“Keep the channel open…” Martha Graham quote

I share/gift/email/tweet this quote more than any other quote. More than Mary Oliver. More than Wendell Berry. This is what I find myself wanting to tell my friends (and my enemies) over and over and over again. Listen, please.

One great dancer to another. Martha Graham to Agnes DeMille. As quoted in de Mille’s autobiography Dance to the Piper.

“There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action,
and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. 
And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and be lost. 
The world will not have it. 
It is not your business to determine how good it is, nor how valuable it is, nor how it compares with other expressions. 
It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. 
You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. 
You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate YOU. 
Keep the channel open.”

In the kingdom, y’all…we will be our full selves. No editing down, no shrinking, no “why bother?”, absolutely no failing to care. We’ll be transparent. We’ll be open channels. We’ll be free.

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  1. Love this. Needed it today.

  2. wnhen@aol.com says:

    I always remember T.S.Elliot’s saying (and here I confess that all my quotes are third hand and probably wrong) that a poet can never be sure that there was enough reason to ruin his (or her) life. But the “ruined” life may be the free life. There is a cost, for sure, of keeping the channel open, but the cost is to the mundane. Keep writing, and I’ll keep open the channel.

  3. Thank you, Esther. I needed this today.


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    “Keep the channel open…” Martha Graham quote

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