Proof of Life

I listen for my own breath, feel the beat of my heart.

I’ve been a hostage so long, no longer know my own name.

I must be real, must be a person. Am I right? I don’t know.

Racing thoughts, like the beating wings of a thousand birds,

Chase away any sense of Self, bring on the fatigue that I call Me.

With no true mirror to look for evidence that I exist, no clues of who I am,

I once again drift off into the abyss of the Land of the TV People

Where I find my home and family, where I live out my wildest dreams.

#The Get My WorkOutThereChallenge #DayThree

Camp

One of my favorite commercial experiences was a commercial for Verizon Wireless for Comedy Central. I can usually tell how a shoot will be from the audition. Not always, but often.

At this audition, they actually wanted us to go “big.” These days, the more “real” you can be, the better. So when they asked for it to be big, I was shocked, and I was thrilled. And when I got the word that I had booked it, I knew it was gonna be a fun one.

I arrived to set, anticipating a great day. I had seen from the call sheet I got the day before that the director was a woman. This was really exciting! Kathy Fusco, a seasoned director, had a body of amazing work and I could not wait to play under direction. (A sobering fact: she is still to date the only woman director I have worked with on a commercial in all these years.)

I went into hair and makeup, and there my hopes were confirmed: this was gonna be a campy romp of a commercial. The makeup artist was directed to go all out with my makeup. Remember Faye Dunaway’s look in “Mommie Dearest?” I looked like her cousin when they were done with me. I loved it.

Once in action on set, things moved fast. But I loved every moment of it. My scene partners were great, and I was able to find some space to improvise, which is my favorite thing. Once the commercial came out, I was so thrilled to see that one of the unscripted moments had made the cut.

How about some cheese with that ham?

I left flying high, so happy to be doing what I love. Appreciating the chance to be campy and big. Sometimes it all just flows, and this was one of those times.

#thegetmyworkouttherechallenge #daytwo #commercials #actress #camp #comedy #comedycentral

They Call the Wind Maria

In the very mysterious and incredibly miraculous way that most of life’s best experiences happen, I had the opportunity of traveling to Greece a month ago. We stayed on the islands of Santorini and Mykonos. I could (and may) write numerous posts about my experiences there. But today, all I can think about is the wind of Mykonos.

Greece had never been on any list of mine, and yet I found myself drawn to go there for reasons that were unclear to me at the time. I was in need of ease and a low-key kind of trip when this decision to follow my “yes” to go to these islands made itself known to my heart, so I did not plan anything about this trip. I did not do any research (unusual for me,) and as for the travel details, I left it all in the hands of an amazing travel agent, Judy Likouris. (This was a first for me. It was terrific. She is a fantastic human and super good at travel arrangements!)

So when we left the languid heat of Santorini for Mykonos, disembarked from the boat and promptly lost our hats to the whipping wind, it was a total surprise. The “it” I am referring to is the wind of Mykonos.

I have never had an especially particular relationship to the Wind. I did grow up loving a song from the movie musical “Paint Your Wagon” called “They Call the Wind Maria.” Maybe it was gorgeous baritone and heartfelt rendition of Harve Presnell, the actor who sang it in the film. His voice held such longing for the woman he had lost — I wanted to know being loved with such a longing. I have carried that song with me ever since. It finds me at odd times here and there and I will find myself singing or humming it with a great nostalgia. If you’ve never seen his performance in the movie, you are welcome in advance.

That was my relationship to the wind until I stepped onto that island. The wind of Mykonos is famous, as it turns out. The island’s name “Mykonos” translates to “The Island of the Winds.” You have to experience it to believe it and understand it, but trust me when I say that this wind is powerful, fierce, mysterious and alive in a  very special way.

Much of the detail I could give you about the wind would be sourced from this wonderful blog article by Rika Z. Vayianni on the very subject from the website “Greece Is.” It is so well-written I leave it to you to read, but I brought just a few tidbits to tempt you here:

Because, you see, there are many names and there are many winds. And then there is “The Wind.” The Meltemi is a mainly northern wind that often joins forces with its neighboring directions of the compass – mostly pairing with the east to create the Gregos, or slightly less often, with the western wind to produce the Maistros. The Meltemi itself is a child born of two extremes: Every summer, the low barometric pressure from the Balkans clashes with the higher, hot blasts from Africa. In this way the Meltemi is formed, fluctuating in force from playful to fierce, gaining strength as the sun rises and calming down as dusk falls. 

