Saturday, December 19, 2009

I am sitting here in the kitchen of my relatively new apartment in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn. As I look out the window, I see snow pouring down with a backdrop of naked tree limbs and the outside wall of another apartment building across the way. But there is plenty of space between me and that building, because I live right next to the tracks of the Franklin Shuttle S train. The wall of the other building is brick, mostly painted over but some bricks can be seen through where the weather has worn the paint. The windows in the building vary in size, and most have little ledges painted in a lovely shade of blue-green. Down below are the tracks, surrounded by dried leaves long since fallen from the trees, since it is now December. Snow is starting to accumulate on the street to my left. And I am cooking oatmeal.

This is very satisfying to me. It is possibly not the cheeriest visual scene one could imagine. But it is timeless. And I am noticing lately that that really turns me on - timelessness. Or maybe it would be more accurate to say what turns me on is when something looks or feels or sounds like it could be happening in a previous era just as well as it could be happening now. Actually perhaps timeless is the accurate term, because it's likely that for decades to come, perhaps even centuries, some of these scenes will repeat. I'm not sure. I don't pretend to predict the future. What I do know is that looking at this scene strikes a chord in me. It makes me feel somehow more content, more in my rightful place, the same way that walking down the streets of London makes me feel - the streets where the buildings are old, that is. I particularly adore the little signs on many of the buildings there, which tell you what historical figure lived in that house, and for how long.

Soon after I began college at Yale, I walked through the University Theater, which houses the undergraduate dramatic society as well as a number of activities of the Drama School, including many of their productions. I was aware that Meryl Streep, among other notable artists of theater and film, had spent many hours in that building, and I breathed that in as I walked, feeling the significance of standing in the same places she had stood when she was only a few years older than I was at the time.

I love how Tom Stoppard paints the nature of time in Arcadia, with action occurring simultaneously in two different eras. Sometimes I really think that's true. Things will just hit me in a way that doesn't really make logical sense if I have only lived this one life and am only living this one moment at this one time. Maybe it's a past life thing. I don't know. Speaking of Stoppard again, the first play I ever saw in London was his Every Good Boy Deserves Favour at the National Theatre, and when my sister and I walked into the house, I nearly burst into tears. There was something about the energy in that theater, and the aesthetics of it . . . I don't know what it was, truly. But it hit me to the core.

I wasn't a great history student in school. I found it really hard to keep track of the dates and things, and to this day I confess there are times when people mention historical events that I know I should understand very well and I don't because I crammed the information into my head in a rote way in order to pass the tests, and then it exited my brain fairly promptly. Because it didn't really feel relevant to me or my life. What stuck with me more firmly were things like the events in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, or Number the Stars. In books like these, I was experiencing stories -- stories of girls like myself. Whereas the story I was expected to swallow hook, line, and sinker in my history class really felt like the story of men and power - white men and power. Which is important but leaves a lot of blank spots, if you ask me. I can even remember a tightness in my chest when studying this stuff. At the time I was very studious and not particularly tuned into my body so I just pushed through. But looking back, I can see what that was.

So my identification or resonance with that which is historical is more visceral than factual - it just feels historical. I feel infinitely more at ease in a setting that feels connected to history in some way than in an ultra-modern one. And I have friends who feel the opposite. And I'm aware that something ultra-modern is connected to history in its very departure from it. I get that, on an analytical level, and I get the value of it in the progression of architectural design or whatever medium you're operating in. That doesn't mean I want to live in it. I wonder what makes us have these preferences. In any case, I'm glad to know it, because it helps me put myself in situations and settings that work for me, and in my artistic work it's useful to know what strikes chords and what doesn't. I'm also grateful that my connection with history is more visceral than anything else, because that is also helpful for my art. That being said, I'd like to have a better handle on some of the basics of our historical timeline. And maybe I'll design a way for myself to ingest that information so it sticks. I have some ideas on that.

For now I really appreciate looking out the window at that scene, or washing my face in the morning with cold water and feeling momentarily transported to another time, as if I'm living in Little House on the Prairie. I guess it somehow makes me feel more firmly rooted here as a human being in some way. Which, as you'll know if you've read previous posts here, is important for me. I welcome your responses about this. Do you feel more instinctively at home in certain types of settings? Do you feel a sense of multiple times happening at once? Why do you think that is?

On another note, you have GOT to read White Hot Truth's best list ever post. #38 brought tears to my eyes.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Setting the Stage

I really like to set the stage. The lighting, the costumes, the makeup, the music, the props. These things really kick it up a notch for me, both in real life and in my work as an actress.

Today, for example, after reading part of a memoir that I'm editing for a client, I was feeling really inspired around the creativity and divinity of being alive, particularly being alive as a woman. (This doesn't mean it's not creative or divine to be alive as a man, but I happen to be living this particular lifetime in a female body.) And it's fall and that always feels like a fertile time for me, and as I wrote in my morning pages this morning I was having some great ideas coming through.

So, as I folded up the pull-out couch that serves as my bed here at my dad and stepmom's house in London, and put the cushions back on and washed my face and got dressed, I put on Loreena McKennitt because her music, for me, embodies the essence of wild, magical, divine, creative, sacred feminine, particularly in the autumn. I actually find that her music feels a little heavy for me in the summertime. But in the fall it sings to my soul. It's all in the timing.

And I put on my goddess dress - a long black, full-skirted dress with bronze trim and a crossover, Grecian or Roman-style empire waist bodice.

Do you like to set the stage, as well? It is amazing what a difference it can make.

Some days I require props, like a lit candle on my desk or bedside table. Or makeup, like red lipstick, which many of my friends know is my signature and I find it particularly helpful when facing a daunting task. For today I'm all set with my goddess dress and my music. Now I am ready to take the stage of my life, as I step into the wilds of the day before me.

ASK and You Shall Receive

This morning I woke up remembering a dream I had last night in which my mom and sister had discovered an amazing new workout. They were telling me all about it and I wanted to try it but in the midst of asking my questions about it, my mother started her own workout with the video and my sister was in the midst of hers. My mother had said that doing the workout with just the video and not the book could cause you to be misaligned and possibly hurt yourself, so even though I had one of the videos right in front of me, I was looking for the book so I could do it properly. And in the dream I was so frustrated because both of them were doing their workouts and nobody seemed willing to help me and I felt a familiar feeling of exclusion and rejection. When I woke up, I felt that this dream represented an old paradigm that I have been healing and moving out of, and I rejoiced. And then as I wrote about the actual details of the dream in my journal, I also realized that there had been no point at which I had actually asked either my mother or sister for help. Because they had both begun their workouts in the midst of my asking questions about the workout system, I had assumed that they were too busy to help me and that if I asked I would be rejected. So then I felt angry and frustrated and hurt and excluded - in the dream.

In a few weeks' time I will be returning to NYC after living in London for 6 months, and it occurred to me that I would love to be welcomed home at the airport by my sister. But I hadn't asked, for a variety of reasons that I won't go into here. And now I see that I have been doing the same thing I was doing in the dream - not asking for help or for what I need for fear of getting hurt or rejected.

And the truth is that these are coping and self-protective patterns that I have developed over the course of my life for a reason. I have a wonderful family and many of my friends envy my relationships with them, but of course we are not perfect and I have had some painful, hurtful experiences with them, and one of the ways I came to protect myself was to analyze the behavior of the people around me to try to guess their mood and not communicate my needs directly, thereby isolating myself. And then I get to resent them for not fulfilling my needs!

This is an awareness that I can apply to so many areas of my life - my work, my friendships, my love life, and even my spiritual life. The saying is: Ask and you shall receive. It's not just "you shall receive." You have to ask. And I think that's part of why prayer is so powerful and important. GodGoddess is right there for us. And the divinity and love in other people is right there for us.

But we have to ASK.

So now I'm off to email my sister the details of my return flight to New York.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Tribal Living

This morning on my way to the tube station I was thinking about something highly profound: hair - specifically, my stepmom's hair, my mom's hair, and my dad's hair, and what my hair might look like when I'm older, in relation to theirs. Then I laughed out loud because I realized my stepmom's hair has no bearing whatsoever on mine, given the fact that we have no genetic relationship whatsoever. However, it seemed quite a positive sign to me that I had momentarily forgotten this or, more accurately, that I had come to a place where somehow, on some level of my subconscious, she is family. And even as I write this I feel a little twinge of guilt, like I'm betraying my mother. Which I realize is probably unfounded since she has never once expressed any discontent or trepidation around my developing a good relationship with my stepmother.

Anyhoo, back to me and my own life. Having spent the last 5 months living with my dad, stepmother, and little sister, I suppose it's only natural that I would feel a closer connection to my stepmom than I previously had. She and I have become movie buddies, and occasional at-home Sex and the City episode-viewing buddies. She shares all her issues of the New Yorker with me, and we like some of the same books. And even though her habits of self-care and wellness are generally much more conventional than mine and she is probably quite skeptical of many of the kooky things that I do or say (many of which, incidentally, are partially due to the influence of my mother AND ran quite counter to my dad's beliefs in many cases, hence, divorce), she is more open-minded than I might have first thought. For example, I have continually shared my essential oils with her and my little sister when they have gotten sick over the months I've been here (which, I might add, is rather often and I do have my opinions as to why that might be and what might be done to decrease the frequency of illness, most of which I do my best to keep to myself) and, lo and behold, she found them to be helpful and last time she got sick she requested one of them before I could even offer. For a girl like me who comes from a long line of physicians, healers, and, well, people who can't help but stick our noses into other people's business and try to help, save, rescue, or heal them, that is very gratifying. In fact, for Christmas, I plan to gift my stepmom with some of those oils so she can have ready access to them after I leave.

A month or so back, I was babysitting at a house down the street and just as I was leaving an absolutely torrential downpour began. The broken umbrella that my client loaned me for the walk home did very little for me and I was completely drenched by the time I arrived home. The sky was very dark and gray. It was a highly dramatic storm. And when I came up to the path that leads up to the house from the sidewalk, there was my stepmom standing on the stoop waiting for me, with the golden light from the house behind her in the open doorway. And I was so touched that she was standing there outside waiting for me. It was quite comforting.

These are just a few examples. It's pretty near impossible to do justice to an entire relationship with a handful of examples, regardless of what kind of relationship it is. The point is that I do feel closer to her than I did when I got here in March. And deeply appreciative and touched by her generosity in opening up her home to me, and enjoying my presence here.

A few days ago I was feeling a lot of grief about leaving London, now that I feel so much more connected to my family here, and have made some really precious new friends in this city. Then yesterday I found out that one of my new friends here is moving to NYC within a week of my return. He happens to be part of a spiritual community that's very important to me both here and in New York. And on Facebook, when one of our mutual friends lamented my impending departure, this friend told him not to worry because he had volunteered to head to Manhattan and make sure I am okay, because now I belong to Britannia. It reminded me of when I was in college and had a pretty ethnically diverse group of friends and, for a period of time, there was an ongoing joke about my black friends claiming me as theirs and my Asian friends claiming me as theirs. Side note: For those of you who don't know me in person, to appreciate the irony of this joke it might be helpful to know that I am, coloring-wise, about as white as they come, with blonde hair, blue eyes, and very pale skin. So I am used to being claimed by "opposing" tribes - my parents, my groups of friends in college, and now my British vs. my American friends.

Obviously it's all in fun (well, during my parents' divorce it wasn't, but in the other instances it was and is), but it strikes a chord. When I feel displaced, as I have many times in my recent years of moving here and there, geographically, job-wise, and otherwise, it is comforting for me to know that I am claimed by multiple tribes. Or perhaps more accurately, I am claimed by one tribe - one complex, intricately layered, tribe. And my stepmother is now part of that tribe - integral enough to factor into a rumination on the ever-crucial topic of hair. In fact, she even gifted me with a haircut at her lovely high-end salon here in London last month. It was a rite of passage, you might say.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A Feeling of Home

Yesterday I was having dinner with some friends from the States at a gastropub in Hampstead, an area of northwest London near where I'm living here. They had both gone to the loo - the woman of the couple had taken their little boy with her so she could change his diaper - and I was sitting at the table watching their stuff, savoring the last few bites of scrumptious bread and butter pudding, and taking in the atmosphere. Side note: I notice that it's slightly easier for me to "justify" being the moment and taking in my surroundings when I'm away from home since, ostensibly, my time is limited here and I might as well make the most of it while I can. So, though I'd taken a book out of my purse, I decided not to pass the time reading. There was so much to observe and enjoy - the decor, the other customers, the smells, the sounds.

Then a Norah Jones song came on. I think it was that one "I don't know why I didn't come . . . " Not sure of the exact title. And it was so comforting and calming. I felt a sense of peace and ease and at-homeness. That album of hers was one of my mainstays my senior year in college, which was another time of transition and confronting the unknown. I listened to it over and over again in my cozy room. And now here she was soothing me again, in a pub in a foreign country, as I was out to dinner with friends from home. Granted, Hampstead is known for a preponderance of Americans in its population and people speak English in London so it's not as jarring or exotic as a trip to some other foreign countries might be, but I am still away from home, away from my community, away from the city I know well.

After I parted ways with my friends, I headed up the hill to the bus stop and while I waited there I noticed the lovely evening light on the buildings, and the peaceful feeling on the street, and I enjoyed the fact that, having been here for two and a half months now, there are areas such as that very spot on the hill that are now familiar to me.

As someone who has lived in about 8 different places in the past 6 years (many of them were in NYC, but still different apartments and/or neighborhoods), I really value a feeling of home, and I'm interested in what creates that. I actually have found that ever since I left my childhood home in Maine for college (which was a tough transition at first), I have become pretty adept at creating a sense of home for myself wherever I am. It's a skill I really value, and one that I really require in my thus far rather itinerant life as an artist.

Here are some of the things that I find help me create this feeling of home wherever I am:
music (either deliberate or accidental/synchronistic like with the Norah Jones in the gastropub)
candles, preferably scented
oracle cards - Doreen Virtue's Goddess Cards and Angel Cards, for example
nice toiletries and/or wellness products, e.g., essential oils, a lovely soap, room mist
spiritual books, like Louise Hay's You Can Heal Your Life
making myself a lovely, healthy meal
bodies of water
and, of course, connecting with my loved ones, near and far

What makes you feel at home when you are traveling and/or moving from place to place?

Monday, June 1, 2009

Morning Glory

For the past few years, I've been rather steadfastly dedicated to morning pages a la Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way. Eight or nine times out of ten, they are the very first thing I do in the morning - before brushing my teeth, before going to the bathroom, before eating. And they have served me very well, in many ways. Wonderful ideas have come to me in my morning pages. I've blown off a lot of steam in my morning pages. I've recorded amazing dreams in my morning pages. And I often find that having that clear buffer or transition point between sleep and the rest of my day works very well for me.

But I am not a morning person and I am rarely happy to wake up in the morning, and in my continual quest for greater happiness, it occurred to me that the way I begin my day might have an impact on the way I feel when I wake up. And because I've been going through a bit of a rough patch, a lot of the stuff that comes out in my morning pages is negative. Though I have stood by my morning pages and, in fact, have felt that getting some of that negativity out first thing is good and healthy and productive, now I'm not so sure. Now I'm thinking that it could be a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy, at least at this moment in my life.

So, I decided yesterday as I was writing in my morning pages (ha ha! yes, they are still serving their purpose even when I'm thinking of why I don't want to do them) that I was going to try something else in the morning. So I only wrote 2 pages yesterday, instead of the customary 3, and then I went downstairs and did a little bit of yoga with the online Gaiam Yoga Club. While sipping some warm water with cayenne pepper and fresh-squeezed lemon, which is an excellent alkalizing way to start the day but I am usually so starving by the time I finish my morning pages that I can't possibly wait long enough to drink that before I eat.

I felt so centered and grounded after the yoga - it was a very small amount, but it made a difference. And throughout the day I was much more aware of my body's alignment, which felt great. Also, I was much less prone to pushing myself too hard, i.e., sitting for too many hours at the computer hunched over and creating neck tension.

This morning I did some breathing, spinal fluidity, and visualization from qi gong. And that felt wonderful, too! I remembered how much joy there is in being present in my body and its movements and my breath. Also how much joy there is for me in fine-tuned focus, such as in a visualization.

I don't know if it's because I began both days in new ways, or because I began both days with something physical, or because I'm taking a break from my morning pages - or perhaps because I am giving myself permission to be aware of how I feel in the morning and experiment with what would feel best to me. Whatever it is, these past 2 days I have felt more centered and at peace than I usually do. Also, not surprisingly, more present in my body. And gentler to myself, in general.

This may or may not be a permanent change. I feel rather attached to my morning pages and am hesistant to abandon them altogether. But I think that at this particular point, when I seem to be more vulnerable to the dangerous neighborhood that is my brain, putting my attention elsewhere first thing in the morning might be just the ticket.

I wonder if there are people in the world who wake up in the morning feeling happy and excited to be alive and wake up and greet the day. If you're one of them, I'd love to hear from you. And I'd love to know what makes you feel that way in the morning. Also, from any readers, whether they're happy morning people or not, I would love to hear about people's morning routines. What works for you? What doesn't?

And do you think that your morning does, indeed, set the tone for your day?

Monday, May 18, 2009

Choosing to Stay

Perhaps it's because I'm living rent-free with my dad and stepmom so I have the luxury of more free time on my hands than usual. Perhaps it's because I'm in a new city with only a few friends and I miss my people at home in NYC. Perhaps it's because I'm 28 and having a quarter-life crisis. Perhaps it's because I'm almost at my Saturn Return, the time when many rockstars overdose, the time when, apparently, your soul decides to stay or go.

Whatever it is - maybe a combination of all these things - I'm experiencing some existential angst. Feeling that I really don't know what I'm doing here as a human being in this physical life on this planet, and sometimes I'm not sure I really want to be here at all. Don't worry, I'm not about to do anything dangerous or destructive. But my ambivalence about life does seem to be hitting me right between the eyes at the moment.

I remember that after watching the movie The Hours, my mom said she thinks depression is self-absorbed and narcissistic. I see her point. And I'm loathe to be some poor little rich girl, absorbed in so much mental masturbation about life that I'm completely useless to anyone and I miss the beauty of life that's right in front of me. However, since this existential ambivalence seems to have been with me to some degree, on and off, since birth, and I'm sick of it, I've decided to try a new strategy. The strategy is to allow myself to be in it a little bit while I have the space and time to do so. I'm thinking maybe I'll discover something there - something that will help me heal it more effectively than pushing it away. And it seems a good time to do so, since apparently my soul will be deciding whether to stay or go sometime in the next year, and even though I find life rather challenging at times, I'm pretty sure I'd like to stay.

So yesterday I decided to embark upon an experiment, or a piece of research. That is that I will be investigating what makes me feel glad to be here as a human being on the planet. Alive. I'm going to be on the lookout for moments, for sensations, for feelings, for experiences. And then I'm going to see if this effects what I create in my life, what I express and how I express it.

I have experimented with various principles and teachings: Abraham-Hicks, the laws of attraction, Louise Hay, Mama Gena, A Course in Miracles, 12-step programs, Christianity, paganism, Catherine Ponder. And some work for me to some degree and some don't. Most are partly working and partly not. But often they feel like some sort of construct to help me cope with life, or manipulate it (or my Higher Power - God, Goddess, the Universe) into giving me what I want. And that's not how I want to live my life, using something to make the most of something that I'm not actually really enjoying as a whole in the first place.

Don't get me wrong, most of the time I am a very faithful and positive person. And I have experienced many miracles and blessings that have validated my positive beliefs. But occasionally it's a front. And what I'm looking at right now is those times, and seeing if I can find something underneath that that will actually bring me to more faith and more joy than I already have. And I think that, as a person who is often escaping "regular life" by pretending to be someone else (acting), performing onstage (singing or acting), or reading, maybe I'm due for a little immersion in what's worthwhile about regular life, regardless of my relationship with my Higher Power.

Obviously I'm making this up as I go along, as we generally do in life. But I think it's going to be a worthwhile investigation. Perhaps you'd like to join me! Just to clarify, the experiment is to pay attention to things that make you feel glad you're alive as a human being in this physical life on this planet right now. And if paying attention to that somehow effects or informs your choices, that'll be interesting to note, as well.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

New in Town

It seems like everywhere I go here in London, people are friendly to me and doors are opening. Okay, it's not in the big, dramatic "we want you to star in our show on the West End NOW" way that I fantasized about. But it is enough for me to take notice.

Maybe it's the "new kid" phenomenon. I always remember being extra nice and friendly to the new kids in school, partly because I didn't want them to feel lonely and partly because there was something intriguing and exotic about them. I'd lived and gone to school in the same town my whole life.

I'm sure as adults we still have that instinct to welcome newcomers, and a desire to know about them and where they come from.

But I think it's also something coming from me. New York is THE place to be for an actor and singer - at least if you love theater. Ever since I moved there after college, I've been struck by the sheer density of intense dreams and aspirations floating around the city, colliding with one another, making themselves known in a myriad of ways. I've always felt that it's a place where you can pretty much do whatever you desire, if you have the chutzpah to make it happen. Ah, there's the rub.

The chutzpah to make it happen. Recently my mother and godmother had dinner with a mentor of mine in musical theater. She's a very successful dancer, choreographer, and performer in musical theater and film - and an extraordinary teacher who I studied with for two summers before college. According to my mom, she described me as "fearless." I was kind of surprised to hear this, as it seems like fear has certainly been an obstacle for me in "real life" after college. But it gave me pause to hear this, because obviously she picked up on something that is there in me, even if I don't always access it.

So, New York is: "If I can make it there, I'll make it anywhere." And perhaps being there I've put too much pressure on myself to "make it there." But when I go somewhere else, there's a degree to which I'm surrendering to the possibility of "giving up" on New York and starting fresh. It's an energetic thing - the letting go, the surrender. I feel it here in London and I felt it to some degree in LA, as well, where I lived for a few months last spring while doing a play in Hollywood.

In addition, I find that newness and excitement are inspiring and motivating for me. So I'm more likely to get excited about the extra challenge of singing at an open mike in a new city where I don't know anybody, than in a city where I've been living for a few years. On the other hand one could argue that singing in a foreign place is easier, because people are less likely to know me, or my work, there. Well, whether it’s harder or easier, the bottom line is that it’s more appealing for me, somehow.

The last movie I saw with my sister before leaving NYC for my London sojourn was New in Town, with Rene Zellweger and Harry Connick, Jr. Not particularly sophisticated, of course, and I know you film aficionados will groan, but honestly I loved it and didn't want it to end. Perhaps it was a harbinger of what was to come for me, being new in town.

But perhaps we could all be new in town this spring, even if we're not. That sense of having nothing to lose, that sense of adventure - that could be created anytime, any day, anywhere. And the sense of surrender around our desires, letting go of our vise grip on the manifestation of what we want - that is so powerful and it would be so helpful to cultivate it whether or not we're new in town.

Even if we're not new in town, and neither are the people around us, we could treat each other as if we were. We might make a new friend or find a new opportunity if we stretched just a little bit by saying hello to the person at the next table a Starbucks, or the person in line with us at Whole Foods. Yes, I realize we can't do this all the time, especially in cities like New York or London. Sometimes people are busy or just want to be left alone (and sometimes we ourselves are that person – I know I certainly am sometimes). But a little bit could go a long way. Especially since the boundaries between places and cultures are melting. Everyone's talking about the world becoming a global village. If that's the case - that we're all becoming more and more interconnected and the boundaries are blurring - then there will eventually be fewer and fewer real instances of being "new in town," at least culturally or socially speaking. We might as well start getting to know our neighbors now.

"'What should I love?' . . . 'Whatever is in front of you.' . . . 'What do I do first?' . . . 'Whatever is facing you.' . . . 'Who should I help more?' . . . 'Whoever is next to you.'”
- from Love Without End by Glenda Green

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Bust a Move

This morning when I checked my email, I had the following message from TUT, Notes from the Universe (to which I subscribe):

Too often, Ann, the only difference between HAVE and HAVE NOT depends on whether or not the initial request was followed by a thank you, yee-haa, and action, rather than a question mark, timidity, and TV.
Don't ask. Give thanks. Bust a move.

Yo -
The Universe

I laughed out loud with recognition of the resonance of this statement for me, especially right now. Case in point: Yesterday, I got a few productive things done, but spent much of the day in a downward emotional spiral, paralyzed by my fears and other emotions about being here in London and all the unknowns, etc. A good chunk of the day was even spent talking on Facebook with a man from my past, and getting all riled up about a piece of information he disclosed to me. I would have been watching TV instead, but I couldn't get the TV to turn on. It's one of those 3-remote-control contraptions that never cease to mystify me. Granted, I haven't personally owned a TV in years. Point being, "question mark, timidity, and TV" - can I relate? Just a little bit.

I have a lot of desires. A lot of big desires. I am one lusty wench - lusty in the lust for life sense, I mean (we won't go into the other department for now). And I'm here in London with many open options in going for many of my desires. I have a level of support that I haven't had since I left home for college. I have lots of free time and lots of freedom. The kiss of death. My mind is a bad neighborhood to spend any significant amount of time in alone. And in my normal life in NYC, I am generally too busy to spend too much time there alone. But that was then and this is now, and now I'm spending a lot of time there. And it's frightening. All my doubts, fears, and confusions are rearing their ugly heads. And suddenly the simple act of mobilizing myself to take the dog for a walk or make myself something to eat seems highly unappealing and next to impossible.

However, the good news is, I have friends at home I can talk to about this experience, and they help me stay sane, or resume sanity, as the case may be. And, as that wonderful teacher says in Anne of Green Gables, "Tomorrow is always fresh, with no mistakes in it." Luckily, today was tomorrow, and I had that wonderful note from the Universe in my email, and I took it and ran with it. I started to make a list of my desires, with accompanying actions for each. And before the list, I wrote a thank-you note to God/Goddess/the Universe for these desires and for my passion and imagination, and for the coming fulfillment of my desires and the fulfillment of previous desires and the inspiration of actions to take to help bring about my desires. I even wrote "Thank you! Yahoo!" after the first few desires.

Throughout the day, I thought about my desires in a new light, and I took small actions towards some of them, and got some positive results relatively quickly. I also meditated and asked for guidance multiple times throughout the day, and felt a sense of clarity and connectedness with my Higher Power that was enlivening and encouraging.

And I feel emboldened in my belief in my desires now, at day's end.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Extrovert Alert, & Respecting the Process - and My Parents

Last night I found myself feeling a little depressed and in doubt about this whole London adventure. I went to an event that was fun but not really what I'd pictured it would be, and much more crowded, which stressed me out. Then I got home and was completely exhausted and, well, basically, I was being impatient and hard on myself. Thinking, "How am I ever going to make any progress here?" and "Why am I so tired?"

Then I did some journaling and such, remembered that it was really only my 3rd day here, and giggled at myself. This adventure is a birth process, just like anything worth doing, and it's going to have its own timing. It also occurred to me that, in a situation with so many unknowns, and so many strong desires floating around within my being, it would behoove me to keep my vibration as strong and positive as possible by being extra-vigilant about the quality of my thoughts.

Today I attended a 12-step meeting. Took me forever to get there, as I got quite lost. But I made up my mind that I would locate the venue, whether or not I made it to the meeting, so I would at least know where it was for next week. I wound up having a lovely (if rather chilly) tour of the Westminster/Kensington Gardens/Hyde Park area. Exquisitely beautiful. Even passed a building that a Lady with the last name "Bonham Carter" once lived in. Must be a relation to Helena.

Anyhoo, when I finally made it to the meeting, I volunteered to do service and wound up meeting some lovely members of the fellowship afterwards. That put me back on a high.

Then, instead of going to a Bruno Groening Circle of Friends meeting (you can google Bruno Groening), I decided to go home for a nap because I was totally exhausted. Here was an example of respecting the process: recognizing that finding one new place was enough for me today.

