The fleeting moment of accomplishment is not the goal of our work. Sure, it’s motivating and it feels great. If all goes well those peaks will be there. But, that moment is only a split second of the real work. The mindfulness is the true purpose of the practice. Witnessing yourself through all the peaks and the valleys without judgement (or letting go of judgement) is what will keep us coming back to the studio. Getting into our body, feeling ourselves and how we relate to the space around us, going deeper and feeling our feelings is the real reason we practice anything in life.
Our audiences don’t want to watch someone who shames themselves into being “perfect”. Our audience wants to to connect to us, because for that moment that we are on stage, we let them into our world. We give them permission to feel their feelings through our process of sharing ours. We allow them a moment to side step their own shame, and validate themselves. This can only happen if we give ourselves permission to feel and be ourselves and be free of our own cultural constructs that bring about shame in the first place.
The meaning of our practice is in the mindfulness. It’s not about the attainment of each trick. Tricks show the mastery over the our world, it’s true. But honestly, mastery is only interesting for a second. What humans really desire is that connection, and mastery actually creates walls and idols and pedestals that destroy our ability to connect. The progress of ourselves as humans is the real story. How did we get here, and why? No matter our character, our show or our prop – we are telling a human story. We are sharing ourselves whether we want to or not.
CirqaZerna performance. Photo by Manuel Acevedo Civantos
What is actually the most interesting thing about us humans is our vulnerable self. In order to be fully present on stage, you must be able to accept yourself and accept being seen. If we can’t accept what we have to give, we will inevitably hide behind our prop, a gag, or a technical display. A technical display is not a full performance. How could you possibly give a full performance if you have not felt the fullness throughout your body?
If we are curious what will we find?
In meditation, the doubts are the distractions. Other people’s perceptions are distractions. All we have is the movement and the prop. We are working with gravity, breath, speed, and our body. Always return to this. Return to it during the performance. Share it with the audience. Return to it when making love. Share it. Return to it when walking down the street. Share. It is the only thing we can really rely on in our world. Gravity, breath, speed, our body and our ability to share with those around us. From the moment we are born until the moment we die, these feelings are with us. They are there to connect us. They are there to share.
For more on mindful living check out Elizabeth Gilberts 11 steps