“I wanted magic shows and miracles, mirages to touch. I wanted such a little thing from life, I wanted so much. I never came close my love. We nearly came near. It never was there, it always was here”
This week I opened the show, PIPPIN, which I directed and choreographed at a school in NYC. When I started this process, I thought it would be just like every other show I did, but I was wrong. There is something about this show, the students I was working with, and where I am in my life that made this experience something “extraordinary.” It dawned on me as we were heading into tech week that this show became a selfobject for me. I was first introduced to the idea of selfobjects when reading the book, The Dancing Self by Carol Press, for my thesis.
Selfobjects, as defined by Press, are as follows:
[Kohut’s term for psychological support systems] that function in our lives to sustain our intrapsychic experiences of self-cohesion, our sense of self as whole. Even though in many instances selfobjects are people, they can also be animals, things, places, ideas, or activities that serve to confirm and enhance who we are (pg 55-56).
In more layman terms, selfobjects are the people, the creative projects, the pets that come into our lives and allow us to go deeper into the process of knowing ourselves more intimately. They provide us the feedback and the space to ask questions, take risks, and grow into what Press coins as our “dancing self.”
Pippin embarks on a journey to find his purpose. He truly believes he was born for great things. He tries being a soldier, dabbles in “sex presented pastorally,” he even kills his father and becomes king. However, with every attempt he is dissatisfied and is left "feeling empty and vacant." The players are continuously trying to get Pippin to take part in the biggest finale there is; death. In that spectacular moment, he will have all that he was looking for. **Spoiler alert** Pippin chooses not to follow the fire and the lights and instead chooses Catherine, Theo, and an “ordinary life.”
Pippin’s journey is so powerful because it mirrors many of our own journeys, myself included. How many times have you felt let down because something didn’t end up they way you wanted? Or you thought you finally figured out the answer to one of your problems and in the end it didn’t solve anything? Throughout this process, I found myself feeling frustrated and empty and vacant. At times, I didn’t think it would all come together. That the vision I so badly wanted to make real was only going to stay trapped inside my head. But, alas, we made it to opening night and you know what, the vision inside my head doesn’t even come close to the magic that is happening on that stage. I’m sure we have all had the experience of holding onto an idea so tightly, but when we finally let it go we are given more than we could have ever imagined. We just have to trust and have faith.
The moment when Pippin chooses Catherine/Theo and finally defies the players, “the voices inside his head,” always hits me in a different way. The leading player strips him of everything: lights, sound, costumes, set. But still, he decides on his own not to run away from himself, but instead that this “simple life,” which in reality is not so simple, is really the answer to the “purpose” he was looking for.
Even though the moment hits a different chord in my life depending on what I am personally wrestling with that day, the message always remains the same. You have to be vulnerable and fully present when in a relationship, whether that is a romantic relationship, a friendship, a relationship with the business you are starting, and especially the relationship with yourself. You have to fully love yourself, all of yourself, in order to love someone or something else. In a way, you are naked; no lights, no dance breaks, no make up; it’s just you. This is true for anytime we choose to follow the thing that scares us the most, which is usually the thing we want the most. When you choose the path that is real and true, it may be the hardest decision and require continuous work, but it’ll be the best decision, and it’ll be worth it.
Do you want to enjoy the “simple joys” of life more authentically? I would love to guide you and support you in your journey! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up your FREE 30 min discovery call and to hear more about packages.