May my practice be true

“I want to see you make a work out of your practice, and a practice out of your work.”

Wisdom passed down from mentor to friend. And I ponder this on a balmy Darwin night.

It has been exactly a month since Ben decided to end our relationship. And I have found that it is perfectly possible to be both deeply sad and ok at the same time.  You unearth grief you didn’t know you had whilst still able to cast yourself head first into adventures forward. How life can still flourish in spite of our failures.

And the only thing to do – as is the thing to do regularly and consistently regardless of heartbreaks – is to take care of yourself.

Eat well. Sleep well. Put one foot in front of the other. 
Step back. Observe – within and without. Sit with the sadness. Sit with the joy. Sit with the discomfort of both and neither all at once. Sit with the uncertainty and the unknown. Sit in the surety of your desires. Sit with the moment. Stay with your breath.
Nourish yourself – (only) say yes to the things that nourish you. 
Be true.

I have always personally refused to refer to my being an artist as a career. I detest that word for my own complex reasons. But mostly because I stand by the philosophical – that being an artist is a vocation, and it is a practice.

A practice that is daily, that is shifting, that requires consideration and rigour.
As is love.
As is life.

And so I take the same steps:

Eat well. Sleep well. Put one foot in front of the other. 
Step back. Observe – within and without. Sit with the sadness. Sit with the joy. Sit with the discomfort of both and neither all at once. Sit with the uncertainty and the unknown. Sit in the surety of your desires. Sit with the moment. Stay with your breath.
Nourish yourself – (only) say yes to the things that nourish you. 
Be true.

I am here in Darwin, working on the baby that is Tropical Kitchen. A work birthed together with Britt last year, where I now play a different role in its other iteration. There are so many things here that match – shared principles of working between Britt and I; a genuine love for the work and what it aims to offer participants, both artists and audience; meeting other powerhouse women to add to my circle of powerhouse women whose shoulders I stand on; and my affection for the top end. (And not being in the cold in Melbourne this time of the year.)

And for all that, in spite of the heartache, I am nourished and my heart is full.
And I am true.

May my practice be true.

So I dig up this gem as a poignant reminder and a channel for both my grief and dreams:

Loving is Art, and Art is Love. These two processes – loving, and perceiving aesthetically the unicity of the Other, whether living Being or Thing – are absolutely identical. More, even, they are the same thing.

In love as in Art, the two being identical, our perception of the Other or the Thing, does not become set or immobilised. Love is the flow of alternating current – as electricity can be and as the seas are but without any guarantee of constant or predictable rhythms, never the same, always at the whim of constant variation.

Eternal loves do exist – especially the kind which end early in bloody tragedy – and so do perennial works of art, but neither the person loved, nor the work admired, are loved or admired with a constant intensity, or for the same reasons at any given moment in time.

In love and in art, the only constant is inconstancy.

Contrary to what they say, Love is not a meeting: it is a pursuit!

One person who is always changing pursues another person who is never the same as him – or herself.

Love offers no guarantee of stability. Just as we must cultivate Art with love, the cultivation of Love is an art.

– “Love and Art,” The Aesthetics of the Oppressed, Augusto Boal

 

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