12 years ago today I moved to Scotland! Today also marks my Mom and Dad’s 43rd Wedding Anniversary (Happy Day Mom and Dad!). And one year ago today I began my Sunrise cycle of dancing – dancing for other people’s wishes for 72 subsequent sunrises. Not to mention it is also the Old Scots New Year, before the calendar was changed in the 17th century.
Quite a significant day really!
So I’ve been working on my tax return for the 2010 year that begins the 6 April 2010. It marks quite an important year, as that was when I initiated my Broomielaw dances, and my life took on a whole new meaning. Not just for me, but for countless others as well, hence me writing a book on it ‘Hope Dances’. In spite of great personal challenges, matched by stresses across the globe, I managed to create something truly miraculous from nothing.
It is worthy of remembering.
And yet from reviewing my tax information, I only made £3377.30 in that year (three thousand three hundred and seventy-seven pounds and thirty pence!?!). I would have done better signing on. To be sure, I expected to make more (in the range of £12,000 which is still not putting me in the category with Donald Trump) but bad luck, communication, circumstance did not allow that to happen. This paltry amount of income wins me no status, no prizes in the current view of the Western world.
And yet I still created.
For me, as an artist, it’s tied into the idea of service. How do I serve the world with my gifts? I can imagine that I’ve got a pile of treasures inside of me but unless I present them into the world – like on a golden platter, they rot.
Too often we wait for permission to do things, and once we get the permission we wait for validation. But these permissions are very narrowly defined and often managed by fear. In the arts world, it’s whether we get funding or not, we get supported by one of the ‘approved’ agencies, or get critically reviewed by a very select group of individuals in periodicals of note. And whilst these things have value it’s only a very small part of the tapestry.
It’s like we’re standing at a street corner and waiting for the light to turn green. In the meantime there is no traffic for miles, it’s raining, snowing, hailing, there’s gunfire and you have to go to the toilet but you will not be moved across that junction until the light changes. It’s a simple activity crossing that road, but doing so would negate rules, that don’t always serve you. Or conversely, the light is green but you can quite clearly see a flesh-eating monster on the other side, and yet you cross.
These are the impracticalities, nay the idiocy I see of the systems that we develop, we get trapped in them and we lose a huge opportunity to serve the world and be our best selves, and to be happy.
But to do that we need to open our eyes and see when it’s time to cross the road, and to do so with open arms and heart ready for what may come.
So Happy Anniversary to me, my Mom & Dad, and Scotland!
With that I leave you with the very beautiful documentary film by Benoit Moulanier, ‘Scotland Dances’. Please share with all your networks. Quite tragically Glasgow City Council has decided to build pubs on top of my former dancing space, despite community opposition that will be a tremendous loss to the local community.