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Embracing Fragility

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Photo by Bernd Dittrich on Unsplash

As I mentioned, I’ve been thinking about fragility after experiencing the fantastic Maria Bartuszová exhibit at the Tate Modern. And, randomly*, I heard someone talk on an Israeli podcast about being spontaneous and the three jazz improvisation pillars: active listening, embracing uncertainty, and working with patterns. Specifically, the idea of embracing uncertainty resonated with me.


In the podcast, Mallie said that uncertainty is difficult, but it’s also the space where creativity, play, and new ideas live. It got me thinking about fragility in that sense: the place where openness to the new lives. As the great Leonard Cohen said: “There’s a crack in everything; that’s how the light gets in.”


Life is fragile. It only takes a moment of thoughtlessness to break a bone or a heart. I’ve been raised with the idea that, really, no place is safe and nothing is certain. My grandmother had learned that lesson the hard way when her family was murdered, her home was taken, and she fled to start life anew. Unfortunately, I learned from this story that nothing is ever certain, rather than learning that I have formidable genes of power.


Because of that lesson, I keep feeling that I must fight fragility, protect myself from it. I need to be strong, unbreakable. But that isn’t working for me anymore. It hasn’t been working for a while now. I’m slowly learning that the cracks are where the light gets in. It’s still tricky. Anything new is scary because it’s shaky, unfamiliar. But I’m trying to sit with this fear, this uncertainty, and see what comes out.


Recently, one thing that crawled back through the cracks was music. Music has been a source of fear for me because I’ve allowed my brain to trick me into thinking that if I do something, it has to be perfect. I had let my resistance get the better of me. Instead of making music because it’s fun, I worried about how many hours I’ll need to invest to make it perfect. And now, delicately, gingerly, I’m singing again.

 

*I know, I know. Nothing is ever random.

 

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