Monday 19 September 2011
We Are All Divas by Amy Palko
When you step onto the stage of lila, you have a choice. You can drag yourself across the stage like you have been mixing Quaaludes with alcohol, or you can step into the universal spotlight like a great diva. The stage is set; the roles have been cast. In experiencing the passion of lila, the first step is to take command of the stage that is your life and develop a stage presence that embraces the fullness and complexity of your role on the stage of maya. ~ Darren Main
I read these words yesterday and they struck home. Like an arrow that has found its mark, these words penetrated my heart and reverberated around the house of my soul. It was one of those moments where you sense that you have been seen. Truly seen. Now, these words follow me from room to room. They are tracing my footsteps, tugging at my shadow, mirroring the rise and fall of my breath. And I find myself wondering in those moments where my movements are occupied with preparing the dinner, making the beds, retrieving the mail, “What would it be like to command the stage that is my life? To step out into the universal spotlight? To develop a stage presence of a great diva?”
It would require you to step out from behind the mask that you’ve so carefully constructed. Step out and step forward, unadorned by the trappings of doubt, the trimmings of terror. What will they say? What will they think? This familiar refrain repeats and repeats and repeats, almost as if it longs to drown out the embryonic retort that whispers: Who cares? Who really cares if you deign to be you? Who really cares if you peel off all those old costumes, the clothes of a character you were never born to be? Who cares if you enter stage left, the spotlight tracking your step as you make your way to the centre, the audience hushed, the usherettes awed?
And you know, you don’t need to worry about forgetting your lines. There never was a line that you didn’t know. The script is unravelling as we speak. Unveiling and revealing. And the picture your words are making is all down to you. You get to decide how you develop this role. You get to choose whether to play your life in a major or minor key. But just remember this. The world will not thank you for playing it small. There are no brownie points for hiding your light beneath layers and layers of false belief. Just as a star is born to shine, so are you.
Because if there is one thing this life is not, is a dress rehearsal. It sounds trite and cliche, but it’s no less true for that. The tickets have been sold, the programmes printed, the stage is set, the chorus line rehearsed… all that remains is for you to begin. Just start. Just say anything. Anything at all. It’s ok. It’ll be the right thing. Just go ahead. Begin.
You start off in a faltering voice, the trembling augmented by the echo, as your words bounce back at you. Someone coughs. You shuffle your feet, and tug at your clothes. In all honesty, you are wishing that you hadn’t come along this evening. You could have stayed at home, put your feet up, had a cup of tea, watched EastEnders, caught up on FaceBook friends. In fact, what the hell are you doing here? Didn’t you always want an easy life? Didn’t you? Didn’t you?
But deep down in your secret heart, that place where time dies and revives every second, that place where you know it’s all just an illusion, that place where you are still and always you… there, you know that you are not here to hide behind a mug of tea and an avatar. You know you were born to be a diva. To inhale deeply and let your voice carry you forth on the dust motes dancing in the limelight. This time your voice is stronger. It has a resonance, a timbre. You stand there knowing that you can be heard all the way up to the gods.
And the gods are listening. They’re all rooting for you to give an inspired performance. They’re willing you on, not keeping you in check. Not proclaiming your worth or defining your limits. They’re longing that you’ll choose to be ‘big’ – live life as large as you can; larger, in fact. That round of applause that you hear… that’s them. That’s them rejoicing that you chose to give a stand out performance of being you. That you shoved aside fear, and stepped beyond the comfort zone.
Because there are relatively few rewards for taking a minor part, for being an understudy. Wouldn’t you rather dance, sing, perform like no-one was watching? Wouldn’t you rather be a diva? A radiant diva that attracts all the light when she walks onto the stage. Luminous and free. Wouldn’t you rather be the star you are, and not the walk-on part you play, terrified that even the simple task of putting one foot in front of the other might be beyond you?
Because we are all stars – points of light in the theatre of a collective imagination – divas on the stage of our existence.
A true lover of stories, Amy Palko spends her days reading, writing and dreaming… well, that is when she's not being kept busy with her three children whom she home-educates! She is the creatrix behind Bloom by Moon, an online learning community of women exploring goddess myths and moon cycles through story, journalling, visualisation and creative exercise.