When you hear the word "discovery", do you think of the headlines announcing the latest scientific breakthrough, proclaiming that on this particular day, something was finally proven? Do you imagine discovery to be an event?
The emergence of my unique voice has shown me that discovery is an unfolding, like the process of a seed becoming a tree. That slow, that gradual, and that relentless. Somehow I've gotten so accustomed to the two extreme ideas of a thing being either finished (in the past) or somehow out of reach (existing only in the future). Perhaps it's the heavily material focus of our existence, or the way we have woven in consuming, purchasing, and owning things as the foundation of our daily lives.
The process of making has brought me closer to the experience of the true unfolding nature of existence. That I may have an idea or an image within me, and I may show up to the blank page with materials available to start making, but only in the act of making do I get to see what "it" becomes.
We buy so many things as products. Finished, we are told they are, just because they are presented to us and someone has decided they are finished. We wouldn't dream of altering them, either because we don't know how or we don't have the imagination to see them as anything other than how they were presented to us. We take instructions well as consumers. We believe messages about what we need, and we follow directions about when we need them. We are dictated a value system, and we adopt the belief that we have no choice but to live within it.
We are saturated with images of performances. People rehearsing a neat and tidy presentation, hiring stylists, graphic designers, and other specialists to bring a theatrical level of polish to the images we consume at higher and higher frequency.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, we are also fed gawdy, rakish displays - also theatrical - of the most unconscious of human behaviors, representing us in our basest moments of turmoil and reactive patterns.
Yet what we hunger for is an image that connects us with the truth of our own unfolding process. A story that resonates with our own making and discovering, and everything that the process entails. Not merely the "finished product". After all, what is a "finished" human being?
Last week I had a birthday. I celebrated by taking myself to the museum, leading a sound meditation journey for a women's group, and seeing Bobby McFerrin in concert with the San Francisco Symphony (not all on the same day!). I was inspired by this quote by him: "I try to not to 'perform' onstage. I try to sing like I sing when I am in my kitchen. I want to invite audiences to feel the incredible joy and freedom I get when I sing." And in fact, we witnessed that in a delightful way during his performance, when, onstage, he missed a page turn and made up lyrics describing his own mistake and telling the conductor to move on. It was a perfect moment illustrating his motto that there are no mistakes, only opportunities to choose again and keep moving. All of it is simply the same process of creating and unfolding.
In the past week or so I have been exploring a new process with my video blogging. My own version of "TED talk", only so not a TED talk. The only resemblance may be the approximate length of the talks (usually around 18 minutes, but sometimes more). I have previously made videos when I "knew" I had something to say. I could record them quickly and I used my camera as a kind of note-taking system to jot down the thoughts I had heard in my head and worked out, usually on long hikes in nature.
This time, I am just starting with an impulse to observe something about myself that is coming to the surface. And then keeping the camera on as I talk and discover for myself something that is only revealed to me in the process of making the video. Like the blank canvas process of making I described above, the making of these videos supports an emergence. They are not the product but rather an artifact of a discovery process. You can watch the videos here (in blog form) or here (as a playlist).
I hope that in sharing the unfolding of my unique voice that you are inspired to find your own and allow it to be born in its own unique way.