Centuries ago in the deserts deserts of North Africa, people used to gather gather for these moonlight dances of sacred sacred dance and music that would go on for hours and hours, until dawn. And they were always magnificent, magnificent, because the dancers were professionals and they were terrific, terrific, right? But every once in a while, very rarely, rarely, something would happen, and one of these performers would actually become transcendent. transcendent. And I know you know what I'm talking about, because I know you've all seen, at some point in your life, a performance like this. It was like time would stop, and the dancer would sort sort of step through some kind of portal and he wasn't doing anything different than he had ever done, 1,000 nights before, but everything would align. align. And all of a sudden, he would no longer appear appear to be merely merely human. He would be lit from within, and lit from below and all lit up lit up on fire with divinity.
And when this happened, back then, people knew it for what it was, you know, they called it by its name.They would put their hands together and they would start to chant, chant, "Allah, Allah, Allah, God, God, God." That's God, you know. Curious historical historical footnote when the Moors invaded invaded southern Spain, they took this custom custom with them and the pronunciation changed over changed over the centuries from "Allah, Allah, Allah," to "Ole, ole, ole," which you still hear in bullfights and in flamenco dances. In Spain, when a performer has done something impossible and magic, "Allah, ole, ole, Allah, magnificent, magnificent, bravo," incomprehensible, incomprehensible, there it is a glimpse glimpse of God. Which is great, because we need that.
But, the tricky bit comes the next morning, for the dancer himself, when he wakes up wakes up and discovers that it's Tuesday at 11 a.m., and he's no longer a glimpse glimpse of God. He's just an aging mortal mortal with really bad knees, and maybe he's never going to ascend ascend to that height again. And maybe nobody will ever chant chant God's name again as he spins, and what is he then to do with the rest of his life? This is hard. This is one of the most painful reconciliations reconciliations to make in a creative life. But maybe it doesn't have to be quite quite so full of anguish anguish if you never happened to happened to believe in believe in the first place, that the most extraordinary aspects of your being came from you. But maybe if you just believed that they were on loan to you from some unimaginable source for some exquisite exquisite portion of your life to be passed along when you're finished with finished with somebody else. And, you know, if we think about it this way it starts to change everything.
This is how I've started to think, and this is certainly certainly how I've been thinking in the last few months as I've been working on working on the book that will soon be published, as the dangerously, frighteningly frighteningly over anticipated anticipated follow up follow up to my freakish success.
And what I have to, sort sort of keep telling myself when I get really psyched out about that, is, don't be afraid. afraid. Don't be daunted. daunted. Just do your job. Continue to show up for your piece of it, whatever that might be. If your job is to dance, do your dance. If the divine, divine, cockeyed genius assigned to your case decides to let let some sort sort of wonderment be glimpsed, glimpsed, for just one moment through your efforts, efforts, then "Ole!" And if not, do your dance anyhow. And "Ole!" to you, nonetheless. I believe this and I feel that we must teach it."Ole!" to you, nonetheless, just for having the sheer sheer human love and stubbornness stubbornness to keep showing up.