Have you ever listened to The Rite of Spring by Igor Stravinsky? All the way through?
It’s a metaphor for life, and I find it utterly fascinating.
Stravinsky was a young, virtually unknown composer when he was recruited to work for the Russian Ballet in the early 1900s. One of the most admirable things about him and his work was his IDGAF attitude about what was expected of music at the time. You see, the only folks who were coming to see the Ballet were either the wealthy, who wanted to be comfortably entertained, or the BOHEMIANS who craved something NEW, especially if it made the upper crust uncomfortable.
Well, they got an earful that night!
The avant-garde nature of the music and choreography caused a sensation and a near-riot in the audience. The way Stravinsky used tonality, dissonance, tangible stress, and unpredictable rhythm drove some into a frenzy! Some loved it, some hated it… It was described as the work of a madman.
The choreography of the first section, “The Kiss of the Earth”, culminated in a frenzy of movement as the dancers moved to embrace the energy of Spring. This primal expression drove the witnesses into a frenzy of the senses. The second section “Sacrifice”, was a bit darker, ending with a young maiden chosen to sacrifice herself to death by dancing… To appease and please Spring. At this point in the performance, often the audience grew quiet, even silent as they sat captivated by the emotions of the dancer.
I resonate with the music, the dance, the composer, the audience…. Spring is a baffling time, so urgent with expression, so messy, and fully completely ALIVE.
Some things I work to develop in my life as an artist, as an Authentic Goddess, and as a human exploring this bizarre and utterly inconceivable experience of life are impeccably embodied in The Rite of Spring.
TONALITY– In my art I explore aspects of tonality, creating moods with my color choices. Recently, this has brought me to fall in love with moonstones, rainbow moonstones, and labradorite. I love the way they roll light around inside their crystalline structures to reveal new parts of themselves…. they way I work with meditation, too!
METRE– In life we all find our pulse, our flow of movement. Sometimes it seems too fast, other times too slow. Somehow, we maintain the steps, sometimes we drop a beat, but there is always one thing to remember: “When we are dancing we are not aiming to arrive at a particular place on the floor…”-Alan Watts
It isn’t a race, and there is no ribbon to be won.
STRESS– Not the ubiquitous kind that we try to rid ourselves of, but the good kind. Like, what priorities in life do you STRESS? What notes are louder in your composition, what colors are brighter, where do you place the spotlight? My stress may vary a little from day to day, but overall, I stress LOVE in my life. My love for my self, my love for my family, my community, my friends all over this vast globe…. THAT is where I add light. What about you?
DISSONANCE– The cacophony of daily life can feel very distracting at times. Dissonance is an integral part of our growth and understanding, however. In a world of dualities, contrast defines. Without the depth of dissonance and unresolved issues, we are not able to taste the sweetness and nourishment of harmony. I can’t say that I fully embrace the discord and difficulties I encounter in my experiences, but I do know that when I DO, I find myself to be more peaceful and aware of things to be grateful for. It hones my senses…
SACRIFICE– One of the questions I love to answer is: What would you do in life if money were no object? My answer is delightfully easy for me… I WOULD DO THE EXACT SAME THING. I will surrender to this beautiful life, I will offer myself up to the flow and syncopation of this fantastic existence, and I will enthusiastically DANCE MYSELF TO DEATH… In the only way I know how. Keep creating myself. Every day.
Which brings me to this gorgeous and vibrant first day of Spring.
The earth awakens after the long slumber of winter, the Spring Equinox arrives. I love this time of year. There were many years I hardly noticed it, living in the beautiful tropical U.S. Virgin Islands. It was simply a date on the calendar, albeit a very important one on my life, as it is my WEDDING ANNIVERSARY!
I wed my husband at 12 noon on the Spring Equinox of 1996 in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.
THERE WAS A BLIZZARD.
The snow in the mountains of Virginia covered all the daffodils, crocus, and tulips that had rushed to bloom for the glorious first day of Spring. Instead of a Spring Wedding outdoors amidst all the twitterpation of new life, we crowded into my parents’ house and made our vows. The weather alarm sounded just as we were about to hear Charlie’s dad recite 1 Corinthians 13:4…. to remind us, the blizzard. Life is unpredictable and glorious in its brazen disregard for our expectations….
I urge you to give a listen to The Rite of Spring by Igor Stravinsky… ALL OF IT. See what it stirs inside you. Find those places that are uncomfortable, sit with them. Discover what your sacrifice is in this precious life. And like Mr. Stravinsky, BE AUTHENTIC. This is NOT a rehearsal.
Leave a comment, please, to let me know how this incredible piece of music made you feel….