Gratitude – glass half full


My last blog explored loneliness, or when the glass becomes most definitely half empty. Much of my coaching work is about helping people to top up their glasses, and see the world with gratitude. It is difficult to write that phrase this weekend, when so many have lost their lives and lost loved ones in Beirut and Paris. I pray we will all find ways to help make the world better through love and not hate, peace and not war. And in the meantime we, as creative artists, have a duty to keep making and facilitating art which enriches, enlightens, educates and entertains.

Yesterday I was at Omnibus Arts Centre in Clapham for “The Bogus Woman” performed by Krissi Bohn which gets to the heart of the abuse of an asylum seeker. Premiered in 2008 it is tragic that it is just as relevant today as then. Earlier I saw Jane Eyre at the National Theatre which again offers a harrowing tale of the abuse of a young girl. This in the same week as we hear of a man who has trapped his daughter in abuse for 20+ years in London.   Ms Eyre battles for her rights, for her voice to be heard, and a packed Lyttleton audience witnessed her pain and eventual muted triumph through love.   That’s all we really have to offer the world, and hope from the world, love and freedom to express ourselves.

Today I go to the S&S Awards which celebrates new writing in Musical Theatre, established by writer Warner Brown in memory of his parents. We will be packed into a theatre enjoying free speech, new ideas, and a collective freedom to express ourselves. Despite our very British ability to grumble at everything from the weather upwards, we are blessed to be free to celebrate together, and cheer creative writing.

I read this morning that Nicky Morgan has decided ditch creative writing A level. What are she and her fellow ministers and civil servants thinking about. Now we need new voices to be heard, we need to be challenged with playwrights and poets, storytellers and journalists. Arts and Culture is worth £850m in exports (source CEBR 2013) The value of services exported by the Creative Industries was £15.5 billion in 2011, 8.0 per cent of total UK service exports – and this was achieved with government investment less than 0.1% of the HBOS bailout (source Talking Birds). This “stuff” that we export starts as blank sheets of paper and an idea. We should celebrate young people who want to take blank sheets of paper, have an idea, and get an A level.   Its madness…or am I missing something.

I started by seeking to express gratitude, and glass half full. It can be lonely as a creative working by yourself, but I remind myself to think of what we have to offer: that we have the right, the duty, and the joy to speak out and celebrate with our creativity; and despite the very worst endeavors of our political leaders, we do it very well and are the envy of the world. This came to me as I was waiting for a tube and found myself smiling as I observed a tiny mouse going about its business. Little did the mouse know that he or she was giving me great joy. This morning I’m looking out at the clouds rushing past me, realizing how lucky I am to be warm and inside. Positive feelings from the smallest inspiration. We need to find ourselves a clan of people to share our creativity with, and then spread our gifts. Reach out to all races, all creeds, all colours, all religions with dance, music, theatre and all art forms which can celebrate peace and love and collective humanity. I don’t know whether I can change the world, but I do know we all have gifts to share – better get on and do it then Grady, and stop writing about it.

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