T-to-the-A

Posts Tagged ‘inspirational’

Re-Entry

In Essays, The Daily Drool on August 20, 2009 at 10:48 pm

(I actually wrote this a while ago – January as a matter of fact- came across it in my pillaging and don’t think I could put it any better…)

This is what it is… The coming home requires the donning of the CA coat… all the worries and the work, the hopes and fears.  Going home lets me take it off, climb into comfort and feel that everything will be alright, that everything is alright.  Heading back here to my world, which is ripe with uncertainties, brings with it all the heaviness and responsibility that is difficult to want to heft back onto my shoulders.  Not that I’ll notice it as much in a few days, but climbing back into it?  It’s always daunting and full of confusion.

I was driving into work this morning and there was a Huey chopper in the distance, hovering above the 10 fwy.  I could tell it was helicopter-shaped, but it was hovering with such absolute stillness that, from my car, I couldn’t quiet reconcile what I was seeing.  And I started to wonder, so tenuous is my view of “reality”, if I weren’t really still asleep and that this shape, this cardboard cutout, was maybe really a rip in my imagination.  And that little quiver in perception was all it took to make me look around myself without any sort of skepticism at the world, since absolutely anything seemed possible.  I could see the snowcapped mountains in the distance (for the wind cleared the LA fog) and I felt I could be there in an instant if I desired as much, for the world at that moment seemed absolutely of my own making.  And then I looked back towards the helicopter-shape, still disconcerted at it’s steadfast position in the sky, and I see that it IS a helicopter, it’s a big-ass Huey hovering just off the freeway, and I still can’t shake this feeling that I could make anything, absolutely anything, happen, if I just believed in it enough.

And I park the car, head into work, and start reading a script, because that is what I do, and I realize that although I am home, under the heavy coat of “My life” – I almost always get a vote in how that coat is going to look, feel, and fit.  I just don’t always know how to make the threads fit.   But I try.  And maybe if I can remember that more often, if I can hold onto that feeling, I will be more grounded in my life and less like a little balloon in the breeze.

So I’m sharing this with you so you might understand the way I think; that living in our imaginations for extended periods may lead to somewhat skewed perceptions of the world, that reality isn’t necessarily science but magic too, and that sometimes, a helicopter is way more than a shape in the distance.

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Real Listening

In Essays, The Daily Drool on July 13, 2009 at 4:37 pm

So the kids and I have been doing a lot of listening exercises, mostly because at 15, 16, 17 years old, your head is flooded with thoughts and ideas and working as an ensemble means leaving those thoughts at the door so you can tune in to one another.   And I’ve noticed, out of these warm-ups, that to really listen- listen with your whole body- you have to leave yourself and step into that intimidating shared space between.

It’s equitable to yon castle keep – You can shout at one another from behind your walls, but it takes a strange kind of courage to step beyond the gate into a border-less landscape and look into another’s eyes.

Because walls = safety (or so we tend to think) But what wealth are we missing from behind them?  The very invention of walls if born of protection, and giving that up (even for a moment) can be frightening, dangerous… or really freaking freeing.

And we’re not talking about anything more than listening.  Because that’s where it starts.

It’s not easy.  It can be really difficult to give someone your full attention!  Not only must you send your ego/judge out to pasture, but to actively listen you can’t just tune in for every other word as you secretly formulate your next speech.  You must really engage in their telling, how they are saying it- their bodies, their eyes, their verve…

And while it’s not possible to be this attentive to every moment in real life, it’s a shame more people aren’t as aware of their own listening habits as these kids are getting to be – because the world around us is just bursting with information, energy, and answers – listening, really listening is just hard enough that we rarely have the genuine experience of ever truly hearing or of  truly being heard.

I imagine if people were walking this earth less immersed in the “Me” and more tuned in to the world, they might be amazed at what they’ve been missing/misunderstanding/ and taking for granted… In fact, taking time to stop, look, and listen might be just the ticket to feeling less outside of things.

And wouldn’t that be lovely?

