Every time I stand on stage I give myself to those who listen.
I let them have their way with my words.
I take what is mine and hold it out with shaking wrist, an offering. Everytime.
And then there are sometimes, sometimes I give even more.
Sometimes I come to that point, the edge of no return. Where this is only one choice, do I back down from cliff edge or do I leap? To chicken out or to so fully and completely give myself to the stage, to their ears, to this moment, to their hearts that I fly and I fall knowing well that I shall soon hit the ground. An empty vessel smashed upon the rocks beneath the face of the cliff.
There are few times that I do this. That I completely and utterly empty myself upon the stage until I am no more and the world is a different place. There could only be a few times. It is too much. It costs too much. And you don’t know such a moment has arrived until suddenly you are standing at edge and the choice must be made in that split second.
And then when you do and you feel yourself soaring and you feel the rush and you feel everything leaving you, pouring out of you, and you cannot stop this. And it is at once glorious and painful. And everything else in the entire world disappears except for this, right here. You know that something sacred is occurring.
I have never used magic but I know that this is what it must feel like.
And you know at the moment that the divine has taken your teapot hands and she is the one now pouring, now holding, now giving.
The rush is indescribable.
Until the end.
At the end, there is the moment, when you have spent yourself, given everything, poured out of yourself until they are full and you are nothing and your body is trembling and you sway slightly and your heart is pounding and your body crumbles from the inside out for it no longer has the energy to stand and you watch as time slows down and opens itself up to you. The trickle of sweat takes an eternity to fall from left eyebrow. The world is silent. You take another eternity to look from the ground up to their faces. It is like we have made love and are not sure how to hold each other in the explosion of what we have just become together. No wonder the bliss and the pain and the freedom and the shame of sexuality and spirituality and creativity are all one and the same.
This past weekend I went there. To this place. To the cliff edge. I threw myself off it. Sunday morning. New Zealand. A valley. A festival. I had performed all week. But this day. This day I leapt from the cliff and they watched me soar with tears in their eyes and I flew and I fell and I poured it all out and the moment ended and I felt the coming emptiness after the giving and I felt my body falling apart inside and I took the eternity that it takes to look up at them. And there they were, standing to their feet. An ovation. They knew this for what it was. It was not me who spoke for them this day, it was God. They applauded her and they applauded the cracked jar of clay that is me. They applauded and the silent moment grew so loud and it was then that I heard it. Heard her. Courtney. A Maori/Islander friend. She sang straight to me. A song of honouring above the applause, it quitened the clapping until it was her and me and then a chorus of voices that joined her and I felt the crumbling inside stop its fall and begin to rebuild.
I have never had my emptiness refilled so instantaneously before.
The ladies stopped singing and the moment held its breath again and then he stood. Kirke. He stood and he screamed into my face. He bellowed. The Maori haka. He looked me straight in the eyes slapping his thighs and pounding on his chest and his nostrils flaring and his eyes bulging and tears fell from my eyes in this honouring. He was giving it back to me, giving it all back to me in that moment. And then another voice echoing through the air, it was Kirkes brother Tui. And joining them now was Merenia, the strong young Maori woman who holds two worlds in her heart. And I looked again and there was my dear friend Hannah. She holds a hundred worlds in her heart. She stood at the back of the audience and her eyes were so large and in her face and in her voice was a thousand Maori warriors and I was no longer an empty vessel standing before them all, I was full and overflowing and the thousand Maori warriors bellowed inside my chest as these friends honoured my giving and gave it all back to me. They gave it all back to me. They leapt from their own cliffs and we met in the sky and we smashed upon the ground together and we stood together and held each other in this moment. No audience has ever given so much back to me and I doubt ever will again.