The EDGE of Everyday

by SANDRA BARGMAN

I live my life on the edge of everyday.

I am an edge-walker.  I traverse the borders of my communities and the thinly veiled boundary between worlds, the spirit filled and the mundane. In nature-based cultures, shamans enter invisible worlds to retrieve future-focused information, direction, or guidance for their communities.

In our modern world, my edge-walking also occurs when I actively seek out the edges and boundaries of accepted beliefs, assumptions, and unexpected challenges. I’m an innovator, a hybrid creator, a risk taker. I discover ways to “think outside the box”, cultivate courage, and create a new sense of possibility.

I have always had a rebellious streak.

I have always had a rebellious streak. What I’ve discovered though, is not that I have a problem with authority, per se – but rather, as an edge-walker, I am not interested in status quo – with its typical response, “this is the way it’s always done”. There is no innovation in that. No risk taking. No curiosity. Resistant to change. And if there is one thing of which I am certain, change is the only constant in Life.

The story goes that when I was a little girl, all of four years old, I marched into the kitchen with my hands on my hips and announced to my mother that I was “here on a mission.”

I had a mad fascination with cemeteries.

I’m still on that mission. From the time I could walk and talk, I’ve been singing and acting. And I was the kid in the corner with the antennae, reading the energy, connected to the world of Spirit.  I loved going to churches of all kinds, mesmerized by the iconography. I had a mad fascination with cemeteries. I know it was because I was asking the big questions, “Where do we go when we die? Why am I here? Who am I?”

Throughout my performing career, my spiritual yearnings were as important as my artistic life.  I was veracious in my quest, curious, questioning everything. Eventually, my restlessness and rebellion led me to my desire to serve in a larger capacity.

While on tour with the Madison Square Garden tour of CINDERELLA, starring Eartha Kitt, a friend and fellow cast member shared with me that she was a life coach, an emerging industry at that time. She encouraged me to investigate coaching, and while perusing coaching websites and I came across two words that would change my life. “Interfaith Minister”. A light bulb went on and off I dashed to research, then interview with, and ultimately enroll into The New Seminary for Interfaith Studies in NYC.

I had no idea what “being a minister” meant.

I had no idea what “being a minister” meant. Whether it was for personal enrichment or to step out of the proverbial spiritual closet as a leader, I couldn’t have articulated at that time. Nor did I need to. Of course, it was both. While in seminary, I was reconnected to the reason I became an actor…the “Know Thyself” maxim that is at the heart of the artistic, spiritual and leadership quest. “Know Thyself” has been my life mission.

Immersed in my seminary experience, I rediscovered the ancient roots of theater, where the actors told the mythological stories of life, and were believed to be shamans channeling the gods and goddesses. When I am onstage, I experience a heightened sense of self, a richer self-knowing. It was then the idea of Sacred Stages was sparked. I am not affiliated with any religious tradition or specific belief system. My personality and temperament are drawn to certain elements and understandings, but I do not “identify” as anything other than “human-being having a direct experience”. Theatre, music, art, nature, relationships, my life: all are my “church”.

Sacred Stage

Where would I go for an expansive experience with my community? Easily connecting the dots between my spiritual journey and my creative life, the answer was clear. I’d go to my alter, the stage. The idea of Sacred Stages uniquely reflected my edge-walking, and my desire to hybrid my creative expression with my spiritual leadership. Sacred Stages, LLC officially launched in 2014.

My caba-ritual, The Edge of Everyday, debuted in 2014 and little did I know, tapped into my edge-walking and crystalized the concepts explored within the show as my bonafide platform. Combining elements of cabaret, performance art, and ritual, creating The Edge of Everyday was also a personal ritual for me, transforming my intention to share my own voice and wisdom, and inviting audience members to discover and explore their own edges. And what I mean by edges is those places where we fear change, those internal places where paradoxes and contradictions live in our beliefs, those shadowy places we don’t want to look. In the deepest sense, it was an invitation to experience wholeness by embracing both our light and our darkness.

What is life asking of me? All the questions live on the edge. On the edge of everyday.

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