The year that has just passed has never shown our asperities as much as our aspirations, our frictions as our unions, our separations or our paths to peace. Living is an art. And we are the artisans, the creators, the authors and the actors. If we come into the world through the magic of cells that are triggered on a physical level, we then create our life every second, consciously or unconsciously. We are the midwives of our own destiny, at each step in renewal. Deep down, we are artists, potential alchemists !
Is life written, like a score, or is it an improvisation according to one's fantasy ? It doesn't matter, I say to myself. The performer that I am knows at what moment, even if I follow a music written in another time, another place, sufficiently connected to an absolute, it is constantly recreated, each day differently and always actual. On the other hand, by sometimes letting your fingers run on a keyboard, without real consciousness, you tirelessly reproduce the same unconscious mechanics of harmonies played a thousand times over... I have always found it fascinating to feel when I feel free of a text or an improvisation at a certain moment of knowledge of the work and when I feel imprisoned, locked up, limited by ignorance. It is never the external object but my feeling and what generates it: my relationship with this exterior.
So, the more the musician that I am advances on this path of life, the more I become aware of how much living is an art.
The growing number of requests for therapies (hypnosis, sophrology, non-violent communication, neuro-linguistic programming, coaching, soprho-analysis, psychology, family constellations, somato-psychic repair and a thousand other techniques) demonstrates, if proof were needed, to what extent each of us tends to become the virtuoso of our own life, the scientist of its mechanisms, the inner master scientist as much as the disciple in its most daily domain : oneself.
We can observe the world around us, at 360 degrees, take a tour of ourselves and contemplate the universe. This contemplation will always take place from a single center : oneself. There is nothing narcissistic or selfish about it, on the contrary. So try to think (or feel) outside of yourself, outside of your consciousness ! So many amalgams have created structures that are totally confined, completely twisted, in the image of what this exterior today reflects to us of the world : a profound imbalance. And again ! This is what I myself humbly perceive when certain wisemen would observe this same world with calm and discernment : suffering is only the first stage of knowledge, chaos that of an ignorance of its intrinsic arrangement.
It is sometimes necessary to wait for years of faulty relations with one's surroundings, from the most intimate to the most global, to begin to take an interest at last in the very first role of these repetitive scenes : oneself. Sometimes it takes centuries of war and famine to ask questions about the system itself. "To make a return" as Jesus said in speaking of Yeshua. In the end, isn't the long-awaited Messi within us when we finally recognize ourselves, this movement towards the presence within us ?
It is then that these new explorations take us through crossroads, adventures sometimes uncomfortable but always revealing treasures that one day become a source of joy. Freedom cannot, in essence, be innate. It must, according to its definition, be chosen. When one learns an instrument or the handling of any discipline that starts from a deep, inner and personal impulse, there is no greater happiness than this evolution in itself, at the heart of the talent to be ourselves and to discover its infinite richness every day.
If we name only certain areas as "art", then it is likely that we are separating ourselves from our life power: that of the artist within us. To create, to invent, starting from what is, this is in short the action of any artist. Whether it is a performer like me who finds himself in a concert hall with complex acoustics, a particular program and a difficult instrument to play, it will always be within my power to bring out what is created from these ingredients and, above all, to feel the pleasure of it according to the prism that I will choose to put on this field of possibilities.
Beyond the musician, the woman I am asks herself with as much humility as insistence the keys to all happiness. At my piano, I search, I rehearse, I find, then I fail and continue... Some notes will be perfect, others impossible. Some notes will be perfect, others impossible. Sometimes I hate this instrument and then I get ecstatic. I often forget that life is no different, and that if it is not a thornless rose, it is neither good nor bad, that it is only a score that I am given to feel, know and interpret according to what goes through me. I also forget, so often, that extraordinary phrase of my Russian mentor, Grigory Gruzman, a magnificently pragmatic man, who, on a very important competition day in Poland, many years ago, stubbornly repeated to me: "Please Helene, I know you are very intelligent, but above all, really, please ! Love every note, really love each of the notes of this Chopin Etude !". He didn't know that by saying these extraordinarily precious words to me, he was laying the foundation for any spiritual, therapeutic or artistic teaching. For we are constantly oscillating between these three facets, questioning ourselves about our physical or psychological pain, interesting us in creating our future and connecting us at times to this irrevocable feeling of being touched in the place of our soul, this part with no before or after, with no other story than eternity.
The famous English conductor, Benjamin Zander, published a book several years ago entitled The Art of Possibilities. In reality an artist is no more talented with his life than a therapist, a civil servant or a baker. It is even, alas, recurrent, in the collective unconscious, to believe in suffering allowing the artist to transcend reality to create his vision, his universe. On the contrary, I believe that art helps us to see what is, to be connected to it, just as a therapist allows us to connect with parts of us that run away or reject each other. Art inevitably questions us constantly about our reality. What do I see and what do I feel ? Then, from what I feel or perceive, what does it tell about me, about my story ? Horizon is nothing but possibilities...