This natural “air-conditioner,” as the locals call it, tames the heat and lowers humidity. Deeply Greek in its essence, it has shaped the geography, architecture and civilization in this corner of the world for millennia. From classic antiquity, when the etesians (“yearly winds”) were thus named after being studied by the great Aristotle himself, to this very day, the Meltemi (from mal tempo, or “bad weather” in Italian) still affects the lifestyle of both locals and visitors. It will ultimately leave its mark on your own Mykonos holiday album.

Some tourists who visit the island spend their time complaining of the wind. I can understand that. I am an aural person and can, at times, have hearing sensitivity. The wind in Mykonos is not just about texture, force or velocity. It doesn’t just blow around whatever is in its wake. It also has a voice.

The people I was visiting with were mostly irritated by the wind on its strongest days. It kept many indoors. It was incessant. It felt even dangerous at times. Granted, we were on the northernmost tip of the island where the winds were the strongest.

I felt at home in that wind in a way I cannot explain. I felt held, supported, encouraged, nourished, spoken to, given to. I felt the wind matched the internal character of my spirit. No one would ever look at me and think, “Oh, she seems like the Mykonos Wind!” But inside, I feel like it. So I suppose, in a way, I met my soulmate on Mykonos. The wind.

I would go off and sit on Mykonos’ craggy bluffs and whisper into the wind. I howled and raged into the wind. I sang into the wind. I pleaded and cried into the wind. I gave the wind my secrets, my heart’s dreams, my deepest wounds. And she generously took them all and gave me to hold in their place a knowing in my bones that I was more than enough as I am, that I already had all that I needed to do whatever it is I want to do, and that everything would always be alright. That I had finally found an essential  part of myself that I had always been longing for.

It has been a month since I set foot there. But I carry that wind with me. It only takes an instant when I turn my mind to it for me to realize that I am hearing it, too. It calms me to connect with it. I feel less alone. I do not in any way understand this. I know I will be there again, someday. But more importantly, I know it is forever with me, too.

I am not the only one. The wind of Mykonos is a generous Goddess. As Vayianni says:

You might stay forever, you might leave and come back or you might never set foot on the island again. But the sound of sea and waves, the continuous murmur of the ever-present Meltemi, will leave a distant echo locked in memory.

I have a name for this phantom wind, too. I call it “Windmills of your Mind,” after a melody composed by Michel Legrand, for the film The Thomas Crown Affair. I liked the title and stole it to name my very own ghost Meltemi, my Mykonian wind of nostalgia.

I have not given my own personal name to the Mykonos wind. And I no longer call the wind Maria. Me and the Wind, we are beyond names somehow. We just know each other. And that is more enough for me.

#Mykonos #wind #soulmate #soul #elements #thegetmyworkouttherechallenge #dayone

Fly Me to the Moon

It has been awhile, my lovely readers. I feel as if I have been to the the moon and back, have circled the stars and am only now making my re-entry back to earth.

I cannot even put into words all that has been shifting within and without in my life. My heart is so filled with gratitude. Deep healing and joy have been my frequent friends the past several months.

And here I am, ready and wanting to commit to creating through written word again.

I have made a commitment to myself to do a Get My Work Out There Challenge. I love challenges, and have done quite a few structured challenges which have catapulted certain areas of my life into full bloom.

There was the Movement Challenge that I did in 2011. For 90 days, we all moved 30 minutes a day. That’s it. Committed to breaking a sweat for 30 minutes each day. That started me on what ended up being a life-changing journey to find my inner athlete that culminated in not only my running for the first time in my life, but my running numerous half and two full marathons. (And I am still running, though not as intensely as I did in My Running Years, 2012-2016.)

This challenge is one is of my own design. It is to challenge myself to get my work seen. To put my ideas into action and in front of others. To share my work as often as I can.

So I am challenging myself to post daily. A blog post that is either writing of some kind or a vlog that shares how I got my work out there. (Just writing this has awoken a flurry of butterflies in my second chakra. I guess I am on the right track!)

My intention is to become more consistent in getting my work out there, to let my work be good enough in its “un-perfection” to be seen, and to have fun sharing it. To make it a daily habit, like running or moving for 30 minutes. Something I do because I like the results and how it feels.

Want to join me? I am starting Monday, October 7th. Let’s do this!

#personalgrowth #personalchallenge #thegetmyworkouttherechallenge2019

Back in the Saddle Again

Hello, friends!

I sure have fallen off of the blogging wagon. This introvert has been introverting and extroverting in so many ways that writing, well, took a lesser priority. A beloved word prompt site closed their virtual doors, and that also factored into my having drifted onto a different course.

