Last weekend a band was recording at our place (photo above), and one of the guys gave everyone a printed copy of a quote from Martha Graham. Martha Graham was a dancer and choreographer who lived throughout most of the 20th century.
I loved it so much I thought I’d share it with you here:
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.
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.
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.
I like so many parts of this, I don’t really want to highlight any one. I think the band last weekend were looking particularly at the bit about divine dissatisfaction… it is easy during recording to keep wanting to add things and fix things up endlessly, to the point where everyone is exhausted and the project is dulled.
The “no satisfaction at any time” seems at first glance to be at odds with my outlook—I’d say there is satisfaction to be had in following our unique expression, and part of doing that is to live with dissatisfactions with imperfections in our projects.
I do think that whatever our artform is, whether it’s music, visual arts, writing, blogging, business, politics, law, sport, teaching, healing, science, you name it… the trick is to “keep the channel open”. Which makes us more alive.
* * *
One nugget I found was in the section ‘Embrace your crazy idea’…
Yes, I said it. If you have a crazy idea that you are afraid to tell even your close friends and family about, you are in luck. No, I didn’t say just run with it. You may need to modify certain aspects of that idea.
The thing is that your crazy idea says something important about you.
And remember, a lot of businesses that have proven to be successful started with crazy ideas.
I like this very much, and I think it ties in very nicely with what Martha has said.
What do you think?