Anatomy of an Epiphany
I have been meditating on the nature of the surrender to the artistic self.
It’s been an incredible, triumphant few days. The audience response to the last two Urchestra shows was very gratifying. And when I went to Radcliffe yesterday to see Alison Knowles I experienced an extraordinary breakthrough moment.
The lecture Alison gave about her work in Fluxus was enlightening, and the performances were wonderful. There was a sense of discovering the magic in the ordinary. The rustle of paper, the curve of a stone. The artist merely has to hold up a frame, to capture something exquisite from the miraculous stream of life.
I began to see how the journey I was making toward artistic freedom and power had brought me either to an impasse, or else to an inevitable shift in awareness and intent.
There I sat at a fancy dinner among people that I admired, whom I aspired to emulate, and somehow, I was accepted as an equal. And I knew that it was my humility, that it was love that had brought me there– not genius, nor praise, nor virtuosity, nor intellect, but love alone, and the willingness to be vulnerable, to be ridiculous, for love.
And that at the very moment when the gift was made, I had to face my hardest fight to remain on the path, to not run away from the sweet kiss of fate.
It is such a terrifying realization to know that I am forever a hair’s breadth away from dashing from my own lips the cup of my felicity. How precarious it is to be alive to the moment! for to love is to be with others, to be truly present and feeling everything, yet desiring nothing but to serve.
I knew then that I had to finally embrace the stripping away that I’ve experienced, whether gradual or sudden. That owning my right place in the world means letting go of wanting not only money, recognition, security or approval, but even the pleasure I take in my own skill. That the only things worth striving for in creating art are emptiness and unconditional love. And that even though I am now approaching the territory in which these things exist, I have been clinging to so much–to too much, and defeating myself by the very act of ambitious thinking.
All these realizations came about not because of loss or rejection, but because of being drawn more deeply into the center of where I need to be as an artist. In that moment of transformation, I was forced to examine the reasons for my own resistance to greater consciousness.
The truth is that there is nothing that we have, that we have not or will not lose, and that there is nothing we have lost, but that which can never be lost in eternity– but that which is always with us.
And that to be useful is beautiful.