Martha Graham to Agnes DeMille:
“There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and be lost. The world will not have it.
It is not your business to determine how good it is, nor how valuable it is, nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate YOU. Keep the channel open… No artist is pleased… There is no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer, divine dissatisfaction; a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.”
I saw this quote in the bathroom of a New York restaurant. In addition to being relevant for art, I think Martha Graham’s words resonate for life in general. I was at an event last night, where within an hour I came face to face with quite a slice of the human condition. I felt on many occasions that I was talking to people blocked by a protective armor of sorts. So many of us think that the person we are is somehow not cool enough, charismatic enough, entertaining enough, smart enough… People find so many different ways to mask their insecurities, and often it comes across as arrogance of various forms, dishonesty and untrustworthiness.
I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather meet a person, not their armor. And I’d much rather not lug the heavy armor around myself either. It requires quite a bit of upkeep–all those mannerisms. Instead, I’d like to face the world being and expressing who I am, proudly and honestly. Flaws, quirks and all.