David Bowie just gave us all permission slips. If I had to sum up the lesson of his legacy, I would say this: live your truth, authentically and in all its bizarre glory!
I’m not sure why his passing has left such an indelible mark on me. Perhaps in my younger days he helped me accept parts of myself that I was too ashamed to acknowledge or admit, even to myself. I spent much of my youth feeling outcast, afraid to acknowledge my vulnerabilities, let alone share them. Let alone share them with hundreds of thousands of people, standing on stage yelling into a microphone! What courage!
The Courage To Live Your Truth
I think this is the biggest gift he leaves us. I mean yes, he leaves his art, which is signifcant and visionary. He was a game changer. But this only comes with courage. So even if we don’t have the gift of vision, we can learn from his tremendous example of courage. He challenged cultural norms. And we each have our own cultures with norms we could challenge.
He was the ultimate artist – fiercely dedicated to his passion and expressing it. He was not afraid to reinvent himself or to create things outside of the box. Rock musician? Theatre producer? Songwriter? Music video star? Actor? Drag Queen? David Bowie was also a painter, as I discovered recently by accident (while looking for one of my favorite painters, Kamel Berkouk.) You can’t really define who he was and maybe that is the whole point. True art (not to mention life) defies definition.
Let Go Of Expectations
We may not change the music industry or re-define our particular field of expertise. But we can be heroes! (and heroines.) We can muster our courage to change the world, even if its our own local world. Or even just our individual inner world.
When I look at how David Bowie lived his life, I see someone who lived to the fullest, who shared everything he had, who kept on going, and who was not afraid to keep changing with the times. Accepting constant cha-cha-cha-cha-changes means letting go, over and over. To me, that is what it means to practice presence and live fully in the moment. This is what it means to live your truth.
Bowie lived his life full-throttle, without apology. He was a freak (I mean that with utmost respect) and let his freak flag wave—which gives us permission to do the same. But permission is not the same as doing it.
Share Your Truth
It’s a bit unfair that we often realize only after the fact how precious something was – a person, place, situation, or phase of life. Wouldn’t it be a shame to wake up too late do discover you didn’t follow the path that really inspired you? What would it mean for you to live your truth fearlessly?