Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Are you hiding a tightrope-walking dog?

A tightrope-walking dog won Britains Got Talent at the weekend, or did it? It was a remarkable act, but the dog which escaped from jail by tightrope during the routine was actually a stunt double for the star act, Matisse. The second dog was kept hidden backstage throughout the rest of the act, and it was kept hidden both from the judges and the voting public too, who all thought they were voting for a single dog and its trainer.

The routine is very clever, and very skilful, but its in danger of being overshadowed by what was kept hidden backstage.

I mentioned this a few weeks ago, but it keeps cropping up so I'll mention it again. Author Simon Walker talks of our 'frontstage' and 'backstage' - what we allow other people to see, and what we keep out of sight. Alison Morgan has done an excellent summary of his work, and here's a clip:

The two stages can’t be kept completely separate – what goes on in one will always to some extent leak onto the other. This is particularly so for social and spiritual leaders and those in caring professions – their own unmet emotional needs, pushed backstage, generate resentment, envy, pride, anger or even rage – and these things begin to leak frontstage. 

When the things we didn't want people to see are discovered, or leak onto the frontstage, the response can be as its been with BGT - quite a lot of upset. There are parts of our lives which, despite the running commentary of social media, are best not disclosed and put on general display. I've actually found that people use Facebook, Twitter and the like more to manage their frontstage - to project an image and the story they want other people to see, it's the brave exceptions who still attract admiring comments.

But it's best not to have secrets if we can possibly avoid it.  There is a merciful Judge who knows exactly what is going on backstage, as well as front, and, to our surprise, won't vote us off if we own up.

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