I believe that we, human beings, are here to learn, to create and to teach what we know about ourselves and each other. This is what makes us “human kind” – the kindred of living as people; with compassion. Experiences are about how we are living in the world.
In the classes that I teach and the theatre productions that I create, I am a human being with passions and urges, with vulnerabilities and fear: “Who am I?” “Will I be understood?” “Do I want to be seen, heard and felt?” “Do I want to share my vulnerability as a person, a teacher, a friend, a partner, a lover of life, a man?” This fuels my teaching and my theatrical artistry.
Last week I began sharing the photographic images of my “yeard” . . . a year of letting my beard grow; an arduous commitment to my maleness and my masculine image – my mantra over the past year “shaving is the easy choice”. I am in the experience of “not shaving”, letting my beard grow; it is an expression of my maleness and masculinity . . . there is no way to cheat a year-grown beard. I am a veteran, for now, in the experience of living as a bearded man since January 2015.
Over the past week, looking at myself in the photos, I see a man different from who I feel myself to be: a man with a white beard – the mark of an elder, of Santa, of an “old man”, for me unsettling. Still, wanting to hold on to my experience and commitment of my bearded experience, I am not ready to shave to a smooth face. I had my beard trimmed; it appears more controlled, more current, more of a “looking good” statement of who I am in 2016. For me, this is healthy; to look at myself, at my experience, differently.
Last night, on Valentine’s Eve, watching several movies about Love and relationships, finding connection and community, trusting that we can find our way to “who we are in the world”, I cried and laughed. I felt the experience of compassion about who I am, who we are as human beings, as human kind, seeking identity and engagement with each other. I was caught in the experience of feelings.
This afternoon, at the theater; seeing a production that is well staged and performed, I am unmoved. The “show” was unrealized in the experience of life. I heard the words of the playwright, watched the actor move inside the set and lights of the production. The audience stood to acknowledge the performer; I did not. This is live theatre and I was not moved. This is the “stage” on which I live. I am frustrated in the art that I love: ”experience as art”.
I spent the remainder of the afternoon wondering about why I was not touched; why I did not cry or laugh. From my point of view, without experience there is only thought – concepts and ideas – the telling of a story.
What do I do? Rest is the “easy” performance of thinking and cogitating about who I am? Or, do I create experiences that stimulate, invigorate and challenge every cell of thoughts and feelings . . . to jump into the depths of the experiences of connection and engagement?
This is the source from which I teach and create . . . it is in the experience of being who I am, sharing, teaching, performing who I am . . .
Photo: Forte Fotos