Give Your Gift Before You Go

This New Year’s morning, my man and I were talking about the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. And about how I have enough decades behind me now to weigh and measure. I’ve been here long enough to attend births, to steward some into their own becoming, and be with others at the doorway to their deaths. Now is my time to bring my experience to the midpoint and say:  It’s a short distance between one and the other.

You can bring birth here
You can bring death here
To this midpoint
To this center, this moment
Which contains all

We artists have a natural urge, a hunger even, to throw ourselves into the world with abandon. We’re inclined to embrace without first needing to understand. Our very pursuit of art is the way IN toward the understanding we seek.

Without our yearning, who would we be? Without our curiosity and wonder, why would we care? Without our sense of abundance and absence, how would we know where to go? We’ve gifted ourselves the gamut of emotions from bliss all the way to regret so that when the music plays, we can move.

Since birth we’ve had placed at our feet infinite treasures. From the first blink of consciousness up to this moment, who we are is a wealth. It doesn’t matter what, it matters that. We’re the totality, the beginning and the end, the first word and the last. Whatever you come across, it’s treasure and there’s more than enough.

There is enough.

Take any experience at all…take a negative one: a betrayal, a theft, a broken bone. The one who sees only the experience suffers many times. The one who sees the gift in the experience suffers only once. The victim is resigned. The maker sees the bounty and gets busy. Experience is a treasure trove. It’s fodder for the craft. We know this.

Make your life your work of art. You’re at the helm, master of brush and baton, mistress of ink and film and marley.  Play with what you’ve lived. Use it with abandon. Draw it back, pull it forward…recreate it. Be selfish, be reckless, be courageous. Be honorable, be humbled, be happy.

If in life you’re an artist, you’re an artist of life. At irregular intervals you stop to consider your time, your distance to events and people, and you begin again. You make anew what you were taught and given, and what you learned and received.

Share what you’ve lived and lay it bare for us. Create a new way for us, a new world of possibility for yourself and for us. When you open, we open. When we discover, you discover. When you are, all can become. This is art. This is also wisdom.

Give to your life the voice of its author.
Your life is your gift.
Give your gift before you go.
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About Karen Kohler

Born in Frankfurt and raised in New York, Karen began her professional music career in Austin. Since returning to NYC in 2001, she has been a leading exponent of the cabaret arts as performer, director, producer and historian. Her performances blend multiple genres - classical, cabaret, jazz, blues and folk-rock - in six languages. She is founder of the award-winning ensemble, Kabarett Kollektif, and producer of Kabarett Fete, a celebrated international cabaret festival. Karen gives private lessons and conducts master classes in stagecraft, the art of public speaking and creativity coaching. View all posts by Karen Kohler

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