accidental

Today I spoke with a friend of mine who I literally hadn’t spoken to in almost two years. But like with any good friend, solid friend, or as my friend Liz and I say, “Life Friends,” time is of no consequence. We talked about many things, but one thing we did talk about was accidents.

Accidents are usually defined as something that happens that wasn’t expected, that didn’t turn out so great. Other times it is used in place of a coincidence. In my personal experience with accidents, they usually happen at a time when so much is going on, it sort of acts of a punctuation or bridge to clarity. Not always fun, but almost always a wake up call.

My friend and I had both been involved in accidents this winter that could have turned out deadly, to be blunt. Both of our cars were totaled. The situations were very different, but what stuck out to me in both cases was that we were both extremely present, reacted with grace, and somehow managed to end up safe and unharmed.

For me, the accident made me think a lot about taking care of myself. I was very lucky to have been in a safe car and even though it was  snowing and so cold I couldn’t feel my toes and the cop was a jerk and it was the icing on my already stressful, dealing-with-a-big-life-change kind of day, I felt a sense of “Okay. Got it. Time to let go of worrying, appreciate what I have, and look out for myself first.”

I met up with a friend for lunch who told me that any time she has ever experienced a motor vehicle accident, she was going through some major work emotionally and psychologically. When big life events happen, I can’t help but look at the big picture of my life and sort of find a thread of how it all ties together.

Most of the time, it’s hard to see it when you’re in it. Other times, a piece of clarity comes out right away. Usually when your life is on the line, you drop a lot of BS.

That’s been something I have had to remind myself a lot in the last month. So much worry and agonizing and pain is only JUST that. It only serves as a distraction from the fact of your beautiful life.

One could say that the people I have been reconnecting with, the people who have left my life, these are all coincidences or accidents. But they aren’t. The fact that I spoke to my friend who is on the other side of the country, living his dream, happy with his career and girlfriend, is not an accident. For me, over on the east coast on this sunny, wintry day, which happens to be a new moon, it underlines a lot of what has been going in in my life.

I had put some dreams on ice for awhile, and now, I’m coming out of a deep hibernation and surrounding myself with people who are pure and full of love and who believe in me and what I do. I feel things thawing out and I feel like myself again.

Also not an accident is the fact that his past week, I have had someone every day tell me I look great and I seem well and that I am even happier than normal. That is a result of events, reflection, and action. No holding back. Just being in the moment. Just waking up to each day and realizing how special it is.

I stopped by the grocery store and was having a really hard time getting a bunch of cilantro in a bag. I looked up and saw a man doing the same thing with one arm, but he did it quickly and easily. The irony of my frustration was not lost on me and I took a moment to take a deep breath and be grateful. Not an accident.

At the store I saw a military acquaintance. He was in line and  I thought about how hard it would have been to see him even a month ago. But instead, I walked on by, grateful that I am in a new place and soon will have a completely different environment and way of life.

Each moment of our day is not an accident. Oftentimes, the pieces that are unplanned are the opportunities to be reminded of what we have and who we are becoming. Today reminded me that I am stronger and bigger than anything I have been through. I had my moments of stress like everyone else, but all I had to do was take a step away, breathe, and be grateful. Now is all we really have.

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2017 – Time to Align

This morning I went to a New Year’s Meditation at the Healing in Harmony Center. The idea is, you go and sit with a group of people and the Spiritual Messenger / Owner of the center acts as a channel to give a message about the new year.

Last year, the key word that struck a nerve with me was REVOLUTION. Leave behind what you don’t want and stand up for what you DO want. (My last post definitely covers this).

In 2016, especially for the most part, I decided to not think so much about what I SHOULD be doing with my life, and started following my heart. I did and found a great community of people, namely in the Improv world, who brought me a lot of joy and laughter and helped me to ease up out of stress.

I definitely didn’t have all the answers to everything last year and I got tired of trying to figure everything out by myself. So I gave into joy. Then, weird things / cool things started happening. I would get free things. Random strangers would go out of their way for me. I saw friends I hadn’t seen at years at the perfect time. Everyone I met had a smile. I knew it was because I was overflowing with joy. I knew that thing would work themselves out and all I had to do was show up every day, giving it my best shot.

But by the end of 2016, some big challenges came up that I wasn’t expecting. My first reaction was not to freak out, but instead to take everything in. I knew that no matter what was happening in that moment, it was all going to be okay…

As time went on though, I found myself going back to my habits of blaming myself for everything and trying desperately to fix others and my situation.

Every day I woke up with a choice. I was in a lot of pain and trying to wade through suffering. I didn’t close off. I never gave up. I showed up and opened my heart, made amends, and offered myself as I am, which is a person with flaws but who has perfect love to share with the world.

The hardest lesson of 2016?

Sometimes a revolution shows you WAY more about how strong and capable you are and how much of a good person you HAVE BECOME already. The hard part is that sometimes people, situations, and circumstances have to change because YOU ALREADY HAVE. Sometimes you have to LET GO, in fact most times you have to LET GO and just be your best self. Because that is all you can do.

I didn’t realize it until the proverbial shit hit the fan, as they say, that I had been making myself small and convincing myself I didn’t want to be as loud and big and wild as I actually am – in order to comfort others.

I already felt an immense amount of love and clarity. I was absolutely sure of what I wanted. I fought with the strength of a peaceful warrior. But sometimes, the best things for us are not in the packaging we expect.

So today I woke up and I decided that I need to honor the woman I have become. I shed more baggage in 2016 and I handled a splintery, jagged challenge with a lot of grace. It was painful. It could have been easy if I just ignored the problem and threw it away. But I will never do that. I am stronger for being honest and true to myself.

At the meditation group I was met with a lot of fun, tired, but mostly energized people, who are clearly seeking a community of folks who want to be their best selves.

Before the meditation, we received some messages, which can be found in more detail at the website (Priscilla Bengston). But I wanted to share some notes I took:

We have everything we need. 2016 had a lot of comparison model energy, but that only serves to keep us stuck. The revolution from last year continues – it is time to stand up for what you want and draw away from what you don’t want.

People (ahem me included) tend to follow cycles, planets, and astrology. There is some power in cycles, but we all have a choice, which is more powerful than anything else.

2017 is all about opportunities presented. Take what is most aligned with you at that moment. NO decision is ever right or wrong (right or wrong is a human creation) – it’s just the best choice we can make at the time and moves us either closer or farther from where we want to be.

It’s important to pay attention to our bodies. Let them get back to their natural state. Breathe, Nourish. Our body is an antenna.

It’s time to change and reconnect to people in the eyes of love. Release judgment. BE what you desire. Live, learn, grow, evolve. Find like minded people to grow together. You are love and you are loved.

Regardless of predictions, you always have a choice. The energy this year is more ripe for choices. It’s time to get more aligned with what you want.

I don’t know what is making me think of this, but there’s this great little scene in one of Lady Gaga’s videos, in the very beginning. She is lying in a hospital bed and has hit rock bottom. She says to the nurse:

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“I’m gonna make it. I’m gonna be a star. You know why?”

“Why?”

“Because I have nothing left to lose.”

————

I wish you a Happy, Healthy, and Passionate 2017.

Being an A-Team Player

 

While reading a script for a film audition , one of my friends popped into my head. Then another. I jotted down their names and the roles I thought they would fit, and finished reading the script.

When I was done, I shot an email over to the director and suggested he audition an actor I know who I thought would be great for one or two of the roles in the script. I emailed my friend and told him about the film.

He auditioned for the director and actually booked one of the lead roles.

Wanna hear something weirder?

I casually mentioned the name of the leading actor in the film and my aforementioend friend Dan couldn’t believe it: The actor was his old roommate. They used to live together in LA and I had actually met him before. Now, all three of us will be working on a film we’ve been cast in this fall.

Here’s how I see it: We are in this together. When I see scripts or castings that make me think of someone, I immediately make note of it because I am thinking of them for a reason. The above example is a great example of what happens when you balance putting yourself first with sharing resources with others.

This weekend I mentioned a gig to a friend that I am involved with, of which I thought she would be a great. She said she didn’t want to take any work away from me and I told her there was nothing to worry about!

The scarcity mindset that is so prevalent in the entertainment industry is exactly what holds everyone back. Words like “Competitive” “Fierce” “Scary” etc serve nothing but to keep people down. I don’t believe in competition and I don’t believe that there isn’t enough. I do believe that we each have to be the best versions of ourselves, learn as many lessons as possible, evolve our craft, and perform at the highest caliber on and off screen.

There is a timeline for everyone, and no one can predict where one break will come from or where a series of breaks will lead. But the key is persistence and being generous with your time.

While at the Cannes Film Festival, I learned a valuable lesson. Not about the red carpet, celebrity status, or even making big deals. Rather, the people who hustle, the people who are most successful, are always looking out for people around them. Offering help, experience, service, and resources. Not hoarding it all away in the corner.

I am an A Team player. I work hard, constantly get better at what I do, and help people whenever I can.

Are you an A Team player?

 

“Be with those who help your being.”

Growing up, I always had a lot of friends. I was friends with “nerds,” with “Jocks,” with “bad” kids, with “Popular kids.” People just seemed so interesting to me. I think this served me a lot in my formative years because I was so tolerant of people in general. The thing is, when you are willing to attract all types, it means that you aren’t discerning who you draw into your life.

