Radvent: Performance

Performance Radvent by Princess Lasertron

“When I consider my actions as performing certain ideas,
it helps me reclaim my agency.”

~Katie F-S

Yesterday I attended a free concert performance in Northwestern’s Alice Millar chapel. I’ve passed by this beautiful building many times and admired its external stained glass window.

Northwestern University's Alice Millar Chapel

The internal windows are just as beautiful. You can read about each window here.

Alice Millar Chapel Stained Glass Windows

I met Josefien Stoppelenburg at an Artist and Painters Meetup. We hit it off on our Dutch nationality and when I contacted her about another event she invited me to this lunchtime concert instead. The harmony between her and her sister Charlotte is lovely, along with some banter between songs: “She always gets to sing the princess, DO something about it!”

Josefien and Charlotte Stoppelenburg Songbook

It was good to just sit and let music wash over me amidst the rush of holiday preparations. My favorite was the flower duet from Lakme, which you can view here. I feel like it is a Chakra-opening melody, though I cannot verify that.

I also enjoyed the peace that comes from sitting in a quiet church prior to the concert. Sacred space is important. The colors and messages of the windows along with the harmonies of two beautiful voices created soothing energetic vibrations. I hummed the Lakme tune all afternoon as I admired these musicians for their dedication to a classical art form.

So while I was in the audience per yesterday’s Radvent on Performing I do agree that every day is an opportunity to perform your best self.

Performance Radvent by Princess Lasertron

Image re-blogged with permission from Princess Lasertron

Performance as a term holds a pressured connotation for me. It feels like I have to be impressive in some way. The word extraordinary comes to mind. Like Katie F-S writes, this is not a comfortable idea for me. Incidentally, Paulo Coehlo just posted a poem on how we appreciate each rose for what it is in every phase of it’s life phase. It ends:

“A flower is not better when it blooms than
when it is merely a bud; at each stage it is the same thing — 
a flower in the process of expressing its potential.”
~ W. Timothy Gallway

Flowers don’t perform. They just are and we admire the extraordinary beauty they radiate. And so when I had this fleeting thought that performance means being extraordinary, it also reminded me that I am extraordinary. There is only one me, and so people should appreciate me just for being, not for performing.

When we live our true passion, our life is who we are. We no longer ‘perform’ a duty or task to please someone else. We’ve all seen performances where we could tell the performer wasn’t really into it. They were lacking the passion that gave their performance authenticity. But when we’re busy being excited about our daily actions it will actually inspire others, which is what good performances do.

“My favorite kind of performance
challenges the boundaries between what’s onstage and what’s real.”
~Katie F-S

Since last year I spend much less time being “on”: trying to be extra nice, extra understanding, jumping through hoops to get things done. I just am me, which is nice, understanding and pretty driven without any extras. As Iris did in The Holiday, it was time to stop becoming the ‘best friend’ and start being the ‘leading lady’ of my own life.

Being real is a much better role than playing some part others impose. I am still working on how my performance in my own life can become more fulfilling, but being more in tune with my self is guiding me on that path. And in keeping with Mr. Gallway’s notion, this process of expressing my potential is just where it needs to be right now.

banners at Alice Millar Chapel

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