A Letter To A Young Creative
AKA A Love Letter to The Young Woman Who Was Told She Shouldn’t
I was 18.
Still new to the world.
My parents had encouraged me to follow the pulse of life as it ran through me…
So I was in NYC —
Studying acting at one of the most competitive schools in the country.
I was under age; 4 years younger than most of my peers.
Sure, I remember the craft and technique I learned.
But what shaped my life as I know was this one line spoken by a teacher:
“If you can do ANYTHING ELSE with your life — other than act — do it.
And I listened.
He gave me a reason to follow the voice of fear.
Or perhaps the desire to play a part in the world was larger than my desire to play a role in a play…But I did what this teacher suggested — and I moved on with my life to see if there was anything else I could do. Environmental and social justice were calling. The shadow of validating and rationalizing my presence on this earth was asking to be hunted down and dealt with.
And then the muse kicked and punched her way through the door.
How she did that is another story.
I can’t blame this man for speaking fear into the room.
I can’t blame him for not wishing his pwn path of struggle on his students.
But I do question someone sitting in the seat of a teacher — — encouraging youth to run with their fear.
If I had the ear of tender young souls who had the muse whispering in their other ear…or even the the ear of an elder daring to meet their muse for the first time — here is what I would say:
YOU ARE NEEDED
Artists hold the key to understanding humanity.
You can bring beauty to the places no one wants to look; you have the capacity to allow us to feel what we do not dare to touch on our own. Every step you take down the path of artistry in this world makes space for more artists to walk behind you on this path. So you are a gift to the present and the future.
Share your gifts. They are meant to be given. Every breath of beauty, connection, communion — you breed through your creation — creates a ripple effect. Don’t fall for the story of scarcity. Don’t fall for the story of competition. Be generous with your gifts; be generous with your cohorts.
STUDY WITH MASTERS
It doesn’t matter what they do, or how different your field of study: master teachers will transmit the frequency of mastery to you, so you will know what it takes to walk the path. The more strands of knowledge that informs your thinking…the more informed and generous your work will become.
VALUE YOUR GIFT. AND ASK FOR WHAT IS REQUIRED TO CREATE
A tree that blooms and gives fruit that feeds a community, is sustained by roots connected to the earth, and is fed by the sun, and is nourished by water. It is a wild and magical collaboration that allows for the alchemy of creation.
Know your place in this collaborative process so that you might understand the gift you give when you allow for others to play a role in bringing the creation you are birthing into being.
DON’T FAKE IT TO MAKE IT: Practice & Rehearse
Practice. Rehearse. Practice. Rehearse. That is the path to mastery. The actor who embodies Macbeth rehearsed until he was able to embody and become Macbeth. People who fake it till they make it end up with an impostor complex. So practice & rehearse.
LISTEN FOR WHEN IT’S YOUR TIME TO SPEAK —
& FOR WHEN IT’S YOUR TIME TO LISTEN
Just as a tree will bloom and offer fruit and flower, then go dormant and inward in the winter as it gathers its energies as it prepares to gives the gifts of fruit and flower — so may you. Listen for when it is your time to speak and to give, and for when it is your time to go inward and listen. What you glean from that place of reception may provide you the fuel for your next creation.
GO FOR IT (and don’t look back)
You may not sleep well at night while you figure out how to pay your rent, but the life force that comes alive in your dreams, the people you will meet who share the passion and drive — will nourish more than the momentary stress of any one moment. The rewards will be better than you dreamed, when you live from your passion.
— — — —
Perhaps what that teacher spoke was the ultimate test of mastery. Perhaps it was an invitation to the student to walk a path other than your own to see if it is possible.
MYTH, MAGIC, & MEDICINE: STORYTELLING FOR A NEW PARADIGM
Next Course Begins April 9, 201
"What we are doing here is so important, we better not take it too seriously." Suzuki Roshi