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October 18th, 2014

Mental discipline on the artist’s path

I have been attempting to diversify the learning in this mentorship. I got back from Europe and, as I mentioned in my last blog post, have some artistic paradigm shifts that are moving me towards getting clearer on which skills live where in terms of art, practice, facilitation and sustainability.

In terms of sustainability, what I mean is an integration of techniques to maintain a certain mindfulness in engaging with the arts world. I must admit that I often battle with what I perceive the art world stands for and what I perceive a healthy life means. Perhaps this is why I have been so drawn to dance work that specifically addresses the broad spectrum healing capacities of movement.

The subtle internal dialogue between mind and body requires extra attention when we experience turbulent times. I am very sensitive, and am coming to terms with what it means to take care so that I can continue to work diligently, effectively and be a good leader.

Why am I mentioning this? I feel that it is important for me to keep my head about me while I push forward with making work, performing, and generally engaging in a profession that is small, tight knit, and politically charged at times. In this mentorship, several tools are already in play in the practice itself, but I came back from time abroad with a renewed desire to continue studying some of the texts and embodied practices that bolster the DTES work.
I am sharing them with you, because they are words of wisdom that have intrinsic value, and they help when I feel that
I am getting discouraged about my path:
[from Training the Mind and Cultivating Loving Kindness, Chogyam Trungpa] Mahayana Buddhist text

• exertion is developing joy and appreciation for what you are doing
• without exertion you cannot journey on the path at all, without the legs of discipline you cannot walk on the path
• resistance can be overcome by overcoming laziness, by ceasing to dwell in the entertainment of your subconscious gossip, discursive thought and emotionalism of all kinds (this one is a big one for me!)

The basic vision is to work for the benefit of others and create a situation that will benefit others.
There are 3 types of generosity:

• Material goods, comfortable situations
• The gift of fearlessness
• The gift of dharma – path of discipline, meditation, and knowledge/intellect