To finish the quote. “…You have to keep yourself open and aware to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open. … No artist is pleased. [There is] no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others” – Martha Graham
Real courage is to have your inside self be as visible as your outside self and to have the two match. Real courage is the courage to love out loud. Real courage is to love again – fully and wildly – after someone you love has died early, unfairly, horribly. After something you have loved to do or make or write has failed miserably.
What I want to say is that it costs nothing to love! It costs your life to hold back. You don’t have to be rich or famous or lucky – you just have to be alive and to go ahead – scared or not!