Friday, October 23, 2009

How Large is Your Spirit?

Friday evening musings...

It seems so much of our business brings certain levels of rite of passage, but what about acknowledgement of work accomplished by the artist?

And I mean, acknowledgement OF OTHER ARTISTS.

Why is it so difficult for some artists to acknowledge and applaud the success of someone else? Why must we be stingy and rude about our affirmation of others who are achieving and achieving a standard? Is it really costing us anything to acknowledge this? The only thing I believe it does, is enlarges the fact that we are not where we want to be - so instead of it reflecting on the other, it reflects back on us and our sense of self.

By acknowledging other artists, we are only uplifting ourselves and our art form. Applauding another artist for the sake of isn't always necessary, but when the standard is met or exceeded, what does it cost us ultimately to give it up!?!?!? Do we think by ignoring, making excuses or finding negatives, that we are uplifting the art form or encouraging the artist?

Artists by nature, give. They do not squander. They do not lie. They do not quibble. They tell the truth. If a performance is fine, we must acknowledge that, in order to build up that artist, build up our art form, and in doing so, build up ourselves!

Those that choose to find nothing good to say EVER need to re-evaluate why they are there in the first place. There are many who are willing and able to put down what we do; we do not need to do it with each other. Honesty, yes. But jealousy, pettiness and meanness, are unnecessary and frankly, show lack of respect for the art form and the journey to achieve it. Jealousy and pettiness is not artistic. It is demeaning and juvenile. It shows a lack of maturity and evolution as an artist and as a human being.

Each of us as artists brings our own unique gifts to our craft. It is our responsibility and goal to discover these and nourish them, and nurture them in order to find where they must live and grow. If our uniqueness is real, then it can live in its fullness next to somebody else!!! We can encourage each other, without feeling threatened, and still discover our similarities and our differences!

Having a spirit of generosity shows the evolution of your artistic soul. If you have the room to be generous, then DO IT. It does not cost us anything to be generous. Generosity is a gift, not a crime! Being generous with time, encouragement, a smile, only adds to the well being of the one being gifted and the giver!

Being stingy, negative, rude and inaccessible, reflects completely on the one who chooses this behavior. It is complete opposition of what artistry is: creative process to create a living truth.

If we are not prepared to allow this living truth to breathe, we have no business calling ourselves artists.

Artists also recognize sabotage and cruelty and work to bypass it or stop it from happening. Having a generous spirit, does not mean you let cruel spirits treat you with disrespect!!! Generosity of spirit means you also speak as you see it - and in cases such as this, the truth must be revealed!

It does not cost us anything to speak a word of encouragement, or to say "bravo" or "brava" if it is well-earned!

Recognizing and responding to work well done, or work well-intended is as artistic and professional as recognizing when things haven't lived up to standard!!! It is always easier to find what didn't happen well. It takes energy and truth to find the truth and respond to it.

Just saying "that was great" is not enough. This is theatre people! Subtext is rampant!!!!

Say it cause you mean it. Mean it cause it's TRUE.

What does that cost? You aren't losing anything by recognizing and speaking truth. This isn't taking a role from you, nor an opportunity.

There is no shame or anxiety in saying "I wish it were me, but you did a GREAT job! You committed, you succeeded!"

Success in its truest form affects us all. When we recognize it, and rise to our feet to acknowledge it, we lift our art form to another level of achievement and another level of consciousness as an artist feat!

Why must we get petty and jealous and immature? It only shows our inability to truly be ready to be the artist we claim to be. We are not going to get all the roles we want; when someone gets something and achieves something with it, the acknowledgement is CRUCIAL to the development of our craft.

We must develop a sense of spirit to acknowledge excellence as well as inferiority. When we achieve, we need to respond with as much energy as we do when things are inferior!

We must develop our psyches and spirits to recognize we are part of an overall craft. Each of us has a part in that, and a sense of development. We claim it, and we rise to achieve what is asked of us. When we do that, there is no room to get petty. We each bring our strengths and our specialities.

As we become more and more secure with those strengths, we can begin to recognize the strengths of others, and salute them for their work and their purpose and their achievement, as they will begin to do the same for us!

So how large is your spirit? Don't pretend!!! You ARE large enough to acknowledge worthiness, just as you would want someone else to have the same largesse for you.

Acknowledge another artist for the sake of achievement; For the sake of what they bring to their craft and their work. And don't worry about them being better - YOU ARE UNIQUE BEINGS!!! Even if you are the same type, or the same fach, or sing the same repertoire in an audition, you are UNIQUE and bring your life force, your personality, your experience and YOU into the creation of that to make it YOURS. There is NO COMPETITION unless you make it so; and then, it becomes about the competition and not about the art.

Even if you are up for the same role - you aren't going to be able to do anything about how a panel or an artistic director decides. Creating a competition with another singer is simply false! SING! BE TRUE!! Acknowledge that truth in yourself, or lack of it, and deal with it honestly!

As you begin to realize that acknowledgement of truth can be achieved without costing you anything, it will begin to reward you in ways you didn't realize were possible!

Let your spirit live as large as your artistic soul! Acknowledge, embrace and respond! Don't wait for somebody to bomb - but know when it is solid, when it arrives, when it achieves!

It will come back to you ten-fold, and your journey will be rewarded, as you open yourself up to all possibilities!


  1. Thank you for posting this. It's so important that, as artists, we SUPPORT eachother, not tear eachother down.

    I freely admit, I am not always the most generous about other artists. Yes, it has something to do with jealousy. Of seeing someone else in a place I'd like to be and frustrated that I am not.

    The truth is, however, that no matter what, ability alone does not get you where you want to be. Often times, things you have no control over (height, vocal colour, the way you look next to the leading man, etc) have more bearing on getting cast than anything else.

    My goal as a performer right now is to not feel I am in competition with other artists. To be gracious and supportive when they accomplish something, rather than "why did THEY get something *I* wanted?"

    It's not easy at times. *laugh*

  2. We are human after all - being generous happens when we can afford to be!!! Sometimes, it's not always affordable, but we can still be courteous! What is bothersome, is when we can afford to be generous, that we choose not to be...THAT is the danger. I doubt that is the case with you!! We sometimes find generosity difficult, when we are not being invited to the table. Understand it well. It's not easy to be generous and forgiving with ourselves either - it has to start there!