dance · direction · healing · intuition

Dance Dance Revolution.

The strangest development occurred last night as I was
falling asleep. Actually, I wasn’t falling asleep, having dosed myself with a
trough of sugar not long before bed. As raw as I was feeling yesterday, eating
for comfort seemed wonderfully acceptable, and I was permissive with myself around it.
That said, it was taking me a while to fall asleep with all
the sugar running laps around my blood cells, and my thoughts began to wander.
I began choreographing a ballet.
?? What? Yes. In the light of day, now, I see that perhaps
this is the mode of expression for some of the more raw things that I have to
“say,” – that writing actually is much too close a mode for me, and that when
I’ve tried to write about some of this, it comes off so cold and distant, or so
majorly personal that it doesn’t effect “good” writing. Or, maybe, dance is
just the mode this particular set of events in my life wants to take.
And, I don’t think it would be that bad. In fact, I sort of
story-boarded about 2/3rds of it last night; it wouldn’t be long, maybe 20 minutes. I can see the lighting and the
costumes, and the masks. Because there will be masks. The psyche always has
masks. It will be haunting, and breakingly beautiful. And, I believe, it will
be identifiable. As in, people will be able to relate to the experience, or if
not directly, they will relate to the emotions of the experience. Most people
have trauma. Unfortunately. And if not experienced at that level, most people
can relate to heart-break, or the cycle of addiction that draws us back to
recreate it again and again, attempting to change the outcome, or “make it
work” this time.
Perhaps pipe-dream. Perhaps not. It was so out of left
field, that it sort of feels divinely inspired – i.e. “not me.” Not my
machinations. I also happen to go to one of the best liberal arts schools in
the area, which has a phenomenal dance program. It’s not completely out of
range or reach that this could happen, in some way or other. Perhaps even an
addendum to my thesis.
My poetry thesis, I have decided, is a “tome.” When I said
that word to my advisor, I didn’t actually know what the precise definition
was, but it felt like the right word. I just looked it up right now,
and it means a volume, one book in a set. And although that doesn’t capture
entirely what I meant, it does make sense to me.
The thesis is basically a record of events and
experiences from the first 25 years of my life. I don’t really expect anyone to
particularly care about it. I don’t particularly care if they do. I said to my
advisor that much of the writing that I was doing for it didn’t feel current.
That it felt like this was old, ancient stuff, but that it was apparently
wanting to come up and out, and to be recorded, acknowledged, and then set
aside.
I don’t intend this book to be the thing that takes me
around the world on reading tours. But that’s not its intention. Its intention
is to be heard, seen, recorded. And laid to rest. This thesis (which per the requirements is to be a book of 40 – 80 poems), the process of this
thesis is like a burial ritual. This is the getting ready of the body,
preparing it for eternal and final rest. It will be the laying to rest of a
long and sad and manic period in my life, and it will effect an acceptance and peace in
me, that it will finally have been acknowledged, instead of stifled.
(Acknowledged by me, that is.)
However, like I said, there is some stuff which isn’t making
itself quite available to me in the written way. Which feels too big to whittle
down to a few words on a stagnant page (which, ultimately is why I may never
be a poet or writer by trade, I believe – or at least, strictly a “page poet.”
I want my work to live, to work on you – though, of course, plenty of people and
writers create the most enormous and powerful effects on the page, but it’s not
my sole medium).
So, ballet. How odd. And yet, I already feel myself moved by
it.
And by the purifying power of catharsis. 
faith · intuition · love · persistence · responsibility · self-care

The Power of Love (yes, I mean the song)

