What I Learned This Week About Class, Grace, And Commitment

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The past five days have delivered plenty of opportunity to pause for thought. Sad news has been unnervingly frequent. The circus of politics is as untamed as ever. A followspot is shining brightly on the uncomfortable. There are some things, varying in size, that have completely maxed out my “wtf” quota.

Lack of focus wasn’t part of my plan for January 11-15. In three weeks, I’ll bid Sweden hej då (for now) and head back to the U.S.A. for my next adventure. It’s crunch time – something during which I’m most productive – and that means little room for distraction.

Then David Bowie orchestrated his quintessential lift-off.

I won’t bore you with all sorts of minutia about why I adore the man and how his inevitable passing has struck me harder than I expected. Quite frankly, other people have articulated to perfection what’s been dancing through my mind and I encourage you to visit John Gorman’s article on The Cauldron and Suzanne Moore’s article on The Guardian for some excellent writing. As is now apparent, David Bowie’s the cornerstone for a million careers, music explorations, self-actualizations, etc. It’s now glaringly obvious that David Bowie’s the “Great I Am.”

After giving myself Monday to just play his albums until my ears bled, I approached Tuesday strong, “What Would Bowie Do?” style. But fuck, I was still off my game. Having the clarity of thought and presence of strength to turn an 18-month private battle with cancer into the clay that molds an impeccable seven-song parting gift to his fans; a critically acclaimed stage production; and two videos that are generous pieces of performance art? Bravo, sir. Mind blown.

Much is a spectacle these days. Like many others, the chaos in which I was raised heavily influenced my personal and professional decisions, and I’ve chosen drama over demure repeatedly. It’s only been recently – like Sweden recently – that I’ve faced my need for attention head-on and dealt with my sideshow. Not comfortable, not fun, entirely necessary.

And just as I was struggling with setting priorities, respecting the people in my life who I love, and choosing to dive into calmer waters, David Bowie, my master of flash and bang, shines with grace and class to provide an example of how to round out the sharp edges of life beautifully. He has shown me that commitment to purpose and to doing good work is the greatest reward, not the hype around it. Acknowledge and love those who have supported you. Honor the impact you have on others.

Never, EVER, stop being you.

Focus razor sharp now. Heart full of gratitude and stardust.

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