“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy… 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.” Martha Graham
Remember Andy Warhol’s iconic soup can? Well, at a recent exhibit of his work, I was astonished to see a huge canvas of his composed of identical soup cans all lined up in rows with military precision. The only element that was different from can to can was the soup name: French Onion, Pea, Scotch Broth. The relentless sameness was dispiriting.
Martha to the rescue! She reminds us that we, thank goodness, are not Campbell soup cans. Not branded beings differentiated from each other by our labels. We are each our our own unique mix of ingredients even though, as humans, we share all those same ingredients. Let’s muse for a few moments on Martha’s words of wisdom:
“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy…” – It’s from this flow of life, this energy, that our creativity springs and gives rise to our writing, our art.
“that is translated through you into action” – This life force is given shape and meaning when we translate our inner urges into action, when we move from thinking to doing.
“and because there is only one of you in all of time – Your particular combination of experience, talents, and skills converges only once and will never be duplicated.
“this expression is unique” – While we share our humanness with everyone else, who we are and what we have to say flows from the unique mix of qualities and tendencies that we bring to the world and how they enable us to interpret that world.
“And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium” – Ah, there’s the rub! If we don’t share what we have to offer, if we sabotage or neglect that life force and vitality of ours, it will be lost to the world.
What a powerful reminder to us all to celebrate our creativity – our life force, our gifts. And not only to celebrate, but to honor them by giving them free rein, but letting them shine. In a world of Campbell soup cans, as creatives, our job is to give ourselves permission to be ourselves, fully and joyously, and to see where this takes us. And then to share the news — to take action and put what we’ve learned and know out into the world.
Finding that unique voice of ours is challenging. But that life force, that energy that’s all our own, is there just waiting for us to tap into it. That’s our calling. Write on!
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