Meet Sonia Norris who I met in the California desert recently. From Toronto, Canada, she’s a professor of arts and theatre as well as an artistic director, particularly of ‘clown theatre.’
Sonia wears a couple more titles: “The Chaos Factory” and “Berry-the-Clown.” She talked to me about her work with the latter (her passion) and why she chose ‘clown theatre,’ how she teaches her students and why, more on the ‘clown analogy,’ and what she hoped it would teach them.
She gives an example of the clown falling down and having to get back up again countless times, despite the fact that he could be perceived as a failure – each time. What do you do when you’re not a good tap dancer but you ‘must’ perform that role on stage. (of course, I had a ton of business analogies throughout the entire conversation but decided not to ‘go there.’)
She tells her students after a successful performance, one where they’re playing out a role they are particularly good at. “Now,” she says, “do the same performance and tap dance while you’re doing it. Do it in total belief as if you’re as good at tap dancing as you are singing and acting.”
My thoughts about this concept:
This goes back to the profound reality in the power of our belief system and what we do with that belief system. I’ve been thinking — almost daily — about this for the past few weeks, so when we entered into this conversation, it was not only ironic, but affirmation of how I’ve been living. (inside a clown world and out).
Imagine the concept where your world becomes what you want it to be, the “moment you say it is so.” I believe in this, but you must be in ‘complete belief,’ and erase all doubt. Of course the latter is hard, but once we eliminate that doubt in our ‘noisy heads,’ we begin to really step into our power. The power we’re designed for. The power we’re capable of.
Like the actor.
Like the clown.
It’s not rocket science. It goes back to the simple tale you tell your ten year old child, the same one we received at ten. “Honey, as long as you’ve done your best, you have not failed.”
Then it’s about moving that ‘no fear, no failure’ notion into our adult lives, but doing it in an enhanced state. Where we really succeed is who we are as a human and who we become over the course of our life. To take it a step further: how many people actually believe that they can be loved immensely as a human being regardless of the ‘tap dance’ or the performance they deliver? The one we know. Or the one we don’t know.
At an intellectual level, we might say ‘of course’ we do. But do we really?
The clown is like a bouncing ball, which rises to the top again and again. Just like life.
Thanks for a fabulous day Sonia.