Filtering by Tag: pippin

“I’m not a river or a giant bird that soars to the sea. And if I’m never tied to anything, I’ll never be free.”

I’m not a river or a giant bird that soars to the sea. And if I’m never tied to anything, I’ll never be free.
— Stephen Schwartz

This past week, though I have gotten a lot of my time back, has been bittersweet. I have definitely been hit by the post show blues. Throughout the week, different students would come up to me expressing how much they miss the show and how lost they feel. It’s hard to let go of something that became such a huge part of your life; something that was truly magical. When talking to the students and telling them that this would be a hard one to let go of and its OK to feel what they were feeling, I realized that I don’t usually take that advice. I’ve worked on so many shows over the years that I’ve gotten good at compartmentalizing my emotions and usually just jump into the next thing. (I actually do this with other areas of my life as well.) That way I don’t have to feel the hurt and the loss, whether it was a good or a bad thing; for example, the end of a relationship, moving across the country, finishing a job, etc.

Compartmentalizing may seem like the easy solution, but it’s not. Our body holds onto the emotions we are having; they stay inside us until we decide to confront them. It’s OK to feel. In fact, we SHOULD feel. It doesn’t make us weak to acknowledge our emotions and mourn the loss. These are the moments that remind us that we are alive, we are human, that we value things in life and that we were truly present. So this time around, I allowed/made myself let go and feel the emotions.

It’s tough…really tough. I miss the family and world we created where we got to play and live freely. It became a safe place. But at some point we knew we would have to leave that place. We have to challenge ourselves to make a new safe place. We will always hold that family in our hearts. Because of them and our communal experience/process, we will be even better for the next adventure. As one of my students said when interviewed about learning aerial silks, “Learning is hard. The moment it becomes easy, it isn’t learning anymore.” If we stayed in the world we created, we wouldn’t continue to grow and learn.

One of the ways I allowed myself permission to feel was to listen to the soundtrack. Deciding to do this on a busy NYC subway was maybe not the best idea because immediately tears filled my eyes. But they were good tears. I could visualize everything so clearly still. I know the picture will get blurry with time, but I hope to preserve the details for as long as I can. When listening to the "Finale" again, I was struck in a new way by one of Pippin’s last lyrics (the title quote of the blog). Sometimes distance/space from a project gives us new clarity.

I’ll be honest I am very much like the character Pippin. I move around a lot in every sense of the word. I’ve lived in 5 cities in 10 years; as a freelancer, I jumped from project to project; I’m always trying new workouts and dance classes. And I love that lifestyle. I’m currently in my longest streak both job wise and location wise in my adult life. To be honest, this past year has been hard. I have wanted to run and move on to something new so many times. But there is so much truth in this lyric. Pippin finally realizes that moving from one thing to another was actually making him feel confined and stuck. By having something to be tied to, you do have more freedom. Of course, I am choosing to look at being “tied to something” in a non-negative way. It’s not about being weighed down, but instead grounded. This stability then allows you to be free, to explore, to take risks. The stability can come in different forms: staying in a job and viewing it in a new light, finally saying yes to a relationship and going all in, committing to a workout or new lifestyle program.

When reflecting on your life, what have you been shying away from because you think you don’t want to be “tied down?” Can you look at it in a different way? Maybe that very thing is the thing that will give you the freedom you’ve always been searching for.

 

Do you want to find more freedom? I would love to guide you and support you in your journey! Email me at steph_e_simpson@yahoo.com to set up your FREE 30 min discovery call and to hear more about packages.

“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”

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…
— Stephen Schwartz

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 steph_e_simpson@yahoo.com to set up your FREE 30 min discovery call and to hear more about packages.

 

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