I’ve had amazing friends. I have had friends who were casual acquaintances who sometimes meant more to me than people I hung out with on a regular basis. I had “best friends” because they insisted. I had people who crossed the line so far I pretty much never spoke to them again.

I personally had to learn for myself that I didn’t need to be friends with everyone. It took me awhile to realize this. People would call me, take up my time on the phone and in coffee shops, complaining about this or that, slowly dampening my resolve and sunshiny attitude I had cultivated for the day. I felt that if only I could keep spewing positive messages, maybe a few of them would stick and I would be able to help people live better lives!

But here’s the truth: I deserved better than that and so do you. If you feel that you “owe” it to someone to be their friend, even if they make you unhappy or feel bad about yourself or the world, then they aren’t really your friend and you owe it to YOURSELF to make the best of where you are at and eventually let the friendship fade away.

The rewards are worth so much more. When I stopped caring so much about how I appeared to be for everyone else, I attracted people who were looking at life the way I wanted to. That’s a beautiful thing because a handful of strong people against a hundred whiny, unhappy people will always win.

If you are an artist or performer, then this applies doubly for you. The business is full of people who are racing to get ahead. Some people will use you. Some will try to freak you out. So when you find someone who wants to uphold you instead of compete with you, someone who wants you to succeed as much as they want to succeed themselves, STICK with those people!

Maybe you’re at a place where you feel that you are the negative one and your friends are no longer connecting with you. That’s okay too. It’s knowing where you are and realizing that you can always have your life be better: better job, better friends, better situation. But it all starts on the inside. Feeling better about yourself and looking at life with a sense of wonder will help everything else fall into place.

It doesn’t make you a bad person to want to be happy. Actually, it makes you a good person. Because when you are happy, so are the people around you. Eventually, the sour patch kids (cause everyone really IS sweet deep down..I like to think so anyway) will be inspired by your success.

This weekend I came across a Rumi poem that inspired me to write about this. Here it is:

Be with those who help your being.
Don’t sit with indifferent people, whose breath
comes out cold out of their mouths.
Not these visible forms, your work is deeper.

A chunk of dirt thrown in the air breaks to pieces.
If you don’t try to fly,
and so break yourself apart,
you will be broken open by death,
when it’s too late for all you could become.

Leaves get yellow. The tree puts out fresh roots
and makes them green.
Why are you so content with a love that turns you yellow?

-Rumi

Don’t settle. Be your best self. Have a great week, everyone.

Control

Lately I have had to come up against the topic of control.  The word means different things to different people, but ultimately, everyone wants control of their own lives. Sometimes that includes control of others, resources, and of course that can escalate from an esoteric idea of control to a full blown crisis.

When you think about it though, we don’t really control very much. When you wake up in the morning, you don’t know what the weather is going to be outside. You don’t know if someone is going to punch you in the face before you even have your first cup of coffee. You go through the day and you can’t predict your workflow or how people are always going to treat you. We all know that we CAN control HOW we deal with the situations that are dealt us. We can be the victim. We can change our attitudes. We can look at the transient nature of life and decide to embrace it.

But what about other people? Think about the people who you live with. Think about your family. Your spouse. Your boyfriend. Now think back to the last twenty four hours. When was the last time you tried to control someone?

I know that most of you are probably recoiling at the thought. “Hrrmffph! I would NEVER try to control someone else.” Oh yeah? Really?

Really.

Here’s where things get dicey when it comes to control. You are in full control of the choices you make and how you want to live your life. Even if you aren’t “100% there yet” you still have control of the direction your life is going. So what happens when we bump into someone saying, doing, or simply EXISTING in a way we don’t like? Usually most of us don’t go around angrily kicking each other or screaming so loud we spit on each other at business meetings. No, instead, it’s usually quite subtle.

Someone parks in your spot. When someone uses your bathroom, they put the toilet paper on the “wrong” way. Someone does something you would never do. Someone engages in behavior that bothers you.

So you comment on the parking spot. You argue about the right way to stick the toilet paper roll on the hook. (or whatever). You suggest to someone that they might want to approach life “a little differently.” You make passive aggressive comments about someone’s diet or exercise or lack thereof.

When we lack control in a situation, we generally as humans try to find ways to correct it. BUT WHY?! Why do we want and feel that we have a need to control a situation or person or place or thing?

Control makes us feel like we matter.

I’m guilty of this as much as the other person. When I was younger it was a lot worse. My budding type A personality would not settle for anything less than an A, and the solution was usually just work harder for better results. That sufficed for a long time. But that doesn’t always work. Feeling in control is great, but what about when you think you are in control and an outcome is created that is less than desirable?

