Idol Dream

I was going to take over Hollywood

Like Marilyn or Rita or Kim

I’d be huge and notorious

And every person who ever hurt me

Would live to regret it

I would win hearts

Capture imaginations

My superstardom would fuck them all

Astonished, regretful

They’d come knocking at my door

Repentant, effusive, oozing adoration

And as I shut the door in their faces

I’d finger the wounds they’d made

In the solitude of my ivory tower

Alone but protected 

Empty but avenged

This was my dream at eleven

This, my prayer for living

Freefall

I love to jump off cliffs.

This runs antithetical to just about every way I was conditioned growing up.

I come from very fearful people, stoic Protestants who practice “keeping things in the family,” “never let them see how you really feel,” and “stick close to home.” Cautious, careful, deliberate action-takers. Spontaneity? Not so much.

I never questioned it growing up. It was normal to me. Things like traffic and weather dictated activities. Never let them see you cry. Don’t show weakness. Therapy might as well have been witchcraft.

It is imbedded in my code, this desire to avoid potential problems. This fear of something bad happening if you are not careful at all times.

And yet.

I am no adrenaline junkie or extreme sports athlete. While I do enjoy a good rollercoaster ride now and then, I have not been ticking off a list of things I must do such as skydiving and bungie jumping, though if the occasion arose I might do those things.

But.

Years ago, at a quarry in Vermont, I discovered that inside me is a kind of a dare devil all the same. That there are times I want to take risks, when I must, in fact, take the leap.

I love to stand at a precipice and then jump off into a deep body of water. I just love that sensation in my body as step off into the air, my heart in my throat as an unheralded scream of joy-fear comes out of my mouth. Those moments of being totally free and falling through the air are just so life-filled, so in the moment. I experience the rush of my own full life force. There’s a feeling of being at one with something outside of me and yet within myself all at once. And then the landing into the water. Being encompassed, becoming one with it those moments in the muted depths before surfacing. Astounded at having been saved once again.

Maybe those moments are my church, my sanctuary.

For those seconds I am not thinking, not watching, not taking care.

I just am, and I am far from alone, and it feels great.

I know that experience and I seek it out in other ways. In my work as an actor. I feel that same way when I fully invest in my character and truly lay deeply personal life and death needs on the line and take that same kind of leap into the scene. My partner and I leap into the air of the play and sometimes find astonishing moments of true experience together. Surprises, places unexpected. When it is over, the same astonishment and gratitude for having landed safely. This is also my church, my sanctuary. It, too, is holy.

My early conditioning and the family encoding have not gone away, maybe never will. I can still catch myself getting very anxious when it is raining hard and I am in the car with my husband, feeling as if we should go straight back home. I carry unwarranted dread around at times like Pashmina shawl. It can feel comforting and necessary.

But that’s OK.

Today, I consciously choose times to allow my spontaneity to take the front seat, put caution and fear in the back and assure them that “I got this.” I look for more places to find my free-fall worship, and am so grateful that I do what I do for a living.

Acting as I know it is not for the feint of heart, and I am honored to embody the lives of people who are fighting to live better lives, love more fully, taking risks to get what they need.

For them, and for me, I am happy to take that step off into the air and see where it takes me.

#freefall #risk-taking #acting

Inspired by The Daily Post Word prompt: precipice

 

 

 

The Qualm Before the Storm

I have developed a fascination with intuition.

This comes out of necessity. I used to blame this on being a Libra, but I have come to admit that I am a person who has such fear of doing the wrong thing, that I make decision-making miserable.

Intuition is defined as “the ability to understand something immediately, without the need for conscious reasoning. A thing that one knows or considers likely from instinctive feeling rather than conscious reasoning.”

Intuition. Also referred to as a hunch, instinct, clairvoyance, second sight, sixth sense…

I really like the idea of second sight. A way of seeing, not with the eyes, but with the body.

What?! How amazing is that to contemplate? The idea that my body can figure things out for me if I will but listen to her.

I have in the past called it the “uh oh” or the “red flag” feeling I can get in my gut. Usually around a person or entering into a space…an internal grab and/or a turning over of the stomach (similar to something I feel on a rollercoaster.)

That qualm in my stomach when something feels “off.” When I am about to do something or have just done something and I experience a seeping, creeping sense of dread around something having to do with it. A small wave of nausea followed by a feeling of dread…

At times I have honored these signals, and have been glad that I did. Other times, I ignored them, only to wish later that I had heeded their wisdom.

(Especially when I was dating. Turns out my body was always right about “reading” guys while my conscious brain worked hard to give them the benefit of the doubt, not wanting to “know” what my body was trying to tell me. Once I simply held my boyfriend’s little address book while moving it off a table in his apartment and I was flooded with fear and a sense of doom. I suddenly just “knew” that he was having an affair. I brushed this little feeling off, judging myself as paranoid. Turns out, I was right on the money. Months later and in a very horribly public way, the truth was exposed. )

That gut feeling, that little inner voice. The part of me that is wiser than my conscious mind.

