Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Last One on the Floor Wins...

My yoga teacher whispered as he left the yoga room... "Last One on the Floor Wins..." 
I cracked open my eyes and realized that I was the only one left in the room lying flat on my yoga mat resting and breathing after class. He smiled at me kindly, shut the door, turned off the lights and left. I lied back down as tears started trickling down my face hitting my yoga mat. Since I was little I have always done everything very slowly paced. It feels good to me. I move slow, I eat slow, I drive slow. As far as I know I'm the only person I have ever known that has gotten pulled over for driving too slow, he asked me why I was driving so slowly and I told him honestly that I was enjoying the view. He laughed, let me off the hook with a warning, and told me there were pull-outs for that. I remember being honked at in Los Angeles and looking up to see an elderly lady with big black glasses who could barely see over the steering wheel trying to pass me. My family poking fun of me for always being the last one eating, elderly men walking passed me as I'm walking down the beach at 25 years old, my teacher saying I shouldn't always be the last one to turn in my test because I always do well anyways. I do things slowly, I always have and I probably always will. That's my natural pace, it feels good for me. I don't think I realized though that until that moment there's a dissonance living in a world that is not quite at your pace. We live in a fast-paced society everyone wants to do everything quicker bigger faster now. Nature's at my pace, but not society. That was the first time in my life I think I have ever been praised for doing things slowly, and it made me tear up, it was hilarious. It felt good to not to have to defend or protect my own space or pace and to actually have someone say "hey good work at taking your time" for once! We all have a natural rhythm and it is all our own, and it is uniquely right for us. The Tortoise and the Hare, yeah that's kind of my story, but I will keep on plugging along at my own pace  - because all we have is our own personal race to enjoy...

Photo By Pete Ambrose

Monday, April 2, 2018

Nature Bathing

Photo by Valera Vulfson
Nature Bathing. It's a thing. Doctors write prescriptions for it now..."must take 3 one hour doses of pure nature 2 times a week". It's legit, we forget how much time we spend away from nature, inside buildings, covered in layers, no sun, no air, no views, no bare feet in the grass, often staring at a screen or working with machines for hours a day. We feel cabin fever, and get depressed and stir crazy and we wonder why. Every time I feel like I need space, I go spend time in nature. A walk outdoors, a romp in the grass, a sit on a rock, a lie on the beach, a run through the woods. I can feel the fresh air in my lungs, I can see the incredible mountains and sunset, my body relaxes, my mind slows down, and all is right in the world again. Mostly I feel connected to something bigger. I am reminded how small I am, how the problems of today will pass by in a flash, the birds will keep chirping, the bugs keep crawling, the trees swaying, and I am just one of the millions of creatures humming on this earth and it's all good. The other day I was lying flat out on the grass in a snow angel type position and a nice man walked up to me and asked if I was "OK." "Never Better!" I replied, "just soaking in the sun". He laughed and I could tell he was tickled my the simpleness of my actions, but it struck me funny that me just chilling in the grass was alarming. I get it, it's rare. Nature Bathing, it grounds us, literally putting our bare feet on the ground is great for our body and our soul, and makes us simply grateful to be alive and to experience it all.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

The Love Balance...

Photo by Valera Vulfson
I have found myself more than ever trying to balance the delicate task of love and boundaries. It is easy for me to love, easy for me to understand people's pain, easy to get consumed in their needs and forget my own. And yet, I am finding the more that I mature the more I realize that giving people strong boundaries is loving them. Tough love is honest love, and is what I was given on many fronts as a child, and the things I didn't understand when I was younger are the things I am grateful for now. Boundaries cause growth and depth. Jesus was way ahead of the game years ago when he said we must teach a man to fish, instead of giving him a fish, and this is my method now with loving. Help people who are ready to help themselves. We can love, we can support, we can give, but at the end of the day they must do the work to be who they want to be. We are not helping them or ourselves by pouring tons of energy into people who are not ready for whatever reason, and we are not helping ourselves, we get taken off our own path and our purpose. So, I agree it is entirely possibly and necessary to love and not tolerate bullshit at the same time. It is a must for real love.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Emotional Labor Pains...

Photo by John Ulman

The joy is inside of us. We are all constantly looking for something outside of us to make us happy, but the true joy is really deep within. We know this, but we forget. I find it in silence, in stillness, in time with myself and creating space for truth. I can feel the ease, I can feel the dysfunction, I can feel what needs to be changed, moved or healed. I know life is busy. So much distraction, so much outward movement, but now is the time to go within. Be loving, but focus on what self is being, doing, and having. In the light of the letting go of many things I was hit with what felt like emotional labor pains. The kind of emotions that swell up so strongly you are not even sure what to do with them but watch them and listen. They have messages if you hear them, lessons if you listen, truths if you can speak from them. I had unexpressed anger that needed to get out, and the process of it coming up felt like emotional contractions, and all I could do was sit and breath through. I was not afraid anymore to speak my truth, I realized that is all that I had, and all that I valued. And, after the labor pains subsided, a new and even deeper joy was born. There is a lot going on in the world right now, politically, communally, socially, and it cant help but touch us all personally. The emotions free us, not trap us, and the truths heal us, and all we can do is be present with authenticity to go within to heal without. Then we can take action in our homes, community, business, nation, and planet from there, but don't be afraid of a few emotional labor pains in the process - you're birthing your greatest joy from within.  

Friday, November 17, 2017

The Last Gift.

