Friday, February 20, 2009

Deep Listening

Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. Christopher Robin to Winnie-the-Pooh. A.A. Milne

He did it! He read his piece with grace and dignity in the play. It was superb.

From beginning to end, Director Ian Prinsloo's adaptation of Maxim Gorky's, The Lower Depths, stung with its stark reality and honesty.

There were no professional actors. No marquee names. Just a cast of homeless shelter residents mixed together with a couple of people who have moved from the shelter to self-housing, people who work in the sector and a couple of academics.

It was inspiring. Moving. Sad, touching, uplifting. Humbling.

It was in its attempt to not be anything other than a group of 'amateurs' working together on a piece of theatre that the performance touched hearts.

The actors read their scripts as they performed selected texts from the play. And then, intermittently, they each read their 'reflections' on the section of the play they had chosen to perform. Their scripts became part of their character, a prop meant to illuminate their character's role. It was not distracting, nor forced. It was organic to the process of the play's unfolding.

In each performer's reflection was the beauty of the human spirit soaring. In their reflections the truths of their personal journeys were reflected in their tears, their fears, their hesitations. The pauses. The heartfelt expression of the pain and the joy they have felt on this journey of life.

In Ian's opening address he talked about theatre being a space for 'deep listening'. The actors had worked for three months on this piece. Worked and shared and grown and learned and deepened their understanding of themselves and each other. Through deep listening, they felt the essence at the heart of the words, the beat within the heart of spirits calling each of them to step out and up onto the stage to claim their unique gifts, to claim their right to be centre stage, to express their wisdom of the heart, fearlessly and effortlessly.

Watching the performers last night, I was in awe of how powerful and strong they had become as a group. Of how supportive and appreciative they were of each other. They were bonded. A group of diverse individuals with diverse backgrounds who came together to create this piece of theatre that touched hearts and made a difference in each of our lives.

And in their reflections, in their words that soared up from within their deep listening, they revealed the beauty and the sorrow of what touches our lives, our spirits, our souls. Of what limits us and expands us into the moment of flight.

Ian had invited each of us in the audience to sink into deep listening. To open up wholeheartedly to the truth the actors were about to reveal, about themselves, and about our human condition.

In my sinking into that sacred space, I felt my heart opening up, expanding, breathing. In my opening, I received the gifts of healing, peace, and awe.

If twelve individuals from such diverse circumstances and backgrounds can come together to create such beauty, then all things are possible in this world.

As Margaret Mead suggested, "A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."

There was change in the air last night. Lasting. Inspiring. Compelling. I feel it within me this morning. As I sink into meditation, into that sacred space of deep listening within me, I awaken to the beauty of my human condition, that condition where we are one through all things being connected.

The question is: Are you willing to sink into the sacred space of deep listening where the sound of your hearts beating in time is all you hear? Are you willing to open up to the truth of your human condition calling you to connect to someone else's heart shyly peeking out from beneath the snows of winter?

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Louise, you write so beautifully, it's a pleasure to read your blog every day :)

Di

Anonymous said...

YAY!! I am so glad he read his piece, shared his thoughts. It is amazing, isn't it, what can happen when a small group of people commit themselves to meeting, growing and sharing. Sounds like something amazing. Are they going to do it again or was it a one-night show?

God bless you Louise!
Sarah

M.L. Gallagher said...

Thanks Di :)

Sarah -- That was the only showing -- but they will be repeating it sometime in the next couple of weeks at the shelter -- I'll let everyone know, for those in Calgary, when that will be.

Love and hugs to both of you. Thanks so much for 'dropping in'!

Louise