Sometimes my intuition is very hard for me to sense or “hear.” I can struggle so much around certain decisions and am told to listen to my body for the answer. I sit and meditate, I journal, I ask, but at times, that inner sense, that “knowing” feeling, that little voice can feel so darned elusive.

Why is that? Am I blocking the signals by my looking for them so hard?

As an actress who has been trained extensively in the modern Method, I have learned to listen deeply to my body and not to discard any clues that she gives to me when approaching and working on a role.

Performers learn to follow their impulses and instincts for their craft, and while the intellect is certainly utilized, any one of us will tell you that it is crucial to “get out of your head” and into the body. We train in ways of strengthening our connection to our unconscious, to listening to our bodies’ responses to stimuli, to acting on the impulses our body generates.

Mental and physical tensions are the buzzkill to our creativity, our unconscious, or non-conscious. I have been addressing and exploring that for years.

These days I am on a mission to expand and deepen my relationship to my intuition. Not just for my work, but for every area of my life, especially decision-making. Practicing tuning in and developing it. Growing my trust in my own innate wisdom. Wow. I feel a qualm just writing that sentence…

I found a terrific resource in Jack Canfield regarding “cultivating intuition.” (I love that framing — I will cultivate my intuition!)

He says that “Just like memory, critical thinking, and intellect, your intuition is a mental muscle you can strengthen and use to create success and become the best possible version of yourself,” and suggests some ways to do that.

I am excited and nervous (in a good way) as I continue my journey with this. I can’t wait to see where I am led. I sense that it is gonna be good.

#intuition #JackCanfield #bodymind

 

 

 

 

 

A Turncoat Collaboration

“Traitorous cooperation with an enemy”

It’s what I entered into with you

But I didn’t know that at first.

At first, you were my soulmate, my joy, my everything

There was nothing that you could not make better

No feeling you did not temper, no event that you did not help me through.

After my first taste of you

I chose you, again and again.

Like a vampire needing the invitation to enter my doorway

You waited patiently for me to choose each time

Knowing that I would.

And one day, I found that

choice had become need; need, compulsion

I was a turncoat against my own life force.

In a battle with the dark side

I was sided with the enemy

inflicting sabotage against my own forces.

I surrendered and I survived, even thrive

Yet I see you there, ever waiting for an invite inside

That slight grin on your face, as if to say, you knew I’d be back.

I say no invitation today, old “friend.”

I am in cahoots with my life now.

 

Prompted by the Daily Word Prompt: collaboration

 

 

 

 

 

 

Like Joan

My mother had a special gift.

If you Google Mrs. Joan Fitzgerald Curry, you won’t find articles about her intelligence, her wit or accomplishments. While she had those, they didn’t capture the attention of the world beyond those who knew and loved her.

Yet she had a kind of talent, an innate gift, that is more true and essentially noteworthy than much of the behavior that millions of viewers tune in to reality shows to watch.

My mother could make a person visiting her home, or even just meeting her anywhere, feel deeply welcome.

I suppose you’d call it “hospitality.” She just found a way to make a person feel seen and attended to in a way that did not draw attention to either the giver or the receiver.

It was almost magical – seemed effortless and subtle, yet profound.

I remember my husband, visiting my mother with me, meeting her for the first time, remarking later that she just had this “way” about her that put him at ease. He couldn’t put his finger on what she did, just knew how he’d felt with her.

It is a lost art, I think. 

Towards the end of her life until her death, I began to observe and reflect upon this phenomenon in her personality.

What were the key elements that colored her hospitality?

She was warm. She was welcoming. She was genuinely interested in others’ lives. She was generous. She had an easy smile, a twinkle in her eyes, a melodic voice and laugh.

When she was with you, there was no sense of urgency to get on to the next thing. She was present with you, and her presence invited you to do the same. She brought a safe space wherever she was.

She left this earth as generously as she lived in it. Ever the gracious hostess, she left me a number of parting gifts. A spiritual swag bag.

One that I value above all else is the lesson contained within her hospitality. That she left behind circles of people who, when remembering her, would remember how comfortable they felt in her presence. How seen and heard. How good she made them feel.

I’d heard that before, that after you die, that’s all that is really left behind: how you made people feel.

Now I know this to be true. 

And since her death, I am continually inspired to develop and nurture whatever tiny nugget of her gift I can craft.

I aspire to live as she did. It doesn’t just mean hosting guests. It means how I treat strangers on the street. In the daily interactions I have with the other people on this planet.

How do I leave people after I cross paths with them? Do they feel uplifted for some undefinable reason, or do they feel drained?

I falter, I fail. But sometimes, I hope, I bring a good feeling to someone’s day. Sometimes, I am like Joan.

It is her legacy, and it is priceless to me.

#mothersday #hospitality #legacy

Prompted by The Daily Post daily word: hospitality

The Final Word

It’s just this:

You shattered my essence

I know they say that the humam soul can never be destroyed

But it can be damaged

And you did that.

But I gathered up the slivers

And the shards of Who I Really Am –

The me I was meant to be Before –

And I put my self together again.

Whole.

I did that.

So, guess what?

I win.
Inspired by The Daily Post daily word prompt: final