Yesterday, I went to the 3rd of a series of 4
workshops my friend has been facilitating over the last few months. Yesterday
was Relationship with the Divine. I imagined I sorta had this one “down,” that
I could relatively expect what would come up – places where I trust, don’t
trust, know I’ll be taken care of, am scared I’ll be taken care of(!). But, a
bunch of things happened that I did not expect.
The first of which was in response to the question, What
would happen if we shift our current (and assumedly not completely accurate)
belief system? What would happen if I really allowed myself to step into full
faith in my path, my internal nudges toward art, into the fullest idea that
this is a world of abundance? What would happen then?
What occurred to me was that I would need to begin to take
responsibility for my dreams, for these nudges and instincts toward joy. And
that’s when it happened.
I’ve known that I have shirked responsibility for my needs
and my dreams for years, hiding them under “just stay within the lines.” I know
that it has become so painful to stay in the lines that I’ve quit jobs with no
safety net, moved across continents and countries, and previously fallen into
addiction and self-defeating behavior to cover up the distance between what I
was doing in my life and what I wanted to be doing. So, I’ve known that I’ve
not been responsible to myself.
What I didn’t know was that in sitting with what would it truly
look like to step into that responsibility would bring up the fiery reaction of
an inner child saying F.U., I’m exhausted from responsibility, responsibility
sucks.
Now, sure, many people feel this way, but many don’t. To me
what this question tapped into was that my previously held beliefs of
responsibility were of ones that were beyond my resources. Like I’ve said,
responsibilities that I had to take on when I was younger, like a lot of people
I know, were beyond what a child normally ought to take on. Responsibility came
with resentment and a feeling of exhaustion.
So, to sit now with the possibility of stepping in and
taking full reign of my dreams, nudges, creativity, “power” even, I come up
against this out-dated idea of what responsibility means, and of course I’ve
run away from stepping into ownership of them. If, to me, responsibility for
myself has equaled a burden, something beyond what I’m able to give, a
frightening amount of giving, then it is no f’ing wonder that I’ve avoided it.
The bright spot on all of this, is that now I see it, and
can dismantle these false ideas. It would be nice to assume responsibility for
myself in a way that felt nurturing, caring, and perhaps even refueling. My
needs are not exorbitant, they are doable, if I also am willing to tap into the HP (sorry to get G-dy for a minute)
and the abundant source of energy that is there.
I’m not a religious person, but I believe there are things
beyond me which are much more powerful than I am, and if I can tap into that
resource, I don’t get  depleted. If
I act as a channel, instead of charging off my own battery, then I don’t get
depleted.
So, I’ve known that it’s been hard for me to color outside
the lines, to stick to the course that is within me. But i haven’t really known
why I’ve continued to avoid the path, besides the normal fears(!). We’ll see
how I am able to incorporate this new idea, how I’ll be able to shift the
belief system, but awareness is the first action.
Secondly in this workshop, lol, if you’re still reading!,
there was a meditation on impermanence. This was So crazy intense, I’ve never
had a meditation be so evocative – and I’ve had some whacked out powerful ones
that I still remember. The meditation was to ourselves as a very old person, on
the doorstep of death. We were to enter the space of this person, and make
ourselves known to her (in my case), and to ask what she had to tell us. The
whole time, nearly from the beginning of the meditation, I’m streaming tears.
Not from grief or sadness, sadness was there, but it was just more this
overwhelming sense of emotion.
The woman, me, all frail and skeletal nearly, had my eyes,
and they were still bright and kind and alive. There was the smell of cinnamon,
something baking elsewhere in the house. And as I held her hand, she told me to
“Love, as much as you can.” And to be with my family (which I am not entirely
sure what she meant, my current one, the one I’ll have, my family of my
friends, or all of these). She was content with her life, ready to go.
Then we were to imagine her passing away, and not to get
gross, but imagining her decomposing, to bone, to dust, and perhaps blowing
away, and then to sit and “sense or feel or imagine” (as my teacher likes to
say) what remains. What remained for me, as I continue to drip saltwater all
down my neck, was both the Love this woman had, had around her, in her, in her
life, and gave to me, and the edict to
Love. Which I interpret as two different things. The sense of love, and the
command to love.
What also remained was the sound of children’s laughter
somewhere else in the house, downstairs or down the hall. In my meditation of
impermanence, laughter and love remained. In my meditation where I literally
(sort of) watched myself die, what was left in the world wasn’t diminished.
You can imagine this was pretty intense 😉
But how encouraging. And I’ve been given something to do. To
love, as much as I can, and to hold my responsibilities for myself with love,
not rejection.
Big tasks, but apparently, I have a very long time in which
to accomplish them. 
acting · action · courage · direction · faith · intuition · letting go · maturity · performance · poetry

Just Row, Darling, Just Row.

So, I’m feeling both immensely relieved, and a bit of an
emotional hangover from all of the worry and intense “gotta get it done”ness of
the school semester. I finally finished
my paper for my Shakespeare class, and emailed it to the teacher last night at 9pm.
Granted, it was
only six pages,
but this whole working plus school thing really walloped what I was able to
give to school, and squished everything else into weekends that wasn’t school
and school sort of got shunted along every day, moving down my calendar like a
shuffle board disc – I can do it tomorrow, I can do it tomorrow. Like Scarlet
O’Hara – After all tomorrow is another day.
Which may be true, but tomorrow has been another day of
intense activity, and not in any way better than the day before it.
So, the paper is done. My third out of 4 semesters of my MFA
degree is done. And again, relief but… a big dose of “uhhhhhh….???” aka now
what. I’m familiar enough with situations like these to not have to worry too
much about the “now what”, but rather to just show up for what’s next, even if
that’s do the dishes (which, duh, I do have to do), and also, as I’ve been
doing more of lately, follow my little internal nudges, cuz they seem to have a
better idea than I do about wtf is going to happen or is meant to happen, or
which way I should row.
It’s funny. I had mini-epiphany a while back which went
something like the following: I only need to row. I don’t need to know which
way the boat is headed, I’m not steering, I’m not making the waves do their
thing – I only need to row, and I’ll get there.
But that didn’t quite
sit right with me. Sure, I agree, do the next indicated action – which for me
at the moment is to wash up and get ready for work (I’ve decided – for now – to
do my blogs in the morning – I procrastinate them at night, and then end up
past my bedtime – plus one thing I really did learn from all this paper-writing
pushing was that I really do write better in the morning. I’m a morning person
– sort of. I’ve already had one cup of coffee! – I’m more of a “mid-morning”
person – catch me at 10:30 or 11, and I’ll be ON IT… perhaps that’s also cuz
the other two cups of coffee will finally have kicked in…).
In any case, rowing is great – I can row, and sit backwards
and still question where the hell are we going. But I also do believe that it
is sort of my responsibility to have some vague idea of which ocean we’re in –
to extend the metaphor beyond its bounds! Maybe that’s still just me wanting to
have some control, some idea of control if I know where I am, where I’m
heading, and more about what I need to do to get there. Maybe that it doesn’t
sit comfortably is just all part of the action and practice of this thing – to
sit in the discomfort of not knowing, but to do the work anyway.
I don’t know what will happen at auditions. What will happen
after school. What will happen tonight, even! I want to know – especially the
“after school” part. Somehow I’m way more willing to let the audition stuff be
how it will be – I’m way more que cera cera about it. Because I really know that I can’t control the outcome, I can only
control how I show up and prepare for it – how I do or do not do research, take
action, practice, and look for an acting coach, like my acting friend suggested
to me. Somehow, letting go of the results of this is easy. Partly because, to
me, it also feels fun. It feels like an adventure. Like trying a new ice cream
every time. Like, I wonder what this flavor tastes like. So, of course it’s
easy to show up more lightly to those. (But I will say, I’m sure I wouldn’t
have always felt that way – which is why it’s taken me so long to even get here
to stage zeropointone or wherever I am.)
But, “after school,” the looming deadline of “you ought to
know.” More lies. I don’t know. I know that school has been the best thing I’ve
done for myself in a while. Not cuz I get to study and write poetry – that’s
cool, but it’s not where my passion is – but cuz I get to have this time to
discover all this new stuff about myself. I said when I arrived that I wanted
the two years of school to offer me time to “solidify my foundation within
myself.” And I think I’ve been doing that. Concretizing who I am, how I want to
be in this world – to have the time to become someone who can show up to
auditions with a sense of fun.
I am uncomfortable not knowing. I am uncomfortable feeling
like I’m not taking the “right” actions (not writing a sample syllabus, not looking at
teaching jobs, not knowing where I will live or want to live). But, I also don’t
want to teach. … So, that’s leaves me with a WIDE field, and too many options
feels a little like none at all in my fear-brain.
So, before I talk myself out of the awesomeness that is my
ability to show up and let go of the results, out of the awesomeness that is I
FINISHED my semester, I’ll go get my second cup of coffee from my microwave and
pray that all this rowing is better for me than I can possibly see. 
courage · dating · honesty · integrity · intuition · laughter · performance