While we’re on the subject…

In Essays on July 6, 2009 at 4:12 pm

Okay, there were like, ten notebooks in my little “notebook-locker” – all bearing some sort of actable fruit, but what I was NOT expecting to find was a “Map” that I was asked to make of myself in a particularly challenging One Person Show class I took at UCLA 5 years ago.  As I unfolded the crayon directive, I was floored to see so many similarities – For instance, I still carry my anxieties in my belly, and the brain could still be called “Lightening Falls” for all the mayhem contained therein.

Additionally, the exercise included a free-writing assignment in which I bemoaned the difficulties of heading into the great unknown of graduation… familiar territory.  My reactions to the post BA world are eerily familiar to those I’ve been swooning with post-MFA.

And you thought people changed!

Here I am, quite a different version of myself and I’m still processing the challenges of facing “The World” with nerves running wild… more experienced perhaps, more confident (definitely), but still working with the same basic landscaping… and there is something fantastic in the knowing of this – In the familiarity of my “Map”.  For although I do hope to quiet some of the confusion, the task before me seems to make the most of this obstacle course, to learn the best ways to use my “Lightening” – to seize upon the riches native to this body, mind, and soul, even as I continue to cultivate new ones.

Riding the Ebb and Flow

In Essays, The Daily Drool on June 13, 2009 at 10:08 am

Endeavoring to become a professional artist of any sort is hard.  There may never be an end to the need for doctors, chemists, or bartenders, but there is a limit to the number of artists who actually make money at their craft.  Those who make enough at their craft alone are even fewer.

And so, one must be willing to admit that one thinks them-self special, in order to enter into this creative lottery… One must think that he/she is holding the winning ticket in order to enter those upper echelons of artistic success.  Elsewise, why play?

Because it is not merely a matter of work ethic, nor a game of total chance, that determines your artistic success.  It is rather a complicated combination of factors, mostly outside your control, that determine where you will fit.  And this sea of possibility maintains a somewhat confusing, ever unpredictable ebb and flow.

You must learn to relax into the waves as they come if you want to maintain any sense of sanity.

Because it’s a long road, and one that is ever fraught with challenges.  It is competitive, exciting, fantastically rewarding at its highs and devastatingly dark at it’s lows.  The struggling artist must always endeavor to maintain a healthy inner compass if they have any hope of arriving at the hoped for destination, for to allow the fickle waters to determine your worth would be devestating.

This life is full of ups and downs, and an ever present hunger for recognition and success.  We create art not just to satisfy our inner muse, but to change the world!  We desire to be heard, seen, or read… so we must be bold in our faith in ourselves.

For the sea of possibility is a fantastic place, as long as you have a well-stocked raft in which to weather it.

Because it slips…

In Essays on June 6, 2009 at 11:27 pm

When I was a little girl, I used to be afraid of everything.  Volcanos on the news?  Watch out!  Earthquakes in Indonesia?  We’re done for!  Whatever it was, I was terrified it was coming my way… because the world was precious, and it seemed that it was constantly in jeaopardy.

And now that I’m older, I realize that it’s not “the world” that in jeaopardy, it’s us. We are fragile, fragile creatures.  We can be anything we want to be, but we break apart so easily. And I am tired of being afraid of the wreckage.  Because it comes.  Either way.

See, I’ve always been a little more sensitive to the world and her moments than most people.  I’ve never been able to sit in the midst of “special” without recognizing the fragility of it all…  It makes for hard joy when everything feels that precious.  It sets you apart.  

And I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, as I continue to try and better understand myself and how I work…  I’ve been thinking about my tendancy to hold the world to such high standards, of my habit of heartbreak when I realize that it’s just me seeing the world this way,  and that people really do try to do their best at life, but there aren’t many who also see it while it’s happening.

I’ve been thinking that it’s a gift and a big pain in the ass to operate this way – to feel everything so deeply at times that it seems the earth itself is vibrating.  

Because when I look at the people in my life that are important to me, I see through their freckled skin and into tomorrow’s wrinkles, and it puts me in mind to place more importance on a shared afternoon than they can understand.  I distance myself by my understanding of the moments preciousness, and there’s no reachng across a divide like that, for I am suddenly outside the moment, watching my mortal self laugh… I am no longer just inhabiting my body, but the very wind.  And it’s lonely and far-off.  