Upon arriving home, I had a very small experience of the difference between being a single young woman and being a parent, when my dad and stepmom both wanted to take naps, too, so I was in charge of watching my little sister for awhile. It was, I admit, a relatively new experience for me to not be able to follow my own personal energy level and mood and do what I wanted to do when I wanted to do it (namely, take a luxurious bath and nap as soon as I landed at home). I'm not complaining. My sister was watching cartoons and Madeline was very amusing, with all the characters' French accents. I simply had an infinitesimal inkling of why my mother often says that your life is never the same after having children. So I suppose I'd multiply today's tiny experience of self-sacrifice by infinity and I'd have a slight idea of what it's like to be a parent. Maybe infinity squared. Or cubed. The point is, I bow at my parents feet, forever.

I did get to have a bath and a nap shortly afterwards, and then we all went to a dinner party nearby, where I met a wonderful older actress who was completely enchanting. She is so knowledgeable and cultured and elegant and warm, and was also delightfully encouraging of my aspirations around acting work here. Everyone else at the party was fun and interesting, too, and when we finally left, I felt absolutely aglow, realizing, for the umpteenth time in my life, that I am, in many ways, an extrovert, and as such, I am quite fueled by socializing and talking and meeting new people. It's like oxygen. Maybe because my moon is in Leo.

We also honored Earth Hour by having our dinner by candlelight. I have a suspicion that is very good for your adrenals and overall health. It has a calming effect and I like it!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Connecting with the Infinite

So now here I am in London, and I gotta say the beauty of this place is providing me with a level of emotional sustenance that's a little uncanny. It's stirring something in my soul, somehow. Maybe I've been here in a past life.

Today I took a long walk/run in Golders Green Park, which is right next to Hampstead Heath. It is ridiculously pretty, with little clusters of daffodils all over the green lawn, a gazebo, and a beautiful little garden. Unspeakably charming. I tromped up a trail into the woods and came upon Hill and Pergola Garden, which was already closed but I could see much of it from outside. It is full of colonnades and trellises and archways. In the misty gray evening, it felt very Secret Garden-esque. This was, of course, one of my favorite books as a kid. I even made a foam-core model of the house in the book for a school project.

The sun was beginning to set, and vertical beams of light streamed through the cloud cover. This was what I saw beyond the enchanted structures and foliage of the Hill and Pergola Garden, and the combination was absolutely heavenly.

In Love Without End, by Glenda Green, there is a discussion of how life-affirming it is for humans to connect with the infinite. The sun streaming through the clouds this evening was my conduit to the infinite for today, and I am so grateful for it.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Day Job vs. Going for Your Dreams - Mutually Exclusive?

I am about to embark on an adventure. Heading to London for 3 to 6 months, to explore the theater and music worlds there, and see what I can create, conjure, manifest. Since I'm soon to be a bit more of a globetrotter, I'm thinking I'd like to be writing here more regularly. I'm gonna try for once a week.

Today I heard that there was an article in the newspaper (which I rarely read myself) talking about how the challenging job market is causing new college graduates to go after dreams that they might not otherwise. I guess since the big I-banking companies aren't offering security (which is an illusion, anyway), there's nothing left to do except go for what you really want. I think this is pretty fabulous. Not that I think the instability of the economy is fabulous, but this trend is certainly fabulous.

Of course I've had my own particular journey around the balance of structured day job-type work and going for my dreams. And over the past year or so, I've come to see that often my avoidance of structured, money-earning work outside of my artistic field has been quite counterproductive to my progress towards my dreams. Lately I've had steadier work in my "day job" (I put this in quotes because I don't work 9 to 5, 5 days a week), and steadier income, and have been paying my bills on time and having a stabler bank account.

Is it a coincidence that during this time I have also had my writing published for the first time (in a bestselling anthology, no less), and have written my first song? I think not.

What a load of crap I've been feeding myself all these years! It's amazing how much more free and creative and connected to the abundance of the Universe I feel now that I'm showing up for the realities of money and time in my life. I am hopeful, and faithful, that this positive trend will continue.