I have found that when I am at my happiest is when I let go of control. It is tempting to attempt to control people and situations in our lives, but in reality we can’t really do that. If we just let go of the idea that we can make others do what we want through sheer will power, a burden is instantly lifted.

          business

                 I appreciate quotes like these because it’s a reminder that not only do you not have to justify yourself to others, but the same applies for others and yourself. Just because you are a family member or best friend or spouse of someone, does not mean that you can run their lives. Telling and suggesting someone what to do may seem like a harmless thing, but over time, it causes more harm than good.

                Instead, worry about yourself. Put your best energy out there. LIVE YOUR DREAM. Set the example. Because when others are ready for change, they will feel and be pulled towards the impact you are creating. But it’s when they are ready. And some people will fall out of your life. But the ones who really matter will stick around. And new people will keep coming.

                This applies to the entertainment industry as well. So many people think that worrying about a role or a project and how it will be perceived will actually control the outcome. In reality it just ties you in knots and keeps you from focusing on your joy and the present moment. So put yourself out there. Be in control of your emotions and what you project. But as for the rest?

Let-it-Go_0

                I needed to remind myself of this today. So I thought I would remind you too. Remember, we can’t control anyone or anything except for who we are in the world. And that’s the best and only type of control we should ever really want. Because when you take care of yourself, everything else falls into place.

Scam Artists

I would like to bring up a subject that is all too often in the news and gossip pages, but can easily be avoided with a gut feeling and some good old fashioned common sense.

gut

I am going to divulge some information without getting especially specific. If you really want to know more, shoot me an email.

The other day I thought I had stumbled upon an “opportunity.” I showed up to a wealthy town in CT (that sounds redundant but it’s not), “old money,” as it were and met up with some people who were interested in similar things as me: writing, meeting new people, and making money.

From what I understood in the email I received, I would be using a particular skill to get particular information to form it into a creative product. (See, told you I wouldn’t be TOO specific). This sounded like not only a lot of fun to me, but something that simply gives you the warm and fuzzies.

You know how sometimes things just don’t go “right?” And upon reflection AFTER the fact you go “Oh, duh! I should have known right then!” Well. I was late. I walked into a lobby that was dusty and full of old…. things. An older…gentleman asked me if I needed any help. I almost left right then but I didn’t know why I wanted to. So I thought I must just be you know, over-thinking or something.

dsa-overthinking-3

He directed me to the room where a meeting was taking place. There were probably 6 people total, all from completely different backgrounds. The ringleader, as we shall call her, was going on about this great company and how we could all be small business owners too!

RED FLAG RED FLAG!

After browsing through the products they were offering and biting my tongue several times for wanting to mention that you need to use proper formatting and dimensions on a photo or it’s going to look like crap, per the object I was holding in my hand, I realized this was nothing like how I thought it would be.

Let me break it down in my list of
DA-DA-DANGER ZONE!!!!!

-for a small fee of of four ten dollar bills, you could order you own business cards THROUGH the company. (Have these people never heard of Vista print?)

-you had to buy your own equipment. I almost choked on my cough drop.

-It was totes a pyramid scheme to boot. I loved how she tried to cover it up by saying “This isn’t a pyramid scheme BUT…”

-Also you had to purchase a custom name badge. RIGHT.

Obviously, by the time this thing was over, I knew right in my gut that this was terrible. I looked around at the others in the room and I was horrified. They were eating it all up, probably desperate for any kind of job. It was then that I realized that it’s not only in the entertainment industry that people get ripped off repeatedly. It’s everywhere, man. People will do anything to make a buck.

The way I pinpointed that she was a definite fraud was that she mentioned she was good friends with someone I have known for several years and I could see she was lying through her teeth. Amazing!

I just wanted to share this with you all as a reminder that even though you might have been fooled once or twice in the past and sort of know the scent of a liar and scam artist, know that they are lurking around everywhere!

After having several unsavory experiences all in a row upon graduating college and getting into the entertainment business, I can spy:

A) A harmless, selfish, in-it-for-the-money-go-getter (not quite a scam artist)
B) A scam artist that doesn’t know s/he is a scam artist
and
C) A full blown scam artist who walks it, breathes it, lives it.

Once you can see past the sparkly optimism that you have carefully cultivated over the years, you learn to balance a healthy level of optimism and skepticism in matters of your overall well being.

This especially goes out to people NEW to any kind of business, whether young or old: If it is too good to be true and you have that nagging feeling in your gut, don’t ignore it!

The lesson I learned this time was just because it checks out on paper does NOT mean it will in person. Unfortunately, I haven’t quite developed the psychic internet sense yet, but when I do I will let you know.

I am hoping I will be able to go into this topic more in the form of a new project I am creating with a colleague of mine.

For now…watch out for those sketchballs!