Every week, a Sabbath rest when I release the world’s hold on me.
Christine Valters Paintner
Clowns Skula and Yeroshka, Nicholas Roerich
Dropping the story
The writer Nick Thorpe relates going to a workshop that explored clown and fool archetypes. Its focus was being in the present moment, learning to have a playful, loose relationship with yourself. Here the workshop leader, Angela Knowles, makes a comment …
We go through life telling these stories about ourselves, enacting little dramas to bolster our self-image – I’m a survivor, I’m a mother, I’m a worship leader – but the joy of clowning is you learn to drop the story any time you want.
The changes in clothing and face gear illustrates a necessary ebb and flow of letting go and receiving. The very physical act of doing this had even more of an interior impact on Nick Thorpe. There are stories that we can and should build up, that relate to the self, to God. There are stories that we can and should tear down, that relate to the self, and to God.
Taking life, your story, too seriously?
Biblical narrative is shot through with stories where greed, possessiveness and taking self too seriously multiply only for a radical call to thin down draws things back. Maybe this is where fasting, denial, simplicity, Sabbath and repentance support us. When we allow our attachment to our stories to lessen a lightheartedness emerges. The true self is allowed room to breathe, becomes more transparent, less hidden and more free.
How would it feel to adopt this clowning attitude? Imagine dropping a role or definition you are attached to, for a period, e.g. instead of being the youngest I am now the oldest. Where does it take you? Is it empowering, frightening, freeing?
*Nick Thorpe, Urban Worrier: Adventures in the Lost Art of Letting Go