Facing Yourself

There is no place to run. There is nothing to do except face yourself. The world as you perceive it exists because you perceive it in your field of awareness. In a sense, there is no absolute “there” out there at all….just the one that you perceive.

In this century we have increased our awareness of everything a thousand fold and it grows everyday. Film, movies, TV, radio, internet, cell phones, DVDs, recordings, and all written media are available, almost instantly, to anyone with access to a computer. Music swirls around us everywhere and we add to that by plugging our own chosen music directly into our brain via earplugs as frequently as we want. If you had lived on a farm in the midwest in the mid 1800s, the only music you would have heard might have been in church or at a community event. You didn’t have a machine to till the soil, just a horse, and the loudest sound you heard was thunder, or, maybe a tornado. You didn’t know what was going on at the next farm, or in town, or even with your kids at the one room school house until someone told you to your face.

That world wasn’t really very long ago, in terms of history, but it is totally different than the one most of live in now. The awareness of that farmer would have been very different in 1850 than it would be to a farmer in the same place, growing the same crops, than it is today.

You must face yourself, as truly and courageously as possible if you are going to be an artist. To do that, you must increase your awareness of who you are. But that, alone, is not enough. You must also increase your awareness of your limitations, your fears, your dark places, and you must look at why you are the way you are. You must be willing to look at the things about yourself that you detest. To delve into artistic expression without really knowing the very things about yourself that require some contemplation and confrontation, leaves you unable to create work of any substance. What you will produce will be shallow, insincere, and fleeting. It will have no roots in your own deepest truth. There is no place to go, no place to hide, no one to hide from. The entire world is always only within you. If you do not know and understand that, you will be lost.

Making really profound art requires courage and dedication. Learning to master something that is artistic takes at least 10 years of constant work, practice, discipline, dedication, perseverance, and passion. Learning to sing requires that you engage in a battle with your body and its unconscious responses in the many muscles that are responsible for producing voiced sound. Learning to perform requires that you open up your heart, your mind, your gut, your spirit and leap, energetically, with enthusiasm into the unknown.

If you do not know how to face yourself, get someone who does know to help you. You cannot escape until you are no longer on this earth.

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