In These Times

It’s been difficult. Right? These times.

It’s been difficult to figure out what to do, what to feel, what to think when we watch tv or read the stories on the internet feeds of our friends and “those you may know” telling us who is doing what and why this person is an asinine capital A-hole and to just try to relax, wear your mask and hope this will all go away.

It’s been difficult to wake up, even though our eyes open and our bodies tell us activity must be done.

The laundry piles up in the basket, in the corner, on the bed and another day goes by when we start to wonder if we’re coughing because we got La Rona or if because the funk of a few weeks of quarantine days gone by have finally reached unsanitary levels.

These times, these unprecedented time of empty shelves and empty cupboards where First World abundance overflowed.

These times, where the true leaders are the ones everyone ignored or tipped poorly because their food didn’t come out fast enough, or hot enough, or their refuse wasn’t picked up on the right day.

These times, when the Front Lines are protected and held by those who fight un/under-equipped, but with the power of their spirits and hearts and will to do “all in my power to maintain and elevate the standard of my profession”. They, who are there Every. Time.

These times, though difficult, will pass to “remember when?”.

But this time, remember gratitude, remember love, remember the sun will rise and the laundry will get done, eventually. Remember it’s okay to feel scared, stressed, frustrated and to watch that next series or movie or complete that next puzzle. Let your feelings come during these times. It’s time to feel them.

 

 

 

 

Right Now, I’m Breathing In

I took a yoga class yesterday.

It was the fourth yoga class in my lifetime and fourth in the last year.

My bride encouraged me to go. Actually, she’s the one who took me to my first yoga class.

The first was hard. I don’t know how people can make fun of people who do yoga. It’s no joke. I shook involuntarily, I sweat buckets, I ached and almost cried. Then Shavasana came. I did it. And she was proud of me.

The second class she took me to, was a hot yoga class. The third was also.

Hot yoga class is an unnatural pain I have never experienced, nor want to ever experience again. I couldn’t breathe, I was sweating buckets, again, as soon as I walked in the door. My skin felt like it was on fire. Luckily, the deluge of sweat pouring from my skin seemed to put out the flames. I’m pretty sure I died. Then Shavasan came. And she was proud of me.

The fourth class was a Restore class. This one I went to alone. By myself. My bride wasn’t with me. I wasn’t going to go. But she encouraged me to do it. She believes in me.

This class was different. Cooler, calmer, softer. The room was filled with flute music and a soft blue light that reminded me of photos of the inside of glaciers. We were guided through many poses, but stayed in them longer. There was no pain, no aches, maybe a single drop of sweat. This was good.

And through it all, the teacher offered us this mantra, “Right now, I’m breathing in. Right now, I’m breathing out.”

In the craziness that is work, life, love, parenting, driving in traffic and planning meals, I was given the gift of presence.

“Right now, I’m breathing in. Right now, I’m breathing out.”

The teacher gave me the gift of a mantra. My bride, who encouraged me to go to the class, gave me the gift of belief. She believes in me.

And now, as I write this, I breathe in, I breathe out.

Breathe with me and receive the gift

This Work Is Real

The glitter and shine of Christmas decorations are up all around the county and people are smiling a little brighter at one another. Letting the pedestrians cross in the crosswalks, tipping their baristas, keeping spoilers to The Crown and The Mandalorian to themselves.

Life is moving forward. Shopping is being done, plans are being made to visit families and Bad Romance plays through the speakers in Phil’z Coffee on Bristol Street.

I’m watching experiences happen because I’m on a break before I start my next performance tonight. I’m closing out this year working as an Actor. Professionally. That’s right, getting paid to play dress-up and pretend to be someone else. Actually, pretending to be two other people. From another time. Another place.

Earning a paycheck, adding to my pension, paying my taxes, social security, buying groceries, putting gas in my car. While I’m doing all of this, it makes me think about all those people who look at us doing this work and ask us about “Real Jobs.” And I just laugh.

I laugh, because the creative work I do  feels more ‘real’ than any other work I’ve done. This work is my truth, my art, my heart and soul bared onto a page for others to read, on a stage for others to see. It’s the only work I’ve done where I feel most like myself. Even when I’m dressing up in costumes and pretending to be other people.

This work is real because it exposes truth, feelings, love, dreams, heart and soul. It’s real because others can see themselves in it. Their lives. Their reality.

And isn’t that what we want? To be seen? Someone to see the ‘real’ us and say, ‘me too’.

This work is real. This staged pretend work brought forth from imagination and suspended disbelief, under lights and choreographed and sung and dressed up. This glorious work. This heartbreaking work. This beautiful reality of ours. We Creators.

 

Doing Something

I’m so lost.

I have a gig coming up and it’s a good one. One I did last year and one I had a lot of fun doing. One might say, it was a snowstorm of fun. A gift of fun. Something that I had been trying to do for a long time, and I finally got to do it. I did a job, had a lot of fun and got paid for it. So I have that to look forward to.

The only thing is, I don’t have anything for after that gig. I auditioned for something. Something cool. Something that was intriguing and exciting. I got really far in the audition process and thought, for sure, I was going to get the role. Even had other people telling me I was going to book it. I would’ve put money on it.

But it’s been two weeks since I sent in my Callback videos and nothing. Not a peep. I mean, I knew I was still in the running about a week ago. But today, nothing. No news, this time, is not great news.

So I’m lost. Equity has no auditions coming up. Nothing is in the works. There are no projects happening. I’m lost.

Which is why I’m writing this. Because even though I’m about to start another gig that takes me to Christmas Eve, and I don’t have anything after that, I am writing to do something. Because if I want to be something and do something, I have to do something to become something. That’s a lot of something. But hopefully my meaning comes across.

If my dreams are going to come true, I need to do an activity that will make them happen. So today, on a day when I feel lost and a little rejected, when I feel tired and nostalgic about jobs past, when I feel nervous about what’s to come, I write it out. Because that’s doing something.

 

Stuck Behind A Prius

Has this ever happened to you?

You’re flying on the freeway at a pretty good pace. You’re making great time to get to your audition, meeting or whatever you’re going to. Life is good and traffic is moving at the same pace of productivity you are. Everything is looking up, then….

…in four lanes of staggered yet open traffic, you come right up to a Prius. In the fast lane. The lane you’re in and make great progress with, BTW.

But now, you’re behind an economical and sensible machine, driven by a carbon footprint considerate person, and the minutes you were saving are suddenly being lost with every mile per hour your speedometer is slowing.

You could go around, but the traffic that was behind you is catching up and moving past you and the Prius, blissfully blasting their upbeat Spotify driving playlist.

You’re stuck. Behind a Prius. Progress is being lost and there is nothing you could do about it. You and the Prius are in the fast lane, saving the planet but losing your sanity.

That’s me with my writing.

There are times I sit down to write and things are going great. I’m moving along. Words are being typed on my keyboard and the little vertical cursor doesn’t have time to blink, because I am typing and flowing like Charlie Parker in an early A.M. jam session with Art Blakey. Bebop in words.

Then, I get stuck. It’s not Writer’s Block. Because that’s not really a ‘thing’. Lots of Writers have talked about it. So, what is it?

It’s a Slow Down. And that’s okay.

It’s okay to write at a great pace and fever through a bunch of words and type like you’re on some kind of word purge while not worrying about punctuation and not stopping even to go to the bathroom or eat or sleep…. phew! (Breath)

It’s also okay, to slow down and be stuck behind a Prius. Because even though you’re slowing down, even though you’re being passed by others and you’re not buying ink by the barrel, you’re still going. Because the thing is, even though you’re slowing down, you haven’t stopped. As long as you’re still moving, you’re in great shape. Enjoy the drive. There will be times when you can pick up the pace. There will be times when that pace is more economical. Enjoy the journey. Each mile, each word.