Lesson from the business end of a razor blade

by Starla J. King on February 21, 2012

He was the artist. I was the medium.

“I’m going to give you something to really get hooked on,” he said, walking away from me to pick something up from the end of the counter.  He didn’t ask my permission, yet silently I gave it to him anyway…even when I saw the length of the blade.

For the sake of art, I let him take a straight razor to my neck.  Terrifying.  Yet somehow relaxing to feel through the fear the surprisingly gentle-soft scrape of the blade.  Within seconds, my mind checked out and, unexpectedly, my heart checked in.

I get it now — the allure of a straight razor shave.  In my case, just a back-of-neck hairline clean-up, but the experience was nothing short of exquisite.  Maybe it was just adrenaline pumping as I pictured blood spurting from an important artery if I sneezed at the wrong time, but I really think it was more about the barber than the barbee in this case.

You see, he approached his work — and ME — with the level of attention an artist gives his art.

I know what you like,” he said quietly, as he dabbed warmed (!!!) shaving cream on my neck.  “I know how particular you are about a clean line.”

Well, yes, true, but how could he know that?  This was only haircut 3 with him… and I didn’t remember giving any directives about that “clean line.”

I pay attention,” he continued, focused completely on perfecting the hairline curve around the back of my ear.  (I made sure not to nod. or cough. or breathe.) It’s all about paying attention…

Paying attention enough to get to know your customers, even the woman in a man’s-land 3rd-generation barbershop.

Paying attention enough that a skill becomes a craft, a service becomes an offering, and a razor-sharp blade becomes a silken whisper along the back of a neck.

Paying attention enough that we take everything in, let it expand us, then alchemize into a form of expression that becomes the next person’s experience.  The inspiration for their living art.

The silken whisper along the back of their neck.


To learn more about how to pay attention INTO your life, take my self-serve eCourse: “Court Your Muse: A Practical Approach to Creative Progress” or contact me for 1-1 Creativity Coaching.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Martine Brennan February 23, 2012 at 7:18 am

What a vivid image Starla!


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: