This morning I sent a last-minute, repeat invitation to the show to the seven people I live with at Lotus Lodge. Stephanie – who apparently was also at her computer early in the morning – responded with her big good wishes and regrets that she couldn’t be there. I sent her the text of the poem, apologizing that it was nothing compared to what we will deliver on Sunday, live with piano and dancers. She responded with this,
“While I will miss the energy of the performance piece, it is your spirit that I treasure—and that was so generously and clearly woven into your written text. As I read your words, I could clearly sense the spirit of you, your passion, the truth that you call forth… You have already gifted me with what you will generously share on Sunday. Keep believing…”
I have really believed that this poem is bigger than me, that it comes from somewhere else – and that I have a sacred responsibility to support it by things like piano and dancers. Stephanie’s words felt like a huge confirmation and I immediately forwarded them to my mates – Robert (piano) and Tom, Giovanna and Amanda (dancers).
In an earlier post (https://avlresist.blog/2017/03/14/when-the-resistance-is-aimed-at-me/), I described how – after a very exciting evening of talking about the show with my dancers – something dark came over me and I became convinced that the dancing would not work in that space (“No room on the stage”). When Alice came through my checkout line at the grocery store this afternoon, she gave me an amazing A-ha around all that. We were talking about that crisis with the dancers and she said, “Sometimes you have to be willing to let go of your plans.” This one sentence unlocked so much for me. I have done a lot of improv – improv poetry, improv dancing, etc. But we never get the trust thing fully handled. Talking about the dancing that evening, which was going to be all improvised, it was suddenly all just too much spontaneity for me – too much improvisation. My poem would be scripted, but everything around me would be uncontrolled.
What tripped me up – what almost tripped up our whole piece – was fear, the desire to control things. And if anything were to trip up our piece for me Sunday night, it would be fear. I would freeze. I would stop breathing. I would stop flowing with the inbreath and outbreath of the piano and dancing flowing around me. At this point I know that this is the nemesis and will be much less vulnerable to it. And there’s the blessing I then got from Sharon.
Sharon shouldn’t even have been in my checkout line today. Alice came through my line with a cart full of groceries at 6:23 – seven minutes before the end of my shift. I immediately put up my “Lane closed” sign. I wanted her to be my last customer for so many reasons: she’s beautiful, fascinating and we always have great conversations. We would certainly have a great conversation about the show – which we did.
So Alice was supposed to be my last customer (think control). But as she walked away, with me starting to pick up my area, up walked my dancer friend Michelle. She had three items – and there were so many reasons to let her in! She’s a good friend of my dancer Tom, she’s a dancer friend of mine – this would be great! And it was great…except… When I let her in my line, my friend Sharon – with a lot more groceries – saw that my line was open and scooted on in.
My heart sank. I genuinely was tired. My dog would need to get out, and I had a lot of tasks queued up for tonight. But Sharon is genuinely a very cool, deep person and I like her a lot – how could I callously point to the “Lane closed” sign and send her away? The whole situation had spun out of control. Had I made a mistake by letting Michelle in? The mind-fucking had begun.
When Michelle left and Sharon moved forward, I immediately began to relax. I’ve known Sharon in several contexts and her presence had always set me at ease. I think she is very aware and spiritual and strong and genuine. I was starting to get happy. I pushed back my exhaustion, reached down deep and pulled up the energy to genuinely encounter her. And I got paid back beyond my wildest dreams.
If I was going to have one last conversation with a customer today, I was by God going to make that conversation be about the show. Almost from the first syllable I uttered about it, Sharon started to light up. By the time I had talked about the enchanted singer-songwriter, headliner of the show, Cecilia St. King, Sharon was filled to bursting. “This show can’t go wrong because it is real.” This absolutely hit a nerve for me. Cecilia seems to me like the real McCoy – like what she is going to offer will come from a very deep and genuine place. And I honestly feel the same about my poem. And my pianist and dancers – all improvising – will also be delivering genuine pieces of themselves.
I told Sharon that I would love to have her at the concert – that I think she would get a lot out of it and that it would be so encouraging for me to see her there in the audience. We quickly ascertained that she would not be able to be there, but she said, “I don’t need to be there, because I’m there right now. The concert is happening now. It is totally surrounded by blessings. It’s full of grace. It is protected by God.” I drank all this in deeply and told Sharon that now she would absolutely be there Sunday night – that I would carry her there.
I was totally blown away by this, but now to punch out, buy four little items, and get home to my dog. In the back room where we punch out, Cameron (Cam) was also punching out. I knew from an earlier conversation that he was working until 7 tonight – yikes! I was 30 minutes late clocking out. But I still got happy. Cam is one of my favorite co-workers. He is sweet and smart and has almost zero ego. I was trying to remember another conversation we had had a few days ago about the concert – but I couldn’t quite pull it up.
“Were you a maybe for the show, or a no?”
“I guess I’m a maybe – there’s no reason I can’t go.”
“Well I’ve said things like this to people about the show before, but – based on a conversation I just had – I’m going to say this with a lot more confidence than before. If there’s any way you can get there, come. You won’t regret it. Something very special is going to happen and I don’t want you to miss it.”
I think he really got the message, because he sounded totally genuine (I think he doesn’t know any other way to be) when he said, “OK, I’ll be there.” And I am really happy that he’ll be there – happy for us and happy for him.