Wednesday, February 15, 2017

     Life is a Circus. At least mine always has been. There are times when things are in a very delicate balance. I looked up last night at the tightrope walkers and thought, “Yup, I’ve felt that way at times. Just clenching the glutes and praying for the best.” 

     Sometimes, things get all so silly and slapstick just like the clowns. At times, it’s gut-wrenching funny how life can go, and other times, it’s just stupid. Last night, as the clowns were spitting at people in the audience, I thought to myself, “Yup, there’ve been times I wanted to spit at some people.” 

     And then there’s those performers who stretch to the point where you think they will come apart. Have you ever stretched in your life and thought, “Oh, Lord, am I going to stretch myself into a knot and never come back?” I have never seen such incredible feats of pushing the body to its max. We were sitting so close, you could see the expressions on the performers’ faces. You could see the pride, the determination, the elation at having performed to the max. How often do we stretch ourselves that far? And when we do, how often do we say, “I can’t do this.” 

     One beautiful performer dropped one of her large hoops. The stage hand threw her another, and she continued without a beat. I asked myself, “If that were me, could I let go of that mistake in my head?” It doesn’t matter. What matters is that she continued with a flawless performance, and we all related to her human-ness. As a performer, I have talked a lot about letting go of the imperfections and performing from the heart. I saw it in front of me last night, and it was a good reminder that performing is not a robotic experience. What makes it incredible to those humans watching is that we performers are human both on and off stage.

     At the end of the show, Nick Willenda spoke to the audience. He described the miracles we were watching in his troupe’s performance on the wire. Last week, during a rehearsal of the 8-person pyramid, one person fell  20 feet followed by three others. One landed on his feet uninjured. Another broke 4 toes. Two others are still in the hospital and will have months of therapy to recover. Nick spoke of the miracle that they were all still alive. He said that he was telling us all this to remind us of his mantra, “NEVER GIVE UP!” He said, God saved his troupe, and God saves him every time he puts himself in danger’s way whether on a wire over the Grand Canyon or on a bike on the wire riding across a crowded city street 100 stories in the air. He said that no matter what you are fighting whether it be a financial setback, a marital crisis, a bout with a horrible disease, whatever it is, he says, “Never Give Up.” Seems easy to say, but he lives it, and we saw it with our naked eyes in an unforgettable performance last night. I will take his energy, his message and his discipline and apply it to my life today. How about you?