Living, as dancing, is all about Balance. Even knowing we probably cannot achieve it – that balance – , trying is the key. Call it utopia, call it what you may. We need an horizon to look at; a scale, a direction. Balance is not a bad one.
I´m always on the go – working, travelling, creating, changing, dreaming and materializing those dreams. No path, but my own, interest me. And The Path keeps me busy.
What I´ve learnt along the way is that action – constructive/productive action that pulls us forward and upward – is often synonymous of inaction, or down time, a space you schedule for doing nothing. Just BEING.
If you are me, just BEING turns into reading marathons, cinema, yoga or gym workouts, running a luxurious bubble bath – with candles, aromatic oils and salt, tea cup and book included -, cooking and having slow, delicious meals with friends (not acquaintances), walking in nature or sleeping without a clock alarm stuck to my head.
Western societies celebrate, to (literal) exhaustion, the concept of busy. Busy people are successful, productive, high value people – the ones who have free time on their hands are looked upon with distrust, at best, and disgust, at worst. The problem with being caught into the “busy mania” web is that we become extensions, or versions, of machines. We also die faster and not happier. Yep, that´s where we´re heading, ladies & gentlemen. If we don´t stop and think. Or not think but STOP.
For me, being busy is not an achievement but a by-product of my life style, the love for my career and an innate compulsion for creativity. I´m not particularly proud of being busy all the time but proud of the things and relationships I build while being busy. I write, dance, teach, choreograph and plot beautiful things as a way of living, not only as a professional imperative. Therefore I´m constantly busy. But then.
Then the burnout.
That horrible, humbling, awakening to the fact that I´m human and, therefore, limited. My resources – energy, focus, stamina – need a rest in order to be refuelled. I gotta keep those babies pampered and happy. Otherwise:
I´ve been there enough to know it´s not worth reaching that point. Our health, mental sanity and happiness are more important than external signs of success – aka “busy”. I´ve learnt my lesson.
In my overloaded agenda I schedule time to breathe, feel, think, digest, See beyond seeing, dream, appreciate the moment, be. It´s been said artists need time on their hands in order to create. I agree and add: everybody needs time in order to live.
In this down time, I offer myself the luxury of not entertaining, not teaching, not having to throw pearls in the air, not sharing except with myself and my intimate circle.
I allow myself to laugh without reason or cry like a baby – of joy, of sadness, of tiredness, of pains I didn´t assimilate -; I dare existing without the productivity guillotine above my neck. I become somber, quiet, deeply introspective, silent, a bear inside its cave; some times, depressed, for a moment or two. It´s like going down the valley – its darkest, dampest, lowest point – to gain perspective, balance and momentum. Then, only then, I can target and jump higher.
What about you? Have you tried going down?