“Fire and Ice” by Wendy Beresford
Last night I watched “Bohemian Rhapsody”, the movie about Queen’s Freddy Mercury. There was a line in the movie that really struck me. When asked what it was like to sing for all those people, he said, “When I know they’re listening, when I know I really have them, I couldn’t sing off-key if I tried. I am exactly the person I was always meant to be. I’m not afraid of anything…”
Now perhaps to some, that quote paints Freddy Mercury as an attention-seeking narcissist, but I like to think it was less his ego speaking than his true Self. The way I hear it, he was saying that when he stepped up and did what he truly loved, which was to perform, his ego (fear) fell away and his natural beingness or true Self was celebrated in the connection created with his audience. When he was performing in this state, the experience was one of consciousness connecting with consciousness, not of a person performing to an audience of people. His statement about not being able to sing off-key if he tried illustrates his recognition of a power beyond the ego flowing through him, a creative expression that did not depend on his doing it, managing it, or getting it right or wrong.
We really are here to unlearn everything we’ve been taught, and my current unlearning exercise is definitely about the futility of effort, and the realisation that, as the person, I achieve and create nothing! Along these same lines, a few days ago, I came across the most incredible quote by Philip Guston:
“When you’re in the studio painting, there are a lot of people in there with you – your teachers, friends, painters from history, critics… and one by one, if you’re really painting, they walk out. And if you’re really painting YOU walk out.”
That’s hectic! But so simple and so true! We actually create in spite of ourselves, and Life creates through us precisely when and because we lose our sense of a separate little self. We are taught a lie; that it’s up to us – the person we think we are, and all the labels and attachments that go with that – to create our reality, to make a success of ourselves and to find our purpose. No small feat! And totally impossible to do as the person.
It is only when we do what we want to do, what bubbles up inside us as curiosity, a twinge of excitement, a quiet yearning, for the simple reason of doing it and nothing else, that Life can flow through us and create with wild abandon and sweet synchronicity.
I heard this put with such simplicity from a friend recently – “Our only purpose is to shine, and the way we shine is by doing what we love.” It really is that simple. So why are you still reading this?! Go, do what you love, with no ulterior motive or intention, and let that be enough.
There is one proviso: Doing what you love may often appear to be at odds with making money, pleasing others, meeting the expectations of society, being successful and living as a responsible adult. Do it anyway.
’Til next time, may we each find our own Bohemian Rhapsody.
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