Still Being

Today is Wednesday. Our first BUST performance is on Friday. As the teachers told us would happen, we’ve more or less moved through the chaos of collective creativity. We have created a show with a number of different acts and transitions – much of which didn’t exist even a week ago. Throughout, the teachers have been reminding us about the importance of stillness. 

Usually these reminders are for when we are performing our pieces. Movement, movement, movement. Exhale. Stillness. Why? Why be still when we are so excited and energized? Why? Well, I think I’m starting to understand that when it comes to performing, the moments of stillness are like spotlights on all the movement. The pause, the being still gives the audience a chance to take in what they’ve been seeing. And to take in us, the performers. In stillness, we become more present to each other. 

Stillness. Being still. Still being. 

Stillness can act like a punctuation mark. A full stop, as they say in England to refer to what we call a period in the USA. Stillness asks for attention. Imagine you are in a space where a group of people are moving about and you choose to ignore them. You are doing your own thing while they are constantly in their own motions. Suddenly, they all stop moving. Isn’t this when you stop doing what you are doing, to look up and see? Don’t you wonder – “What happened? Why did they stop?” 

You might look up and turn to them only to see that they are all staring in the same direction. You follow the gaze. In their stillness, they have definitely grabbed your attention. 

Inhale. Exhale.

To invite the audience to connect with us, we are repeatedly being reminded to be still.

As I type, I’m thinking about the value of stillness to connect us – BUSTers – with one another. Particularly this past week, a little bit more of each of ourselves has been brought to light through the chaos. Fear bubbles up. Sometimes it subsides. Sometimes it doesn’t. Excitement. Discoveries of imagination we did not know was inside us. Connections made. Connections broken. Buttons being pushed, triggers set off. Sometimes we react. Sometimes we respond. 

As we get closer to showtime, I imagine we’ll become both more nervous and excited. Energies will be high. I imagine we could easily each get caught up in our own inner frenzies.  

Stillness.

If we remind ourselves regularly to be still, we might increase our chances of hearing our selves and one another. Of needs getting met. Of having clarity on what we need. Of attention to details being paid. Of allowing wise answers to rise through the silences. 

Ahhh. I think that I’m starting to understand how it is that unleashing brilliance involves practicing the art of balancing stillness with movement and doing.  

In the UK and more so in the USA, we place much value on doing and action. What would happen to our collective creativity if we gave more value to stillness? When you reflect on the different communities you inhabit, what is the balance between stillness and movment or doing? What would happen to you, if you were to put more attention to practicing the art of being still? 

Image

(A painting at Peñasco Theater, New Mexico – part of the Wise Fool NM family)

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