Input (restorative): Behind the scenes

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ATOM-r Director Mark Jeffery consults with Lighting Technician Simon Bedwell

ATOM-r Collective before their performance of Kjell Theory
Photos by Grace DuVal:
Monday, March 12, 2018

As I hung out at the Chisenhale Dance Space in London while ATOM-r readied for their performance of Kjell Theory on January 12th, I settled into familiar sights, activities, and conversations. Being at a rehearsal or back stage before a performance is such a delight to me. It is its own little universe with things being said and done to create the magic the audience will soon experience. There's always lots going on behind the scenes.

I was reminded of this in one very particular moment prior to the show when the director was confronted with an unforeseen problem. Calm and assertive, clear and patient, he navigated the disturbance in a most effective way - not upsetting the cast just minutes before the show but doing what was necessary to keep things moving smoothly. I admired the way he handled the situation and found myself remarking to Grace, "Oh what goes on behind the scenes!"

Yes, things are always going on behind the scenes, whether that is at a performance or in our own life. Years ago I remember explaining to a friend why people come to see me for counseling. I said that fortunately for all of us, most of the world is able to operate in civilized, considerate ways in daily life. We are able to get up, put on clothes, and go out into the world to do what we do. We converse with people, enjoy their company, and raise children who are able to grow up and do the same.

But just below the surface of these functional, civilized ways are often disturbances of some sort: unhappiness, anxiety, heart break, discouragement, addiction, abuse, relationship problems. Most of us have these things at some time. Behind the scenes of our everyday life are issues that invite our attention in order to make our lives better.

Approaching these behind-the-scene issues with honesty and willingness to deal with them is a good idea. And then, using Mark Jeffery's calmness and assertiveness, clarity and patience, we can make ready for a healthier engagement with life.

Next: Visual and emotional spectacle


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