I was asked this morning by a former student how my life was and if I was living the dream. I stopped for a moment and considered this question and responded that teaching at VCU was never the dream but it is my life. My life is the dream in all actuality. My entire existence is the dream that I believed it would be. I am, in fact, living the dream of my life.
This kind of question puts us in a place of having to justify or categorize our success. Asking it of others and feeling like we need to somehow justify this very moment always creates a conflict of our own spirit. I suggest we stop asking these kinds of questions and ask the simple question of “are you finding happiness?”. I suggest this because many of us are never where we hoped or desired. Many of us are in process. To judge another on a process or one that is not their own is to force someone to be someone they are not and limit their greatest potential.
I have found, not until recently, that I understand my path has taken time and that there is much more unfolding needed to get me to where my full potential is. I am only just beginning in many ways because I have been letting go and unlearning so much of what has been extra baggage or weight on both my heart and my art. It is only now that I feel I am beginning my journey with a sense of freedom and humility that I have never had before. Releasing my heart into the action of the direction along with my body. There is true freedom and release here. For this I am grateful.
Now, for those of you VCU people reading this, I am where I need to be. I am happy where I am teaching and fulfilling much of what I have been put on this earth to be. I am a teacher among many other things and I am not ashamed of this. I am proud of it. Proud because I do good work and I share the love and passion of the art form in a way that is unique to me and adds to the overall educational process of the dancers. I work as a team member to participate with my colleagues embracing the multifaceted process that working as a team brings to the development of a holistic and amazing dancer.
What embracing this does mean is that it adds to my sense of being and my sense of being an incredible artist as well. Teaching does not diminish my existence as an artist. Being in the studio only enhances and deepens the process of growing as a choreographer. I am an excellent choreographer and on my own path of discovery and deepening of my own choreographic integrity. One does not need to be in a place, with a certain company or written about in certain publications to be good or to justify your ability. What makes you a choreographer is the action of making work. We must move in the direction of making work to claim who we are. So we make. I make and therefor I am. It is with time and discovery that I grow and I become.
This is the same with my writing. I am writing and therefore I am a writer. I may not be the best writer or a fully published writer, but I am writing. I am growing through my work and sharing through each word just as I place each image on the stage. We are who we are in the presence of our actions. Take action!
Having said all of this please know that in taking action you do not take for granted the need to do so with integrity, respect for the form or the deepening of your skills. We must always remember to remind ourselves to continue to reach for our best, to be our best and hold ourselves to the standards of growth and expansion. Doing this with integrity and diligent process is what makes us artists, choreographers, writers and whatever else our hearts dream of. This alone is living the dream. This is our dream.
Now for those of you who have everyday jobs and want to live more creative lives, this applies to you to. You are creative every day in every thing you do. Do not think that because you don’t work in the arts that there is no way you could ever be an artist. If art is in your heart, art is in you. Make! Make away! Find what your heart is drawn to and do. Find your heart begin to sing when you do what you love. Make art a part of your every day being and art will be your life. And when. Someone asks you what you are doing and if you are living the dream you say” why yes, I am! I am living my dream!”