Lately I’ve gotten a bit hung up on self-improvement. Maybe it’s because I have been subjecting myself to all the self-help audios I release ;). It is an interesting thing to choose to grow, because while there is promise of getting somewhere you would like to go, or becoming the person you would like to be, at least for me, I also have to accept that a month or a year from now, I might look back and see where I came from, and be slightly embarrassed at what I was once proud of-maybe see something I didn’t see before. Sometimes, it’s more comfortable to be blind to my unfinished-ness.
So I’ve been working really hard at improving, and actually, that constant focus on improving has given me a sense of “Oh crap, what if I create something today that I could have done better tomorrow?” You know, by that better, more improved person I will be at that point. And recently I’ve reached a point in a musical project where I’ve recorded to the best of my ability after getting lessons, practicing, working on being on stage, putting my heart into it. You know, the part where I have to admit this is the best I can do at this point in time, step out, and pull back the curtain. There is something deeply humbling and magical about moments in time like this. It’s like telling the love of your life how you feel about them, knowing full well they could crush you, and yet doing it anyway.
I keep thinking of that scene from “The Wizard of Oz” when the great and powerful Oz is discovered behind the curtain. He has been projecting out this great green giant head to impress everyone-when in actuality, he is just a man behind a curtain. When I first saw that movie, I may have feared that great green giant head, but I didn’t connect with it. Instead, I felt a connection with the man behind the curtain. The one who made mistakes and fumbled around, and all around just did the best he could. And really, when I think about the artists, philosophers, and visionaries that have impacted me the most, it was not their perfection that compelled me, it was their raw spirit. It was their courage to step out from behind the curtain and put it out there-the unadulterated truth of what they saw, the unfinished, the unexplored, the undone, the crass, the brazen, the sweet and the sour, the love, the hate and everything in between. Maybe the man behind the curtain was more compelling than he realized.
I think we all have our ways of hiding behind the curtain, and our inner and outer critics that tell us we have to be better than we are. And it’s easy to get paralyzed by this fear, and instead get locked into this idea that our best self is somewhere out in the future. I would say the person behind the curtain is the best self, a person on a journey, a person trying new things, doing their best. Being behind the curtain is part of the journey, as well as coming forward and following your dreams. There is no way to start perfectly. You just have to start, and then keep on trying.
In 1923 Babe Ruth struck out more times than any other player in major league baseball, but he also had the record for the most home runs and the highest batting average of the season.