I’ve spent a substantial amount of time in the last few months thinking about energy. I started at the beginning of October to take note each day of what I devoted my energy to. I did this for a week without making any changes. I simply noted what consumed my thoughts, what was part of my physical tiredness, who I was loving, and what I was dreaming. At the end of each day, I used this review as my meditation.
After seeing where the energy was going, I started something new. I woke up determined each day to focus my energy on all things positive, all thoughts positive and to be surrounded by positive people.
Except for one brief lapse on the Tuesday of the third week, I have noticed a remarkable difference in my own demeanor, the amount of physical energy I have, and the joy I take in seeing people.
I will admit that I laugh at myself because it all sounds so very strange. It does and it doesn’t. It seems an odd undertaking to channel your own energy. It seems stranger to record it. My job takes every ounce of physical and mental energy that I possess five days a week, and I just found that it was virtually impossible to do it well and devote energy to anything negative whatsoever.
There is a certain joy to life that I strive for. It’s not a major thing at all. It’s a joy that is so simple that it gets overly complicated a lot of times.
When I was 12 years old, my aunt gave me a book called “The Miracle of the Bells.” In it a very young woman is trying to become an actress. She is never quite good enough, but get a “break” one day from her admirer and is cast in a film. At the same time, she is dying. She resolves to finish the film and does. After her death, it is decided that the film will not be released. Her friend develops a plan as he prepares for her burial. He asks that church bells in the small town she is from ring for days on end. As the bells ring, notice is paid to her story and the film opens with resounding success. He is so pleased that her spirit is not only preserved in the film but that she shines for the world to see.
If that were not life lesson enough, I took away from it a very simple passage. In it, the characters are discussing life. It is decided that she lived her life to the fullest she could. She did what she loved until the very day she died, and the world was left with her beautiful spirit. Her friend went on to say that had she lived past her fame, she would have been forgotten and her spirit would have died.
I have held onto that for the past 15 years.
I laughed at Matt Kemp throughout the entire baseball season because he was so gleeful as he played baseball for the Dodgers. Then, one night, I realized I shouldn’t be laughing at him, and I thought if I could take half as much joy in my work as he does, life would be pretty amazing.
I watched “This Is It.” The film made from footage of Michael Jackson’s rehearsals right up to his death. I was struck by the joy. The joy he took in his art. The way that he used his entire self as an expression of that joy. It may seem that he had an easier means for doing that because his body was his art. That was simply his way.
Really, though, that is true for all that we do.
I describe what I do every day as an ‘artistic science.’ And I wrote about this last night, I know. I may be so exhausted but those moments that I share with my students, I am so unbelievably joyful.
I said I am lucky. But I’m not. It’s hard to work to find your joy. It’s hard work to get past what the world says you should do and be. It’s very hard work to make your work an expression of your beliefs. I may not dance. I may not play baseball. I may have one of the quietest talents that is out there. But I get to share it in such amazing ways. I get to receive twice as much as I give.
And I consider it to be a miracle. A miracle to do something that one loves. To feel that time suspends for you. To feel that you can create what you will. To be able to blend everything that inspires you, everything you love, everyone you respect into a body of work.
I love the ideas. I love thought. I love crafting both into something that can be shared. And I love knowing that if this were it, the memory of me would be one of joyful sharing.