I binge-watched Mozart in the Jungle this week. It is an Amazon Prime original show about an eccentric and famous conductor and his tenure with the New York Symphony Orchestra. He’s so incredibly intense. He listens to his intuition, even to the point of seeming completely irrational to everyone around him. He isn’t attached to his phone. He remembers everybody’s name. He feels things deeply. He lives in the moment and follows his whims. He’s one of those people who just seems to have luck on his side because things always work out. The other lead character is a young oboe player who is just trying to make it in the cut-throat world. She’s extremely talented, broke, passionate, and constantly questioning herself.
I saw so much of myself in the characters and I found myself wondering if that was okay. Are these characters supposed to be over the top dramatic? I mean, duh, it’s tv, so maybe? But still. There’s a part of me that really wants to just be in the moment, consequences be damned. Write when/what I want to write (and not worry what peoplewill think of it because I’m serving the art, not my ego or other people’s sensibilities). Paint if I want to paint (and not have doubts about whether it counts as real art because I have no technique). And I feel longing for a sense of acceptance that things will turn out however they’re supposed to. They won’t turn out perfectly. And I want to see the beauty in the imperfection. And in the ephemeral nature of life and art.
Make something. Let go. Make something else. Let go.
Let go of perfectionism. Let go of control. Let go of anticipation and expectations and just be in the moment.
Letting go is harder than it sounds. Even though it is exhausting to carry the baggage around. I’ve been working on the same few books for like 3 years now. I need to let go. I need to accept them as imperfect. Finish them or not and just stop carrying around the weight of worrying.
There’s anotherlayer to this. It’s a sense of connection. Creating art connects us all. I crave deep, authentic connection. But I fear showing the depth that would allow it because what if it has the opposite effect? Like, what if showing what I’m really like just confirms all my fears that nobody gets me?
All that baggage might be part of what is making me feel so depressed all the time. Depressed and hiding and unable to move.
Yoga wisdom for this: let go of what no longer serves you. Or, in the words of Birdtalker, “leave what’s heavy behind.”
All my yoga teachers say this. Let go of what no longer serves you. Good advice. One of my teachers said it differently. She said, “What are you holding onto? What would it be like to let that go?”
Pause to ponder. Then she continued, “If you feel like you need it, you can go ahead and keep it. But if not, let it go.”
I love that nuance. What would it be like to let go? Watching Mozart in the Jungle was an exercise in imagining what it would be like to let go of the anxieties around creating. Or maybe not to let them go completely, but to loosen my grip on them enough that I can breathe. Letting go enough of the idea of what should be so that I can appreciate what is. So that I can make something. And then let it go.