11/23/2010

Mastery



A master in his art. An artist in his mastery.

Boggles my mind to think how this came together, the hours of practice, the falls, and fortunate discovery of something unseen before.

Simply magic.

I believe we all have this ability to achieve mastery in something. Might seem small. Might seem big. Doesn't matter. Just like my earlier post about how life isn't about Fair, but about what a person believes and dreams and loves, that Soemthing we are made to master matters more than size or scope, because by its very expression it changes the world.

Really. Even if a person is master of one thing, works at it, and it only changes their own life, then it changes their interactions with others, and by extension changes the world into something better. Expression of a gift is still a gift. Witholding a gift, is still witholding even out of fear. If we push our fears on others and keep them from expressing their gift then we are closing the world to change. If we push our fears on ourselves then the world is poorer for the lack.

But back to Mastery. This juggler/hooper has practiced his art countless hours. There was a moment when he saw a piece of steel bent into a hoop as big around as he was tall and thought, hey, I can do something with that. And maybe that hoop was just in his mind. Doesn't matter, because eventually he found it, made it, worked with it. Likely fell more than a dozen times that first day with it. What could it teach him? What physics problems did he work out with his body that most theorists work out on paper? And most importantly, why didn't he give up?

I see him in flight, hanging, spinning, but to my eyes flying across the floor, a metal wing clutched in his hands. Did it feel like flying when he threw his body just right, pushed off with his toes, tucked his feet and spun? Did he wonder that first time how he would land? Did he wonder if he could repeat a trick he did by accident?

Mastery is about love, I think. Being in love, in sync with one's gift, and moving with it, letting it teach you what it can do, what you can do that you never imagined before. For some like my friend Swil Kanim, the gift of love is the violin. For others like Barbara Jane Reyes and Oliver de La Paz, it's poetry. I suspect it was that way for Georgia O'Keefe with her paintings and Michelangelo with marble. Doing things with stuff that could be practical in practical hands, but art in the artist's hands.

I love words, but more than that, I love stories. Stories aren't one dimensional to me, don't just get from A to B with a crisis someplace in the middle. They're layered. The Story. The Legend. The Myth. And those layers talk to each other.

So I figure that's what I'm doing these days, figuring out the practice so I can practice Mastery, love rather than fear, follow the Art where it takes me. And like the physical artist, I am tired today, worn out from practice, but I'm also hopeful that one day, my words and stories will flow and move in unexpected ways just like a man juggling a 7 foot hoop and flying over a concrete floor.