Back when I was in graduate acting school (Go Boilermakers!) I had a movement teach who served as my first real role model. One day in class he instructed every student to go roam the campus in search of something, anything, that would move us. During that exorcise I happened across a thirteen-lined ground squirrel that had, for unknown reasons, lost the use of it’s hind legs. The little guy was dragging himself around with his front legs as if life was meant to be lived that way. That moment went beyond “moving me”. It changed me.
How did that brief encounter with mother nature in her broken state change me? It opened up the world and made me realize one can be moved in so many ways by an infinite amount of moments. That, to me, is what art is all about; the human condition being moved to various emotional states by things that might not move others. The rustle of the wind in an tree bereft of leaves, the shape of a dancer in motion, the melody of music, the beauty of silence. Anything can move you if you are open to it.
Ironic enough, I get moved (not so much in a good way) by those that seem unable to be moved. You know the type – the unfeeling, the perpetually analytical, those that can watch the most tragic moment in life and not bat an eye. I feel for those people and those that love them.
I have a litmus test for this. There is an Indian movie called “Water” by Deepa Mehta. It is a glorious and wonderful movie. The last 30 seconds of that movie might well be the most heart-wrenching moment ever captured on celluloid. If you can watch that film and not be moved by the ending, there is something deeply wrong with you. Watch it and see what I mean. That movie will move you in so many ways.
I am also often struck by fragments of time where I will happen upon a candid moment with my wife. She will be loving on one of the cats, snuggled up in bed, or just having her own bit of peace, not thinking anyone is watching. Those moments make my heart melt. Those moments make me realize why I married my wife.
When my heart moves outside it’s normal rhythm, I am alive…truly alive. I long for those moment, but do not depend upon them. They are the happy accidents that make life such a joyous roller coaster.
I hope you have had one (or twelve) of those moments today.