Breaking borders and feeling alienated to yourself


The most exciting part of being an artist, is to create. It starts to get really good, when you get in a flow once you start creating. The act of creating always results in something new, something that wasn’t there before. You might have an idea upfront where you want to go, though in the end you are often surprise yourself with the result. For everything new you create, you break the borders of what is known so far.

This is a very hidden border. The first border that pops up in your head might be the country border. The symbol for a broken country border is of course the downfall of the Berlin wall in ’89. But there are many more borders you might want to break. I have here a list of borders that students in Tampere, Finland want to break. This sheet was one of the results of the workshop “International mindset: use boundaries to break borders”. I was invited to give this workshop at TAMK, the university of Tampere, during their annual international week last month.

Every border breaking is accompanied by the exhilarating feeling of starting something new, of being alive! You see it in the sheer joy when the Berlin wall fell down, and also in artists when they are creating something new. Though there is a downside as well. Many things that you thought to took for granted, that gave grip to your live, are suddenly gone once you cross that border. You can feel very alienated from yourself.

Personally, I’ve broken many borders during my live. I moved from an isolated village in Germany to Frankfurt, a metropolis. 3 years later I moved from Germany to the Netherlands. I do not regret any border breaking I did. And I know that alienated feeling very well.

Many famous musicians will recognize that feeling too. Breaking the border to success is in this context a border like all the other borders. Feeling alienated from yourself is a very unpleasant feeling. It hurts mentally. Mental pain hurts just as much as physical pain. No wonder that many people try to numb it with alcohol or drugs.

Working in arts and music, you are in a business of creating, in a business of breaking borders. You might wonder if there is a way to avoid that alienated feeling. If definitely helps if you look for an alternative source for grip: within yourself. If you find that, you will become resilient for that alienated feeling.

Next to cultural, social, language and country borders, I also broke religious borders, gender borders and mental borders. Meditation and being aware of where I am and what I do, of how I react on the current situation, helped me to be able to feel at home where ever I am.

Later this month I will publish an online workshop to help people in the music business to find grip within themselves, to enable them to break all the borders they want. It will start in September.

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