“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open.” — Martha Graham, American Dancer and Choreographer
I recently finished reading Women Who Dare by Chris Noble, a very inspiring book filled with the stories of 20 accomplished female rock climbers. This book opened with a quote, printed above, by Martha Graham. Chris used this quote in reference to climbing, and I am guessing Martha spoke in reference to dance. Regardless of the form of expression, this quote is a call to take responsibility for the effect we have on this world.
There are times that I am tempted to close the “channel” because I have been hurt. That pain might stem from a loved one’s betrayal, a time when pushing everyone out is just easier; or from that pesky rock climbing tendinitis, an issue that makes a less injury-prone sport seem more desireable. It is always too easy to quit*, to shut down, to bury your true self because it is easier, less embarrassing, whatever. There will always be a reason to keep your own energy as your own, but stinking Martha here is calling all of us out. Quitting does not only affect our own lives and our own progression, but it affects the world and the contributions of “energy” that we are responsible for.
It’s cheesey, it’s spiritual, it’s a bit dramatic; but Martha’s got a beautiful point worth considering.
*Quitting in reference to climbing is very different from resting and recovering. I am not advocating “climbing through” any serious pain.
Photo taken at the top of the glacier section on Mount Timpanogos in Utah County, Utah.