In praise of sloppy courage.
So. Here’s what happened over the past 240 hours:
I turned 28. I sat naked on a stool in a dark room while a well-intentioned sprite scrubbed my back with sea salt. I dreamt about tsunamis. I realized that the farther away you move from resentment, the closer you move to your art. And: I led my final two Write Yourself Into Motion workshops of the year.
Each ‘shop was me & 20 women in a sanctuary by the sea, just outside of San Francisco. (Sublime.)
I opened each workshop by performing my 2012 manifesto — which happens to include a bundle of song lyrics. Picture me, belting Cat Stevens into the center of a (slightly-bewildered) room. Followed by a bit o’ Leonard Cohen, VNV Nation, and Richard Thompson. Oh, and — it was 9:30am in the morning.
Now. Allow me to explain: I’m a former choir nerd, and I can certainly carry a tune. But it’s been ten years since the last time I sang for an audience — other than my potted orchid plant, or a kindly bar of soap in the shower.
My voice is far from phenomenal. But I sang … as an act of permission. I wanted to give everyone in the room full-on & full-out permission to be sloppy. To be unpolished. To be ridiculous. To experience even just a moment of fierce, unfettered & free self-expression.
So. Here’s what broke free:
Jacq performed a sacred mantra, and brought me to tears. Sarah serenaded us with an entire Joni Mitchell song. Kris channeled the collective spirit of the Mermaid on a bongo drum. Jennifer juggled a trio of tangerines. Lisa declared that she’s an Artist — and that’s final. And Gail blessed the room with a prayer, that emerged as a dance.
(Oh, and did I mention … this was a copywriting workshop. Allegedly. Ha.)
The moral of the story …
Never underestimate the power of one random act of kindness — or one rough & tumble act of courage.
When you speak, sing, write, dance, muse & move to the beat of your invisible freak-drum — impeccably, messily, off-key or on-point — you grant heroic permission. You crack every ceiling. You strike awe & hit home. You move people to share their own incandescent awesomery.
The results are infectious. And simply astonishing.