But I miss this. So here I am. Back in the saddle again. Which reminds me…

When I was 15, my friends and I would use our fake id’s and go to this club called Cowboy in Houston, Texas. We went to happy hour, which was $2 frozen margaritas from 4- 5 PM.

I look back at us, and I marvel. The gall. I mean, we were breaking the law. Lying to our parents. Putting ourselves into adult company when we were (obviously) not mature enough to be there.

But boy, did we think we were all that and a bag of chips! We would style our big 80’s hair, dress like what we thought was grownup, and then drink as much as we could. The goal was to talk to guys, of course. We had little routines we followed – conversations we would fall into when we thought someone was overhearing or had come over to talk to us. Things we said in hopes of coming across as college-aged young women.

I wonder now – did we fool anybody? I actually ended up dating a few different men that I met when out and about. Cowboy wasn’t the only bar we frequented. Yikes. What was up with that?

We had a ball at the time. (I think.) It was fun being together. Breaking the rules. High school was such a maelstrom of social pressure. It was great to seek another environment in which to “rule.” Especially since we so totally did not rule in our high school peer group.

At the end of every happy hour, they played “Back in the Saddle Again” by Gene Audry.

Back in the Saddle Again

To this day, when I hear it I am transported back to “the day” when life was happy hours and foolish fun. The time before the happy hours became a problem.

And while I know that even then, I was trying to fill a hole inside with something outside of me that would never do the job, I do remember those days with fondness. We had a naivety that I miss. A foolish gumption. A blissful ignorance.

I could use a bit of that gumption now. That naive action-taking without a care for consequences that I did not believe really applied to me. Of course, it all did eventually catch up to me, as all such things do.

But I do feel a fondness for the me that I was then. And that song always makes me smile.

#Cowboy #youthfulescapades #reminiscing

I share my posts here.

On Shame

I have been thinking a lot about shame.

Partly because I am only recently awakening to my own.

It is a new concept to me, and yet it has also been a part of me as far back as I can recall. I didn’t know that the sensations I had lived with for so long were actually a feeling, and not actually ME.

Sure, I had heard of it. Became a fan of Dr. Brené Brown years ago when her Ted Talk on vulnerability and shame went viral. (Brown’s 2010 TEDx Houston talk, “The Power of Vulnerability,” is one of the top five most viewed TED talks in the world.) She is sort of the Queen of Shame and Vulnerability. She is also a fellow introvert. (And a fellow Texan.) Read more about her and her work here.

Brown says: “I define shame as the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging – something we’ve experienced, done, or failed to do makes us unworthy of connection. I don’t believe shame is helpful or productive.”

Brown says she “became a shame researcher, because shame is the experience or fear of believing we’re not worthy of connection, and how people described their experiences of connection with me was by describing disconnection.”

Lately, I have been considering shame as being something that is getting in-between me and my desire to follow my talents as far as they can go into the world, as well as my desire to know and be known, to be intimate and have deep, meaningful relationships with people from a place of full authenticity. Once again, I am drawn to her work.

Again, in Brown’s own words: “One of the findings from my work that people get crunchy about is my belief that there’s no such thing as creative or not creative people. There’s people who use it, and people that don’t. I do believe – and this is where people get upset – that unused creativity is not benign. Ignoring that part of our humanity comes at a cost because, as you say, we are wired for creativity. It’s part of our DNA. My question is, if we are really wired to be creative, but people are not doing it, what gets in their way? So much of what gets in the way is shame.”

I have been at such a loss. I have healed so much of what stood in-between me and my desires, and yet still, I hold myself back again and again. So I am in a place now of asking what do I do about this?

Brown has developed the Shame Resistance Theory, or SRT, which she writes about in her book I Thought it Was Just Me, (but it isn’t): Making the Journey from “What Will People Think?” to I” am Enough”. [This article expands in detail on it.] What I take from it is that the way out is through vulnerability and connection, courage and empathy. Through recognizing shame and practicing critical awareness, recognizing our triggers, sharing our story with others, we grow our resilience to shame and develop empathy to build connection, courage and compassion.

Ah yes. So it will take more hard work and diligence. No magic pill, unfortunately, like the rest of this spiritual journey I have been on since birth and beyond. Great.

OK. I will dig deep and find the will to meet my shame head on. I have come this far. I am certainly not going to turn back now. Not sure yet what this will look like, but I am all in.

Who’s with me?

 #shamewarrior #theanswerisvulnerability

 I share my posts here.