No. 101 | By Christine Carron
Photographer and experimental filmmaker Mathieu Stern recently captured and shared a public performance by French dancer Yoann Bourgeois. As he moves up and down, falls from and bounces back to a freestanding staircase, Bourgeois creates a captivating metaphor. In an article about the performance in My Modern Met, Margherita Cole writes, “This graceful presentation demonstrates how people persevere through life's obstacles to reach their goals.”
I don't disagree with Cole, yet what strikes me most deeply about the piece is not Bourgeois's perseverance per se but rather how his perseverance is enabled by the trampoline. Without it, Bourgeois wouldn't make it again and again back to the staircase.
The trampoline allows Bourgeois to let go to the process with grace and trust. He knows it will catch him, keep him safe, make it easier to achieve his goal, and definitely make the whole process more fun.
It felt exquisitely synchronous that shortly after finding Stern’s video of Bourgeois’s performance, I also came across an article in The Guardian where Haruki Murakami explores his creative process. He writes (emphasis added):
“If there is indeed something original about my novels, I think it springs from the principle of freedom. I . . . had never planned to be a writer and had never given serious thought to what sort of novel I should be writing, which meant that I was under no particular constraints. I just wanted to write something that reflected what I was feeling at the time. There was no need to feel self-conscious. In fact, writing was fun – it let me feel free and natural.”
Spring. Bounce. Freedom. Natural. Fun. Yes, please.
Resilience does not come from tightness, straining, or striving. In my experience, there is a slower, softer, receptive quality to resilience. It must have enough give to both receive and rebound. A trampoline makes falling fun and playful.
According to resilience and well-being expert Dr. Amit Sood, the skills that enable resilience are composure, patience, optimism, gratitude, acceptance, kindness, a sense of purpose, forgiveness, and connection.
Not exactly what most would consider hard-hitting power skills. Yet without resilience, we are left striving and struggling without a net. That’s not only not fun, it’s downright scary.
So my invitation to you this week is to pay attention to your trampoline. Is it thick and bouncy? Thin and patchy? Or perhaps you are at a place on your adventure where you are wondering if you even have a trampoline at all.
You do. We all do. It may get frayed by fear, doubt, or trauma, or some other life challenge, but it is still there. And it can be refurbished.
Where there is skill(s to learn) there is a way.
You may have to slow down to find the way back to your joy, to your confidence, to your natural creativity and flow. The slowing down is worth it. When you reclaim your trampoline, you make the entire writing adventure easier.
Less striving, more bounce. You've got this!