I recently read this extract from the book Martha: The Life and Work of Martha Graham written by Agnes De Mille. It is an autobiographical book on Martha Graham (b.1894-d.1991), a dancer who created a modern dance technique, that influenced and changed the dancing world.
Just to be clear I did not read the book itself but stumbled across this extract from the book which I found truly inspiring. This led me to discover a little bit about Martha and her life.
Agnes De Mille writes:
I confessed that I had a burning desire to be excellent, but no faith that I could be.
Martha said to me, very quietly: “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. As for you, Agnes, you have so far used about one-third of your talent.”
“But,” I said, “when I see my work I take for granted what other people value in it. I see only its ineptitude, inorganic flaws, and crudities. I am not pleased or satisfied.”
“No artist is pleased.”
“But then there is no satisfaction?”
“No satisfaction whatever at any time,” she cried out passionately. “There is only a queer divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.”
Wow what amazing words and so true. What can we learn from this?
We are all Unique and here for a Unique Purpose
I love how Martha states:
“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.”
While I imagine that Martha was specifically talking about dance (perhaps not), this statement applies to all of us.
We are unique, and we all have a unique soul’s purpose. One that can be expressed in only the way we can express it in this lifetime. And that expression is unique and is why you are here.
If we choose to block, or resist that which we are, and what we are here to do, then yes that unique expression will be lost. As it can only be brought to life through you. Now this isn’t being used to cause unnecessary pressure or anxiety upon your life. It is merely a fact.
Your Unique expression is not comparable to others
The work you do, the life you live, the expression of your soul’s purpose in this lifetime, is and never will be comparable to others. We waste a lot of energy worrying about how what we are doing, how we are living, what we are creating compares to what others are doing.
“It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions.”
It is not for us to worry about this. We just need to make whatever it is, truly ours in every way and keep ourselves open. Open to the possibilities, open to the universe and its greater purpose for us, open to receiving and becoming aware of the signs, symbols and urges that are there to guide us and motivate us.
Is there satisfaction then?
Yes, I believe there is.
When we come into true alignment with who we are, and we live true to ourselves there is an ease and a flow that comes into our lives.
When we accept who we are, our perceived failures, our perceived dark sides, our brilliant light that shines within us, our souls’ purpose then we can experience letting go in its truest form.
From these two things: acceptance and alignment grow peace, harmony, happiness and a passion for life.
However, it is the dissatisfaction in our lives that makes us restless and realise a need for more. More in our lives and more in the world. Dissatisfaction drives us to create, invent, rise up, solve, lead, protest and all the other forms of action that we take to make things more satisfactory to us, more palatable.
Without the unrest, would you feel driven or motivated to create change?
We need to become okay with feeling dissatisfied, feeling the unrest in our lives by acknowledging it. Becoming aware of it, observing it and using it as a catalyst for creating change in whatever way that may be for you, without being consumed by it.
You are unique in this world and you matter. You are here to experience life and express your soul’s purpose in only the way you can. Open the channel, receive and then go create the life and world you are here to bring into being.