I remember as a boy reading a book about the story of a Scottish King, Robert the First, more famously known as Robert the Bruce. Bruce is probably one of the most famous of Scottish warriors in that his name and fame transcends boundaries beyond Scotland. Certainly every child in Scotland knows him and his story. I was even surprised many years ago to hear his name mentioned in a kitchen conversation while staying with family in New York State.
What I want to share with you is the same experience, similar to that of Robert the Bruce – One of a Spider fighting against the odds and eventually succeeding. The story of Robert the Bruce and the Spider is one of Legend. No one knows whether the story is true or not but that doesn’t matter. What the story does is to inspire. ‘When Legend Becomes Fact, Print The Legend’.
The story goes that while hiding in a cave after his excommunication by Edward Longshanks (Edward I of England,) Bruce sees a spider trying to spin a web. The spider fails time again, until it finally succeeds in completing its web. This act of the spider inspired Bruce to overcome his many hardships to persevere and finally win back Scotland from the English.
Never in my wildest dreams (until this evening,) would I have said I would ever share anything with Robert the Bruce but I had the same experience with a spider. It wasn’t in a cave in Scotland or anywhere else but in my bathroom. I just happen to turn around and spotted a small brown spider making its way up the wall. Now normally one’s instinct is to despatch an insect to the Otherworld but for some reason (maybe a Buddhist feeling,) I didn’t but instead watched the little fella make his way up the wall.
Like the spider of legend he struggled, falling backwards, then making his way back up the wall. When the going got tough, he would move sideways, before making his way back up the wall. Eventually he stopped falling backwards. Even if he no longer moved backwards, in order to move forward when the going got tough, he would move sideways until eventually he reached the ceiling. He achieved the aim. Then a strange thing happened. He didn’t go across the ceiling as I imagined but moved sideways. He continued to move sideways until eventually he reached the tiled area of the bathroom. This truly inspired me.
The inspiration for me came from the realisation that the spider’s journey up and across the wall of my bathroom mirrored to a certain extent my life’s journey thus far but the spider’s journey was more successful. Like the spider climbing the wall I have attempted to climb The Wall of Life. Sometimes – many times I would stumble backwards, then with some difficulty begin again and continue the ascent up the wall. Sometimes I would move sideways in order to move further up the wall but got stuck for a time on a ledge.
Watching the spider his journey was continuous yet fluid. Even though he stumbled backwards, he didn’t stop. Almost immediately he began moving forward again, ever determined to get to where it wanted to be. Even when it wasn’t able to move forward, it would move sideways until it wasn’t stumbling backwards anymore. Eventually it got to where it wanted to be.
Life and one’s career, especially if one has a career in the Performing Arts is very much like that. Watching the spider’s determination to climb the wall reminded and inspired me (as it did Robert the Bruce,) to overcome the many hardships I have endured over the past decade, and persevere to achieve my dreams and ambitions, no matter how tough the going gets. If I stumble backwards, pick myself immediately and begin climbing The Wall of Life again. And if I have to move sideways in order to avoid going backwards, then that is what I need to do in order to move forward. Eventually I will get there. I just need the determination shown by a small brown spider in my bathroom.
Inspiration not only comes from those who are already successful and famous. Inspiration can be found in the strangest places and not from Human examples as demonstrated to me by a small brown spider climbing a wall in my bathroom.