Monday, July 4, 2011

I Believe That

God's athlete
I believe that we learn by practice. Whether it means to learn to dance by practicing dancing or learn to live by practicing living, the principles are the same. In each it is the performance of a dedicated precise set of acts, physical or intellectual, from which comes the shape of achievement, a sense of one's being, a satisfaction of spirit. One becomes in some area an athlete of God.
   Practice means to perform, over and over again in the face of all obstacles, some act of vision, of faith, of desire. Practice is a means of inviting the perfection desired.

-  Martha Graham

* * *

Does Ms. Graham's statement seem a world away from the life you are living? If so, then you are fucked. What thing, name one thing, anything, you practice against all odds, in the face of whatever adversity, at whatever cost so that you might stand in "some area" as an athlete of God (even if you profess no belief in God or gods you get what the lady was aiming at)? What is it my fucked friend?

Name it.

We're all waiting.

* * *

It is easy to imagine the hours of practice performers put into their performances. We sit in the audience and are blown away by the musicianship, the skilled delivery, the movement, the presence of those we've paid to see do just that. Every sort of performer, every sort of job requires practice: athletes, doctors, lawyers, dancers, artists, accountants, teachers, furniture makers, farmers all improve their lot in life by practice, by burying the thought of what they are doing deep in their muscles, deep in their thought processes so it be comes fluid, limitless, instinctive. These, by the way, are the unfucked among us.

It is an obvious statement that in order to achieve any measure of self-hood you have to work at it, you have to kick at the darkness til it bleeds daylight and all that. But what of Graham's more revolutionary statement, the one about learning to live by practicing living? How does one practice living? Let me re-phrase that: What thing, name one thing, anything, you practice against all odds, in the face of whatever adversity, at whatever cost so that you might stand in "some area" as an athlete of God? What precise set of acts define you?

* * *

I believe every last one of us fucked fuckers, every last sonofabitching one of us, holds within our double helixes the possibility - and possibility only - of being that athlete, of achieving that sense of one's being, that satisfaction of spirit. It rises and falls based on the attention it receives, the love it engenders, the sacrifice willingly given so it might see the light of day. I believe our sole task in life is to attend to this spirit, this desire, this echoing of ultimate origins and we fail or succeed in doing this entirely by our devotion to seeing ourselves stand in some area as Miss Martha's athlete of God.

But we fail this test mightily. We pay to see others perform what should have been our dance. We become the audience to others' athleticism of mind and body. Whither our dance? For the want of a desire greater than our apathy and our doubt and our fear we let it age and molt and take on weight. We let it die, its arteries clogged with not giving a good-god-damn because we fear our own deaths.

If you would have your life be unfucked you must give it over to a cause greater than your fears. If you would be that potential, that indescribable wow that exists solely within you, that perfection that only you are capable of - be it any sort of perfection large or small - then you must be willing to practice being unfucked, you must attend to that forgotten spark, give it room, let it grow and ruthlessly abandon all those fears and doubts that cloud your vision. Day in and day out. Minute by minute until time becomes a distant memory and you stand, you stand motherfucker, as that athlete only you were capable of being.

And know this: perfection doesn't mean perfect. It means simply the willingness to try again.

You feel me?


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