No life is worth more than another. There is no painter or musician who is worth more than another. These obsolete comparisons belong to those old patterns where we were still interested in the most superficial part of the manifestation of the real. The most visible point of the iceberg that would make us believe that there is only that. In reality there are simply echoes, interactions that come to touch us more deeply in the heart and sometimes reveal secrets about who we are. Music doesn't tell us a story, it tells us our story. Or it is useless...
Today, exhausted as many of us are by an upsetting year, I become aware of the Stradivarius we have in our hands when we are interested in Life, in our lives. Awareness is vast and varied. A large percentage has been revealed of people who have chosen to change jobs or to spend part time since the beginning of the confinement, as if society finally realized in this crazy race the true "essential" and "non-essential" to the sometimes false labels...
Closed theaters or concert halls are not art. Once again, we would have been quick to create the amalgam under the illusion of a cardboard set, to make us believe that if the government forbids public performances, then art is dead. I am in no way minimizing here the seriousness of these policy positions on ethical, philosophical and even social or economic issues. And I am well placed to know some of the most terrible factual repercussions on artists as a whole. But if art is above all "the art of...", that is to say, a means of creating, inventing, new universes, discovering other prisms, arousing our imagination, beyond known horizons, then it must be said that no matter what is, art is above all about making do with what is.
Deep down, the true hero, the greatest of virtuosos, is not the one who offers you diamonds by robbing or buying jewelry. But rather the one who, starting from a branch of a tree that this one will have wanted to leave on the ground, will create for you the most beautiful crown. Picasso had declared it to a friend, with his provocative but so right air : "if I was locked in the cabinets, I would paint with my shit !".
So, if there was only one question that I wanted to ask myself at the beginning of these celebrations and this great passage of the year, it would be: "what do we want to paint and what shape do your brushes take ?".
Our suffering, sadness, discouragement or anger are just poorly wrapped gifts, utensils that don't look like the glossy pages of the magazines that make us look good. They are much more than that! For they offer us to make this link between our divine part and our incarnated part, to embrace these paradoxes, as Balzac described a carrion without seeking its beauty but seeing the wonder in everything. Without this, we would simply not be human. Our carrion is just the other side of our smiles. Their twin brother or sister. Yet, often, spirituality and therapy, like art, would like to cover them with rose petals so that we no longer see this facet of humanity, because we suffocate, helplessly, in front of these mountains of corpses from the TV news that boomerang back into our daily lives. Not knowing what to do anymore, by dint of having covered them, we believe we no longer understand anything. Whereas the truth is so simple, deep down... Even shame is simple, even disgust is simple. We made barricades of them because we did not understand the mechanisms of our interior stimulated by the exterior. But just as black and white form perfect chords on a piano, our shadows and lights are just waiting to embrace each other, especially in this period of the shortest days and the longest nights. Fortunately, music does not only have perfect chords, but a whole range of other definitions of harmony: diminished, minor, augmented, in imperfect cadences, broken, etc.
It is our dissonances that allow us to draw the contours of our consonances. Without them, we would simply be formless.
"Always name things by name. The fear of a name only increases the fear of the thing itself", says Harry Potter by the pen of JK Rowling. It is that any alchemical transformation passes above all by laying down the ingredients. And, as an artist can choose any painting to express himself, he can at this moment only trust this painting to express - that is to say to offer towards the outside - the continuation of his being. It is then that, making peace with all that he has been able to restrain, repress, harmony can finally emerge from this - a priori - great chaos.
If therapy brings us back to our past in order to liberate it, if coaching suggests our future to create, then both art and spirituality offer us to remember our divine incarnation, this link with the timeless, but also and above all this creative power that is the Eternal within us. It is only with eyes... Inhabited by these three facets, we are then the sphinxes of our journey, the answer and the question to our own evolution, in perpetual coming and going like a virtuoso oscillating between oblivion and knowledge.
Ondine uses these first words in Alloyius Bertrand's poem taken up by Ravel for his famous Gaspard Triptych of the Night : "Listen ! Listen !"
I couldn't find a better definition to evoke those moments when we think we are lost and those when it seems to find life again within us : the art of listening, through one's own instrument, oneself, to noises like songs that come to us from the depths of our entrails : the very source of our wisdom.
Wouldn't it then be a true art, the one that we carry out at every moment of our incarnation, as best we can, even when we believe we are miserable, while deep down, inexorably, the flame of all life stands ?
Wishing you wonderful holidays, to the sound of your soul !