144) Coming Full Circle:  Part 4 — My Personal Piece of Performance Art :)

I believe that the solution, in the smallest nutshell, is Fierce Love.  

Fierce love in protecting and taking care of our Mother.  

Fierce love in accepting and opening ourselves to each other.  

Fierce love, in accepting and opening ourselves to ourselves, to own own unique loveliness.  

Fierce love, in standing in This Moment of your life, and breathing, deeply.  Feeling, deeply.  Smelling and tasting and listening to and touching and letting your eyes dance in wonder through the delight that is Life.

It’s not ideas that will make the difference, so much as it’s people connecting to their gentle, and passionate, animal hearts, their sensuous flesh, their mortal vulnerability.  

How many of us, truly, have dug down into our guts and done the deep, soul-work necessary to heal our wounds and fill our hearts with love for our neighbours?

It’s hard work.  And capitalism doesn’t want us to do it. Because people living in love, does not a military-based economy grow. Capitalism needs hate, because we have built an economy that depends, fundamentally, on war and universal exploitation.  

And….look at the world.  Capitalism is doing a pretty good job at achieving its goals.

This is precisely how environmental, social justice, and spiritual causes all come together.  We won’t heal this planet if we don’t heal ourselves, and learn to genuinely, genuinely, love our neighbours.  Both the ones next door, and the ones in the next country, and the next continent.  

Tedx — “Deconstructing Societal Transformation”

I gave a public talk on this at a TEDx conference once. 🙂

The theme was, literally, the title.  My goal was to deconstruct, that is, take apart, subvert, and reveal the inner workings of, the process of societal transformation, specifically in the context of our current, 21st-century escalation of global crises and biodiversity collapse.

It feels weird to admit it, but I really am delighted with that “talk”.  I think it is the best, although least conventional, thing I ever did on a stage, and what I was trying to achieve, worked.  Whether the message ever gets out in the way I hoped, who knows?  One cannot determine these outcomes.  (Because, as my friend Eric would say, “fractals, maaaan.”) 

That performance came out of chaos theory and its application to the challenge of transforming society in the face of ecological collapse.  That’s the theory backdrop.  But rather than talk about that, I decided to perform it, to illustrate it through storytelling, song, spoken word poetry, drumming, and thereby, to do what I could to make it experiential, not merely conceptual.

It was a powerful moment, for me, on that stage.  I was literally exhausted (one day past having the flu), and had completely changed the talk I had planned and prepared, 2 days before while I was sick and had an insight about what I really wanted to do.  So, the whole thing came directly from my heart after pretty much two days straight spent memorizing and practicing and being exhausted.  It did occur to me at the time how analogous this whole experience was, with the point I was trying to get across.  So like, even in that sense, as a performance piece, it “worked”.   

The audience was completely ON.  They were incredible.  You could feel the Presence in that room.  There were no visuals, no Powerpoint presentation, no point by point breakdowns or graphs or pictures to look at.  There was, in effect, nothing for the audience to do except either tune out, or tune in.  

And…whew…they tuned in.

The experience was…different…from the expectation of “a TED talk”.  Right from the first moment of beginning to speak, I dispensed with the standard TED talk formula.  The way I spoke, the way I looked at the audience, the cadence, the pauses, the lack of explanation or normal presentation-arc:  it was all “strangely different”.  

I threw as much discomfort at us all as I figured I could personally handle on the stage.  Not only in terms of content, which was HEAVY.  But the presentation itself was awkward.  In part, this was inevitable; it’s a skill issue…. Lol. 

But also, I wanted it to be awkward.  Especially knowing that there must be an inevitable amateur-ish-ness about myself as, say, a singer or a musician or whatever, given that I have no experience, no training, and no…..like, anything skill-building in those performative domains.

But I did realize that this was itself an opportunity, a piece of the performative meaning.  After all, the point I was trying to get across ultimately, was for people to more openly be their authentic, heartfelt, vulnerable selves, and reach out, because through that Connection, we have the best chance of making humanity work.

So, it had to be unsettling, disconcerting perhaps, weird, but directly personal.  

We are all stumbling forward, but our inner hearts are beautiful.  Our authenticity is raw and naked and uncontrived.  Our attempts to honestly deal with reality are awkward and unprofessional and scary.  Especially as the planet dies.  This HAS TO BE unsettling.  

But yes…omg…it was awkward.  It’s so easy to ‘fall apart’ while giving a talk, and what people then do, to control anxiety, is to become super-slick and professional, talking even more out of their heads.  And I really wanted to stay with my heart.  

There is a moment in the middle of what is a stilted, spoken word poem, when I fall silent.  

And then stay silent.  

For longer than……..anybody………should in the middle of a presentation.  I seem to be awkwardly looking around, like I’m trying to remember something, or maybe I’m embarrassed, or…am I losing my mind?  

Holding that silence was so challenging to do.  Once we got past the moment of “normal pauses”, you could FEEL the tension in the silence, flitting through the audience, growing.  The feeling of “uh oh, this is embarrassing, what’s happening…”  

I’m thrilled with how awkward that experience feels when you watch it.  It was fun, making awkward silence part of a poem itself.  But, whew, my heart was pounding like mad.  

There were other analogous parts.  At one point, while singing a poem/song, I ended with the phrase “It circumnavigates”.  (BTW I loved that poem, and it was so fun to sing it like an angry hymn…)  

After the poem/song was over, I repeated that final line, but ridiculously, in a kind of exaggerated cathedral/choir type sound.  I think it sounds nuts, but yet if you think for a moment, it IS some kind of choir-like singing, reminiscent therefore of what is holy, the church, approaching the divine.  But…it’s awkward.  It’s not ‘skilled’; it’s more comical in its amateurishness.  It’s me pushing my vocal range as far as I know how, and just, putting it out there.  It was very emotional to do that.  It was embarrassing.  I had to fully tap into my core, and open my voice in a way that I would never do except…maybe a really drunk karaoke night?  But normally?  Singing like that?  Especially knowing it will sound insane to people?  This comes right from your guts.  

The amount of emotion that flowed through my body in those 18 minutes, was a whole different experience than I’ve ever had “giving a talk”.  

And, I hope anyway, that some good seeds were planted, some reminder in our collective psyche, for the unique opportunity we have in this Age of Collapse, to transcend the limitations that have held humanity back so far.

P.S.  Here are the lyrics to that little song:

When will our global fate

Compel us all to state

Our truths against the state

Regardless of the hate

Of those who dictate

Crimes legislate

Because they can’t relate

Or remunerate 

Those they desecrate

In order to create

A hegemony

That circumnavigates

(It circumnavigates.)

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