I got off the plane, my uncle pulled up and ushered for me to get in. He was talking to a funeral director on the phone. My grandmother had passed away. I was flying into to see her, and spend some time, and she passed away that very same day. My Uncle got off his phone, handed it to me and asked me to read the eulogy out loud to him as he drove. I read it, all the while thinking, wow this is so well done. The details of her life so specific, her interests so spot on, and I learned some details about her that I hadn't known before. I asked him who wrote it, and he responded, my Nan. She wrote it, and so the journey began. A lot of us don't want to think about death, especially our own, but I learned something from my beloved Nan in her passing - she left us a final gift. My Nan was a month shy of 96, and she passed peacefully. I am in deepest gratitude for this, and yet the fog of a loved one passing is no less. It leaves you in a state of confusion, that something is not quite right, it's all a mistake and when you wake up tomorrow she will be there. But she wasn't, and there were logistics to tend to. And, as we followed the treasure map of her memorial my grandmother left in her passing I was blown away at the gift that was bestowed on the family. She was a planner. My grandmother wrote her own eulogy, she had given away most her stuff, she had sold her house, her camper, her car. She had picked the priest, she had picked the church, she had picked the cemetery, picked were donations go, had a flower lady, bought the grave plots, the grave stone, and the casket. Needless to say, I think she was ready. I sat with Father Jim, the man she requested to do her mass and I understood why - we laughed and cried as he told stories about her, stories I had never heard. At the viewings I stared at her pink embroidered casket. It made me smile as tears streamed down my face, my grandmother loved pink. It was like being invited to a life celebration for my grandmother, thrown by my grandmother - and I can't tell you how incredibly thoughtful that felt. In my mourning I could barely remember my name - I can't imagine trying to pick out a casket or trying to find the right person to say her services. This is not to say my mother and my uncles didn't do much, they did everything. Yet, it was following  my Nan's guiding. I am so grateful for that. It was her last gift to us, the final act of generosity ensuring her life party was the way it should be, and that her loved ones were cared for in the process.

Photo by Juliia Nardin
from "Coriolanus: Fight like a Bitch"

Thursday, October 26, 2017

The Role of Roles.

Recently I have been observing the role of roles. I have always run from being stuck in any form of role in my personal life. It felt confining, constricting, restricting, un-freeing, and un-natural. And, yet as an artist, I am often called to play different roles, parts, and characters. I personally though have never viewed these characters as roles, I simply felt them as different parts of myself that I was letting come to the surface. I am currently playing a character who I simply can not deny that she lives and thrives in her roles. I looked at it many different ways and when I came back to it over and over I saw the truth. She is a Wife. She is a Mother. She is a Daughter, and she Wants to be. She thrives in these Roles. I resisted, I persisted, I insisted that she is not only that at first, and then I thought, why am I judging "only that" she is an embodiment of love, and that is everything. She does not know herself without giving and receiving love to others and that is incredible. As I looked deeper, I didn't find a woman caught in "de-selfing"  in the classic term of loosing oneself to others. I found a woman who knows herself most in love, and therefore her "roles" are not bound in fear but choices that go way beyond the self. The choices to take pride in these roles come from the utmost commitment and strength. The deeper I went in this direction, the deeper I felt her. Freed when she caressed her child, elated in the arms of her lover, and humbled to the wisdom of her mother. Yes, we do not want to get stuck in "a role" and in defining ourselves by others, yet at the same time...I was growing. There is a freedom in the form, fuel in the love, peace in the commitment, and a healthy relinquishing in the roles. I was in love with love. When you love your family so much that it feels like your heart is beating outside of your body it is tremendously scary, and vulnerable - but also your heart has expanded. It was humbling, I had much to learn from her. There is a role of roles, I suppose, when we choose them with love.

Photo By Julia Nardin
Virgilia from Coriolanus: Fight like a Bitch

Friday, September 22, 2017

Fight Like a B.I.T.C.H.

 Three weeks into rehearsals for Rebel Kat Productions all female production of "Coriolanus: Fight like a Bitch" a rage brews in my belly. The women in this show are fantastic, every one of them, as well as the design team, production team, the producers, and the director. I am thrilled sitting at table reads, thrilled in movement sections, thrilled working on the script at home. And yet, a rage grows in my belly. A rage I didn't know was there, and I have probably been sitting on since I was young girl. It was awakened in our first rehearsal when our director asks us how we would fight, as women. Not learning to "fight like a man" for once but if we were really in a situation where we needed to fight in - how would we fight? I didn't know. I had to sit with it. I felt where the power in my body lived, and what areas I would move towards, and what areas I would move from. And that was how the anger was awoken.
 Originally in Shakespeare's plays the entire cast was played by men - even the women's roles. Now I sit round a table with a cast of women, I feel like knights of the round table, entirely with glorious ladies. And, they are not playing these roles as men in this production - they are playing these roles as women. Women who fight, who lead, who stand for rights. They listen, they laugh, they support, they fight - like a Bitch.
 I'm playing one of only two characters in the show that were originally written as women, and I feel the difference in their portrayal. Vulnerable, silent, obedient, emotional, beautiful, this was the ideal...and they were often viewed as weak. As I read and re-read the script I am continually struck by their strength. How active listening takes so much wisdom and courage, how holding space for your family takes the utmost strength, how wearing your emotions on your sleeve takes tremendous heart, and how being vulnerable is the ultimate act of honesty. Fight like a Bitch, yes, I will thank you...and as I fall more in love with the army of incredible women in the room with me everyday, I see the fullness from all sides. There are infinite ways to be a woman, and every one of them in their authenticity are absolutely perfect. Thank you "Coriolanus" team.

Photo by Valera Vulfson
Come See: Coriolanus: Fight Like A Bitch
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