During a tough Vinyasa yoga class, the instructor reminded us that we should watch our limits and do what our body can do, without trying to force poses (asanas), which will strain muscles, ligaments and joints. Each person has a different anatomy, and for that the perfect pose, the perfect movement, is the one our body can do, and was made to do.
“It is not gymnastics, it is yoga, guys. It is not about going beyond your limits to perform the best. Find your way, and then you can find the best, find stillness.” that is what she repeated throughout the class. Then she started reading this text to us:
“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique.
And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable 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 yourself open and aware 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”
– Martha Graham
I was totally focused on these words. Vitality, force, energy, unique expression..and if you will block it, it will never exist. Keep the channel open.
How many times in my professional environment, I came across people who still didn’t know what they were good at whilst others did. How many times I met people overly self-confident on qualities that they didn’t fully posses, but still performed relatively well. How many times I met people ‘in the zone’, having found their core strengths, their passion, and performing exceedingly well? Quite often.
The first group is the one who never tries and will never know, never find their uniqueness. It is a loss.
The second group dares to try, and may eventually find their uniqueness by experimentation. Perhaps failing (the mother of learning), but it is trying again and again that will help them to find their uniqueness. But they may get stuck trying to over perform and get better on their weaknesses… I do believe that we have to invest in excelling in what we are good at instead of improving weaknesses.
The third group, perhaps has been one day part of the second one, but some people, just don’t bother about conforming to perceived or unrealistic expectations, but seem to know what they can, and just do it. They find stillness. They find their uniqueness.
I for one, have been part of group two in the beginning of my career, for believing that I could get better at what I wasn’t good at. I was evaluated by superiors and ‘believed’ this mantra. Growing up and learning from my mistakes and from others, I focused on finding my ‘uniqueness’ and moved to group three.
How did that work? It is yes, a ‘unique’ process.
What worked for me?
1. To listen more to my own voice than the expectations of others (those who didn’t know me well but felt entitled to an opinion).
2. To observe me more. Pay attention to my own actions, and identify where and when I performed to the best of my abilities and felt in the zone.
3. To listen, yes, listen to the opinions of those who genuinely know you and are interested in your development and growth. A good mirror is priceless.
Finding our uniqueness is an ongoing process, and it takes a life time. We need to keep the channel open, isn’t it? We need to keep learning more about ourselves, growing, transforming, renewing and starting all over again.
And each time, each finding, will be unique.
That is yoga, not gymnastics, remember!
This little story goes to my Day 3 at 5 stories, 5 photos at Restless Jo.
This quote goes to my blogger friend Colleen, from Silver Threading, featuring the best place your quote can be: The Writer’s Quote Wednesday.
Martha Graham is considered by many to be the 20th century’s most important dancer and the mother of modern dance. Here is her bio.
Martha Graham was born in Allegheny (now Pittsburgh), Pennsylvania, on May 11, 1894. As a child, she was influenced by her father, a doctor who used physical movement to remedy nervous disorders. Throughout her teens, Graham studied dance in Los Angeles at Denishawn. In 1926, she established her own dance company in New York City.
Ever more bold, and illustrating her visions through jarring, violent, spastic and trembling movements, Graham believed these physical expressions gave outlet to spiritual and emotional undercurrents that were entirely ignored in other Western dance forms. Some of Graham’s most impressive and famous works include “Frontier,” “Appalachian Spring,” “Seraphic Dialogue” and “Lamentation.” All of these works utilized the Delsartean principle of tension and relaxation — what Graham termed “contraction and release.”
Despite the fact that many early critics described her dances as “ugly,” Graham’s genius caught on and became increasingly respected over time, and her advances in dance are considered by many to be an important achievement in America’s cultural history.
Graham continued to dance into her 60s and choreographed until her death on April 1, 1991, leaving behind a legacy of inspiration not only for dancers but for artists of all kinds.
I am also posting for the Photo101 Rehab, the event for everyone who loves photography (hobbyists, amateurs, pro-shooters, or just curious , anyone is welcome), and wants to join a community of like-minded people, who are also fun to connect with.
Want to know how to join? Check below.
Here is what ‘The Clinic Photo Rehab is:
This blog hosted ‘The Photo101 Rehab Clinic’ from 04 to 31 December 2014 and featured over 170 photos made by Photobloggers Andy Townend, Mara Eastern, Cardinal Guzman, DesleyJane, Justine, Amy, Teresa, Albert, Terri, Giving Thought, Ellen, Nalinki, Mariangeles, DwayCrafts, Lucy, Terri, Bampa’s Views, PeaceCrafting, Dreaming of Leaving and Project Easier.
As former patients informed me that the withdrawal symptoms remained active, and new patients recognized the same symptoms, The Clinic – Photo Rehab reopened its doors.
You can do a self-examination. If you detect any of the following symptoms, as carefully described by Albert from the blog Passionately Curious, come and join us: “Withdrawal symptoms may include the incessant need to carry your camera everywhere with you, the need to wake up in the wee hours to take photos during the golden hour, and checking up on others you met during the course to see what their newfound knowledge has brought fruit to.”
How to join:
Time: The Clinic is open 24 x 7 until the healing process ends.
Camera: You can use any camera, from DSLR, mirrorless, compact, to smartphones.
Theme: Bring your creativity and photograph a theme of your liking in B&W or Color. With or without edition. We like learning techniques as well, if you want to share it with everyone.
Who can join: Anyone can join; and not only former Photo 101 bloggers. All you need is passion. Passion to speak up through images – or words, if you may want to add your thoughts to it as well – showing what you see and how much that is important to you.
Thanks for joining and enjoy it.
The Clinic – Photo Rehab
Here is the link to add your photos. Knock the wall… and click on the image below:
Even if you don’t want to join in, click above and appreciate the beautiful photos of the former and current participants. Go and check their wonderful blogs as well: