And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. ~Anais Nin

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April 23, 2010 at 1:22 am 6 comments

So what about The Plan?

The Plan.

That’s how I referred to this adventure when I conceived it and began my alternately bold and timid steps in the journey. I explained The Plan in my second post, just after revealed why I needed to Blame it on Barry Manilow.

I called it The Plan because I was embarrassed: first to admit that I had a dream at all; secondly, that it involved singing, dancing and acting – as a profession, no less.

That was 18 months ago.

Somewhere along the way I stopped calling this adventure The Plan and I became the mariposa – transforming from the guarded life I’d been living to the exposed life of an artist – taking in the world around me and sharing my most vulnerable self.

Today I believe in dreams and the pursuit of them.

But now I’m far rehearsal studios and Broadway – living in a place I’ve been before, looking for a job like I’ve had before.

So what about that dream?

I haven’t called it quits – even though The Work, as I’ve learned to call it, is far beyond the back burner. It’s not even in the kitchen these days.

I’m not able to say I’m finished. It’s not a matter of pride or stubbornness. It’s a passion that I still struggle to articulate but feel deep in my being. I’m  just focused on a lower level of Maslow’s pyramid.

But my original vision needs a corrective lens – it might have been a little near-sighted, for more than just financial reasons. The Work is like fine wine and I’ve just started picking the grapes.

So I’ll use the gifts I was given and work for a while. That gives me time to develop another set of gifts and to look at the world anew through an artist’s eyes.

I’ve had more than one family member or friend ask if I’m “Okay”. Honestly, I am. In fact, I’m excited to see what’s next. Yes, I miss New York – all that it was and is for me.

But today is sunny and so are the days ahead, here in Atlanta or wherever the adventure leads.

September 28, 2011 at 10:35 pm Leave a comment

Hello again

I knew I hadn’t posted for a while, but I can’t believe the last time I posted was in April. Thanks to all of you who asked about me and encouraged me to keep blogging.

So I’m back.

What’s been happening? Lots.

I completed my first year at CAP21. As the summer began, I took a hard look at my finances and realized I needed to go back to work unless money dropped out of the sky. Surprise, it didn’t. It was a sad, but not unexpected, development. When I began this adventure, I knew how I would fund the first year. The second year was a question mark that I would address when it arrived. If I had delayed the journey until I funded both years, I might never have started.

I spent the summer working in the business office at CAP21 while I looked for a job — one where I could maximize my earnings and minimize time in this detour. Working at CAP21 was one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had in all my working years. Everyday, I felt immensely appreciated and valued.

While I looked for work in New York, Atlanta was calling. Several recruiters contacted me and I was flown in for interviews, but a final offer never came.

The momentum toward Atlanta — where I had lived and worked for a number of years — continued. A good friend offered a place to live and some consulting work to help pay the bills until I landed a more substantial position. So I left New York the day before Hurricane Irene.

I’ve been in Atlanta just over a month now. I’ve got some good job leads, but I also have some entrepreneurial opportunities to consider — something I would have immediately dismissed before I started this journey.

So that’s the “what” about the last six months. How do I feel about it and how does this effect The Plan? That’s material for another post.

I’m in a place unlike any I’ve experienced, without even a hazy vision for what’s next. Oddly enough, I’m enjoying this new, unsettling territory. There’s lots to discover.

Welcome to my next adventure.

September 26, 2011 at 9:33 pm Leave a comment

Victory!

I had a huge success today.

It’s mid-semester – time to demonstrate to a roomful of faculty and classmates the progress we’ve made with vocal technique. We were to display our skills with “belting” (think Ethel Merman, if you are not familiar with this style of singing).

I was a rock star, to use the vernacular I’ve acquired from my peers. I nailed my song, having found the “pocket” for the sound and the body coordination to support it. The progress I’ve made since we did the same sort of demonstrations in December is tremendous.

But the victory is not as much in the progress I’ve made, but in how I feel about this success. Finishing the song, I left the floor with a swagger. I was proud of myself – in a way I’ve never felt at any other time in my life.

I really believe I did a good job – I’m not feigning satisfaction as I’ve done in the past. Hours later, I haven’t found a way to pick apart or minimize my achievement. And, I don’t feel the need to apologize for feeling so proud.

I own it!

This, my friends, is a significant change for me. I’m not quite sure what brought it about. But I’m not going to be concerned with that now.

I’m just going to savor the moment, even though I have a feeling there will be more to come.

March 7, 2011 at 8:28 pm 1 comment

Catherine, the Great

The following words are from Catherine Greenfield, a lovely and talented young woman I had the pleasure of working with this summer at CAP21. She posted this on her Facebook page

It’s a beautiful and moving reflection.

A moment struck by joy– some positive thinking, and some pixie dust.

by Catherine Greenfield

Confession: People who were juniors in college when I graduated last year are just going into spring break. They are posting about it on their facebooks and twitters. And my immediate thought upon reading those posts was (as it was around Christmastime, when they were posting similar sighs of temporary academic relief)… how are you still in college? Did you have to stay an extra year? I thought you graduated, already!

And then I realize… I haven’t been out even a year, yet.

And then I am struck with wonder… am I meant to believe that I had my CAP21 adventure, my gazillion-and-ten NYC auditions adventures, my modeling adventures, my book-cover adventure, my subway performer adventures, my living in Harlem with a gazillion roommates adventure, my haunted house adventure, my working for mc adventure (and the aftermath), my movie adventure, my getting cast with Disney adventure, my living with Chard adventures, AND my Toronto adventure… all in less than a year after graduating college?

Is this something I am meant to believe?

…REALLY!?

…Cool!

So many lessons learned, both fun and painful; so many paths traveled in so many pairs of well-loved– but well-worn– shoes; so many hats I had to wear, and learn to juggle all at once; so many people I had to meet, and learn to decide when to hold them close or learn to let go; and so much personal, spiritual, emotional, and professional growth that had to be done, with all of the blossoming, stumbling, and growing pains that go along with it. 

And, with both joys and sorrows counted, I wouldn’t take it back for anything.

I will confess: I am one lucky sonofagun.

I am glad I was able to remember how to live an honorable and happy life, even when I was scared and feeling defeated: it takes hard work and a good spit-shine… elbow grease and a hopeful heart… love for others and love for yourself… the pride to keep going when your feet are tired, and the humility to know when to ask for help… faith in God and faith in yourself… and extra special friends and family to help ya buck up when times get tough… but anything is possible… especially when you have faith, trust, and pixie dust. 🙂

I am excited for more adventures. I am blown away by the concept that there will be more coming– not even a year, and I have already lived what feels to be a wonderfully interesting life. And as I watch the snow fall thickly from this Toronto sky, the blue-now red-now blue peak of the CN tower disappearing into silence of the muffling white curtain, I am reminded of what a blessing, what a great privilege it is to be where I am, doing what I am doing… and what a joy it is, knowing that I will always have many kinds of adventures before me, friends beside me, and wonderful memories tagging along behind. I am so excited for what the future will bring. I am so excited to have more wonderful adventures! 

“Trim the sails!” “Weigh anchor!” “All aboard–let’s go!” “I think I can, I think I can!” “C’mon… let’s go! Off to Neverland!”

Every second counts. Every moment is full of magic.

Find the joy and love! Take it, and hold it, and don’t let it go!

Offer others the opportunity to share in your joy! In that way, joy multiplies!

Don’t just say it– do it!

Don’t just dream it– believe in it!

“You can’t touch it, or buy it, or wrap it up tight… but it’s there just the same making things turn out right.”

Wonderful things can happen all at once! Keep your eyes open– blink, and you’ll miss it!

I am learning… tears of sadness and sunshine-smiles of joy… both feed the tree of life. May great joy find you as it has found me… and, whether you recognize it or not… it already has.

February 27, 2011 at 1:36 pm Leave a comment

I have to roar

Literally. I have to roar as a lion in a production we’re working on at school.

I tried it today and felt like a complete jackass. So much for embodying the king of the beasts…

I’m playing Aslan, in an adaptation of the C.S. Lewis’s book, The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. Actually, three of us will be playing the character at the same time.

I know, I know. It sounds like crazy experimental theater stuff. And I guess it is. But it’s fascinating and freeing. Part of the experimentation is understanding how certain states of being feel in your body.

One of the tools we are using is based on work by Rudolph Laban. To provide a very simplified explanation of one aspect of his work, he defined eight types of physical movements: Float, Punch(Thrust), Glide, Slash, Dab, Wring, Flick, and Press.

For an exercise in class, we experienced each movement by expressing it with our bodies while counting to ten. It’s stunning to realize how physicality can evoke emotion – activating feelings in a way similar to how the smell of baking cookies can instantly transport you to your grandmother’s house. (Grocery store marketers have known this for years and exploit our nature to get us to buy more. Ahhh, the shamelessness of my former profession – anything to get the sale!)

When we first did this exercise, our teacher asked which of the eight movements we most typically express. I felt like Press was my usual state of being – pushing, working, stressed. I think my true nature, however, is Glide – effortless, fluid, flexible. I remember living there once and feeling quite at home. For quite some time, I’ve not been living my true nature. I’ve been trying to make things happen instead of simply letting things happen. From time-to-time my Glide comes back, but it’s not long before I’m back to Pressing.

Aslan is a Glider. So as this character I get to live much closer to my true self. Being in that proximity, maybe I’ll find my way back to me. With all the power and confidence I feel conquering ankle-deep slush in my rain boots.

I’ll find my voice – and learn to roar.

January 30, 2011 at 10:40 pm Leave a comment

Shared frustration

This post from a fellow blogger really resonates with me. She’s participating in WordPress daily post challenge by jettisoning one unnecessary item a day.

Enjoy!

Land of Misfit Socks: Knit Fit.

January 29, 2011 at 5:21 pm Leave a comment

And now, a message from your rain boots

I hadn’t lived in New York long when I realized it would be wise to widen my wardrobe with some sturdy rain boots.

What seems a clumsy, homely, throwback to childhood, rain boots are ubiquitous in the city when the weather turns the slightest bit inclement. In New York, they are oxymoronic combination of practicality and fashion, available in a limitless of colors, textures and styles.

The pair I purchased is forest green, tall enough to fall just below the knee, providing ample protection for tucked-in pant legs. Thankfully, bell bottoms are not in fashion or I would cut off circulation to my feet.

Today, wandering around the streets of New York after a 19-inch “snowpocalypse”, these boots did more than keep my feet and heavy wool socks dry.

New York has a huge challenge “relocating” snow. Until it can be hauled away by truck to a “disposal facility”, mountainous piles of snow rise where the street and sidewalk meet. There it melts – into a murky slush that puddles deeper than your ankles and wider than the range of the average Olympic broad jumper.

Wearing rain boots, I stride through these pools fearlessly. I’ve no concern for the depth or breadth the obstacle. I’m eager to get to the next corner so that I can tread through the next challenge. I feel powerful and unstoppable. And filled with joy.

Then it occurs to me – this is the way to live life, confronting situations with the undaunted confidence.

And, I certainly haven’t been living that way lately.

I need to put on the rain boots of my soul so I can continue to venture forward with gusto rather than hesitation. I was wearing them as I started The Plan. It seems I’ve misplaced them since. If I think just about it just a little bit, I’m sure they’ll turn up.

They better. I have lots more puddles to conquer.

January 27, 2011 at 10:29 pm 1 comment

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