The whole point of being an artist is to let things go. Our job is to create something and then let it go, send it out into the world and allow it to have a life of its own.
This applies whether we make a pot, a play or give a performance. It is something we give birth to and then we must cut the chord and send it out into the world to have a life of its own.
But damn is that hard sometimes. We cherish it, we put so much love into it, often it is achieved through blood, sweat and tears and it can be really hard to give it a blessing and release it.
But release it we must.
What’s the alternative? I know a potter who can’t bear to sell her work. She occasionally gives things to friends but she mostly has a house that is absolutely bursting at the seams with beautiful pots. And no money. If she could only learn to let them go, she would solve two problems at once.
This is on my mind because my teaching for the year has ended. Some of the students have been with me for two years. I’ve put a lot into working with them, teaching them singing technique, developing their interpretive skills and helping them to become independent artists. Some of them are damn good and they make me proud! All of them make me proud actually since I know how far they have come in two years time, but some of them have surpassed anything I could have taught them and become really something to watch.
And now I have to let them go.
Their course is over. Our time together is finished and I have to give them my blessings and release them. But it’s really hard. I like teaching them and their success feels like my success so I am trying to hold onto it for as long as I can.
Some of them may come back to me for some private coaching and I will be ready with open arms. But some of them will choose to go off to other pastures and that is equally fine.
It’s not that I want to control them, or keep them close, I just want to continue to work at developing their talent. There’s always more to work on. But now it’s time for them to figure that out themselves and take over engineering their own education.
So how do I let them go?
I don’t really have the answer. I’ve been slowly packing up my materials, organising my files and just the other day I put my notebook into my file cabinet. These are all baby steps towards letting them go. I think the other thing is to start to look forward to my own practice again. I have been developing other young artists for the last eight months, now I need to give some time to developing myself as an artist. I need to fill up my own artistic vessel. I want to learn some new music, do some coaching, take some classes and look for opportunities for me to be a performer. All of that will refresh me and mean that when I come back to teaching in October I will have new experiences to share with my students.
What are you holding on to? What do you need to let go of in order to move on? How do you plan to let go and move on? Share with me in the comments below.