This week's theme over at Illustration Friday is "clumsy." I struggled a bit with this week's theme, and hence my offering of two submissions in one blog post.
The title of this entry -- "Grace is in the Recovery" -- is something of a life philosophy (yeah, I have a lot of those). I've never been the most graceful person. I trip a lot; I bonk my head a lot. Sometimes I think I never really grew into my body. However, even as an audience member, I bore quickly of the precisely controlled performance. But I find it very exciting when an actor or artist has to deal with an unanticipated problem. Yes, that is painful if they don't deal with it well. But I am ecstatic if they respond well. I feel like I am in the presence of a unique moment where a scripted and precise action gave over to one that must respond to context. And how do we access those moments if not for the willingness to be clumsy? That's not to say I value the under-prepared performance -- more that I value preparation that readies the performer to deal with the unexpected.
I recently wrote a brief piece for an environmental education center's newsletter where I discussed my lessons learned from walking down the side of a glacier's lateral moraine. In that piece, I talk about how you have to give up the idea of sure and stable footing and be ready to respond quickly to the steep and slippery gravel-mound's tendency to slide. There is really no way to do it and look pretty. At its heart, the experience is about letting go and trusting your ability to respond. That is where grace resides. Not in the perfectly executed gesture, but in the capacity to recover from the fumble. And that is a lesson about grace that goes well beyond walking and performance.
We all fall. None of us are perfect. All of us are sometimes (often times?) clumsy. But beauty is in how we respond to clumsy -- in ourselves and in others. And I think beating ourselves up about not being perfect, about not being graceful, is about the least graceful we can be.