And the more I think about it, the more convinced I become that it is this, living on the perimeter of life, that allows me to write the way I do.  It is my vantage point as observer, as lover, as big-time feeler, that I am able to see into the dreams that dance across my mind and breathe their life onto paper.  

A strange gift with an even stranger price.

For although I strive to live and engage in this world, it will always feel confusing to me how people can throw it away like so many hamburger wrappers… thinking an opportunity will come again, thinking that a moment will come again, thinking that they will have any sort of “Again”.  

Because it’s all happening now… Nothing you ever see or do will ever be exactly like it once was.  You will never look or be as young and beautiful as you look now, and the more time you waste fretting over that which is gone is more time you will deny yourself the joy of what is before you. 

So, while I don’t recommend living every second as if it is in technicolor, do something today, something you might normally take for granted – like kissing your spouse, or enjoying a bit of chocolate, or even settling into freshly washed sheets – and just be in that moment.  Relish in the wonder of being.

Because, while I no longer worry about volcanos, I still feel time slipping through my fingers… slipping and sliding across my skin and the skin of those around me.  And when life is this precious, how could we ever pass up an opportunity to celebrate those moments that make it all worthwhile?

Mortal, Mortal, We

In Essays, The Daily Drool on May 11, 2009 at 4:31 pm

No one ever thinks they are going to get old, or infirm.  Oh, we know alright that it will, eventually happen.  But we think of it in broad terms, like “I hope my kids never stick me in a nursing home.” Or “God, it must really suck to loose your teeth.”  But eventually time it makes its descent and although this body you inhabit may be creaking and faded, the spirit – the you – is as hungry to be here as ever it was.  For this is what struck me yesterday as my father was talking to me – a man who has fought many a difficult battle for that prize called life – that we never really ever sit up all ready for doctors and hospitals – we just wind up in their midst, minds reeling from the suddenness of it all.

And it’s got me thinking – this most recent battle that has catapulted my family into the world of medicine and insurance that grows eerily more familiar if less and less understandable – it’s got me thinking about how we live.  How I live.  How I want to live – and the difference between.

I’ve always had a sort of decision breaker when faced with a paralyzing choice: “Will I regret not doing this?  Will I spend precious final moments bemoaning my lack of action, or is this an inconsequential quandary?”  Most often the really big decisions are met with a little pipsqueak of bravery from my deepest self “Yes!  You will regret letting your fear stall this course.  Take a deep breath and Leap!”  

I’m sure someone much more famous and well read than I has already said this, but I currently find myself at the helm of the sentiment – We are naught but our accumulated experiences.

We walk this Earth mostly so wrapped up in our daily trivials that we seldom remember how freakin’ blessed we are to be here.  Envision if you will the line of souls just flickering with anticipation at the possibilities to once more dip their toes into Earth’s cool grass, wrap their lips around the crisp fruity freshness of a ripened strawberry, to breathe in the scent of a lover, or to laugh, to cry, to feel it all.  Because life is a gift and we must celebrate it!  It’s the only way to live… to make the most of every moment, stare down the fears that get in your way, and live like you mean it!

And sure, it’s a tough thing to remember the joy of the miracle of life every second of every day… we are human after all.  And humans love drama and conflict, we love to climb mountains or build mountains to climb.  And we love to fill our time with gadgets and gizmos, making the pursuit of happiness mistakenly aligned with the pursuit of money – but I’m pretty confident no one gets to the end of the line only to sigh with regret over not having purchased enough stuff…  No, it’s the things you allowed yourself to put off, to ignore, to molder on an internal shelf of regrets that haunt you, and it’s the things you did, the dreams you realized, the love you shared, that offer up a cool antidote 

I suppose none of you are disagreeing with me – it’s hardly an incendiary argument.  But I’m not writing to you in the hopes of causing a revelation.  Rather, I am exploring the possibility that sometimes we need a little nudge to remind us to take a breath and live it up…  To boldly step forward into the place where you hold your passions and dance.

Because I promise you, it’s a dance you’ll never forget. 

And when you’ve gotten to that dusty place of old age and disuse, you will not cry over a life unrealized, but smile at the sunset with eyes content, soul soaring, and a heart full with the knowledge that Win, or Fail, you played the hell out of this game!