I’ve been getting some new ideas about performance lately.

One of my favourite writers, Parker Palmer, said that we must only give what is freely flowing within us. Anything else does damage both to us and others. And NOT giving what is freely flowing within us does damage both to us and others.

I’ve always had a tendency to deplete myself when I perform. I’d spill my guts all over the stage. Scrape up whatever I had, even if it wasn’t very much, and fling it into the audience. It felt good in the moment. But afterwards it felt like I’d used myself all up. There was nothing left. I’d get depressed, exhausted.

Lately I’ve been experimenting with approaching the stage with one intention – to only give what is freely flowing within me. No striving allowed. Nothing performative. It’s changed my approach to singing, and it’s made me begin to examine and let go of my people pleasing tendencies. It’s sometimes uncomfortable, hard to stay focused, and I feel the pull back to my old ways.

But there is this great reserve of strength and power that reveals itself only when I take this approach.

And I wake up the next day feeling rested, grounded and eager to play again.

I will continue with this experiment. The next step is to take it to other aspects of my life. We’ll see how that goes.

Also. I have recently discovered my deep love for the little plastic “grab bags” at thrift stores. I’ve been photographing some of my favourite combos. Here are dinos and many many pigs.



6 thoughts on “Experiments

  1. This reminds me of Sidney Jourard’s “The Transparent Self.” He expressed the importance of emotional authenticity in all areas of life. I can’t recall if he touched upon performance specifically, but everything you said reminds me of his general insights.


  2. Thanks – the idea of only giving what’s freely and readily available while performing is really interesting. (And, I think, something that could be very helpful for me.) Is there a particular book/source where Parker Palmer discusses this idea?


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