What do we do when a huge project comes to an end? How do we re-adjust back into our community when we have, for many months, and even years, withdrawn sufficiently, in order to achieve what needed to be achieved?
We have all been in this position, and it is one I am finding myself in right now, as I adjust to having finished writing my PhD...the seeds were planted in 2010, and next week is the final week of the harvest. 100,000 words, seven productions, and dozens of dedicated and brilliant people involved...people I love and respect...an enriching, life changing, generative project of mamoth proportions.
How do I build on the experience so the work keeps growing? For isn't that the intention of a PhD...to bring new ways of being into the world.
My answer? I consider the research itself. It offers a map of belonging. This map, that we all have the capacity to create for ourselves, (and re-create, and re-create again) involves:
Ritual. Connectedness. Creative Conversations. Mythological intention. Careful language, clean intentions...
So I am re-creating how to live post PhD. I'm a little older. A little wiser.
And I am, presently, carrying huge disappointment and some shame, with regard to the morality and ethics of our larger entertainment community...you know what I am talking about...the revered who abuse and cover up...I have no need to discuss it because I only have to look at Facebook over the last few weeks and its all there...
...and this disappointment, this shame, will not last, because disappointment and shame are not active things...but they will re-direct me into passionate action. And I am reminded of a quote I referred to in my research... In Joanna Macy and Molly Brown's seminal book Coming Back to Life, they quoted Gloria Steinem when she said
All together, we are changing from a society whose organisation principle is the pyramid or or hierarchy to one whose image is a circle. Humans are linked, not ranked. Humans and the environment are linked, not ranked (Steinem,in Macy & Brown, 2014)
If, as a community, we move towards the circular leadership model, would we be more effective?
Is the theatre not so much about having a career, but rather having a vocation? Would that make it a more equal and connected place to be?
Is it not so much about our own advancement, but rather a means of communicating stories that link with our world and make it a better place?
Does an inflated sense of self belong in our world of theatre making? Rather is it more about collaborative spirit? Would that protect those who need protecting?
Does our soul, rather than our ego, belong in the theatre, a place of conscious awakening?
These are the questions I am asking myself right now. They are circular, and you may want to ask yourself the same questions as you move towards the end of the year...and then there are questions closer to home:
What generative and transformative projects do I want to engage in in 2018?
Who do I want to have around my dinner table?
How will I engage with Nature?
Sending best wishes as you all head towards the end of the year...it's gone fast. Its been one hell of a year. Lets make next year one we can be proud of as a community. Lets start to live Gloria Steinem's "Humans are linked, not ranked. Humans and the environment are linked, not ranked"