Harness The Energy [on KS Friday]

boundaries song box copy

Lately, in my new role as co-managing director of a performing arts space, I find myself repeating the same simile/metaphor over and over and over and over… (insert Kerri’s eye roll). This week, my favorite-simile-repetition goes something like this: communication is like a river, it needs proper banks if it is going to flow. Without banks, it spills out all over the place flooding basements and creating havoc.

Needless to say, our job thus far is largely about placing proper banks on this flood plain of communication. Placing proper banks, at first, creates consternation and resistance. No one likes a limit until the limit works in their favor, until the constraint makes life easier.

Boundaries. Limits. Constraints. It is what I adore about the arts: freedom of artistic expression is the result of discipline, technique, and practice. And, the heart-desire of discipline, technique and practice is unfettered play. It is a paradox. It is boundaries placed on a rushing torrent so it can flow. The harnessing of creative energy. Communication is an intentional art and art is communication with an intention.

Kerri’s BOUNDARIES is a bubbling brook, bright with the morning sun, tumbling and playful within its banks. It seems so easy, her flow. But I know the truth. This ease and flow, this call to put your feet in the brook and rest for awhile with the sun on your face, comes from the years and years of hours and hours and hours of practice. Boundaries. A riverbank, a limit that will work in your favor. It is the creative flow through a heart that desires to play and play and play.

 

BOUNDARIES on the album RIGHT NOW is available on iTunes & CDBaby

 

read Kerri’s blog post about BOUNDARIES

 

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boundaries/right now ©️ 2010 kerri sherwood

KS Friday

andgoodnightjacket copy 2“It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child.” ~Pablo Picasso

Every artist knows that technique is necessary but artistry is not the application of technique. Artistry is transcending technique. Technique is tangible. It is possible to practice scales and study color theory. It is possible to grasp that different brushes do different things. There are bottom lines in technique, reductions and rules and complications.

Artistry is intangible. It is flow. It is expansive. It is simplicity and simplicity is so hard to achieve. It is one of those paradoxes I love to write about, the zones where truth bubbles precisely because it cannot be contained.

The first night we met Kerri played her piano for me. I will never forget it. This slight woman stepped up to her piano (she rarely sits when playing) and all reality shifted. She grew. She filled the room. I swear I saw her send an energy-root into the earth and she opened. What came through was…enormous. What came through was simple.

This lullaby, Kerri’s original piece, I Will Hold You (Forever & Ever) from her album AND GOODNIGHT, could certainly be played by a technician and you would appreciate it. Now, for your KS Friday from the melange, listen to what an artist can do. Sit back and give over to the simplicity.

I WILL HOLD YOU (FOREVER & EVER) from AND GOODNIGHT (track 25) iTunes

also available on CDBaby

 

And because she couldn’t resist designing with this title for babies or weddings or anyone you love, I WILL HOLD YOU (FOREVER & EVER) products.

 

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forever and ever FRAMED ART PRINT copy

forever and ever SQ PILLOW copy   forever and ever RECT PILLOW copy

forever and ever LEGGINGS copy

‘forever and ever’ leggings

forever and ever MUG copy

 

read kerri’s blog post about I WILL HOLD YOU (FOREVER & EVER)

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kerrianddavid.com

 

i will hold you (forever & ever), and goodnight ©️ 2005 kerri sherwood

Occupy Your Center

773. Join me in inspiring truly powerful people. Each day I will add a new thought, story or idea to support your quest and mine.

Robert is a gifted actor, director and teacher. We had a long conversation yesterday about actors and acting. He said that the art of acting is unusual because young actors in training don’t always recognize the necessity of technique. So, for instance, an opera singer would never expect to advance in his or her career unless they had rooted their voice in solid technique. A pianist would not expect to become a concert level musician without a solid technique. As Robert said, “Many young actors believe that if they feel it, if they connect the dots from feeling to feeling then they are acting. “Anyone can emote and call him or her self an actor,” he said, “but acting requires just as solid a technique as any other art form. It’s just not as expected or understood.” Robert recently told a young actor, “It does the audience no good if you feel it but they aren’t invited to participate.” Technique facilitates participation because it frees the artist to be present. The point of any art form is to share, to include, to transport. Artistry is never about the artist. It is always about the relationship.

Today in tai chi Saul-The-Chi-Lantern paired the beginners (me) with the more advanced students. We were doing a simple push hands exercise that I recognized as the technique beneath the practice. I had a revelation that shocked me to the core and inspired me to teach it to every artist that I know. In push hands, the idea is to empty of all resistance, to drop deeply into your center and use your partners force to knock them off center. As the advanced students told me, “The point of the exercise is to fail. Failing is the only way to find your center and empty yourself of opposition.” My revelation was this: opposition (resistance) is the act of giving another person responsibility for your balance. Literally, you invest your balance in their center. It is visceral. My partners easily tossed me off balance because I easily gave away my center every time I resisted them. When I (occasionally) found my center and emptied myself of resistance, I entered a balanced fluid center that shocked me in its potency.

I left tai chi today and went to see a student production of a Shakespeare play. The rivers of my conversation with Robert and my tai chi revelation met as I watched the young actors push and force and resist and reach for feelings. They did not know to include me. Their play was about them, not the story or the opportunity for relationship with me, the audience. Yet, the paradox, the moment of truth came after the play when I listened to their investment in what the audience thought of their work. They gave me their center because they shut me out of their play. Had I cared I could have easily tossed them off balance. As I left the theatre I thought, “Someone needs to teach them how to fail.” In that direction technique is found. In that direction is learning.

I wished the young actors had access to Robert or the advanced students in my tai chi class. If I keep at it in fifteen years or so I might have the capacity to keep my center. The young actors need to pretend that they can do it all now. They are oriented to the test (performing the words with feeling) and not the mastery.

Even though I know the 37 moves that constitute the tai chi form, I am only now capable of beginning. At this age, I am finally capable of understanding the relevance and necessity for solid technique.