The year was 2003. I was in Los Angeles visiting my oldest son, and we saw Cirque Du Soleil perform “Varekai.” Varekai is a word, from the Romany language, which translates to “wherever.”
Founder and chief executive Guy Laliberte welcomed us: “We hope this voyage into adversity, courage and brotherhood will inspire you and take you to ... Varekai.”
Dominic Champagne, writer and director, explained the performance we were about to see as “the joy of challenging limits.” He encouraged, “Let yourself be swept away by the courage and beauty of these acrobats, dancers and actors, who, every day, wherever the wind may take them, risk their lives trying to attain the sublime, to touch the sky, to defy the law of gravity and to dance in the fires of volcanoes so they can tell the world that something else is possible.”
As the show unfolded, we watched perfectly timed, well-choreographed, unbelievable, spectacular performances that at times took our breath away.
In addition, there were words of insight and inspiration: “The seeking is better than the sought. Life is subject to change without notice. Everything is possible if you just lose your mind to it. Take comfort in the chaos. Wander wonderfully. With a little luck, you won’t find what you’re looking for. Crisis is a rite of passage. Never share secrets with yourself.”
The show was about life — fear and hope, crisis and courage, chaos and orderly precision, dreaming and meeting new challenges, disbelief and gales of laughter, the willingness to work hard enough to achieve what most people would call impossible, and often ending up, wonderfully surprised, someplace better — “wherever.”
Parents and grandparents, kids of all ages, blue-collar workers and Hollywood stars had sat side by side, laughing and cheering and gasping in disbelief as we watched the impossible become reality. And when the performance ended, we filed out with a sense of renewed courage and energy to face again the impossible in our own lives.
Charlotte Lankard is a licensed marriage and family therapist in private practice. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.