THE DANCER WHO DIDN’T MATTER..adapted from Eric Maisel & John Lennon
Macy, a dancer, came to the oasis.
“I have too many interests, too many talents,” she said. She had on the bluest dress, which made her eyes look wild and fierce. “First, I dance, but I also have a painter’s eye. And I love to write. I’ve been keeping journals for years and years and have thirty fat journals filled with my thoughts. I do collages, digital photography, raku pottery. I write songs. I want to put this all together into something, I want to figure out how to concentrate on one thing, because–” She hesitated.
“The fact of the matter is, I never complete anything. I start all these incredible projects but then something else starts to interest me more and I begin on it. That’s what’s been happening,” she ended, trailing off as if her thoughts had failed her.
“The thing you want to concentrate on? What is that?”
“I don’t know. I want help with that.”
“You have some ideas, no doubt.”
“Well, I thought I might do a family history, maybe an oral history or a video history of my family, with my own drawings included..or perhaps with family photographs attached with people talking about them. But, then I’ve thought of doing a novel about fifteenth century France–I’ve made notes about that. It would be about a young woman who stands up to the French Inquisition and is tortured and sentenced to be burned at the stake. But a young priest helps her escape. I’ve had the idea to do that novel for the longest time.”
“You could do those things,” Ari said blandly.
“I could.” Macy fell silent. “I have so many things I want to do!” she exclaimed suddenly. “I can’t seem to choose.”
“No,” Ari said, “it isn’t quite that.”
Macy colored. “You think I’m just avoiding”
“Yes. You are avoiding choosing so you can never fail.”
Macy slumped down. Ari noticed that a cool afternoon breeze had come up. He could smell the scent of sweet jasmine tea
from the tea shop a few doors down, the scent carried on the desert wind.
Macy’s eyes welled up with tears. “What should I do?, I just don’t know” she asked after a long moment.
There was quiet. “it is not uncommon not to be able to initiate one’s desires Macy because you experience something holding you back. You are scared to go forward because you think, you feel that with the first step you are making an unalterable advance towards danger and loss and so to avoid that, you procrastinate and do nothing. Or in your case Macy you do lots of things, to fill up the time, your resources and fritter away both all the while avoiding the real issue…”
Macy hung on the next words as though it would be a magical electrical moment. She waited wondering and filling lots of words, trying to figure out, sound out which was the best.
Finally she asked, “well what is it?”
And Ari laughed. “You are demonstrating right now, you are scared of work. You want to quick way to success. You are scared of getting your hands dirty, of working hard and finding out that it was the wrong road.”
Macy felt small. She thought about this and realized that it was true; she was considering failure dearer than the opportunity at hand and it was actually reversed. The challenge, the opportunity to try this and see if this thing works, was really the key but instead she was squandering it, working on small little trivialities that did not matter, and so hoping that would make failure less meaningful but that was not happening as instead it was hounding her, and snapping at her heals because she could not get away from it.
She was aghast at this realization.
Ari sipped his jasmine tea and then continued, “You have the wrong attitude. Every road is the right road, because on every road you get experience and with it you learn even if you learn learn how to fail and so then you learn how to restart, but you do not want any of that, because you want a shortcut to success.
“Alas, ” he sighed, “there is no short cut, so you have to do the work, to have to cut the wood and find out if it burns right. There is no group, no guru. you have to do that and be that, so you can learn.” Macy’s eyes widened, she looked terrified.
“Perhaps in your fears you are avoiding something that really is you, but the way you are going about it, you will never know that either,” Ari smiled.
“You’re saying I want Instant Karma”.
“Yes, and it’s got you, right here and now. You have to get beyond that .”
Macy sighed. It was not the answer she wanted but she realized now that she had come for just that: the answer, though not the answer . “Instant Karma” or having Ari pick for her what to do instead of doing the working and finding out herself.
Bummer, was all she could think, and then laughed.
#1 You can hear Instant Karma, 1970, written and sung by John Lennon, here on Youtube.
He was murdered on 8 December 1980. RIP.
#2 Pictures are of various oases around the world.