Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Stopping Thought

I've been reading the posts of fellow participants of The Next Chapter with Jamie Ridler. We're currently reading Martha Beck's The Joy Diet. Each chapter explores a different component of joy and the first chapter suggests we try 15 minutes per day of nothing. Almost every post I've read has talked about how hard it is to quiet the mind. I have that "problem," too, but I guess I'm a bit of a slacker and I've just accepted it. Though, I must confess that deep down I've thought of it as a character flaw. Today as I was going through old Yoga Journal magazines looking for images for my vision cards - I hit upon this article which dispelled all of my fears. BONUS: I also found the perfect image for my vision card!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

In my performing life I've discovered that each audience has it's own personality. Most are friendly, some are shy and a few can be downright predatory. This past weekend I decided that even if the audience turned out to be a Polar Bear - I'd be the Husky. It was amazing how re-enforcing my sense of play with this imagery freed me to just go out and be in the moment and enjoy the energy exchange between me, my castmates and the audience.

Friday, September 25, 2009


I have joined the wonderful Jamie Ridler's Next Chapter as we explore Martha Beck's book, The Joy Diet. Each chapter focuses on an aspect of Joy. This week we were to do NOTHING for 15 each day. Normally I live a rather slow, contemplative life but this week I found myself resisting doing nothing. It was tech week for Heidi Chronicles (we opened last night - standing o - yea!) and there just never seem to be enough hours in the day during tech week. I did sort of force myself to do it but once I did it was lovely. I sat outside on my back deck watching the fountain in our little pond. The splashing of the water and the buzz of the cicadas made a wonderfully hypnotic sound that helped transport me into nothingness. When I caught myself thinking I used the technique mentioned in the book of imagining I was watching a waterfall. When I was a child we visited Niagara Falls and I remember there was a place where you could stand behind the water and watch it falling in front of you. Although it crowded and touristy I remember being transfixed by the immense power and beauty of the water. I used to try to stop my thoughts but I don't do that anymore. Now I just try to notice them, accept them and not attach anything to them. Sometimes I imagine myself as a mountain and my thoughts as clouds. Some days there are no clouds and I get lost in the emptiness. Other days there may be lots of bright, fluffy, cheerful clouds and on still others there may be a thick blanket of dark threatening clouds. I try to remember I am not the clouds, I am the mountain. It usually works during meditation but not often in LIFE. I still need much practice!

I didn't get to my vision card this week. I have a very clear idea of what I will do but I opted to do nothing this week instead while my time is so limited.

Monday, September 21, 2009

First Rehearsal Blues

We begin the process of re-mounting The Heidi Chronicles tonight. I always have such trouble with first rehearsals. You would think that after years of performing that this would be old hat to me. Unfortunately, I put myself through a ridiculous amount of torture every time. I can never sleep the night before - I awaken with some sort of free floating anxiety - it never seems related to the show but to life in general. When I finally drag myself out of bed I'm filled with dread about the impending rehearsal and then filled with guilt about the dread. Every self-doubt I thought I'd dealt with and put aside comes sneaking back into my mind. I become paralyzed - unable to do anything other than physically get myself ready for the rehearsal.

I wish I wasn't like this. I wish I could just bop along grateful and excited for the experience. But, this is another of my "who I wish I was and who I really am" moments. Due to the fact that I know other people occasionally read my blog, there is a part of me that wants to express only positive things and not contribute to the negativity in the world. But, it's not true, it's not authentic. The truth is - I'm frequently a big fat mess before the first rehearsal. That is the truth about my current creative process.

My only consolation is that after years of experiencing this irrational behavior, I know to expect it and I know it will pass. By the time I'm at the theatre tonight, I'll be fine and on opening night when everyone else is dealing with jitters - I'll be calm and happy ( I think that comes from my opera singing years when I knew once the show opened, the conductor couldn't yell at me from the pit anymore - hee hee!). Until then, I'm going to just go easy with myself. I'll go for a little walk, watch some mindless TV and try to eat something and keep telling myself over & over that this too shall pass.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

My Joy

I'm very excited to begin The Next Chapter with Jamie Ridler as we dive into Martha Beck's The Joy Diet. I had such a wonderful time and met so many interesting & creative people with the last book, Keri Smith's Wreck this Journal. I have a feeling this adventure will be just as inspiring. I've also been a fan of Martha Beck's for quite some time. Anyone who makes me re-think my life while making me laugh out loud gets my vote.

It seems appropriate that I should be beginning this journey today. Thirteen years ago I gave birth to the greatest joy of my life - my daughter. She was a fabulous, unplanned surprise. I'd never thought of myself as at all maternal and POW!!! There has never been anything in my life that has been so right and filled me with such joy. Of course, now that she is thirteen she still needs me but in a different, less all consuming way (you know - be there but make sure none of my friends can see you). It's hard to admit but now as she grows older I feel a little melancholy. Don't get me wrong - I want her to grow, sprout her wings and fly and I have a very rich life of my own. But, I miss that little person & seeing the world through her eyes. I know it's time for me now to start finding my own joy as I go through this transition.

*Side note: I've been experiencing migraines on an almost daily basis and I've discovered that the computer is a big trigger. I'm going to do my best to get around to every one's blogs to meet you but it might take me a while.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Time Out

I've been back from my trip for a while now and might post about it later. Since the second day of the trip I have had a migraine every day. I do get them occasionally but have never had a bout like this. Needless to say - not much art got done on the trip! And, I'm finding now that the computer is a big trigger so I've been limiting my time here. Once this chain of migraines is broken I'll be back to more regular posting and visiting of blogs!! 'Til then - happy thoughts to all!

My own little place to explore my creativity and imagination