On Permission

 Photo: CK

Photo: CK

 

It is an element that is lacking in our society, and as artists, especially, we may have lingering cognitive dissonance involving a deep-seated need for permission, for allowance, to say "it's ok" to do, to be and most of all--to express. The catch is that we over-do, we over-be, we over-express, to get over this hump, as if it is a physical obstacle. We jump over the hurdle, instead of walk on as if it weren't there. We automatically have something to prove, an adversary, an opposing force.

We jump a lot for no reason and it destabilizes the flow, dramatizes the purity of drama, and more, and perhaps the most damning: we have accepted jumping as standard to the dance.

We're ok with it. We accept it. Just like kitchen appliances that begin to make sudden bangs and jolts for reasons we may not understand. They get old, they get used, and we have other things to worry about.

I posit that the things that we live with in compromise are elements that have the most potential for change and rejuvenation--if we choose to give up our compromises. Why do we compromise to begin with? A lot of it can be about how things look like from the outside. I'm not saying this is why we compromise, but rather, living in compromise, taking one for the team, absorbing an imbalance, can look mighty selfless, heroic even, to external audiences.  It has its appeal, and is a learned behavior. We see no other way, and are happy to nest within the familiarity of our history.

Strength, sacrifice, and will power are things that we value in society, and I am here to say that in a number of cases, it is all just jumping over hurdles that aren't there and we live as a world of rabbits. Hop, hop, and hope, hope. 

So, how can we express freely without feeling like this expression is in defiance of something? Yes, we can try to be rebels about it, but by rebelling against something, you strengthen that which you are rebelling against. Even ignoring it, affirms its existence. How can there be permission and yet, also, spontaneity, while not reacting against not having it, as well as not reacting when we do have it?

Ah, there's that "stuck" place. 

 Photo: CK

Photo: CK

A free action, one that is made independent from reaction is a powerful thing, and reverberates outward like a wave. The exercise is to do something for no reason. Lift up your hand in front of your chest and trace a slow, steady path through space-time alone, not even the air, not even your city and not even in relation to your own body, though such an exercise may get you to marvel at proprioception, one of the lost senses that has been dulled by compromise. It "could" feel awkward to do something so simple in public for no reason, without feeling like you are acting, or looking for attention, or any number of things. But then remember:

THE ZEN COMMANDMENTS: How you react to something tells you about yourself, not what you are reacting to.

 Photo: CK

Photo: CK

In a filament of silence, you may realize how little the above matters, how permission is a self-amplifying wave, one that we DO have a capacity to quit feeding--if we can cease trying, without trying to cease trying. 

The answer lies just over the stone wall, and it is too tall, our legs are broken, the sun is setting, life is calling to us to do groceries or date or work on melismas. 

And this is ok. We cannot beat our own hearts, and yet they beat. We cannot control the sun, and yet it heats us and shows us the moon. We can live in a way where not being able to tangibly achieve what it is that we want becomes a previous chapter. The weight of a few pages below our wrist as we dive further into the tale can instead, be so refreshing. There is, rather, a mystery, rather than mystory.

You are standing on a shore and in the distance there is a boat with passengers. If you wave, they may not see you. If they wave back, you may not see them. Confirmation of any kind may never come.

Wave anyway. 

 Photo: CK

Photo: CK