My friend sent me this quote the other day in response to my previous blog post What is Your Art Worth. I find this quote so enchanting in the way it sums up my purest motivation behind my dance art. And, I'm guessing that this rings true for most of you, too. The sad reality in the dance world, though, is that this fundamental essence can so easily get clouded over by our ever-persistent mental demons, causing us to lose sight of our purpose and this bigger picture. But, once we peel away the layers of manufactured mush and break through the criticizing voices preventing us from connecting with our true selves, deep down this is something that resonates with all of us - no matter what stage of the journey we are at...and no matter what stage we are performing on.
"When you look back on a lifetime and think of what has been given to the world by your presence, your fugitive presence, inevitably you think of your art, whatever it may be, as the gift you have made to the world in acknowledgment of the gift you have been given, which is the life itself. And I think the world tends to forget that this is the ultimate significance of the body of work each artist produces. That work is not an expression of the desire for praise or recognition, or prizes, but the deepest manifestation of your gratitude for the gift of life."
~ Stanley Kunitz, “The Wild Braid”
This serves as such a wonderful reminder of why we need to fight to show up day after day through all the pain and hardships we face as dancers. The second we start letting the demons push their way in with their voices of judgement and criticism, we lose this purest motivation behind our art. And therefore, we miss opportunities to give our unique gift to the world. This is why you must choose, over and over again, to engage in the dirty work of dealing with those demons; to embark on a journey to find yourself and your worth as an artist - so you can turn around and share everything you have with the world and leave behind no regrets.
Thank you, dear friend, for sharing this with me. You've given me yet another piece of the puzzle that is my journey in life. I hope this quote brings inspiration to the other struggling dancers out there searching for meaning and worth in their art with a passion that is seemingly unquenchable. Shake off the pressures holding you down and preventing you from soaring, and remember your motivation for dancing in the first place. Share your gratitude for life by sharing your art.
Does this resonate with you? What are your reasons for why you dance? Share your comments below.