Mike's Notes: The Lightness of Being

Posted by Mike Henriques


It is good to remember that the lightness of being is nearby, ready to balance out challenge. Sometimes you catch it in the glimmers of sun sheeting across a field and a mood shifts. Or a day. Of course you have to be open to the possibility, and sometimes you have to actively look for the lightness of being. Sometimes the moment simply seems to fall in your lap. Fortunately, at Proctor, there seems to be a high density probability of encountering one of these uplifting interludes.

field - bmak

One of the challenges of trying to keep up with events at Proctor is that the page is always turning. Our cycles have quickened just like the news cycles. We focus on the next just like everyone else: the next performance, the next club meeting, the next game, the next class. We’ve had dance performances, football games, Innovation Night all in the last week. We have Holderness Weekend starting tonight, the Board of Trustees coming for two days, and a Jazz Rock performance on Saturday night. Exams start next week, tournament games are a possibility, and winter sports seasons begin. We clip along at what seems to be the equivalent of a 4:20 mile pace. Seriously fast.


In the midst of all of this, I look for those lightness of being moments - those moments that make you feel a little more alive and a little more connected. The moments that stick, like last Saturday night when the Proctor Elites took to the stage to perform their numbers after a term of tutelage under LeAundre “Dre” Williams. A nearly full theater, dancers just moving on the stage, synchronicity snapping the energy lines tighter and tighter, and joy and delight rolling through the seats. Those memories resonate in a different way. Those memories bring lightness of being and a sense of being wholly alive.


One of the most powerful moments happened during the song, “Hey There, Delilah.” Mid song the microphone on the guitar had to be adjusted, and it threw off the performer. It was hard for the singer to pick back up. Lines scrambled, and I could feel a panic settling in to me that must have been akin to the panic settling into the performer. Not a lightness of being moment. A fresh start, a stumble, a confession of nervousness, and then another pause. Suddenly from the back of the room came a voice singing, then another, and then what sounded like 20 singing Hey there Delilah I’ve got so much more to say if every simple song I wrote to you would take your breath away….The performance found its footing again and together the song was completed. It gave me the chills.


How does something like this happen? How does an act of such generosity and kindness, of togetherness happen, flicker across a room and capture a whole auditorium? To me, that moment was one of those almost indescribable lightness of being Proctor moments, just as thrilling and sustaining a week later. Time slows in these moments. Lightness, possibility, hope, awe, joy...all flicker and then burst into being. It’s a feeling of being fully alive to possibility. So before the next couple of days get too busy and the page turns too quickly I am sharing it and hoping that you find yours.


And I am so grateful to Dre, the Proctor Elites, and the community for this week’s best lightness of being moment.


Mike Henriques P'11, P'15

Proctor Academy Head of School

Click here for more photos from End of Term Performances!


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