How Cirque du Soleil Revealed My Purpose to Me

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Friday night, I went to a Cirque du Soleil show with Garrett’s co-workers. It was called Luzia: a waking dream of Mexico. How fitting for the fact that we are exploring Discover and Repression in the Mastermind right now.

Light and darkness. Dreams. Asleep and awake. Exploring light and its relationship to the other elements.

And, as always with Cirque, I was in awe. Both shocked and delighted by so much of what unfolded before me. I watch performers who had clearly trained for months—maybe even years—to perform what, in some cases, can only be described as Olympic-quality athletics.

And yet they performed for relatively modest pay. For grueling hours—day after day in this traveling show. Because they love their craft. Because they are artists. Because this is an expression of their souls.

I thought so much about the history of objectification with circus workers. The societal outsiders. The “freaks.” For living outside the norms of society. For choosing something other than the conditioning they were raised with.

It made me think a lot about my own journey. About how crazy I seemed—and still seem—to some for leaving my career to do this. About how much of a “freak” I was called for being an intellectual, intelligent person who talked about magic and channeling and energetic activations and even parallel realities.

You might know that one of my Brand Energies—or ways we conceptualize life purpose—is Zany. And that the word Zany comes from ‘Zanni,’ a stock character in commedia dell’arte. The 16th century predecessor to the modern-day clown.

Zanni was foolish. And silly. He always made stupid mistakes. He always made people laugh. He was dancing or playing around. And he followed his emotions almost to a fault. Sometimes he would consort with women and men. Sexually free. And generally living outside the rules of society.

And yet it was only Zanni who could break the fourth wall and speak directly to the audience. Ushering them through the entire performance and ultimately to whatever wisdom it wanted to share.

I thought about that as I watch Luzia’s modern rendition of Zanni in its MC clown. I was most struck by his sleight of hand. His ability to trick the audience into letting the magic happen.

During an set change, the clown would perform, using careful lighting to only focus on his performance. He would create some big, elaborate display of entertainment to keep us busy while the set magically transformed. Without him, we might never have allowed the magic of the show to continue.

It makes me think a lot of at work. In the Sacred Circle and Sacred Mastermind. Sherri often argues that rather than shame and vilify the intellect (as we’ve seen many other programs do), we embrace it. To the utmost degree. We take a very intellectual approach to the work. We carefully analyze everything. We unpack and conceptualize patterns in ourselves and in humanity. We push ourselves to really critical thinking.

We laugh, we play, we dance. We get really vulnerable. And we’re constantly thinking.

All the while the magic of the work just happens.

Sherri often says that’s one of my greatest gifts. That head-fake. To perform. To play. To dance and laugh. To be vulnerable. To take people to such intellectual heights. That they are so busy doing all of that they forget to resist the work. And that’s when the magic happens. When we’re not looking.

For so much of my life, I felt too much in every way. Too loud and playful and foolish. Too excited. Too exuberant. Wanting way too much out of life. Too vulnerable and honest and deep. Too intense. Too desperate to connect in very real ways. Too desperate to know my own purpose. Too analytical and intellectual. If something didn’t make sense to me, I just couldn’t believe it.

Truthfully, it’s why I always hated science in school. Because –at least the way it was mostly taught to me—it was mostly memorizing. And, sure, I have a good memory. I can memorize. But it wasn’t like math or language that I could critically think about and wrap my head around. It was mostly memorizing facts of categorization that someone else came up with.

So I always felt like an outsider to a world that told me to memorize the rules. The hegemonic norms. Because someone whose subjectivity was prized over mine said so. And that was that.

And then I sat there on Friday—and I was in awe. Of the history of Zanni. The history of the clown. The head-fake. The silliness. The magic. The “freaks.” The courageous ones living outside of society’s conditioning. The artists living their dreams.

And I deepened into my purpose. Into myself.

You know—the word ‘subjective’ means that it reflects back on the subject. It’s indicative of, informative about the subject. That means that everything—every moment of our lives—teaches us more about ourselves when we understand our subjectivity.

The good and bad. The moments of joy and trauma. Feeling too much. Feeling like an outsider. Being called a freak. Just as much as writing this. And going to a Cirque show. And running the Sacred Circle.

All of it is subjective. It teaches me more about myself.

There are no conditions to what is purposeful. The “good” and the “bad” are equally purposeful. Because it’s all subjective.

And my life—my purpose—is no longer conditional. All of it helps me be me more.

The Zany, Aligned, Free, Successful, Unmistakable, Vulnerable person.

The one I’m deepening into every day.

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