Make ’em Laugh

I just texted the blind date guy to politely decline his
invitation for a second date. Beforehand, when I presented my case to my best guy friend saying that I just wasn’t
sparked by the coffee date but maybe I should try a second date, he said that ambivalence wasn’t a good sign.

So, if it’s not a good sign, it’s a bad one. And although my
gut had been telling me even before the date that I was having misgivings, I am a Libra –
and I need to thoroughly weigh everything from every angle until my head
explodes – This usually happens several times per month, or per day if I’m
overtired ;P
That isn’t precisely true – I’ve gotten more used to
listening to the voice of my intuition, the longer it hasn’t told me things
like “another line would *really* make this party awesome” or “his girlfriend
isn’t here, so…” I have since learned that this voice may not have been my
intuition, but that’s what I interpreted it as for years, and so it’s taken me
a while to get accustomed to the idea that perhaps my gut isn’t trying to kill
me (my brain is another story).
That said, I spent a significant amount of time and
brainspace on second guessing my gut today. “How much can you know from a first
date, anyway?” It just felt beige. He
wasn’t funny. “Oh, everyone’s on their best behavior on a first date – you
can’t really know if he’s funny or not.” He didn’t make me laugh. “Wouldn’t you
know more if you went out again?”
Maybe, or maybe I’d learn more if I actually listened to my
gut for once instead of hitting the override switch. Build up that muscle of listening
to myself, trusting myself, and also, caveat – if it’s meant to happen again,
it will. … But I don’t think it will.
I was talking with my actress friend today for my
“informational interview/omigod this is hella scary” phone call, and I was
telling her that this performance thing is a gut thing that just hasn’t gone
away. I recently found an exercise from when I was doing The Artist’s Way three years ago – it was a list of “Forbidden Joys”
– things I would love to do, but am “not allowed.” And on it was “Audition for
a play.”
So, my friend told me that first, I would just need to start
auditioning, and likely fall flat on my face. I told her that I already did
do that. 
Earlier this year, I responded to a casting call on craigslist (you
can see how much credence I was willing to give to my gut!). We were asked to
prepare a monologue and a song – as although this wasn’t a musical, the
director believed that having actors sing was a good way to see how they’d do
when they felt uncomfortable. … So, I prepared “Make ’em Laugh” from Singing
in the Rain
– it’s a hilarious outlandish
routine by Donald O’Connor – and it is OVER-THE-TOP.
See, I’ll show them how not uncomfortable this makes me! … Turns out, I made them quite
uncomfortable. Somewhere between the wildly gesticulating arm gestures and a
prat fall, I think I lost them. But hell, if it wasn’t hilarious … to me, at
least. Sure, I was a little disappointed – and I felt like I had totally blown
it by not being “more serious” or even a little serious – but for christ’s sake
the play was about a woman’s love affair with pot!
So I told this story to my actress friend, and she was
delighted! She said I’d already made a fool of myself, and lived (and laughed)
through it, so obviously I’m willing to try and fail – but I also have to be
willing to get out there again. So, she gave me some good advice and said I
could check in with her in a week, which seems like an awfully sweet thing, and
will help to keep me accountable to some of the tasks I have before me (buy a
monologue book – and that monthly subscription to Theater Bay Area I keep on shoving under my coffee table? take it out
and look at the casting calls in the back).
Because I want to be a woman who can be disappointed and
still follow my dreams, and my dreams also include a man who makes me laugh. 
p.s. just got a text back that said he was offering sex not dinner – that…makes me laugh. Thanks, gut!… + seriously?!