“A succulent wild woman is one of any age who feels free to fully express herself in every dimension of her life.” ~ Susan Ariel Rainbow Kennedy (SARK)
We know it is spring when this little finch returns to our balcony and sings his full-throated song. The finch who lifts our hearts from spring through early fall never hesitates to sing, never looks around to see if anyone might be listening with a critical ear. He just sings.
Most of us hide our songs behind a muzzle of uncertainty or embarrassment. Not just our songs, of course. We squirrel away our paintings, our dances, our books, our dreams, our whole gloriousness.
Thank goodness the finch doesn’t know about that human propensity. He just sings. He reminds me of the quote so often attributed to Mark Twain but more likely the words of William Purkey:
You gotta dance like there’s nobody’s watching.
You gotta love like you’ll never be hurt.
You gotta sing like there’s nobody’s listening.
And you gotta live like it’s heaven on earth.
That little ditty would not be so popular if the fears behind it were less widespread. Even an author and illustrator as successful as SARK (aka Susan Ariel Rainbow Kennedy) confesses to having to deal regularly with her inner critics. You can watch her recent video for some wise advice on dealing with them.
And, in the video below, you can watch William Purkey telling the story of the 43-year-old, six-foot, red-headed elementary school principal who was determined to take ballet lessons. Whenever she shared her dream with family or colleagues, they rained on it, sure she could never be a ballet dancer. She did not let that stop her, and on the night she debuted with all the little ballerinas in her dance school, she received a standing ovation. Not because she was the best dancer but because the audience was thrilled by her courage and determination.
Purkey’s advice is not just pablum. We all have fire inside. We can warm the world with it if we share our gifts as freely as the little finch on my balcony shares his. When I listen to him, he gives me hope.
Arnold Lobel wrote a story very much like the one William Purkey told, of a camel who had her heart set on becoming a ballet dancer–and did, in spite of all the camel critics. You can read it here.