Monday, June 28, 2010

Seeking Stillness

My city was attacked this weekend. Savagely assaulted, besieged, and set ablaze.

Voices were silenced and causes overshadowed by a few thrill-seeking cowards in black masks who have zero understanding of, or respect for, the purpose of protest.

Riveted to my TV screen, I watched in horror as the city I love became a broken, burning bedlam.

I was furious. Outraged. I swore, I screamed, I changed my Facebook status to one of fierce condemnation,

Blood boiling, heart pounding, adrenaline coursing through my veins, I became a vehicle of bitterness and rage.

And I hated. I hated the G20 Summit. I hated the leaders and their private jets and their expensive suits and their wives. I hated them for shaking hands and smiling for the cameras and eating at the Fairmont while the city that hosted them was being destroyed. I hated the so-called anarchists who used my city as a platform to spread their vile, vicious non-message. I hated that the media frenzy was no doubt encouraging them. I hated that innocent and well-intentioned people were being unjustly arrested. I hated that poverty issues, gender issues, health issues, and green issues were being suppressed. I hated that the money that was spent on G20 security could have bought one hundred million mosquito nets in malaria-infested countries.

I hated so strongly and vehemently that the hate completely engulfed me. I merged with it, morphed into it. I became the hurricane itself, spewing venomous words and toxic thoughts into the world.

Deepak Chopra once stated, “In the midst of movement and chaos, keep stillness inside of you.”

My stillness had vanished. I had lost it, along with any semblance of perspective.

For a few brief hours I became part of the problem.

Because isn’t that how problems grow? How negativity spreads? How hate circulates? How fear propagates?

When we lose sight of who we are and allow ourselves to be overtaken by external circumstances we, quite simply, lose altogether.

I know this. And not in a superficial sense but in an innate and profound way. I know this.

And yet, with jets roaring overhead and sirens blaring in the distance, the innate and profound knowing that exists in my core dissolved almost entirely.


At around 2am on Sunday morning, while I obsessively followed the tweets of those witnessing the brutality downtown, something happened: the hardened shield encircling my heart, obstructing all feelings but anger and hate, began to crack. I could feel the fissures snaking up, down, and around, allowing slivers of light to shine in.

I paused. Breathed. Closed my eyes. Opened myself up to the stillness of tranquility. Of safety. Of love.

I stayed in this place of inner joy and peace for a very long time, letting go of my anger, my hate, my fear, my frustration, allowing wave after wave of comfort and contentment to wash over me.

This is where power begins. In this place of genuine passion and purpose. Here, there is clarity.

Here, there is hope.

Numerous studies have been done, in recent years, to substantiate the claim that energy, in all its forms, has a deep and lasting impact on people, animals, and the planet itself.

The Global Coherence Initiative is a collaborative research project which studies the relationship between living beings and the Earth’s magnetic fields. Studies have in fact demonstrated a correlation between changes in the Earth’s magnetic fields and changes in a variety of biological functions (brainwaves, nervous system activity, heart rhythm, memory, etc.) Incredibly, researchers also hypothesize that the Earth’s fields can be directly impacted by human emotions.

The significance of this cannot be overstated: human emotions may play a key role (the key role) in the well-being of all living things and of the planet itself.

Though we cannot see it, energy spreads. It reaches far and wide. It communicates. It connects. It activates. And, as such, it can provoke change. It can transform conflict into cooperation, discord into harmony. It can balance imbalances.

This is not some airy new-age concept, but a phenomenon that many modern scientists do not deny: human energy can heal the world.

Let us remember this.

During times of crisis, of despair, of oppression. During times of fear, of distress, of injustice. During times of sorrow, of misfortune, of pain, let us remember this.

Resorting to violence and hatred, though oftentimes tempting, is never the answer.

Stillness is the answer.

And by stillness I don’t mean inaction. Action is critical. Protests are crucial. Expression is essential. But the acting, protesting, and expressing must come from a place of stillness, of knowing, of authenticity, of love.

We are more powerful than we know. The future is, quite literally, in our hands.

In our hearts.


Here is a tribute to the peaceful protesters who marched, sang, danced, and hoped. I celebrate you.

What the Media Ignored.


This week’s affirmation: Though chaos surrounds me, my heart is still.

Monday, June 21, 2010

How Did I Get Here?

I had a dream. A big dream. I was the small-town girl who was going to “make it.”

I pursued the dream that way I was supposed to. I took the classes, got the degree, moved to the city, put myself “out there,” and, before I knew it, the dream started coming true.
It felt like magic. It was magic.
Years and years of holding on to a dream were finally paying off! I was on my way up! Meeting people I'd always wanted to meet! Making connections I'd always wanted to make! Rocking auditions I'd always wanted to rock! I had an agent, a union invitation, my films screened on big screens! It was happening! I was happening!
I was ecstatic! Triumphant! Absolutely, absolutely thrilled!
Then, unexpectedly, things started to change. I started to change. I am still not sure what, exactly, brought on this change but I suspect there were a few factors at play - the books I was reading, the age I was turning, the friends I was making, the inner-work I had started doing.
After some time, I came to a startling (and devastating) realization: my dream was no longer making me happy.
I was not completely unhappy. I enjoyed the applause at the end of the show. I thrived on the accolades. I was proud when old friends from high school (even elementary school) wrote to me and said, “Congratulations! You are the only one actually achieving their childhood dream.”
All of this filled me up with a great sense of accomplishment. And not just accomplishment, but worth.
But it was all, I eventually came to understand, very, very superficial.
I was smiling on the outside, but not on the inside. The pursuit of my dream was no longer fueled by true passion and joy, but by an ego desperately thirsty for recognition and praise.
My ego was ruling my life. And all aspects of my health were suffering because of it.
So, I stopped.

(I did not quit. I chose to stop. The difference between the two is huge. Quitting is giving up - giving up our power and our pride. Choosing, on the other hand, is growing up and learning to listen to the knowing in our gut.)

I participated in a few minor projects for friends whom I admired and respected and enjoyed working with. But I stopped all the rest - the headshots, the submissions, the auditions. I dropped my agent. I did not join the union.
This was not easy. But it was easier than the other scary thing I absolutely had to do: tell people.
I worried about what they would think - they, the wonderful people who had supported my dream from the beginning. They, the ones who cheered the loudest when I landed a role. They, the ones who never, ever said, “Don’t try.” They, the ones who allowed me to believe that I would one day have my star in Hollywood.
They, my family.
I felt like I had failed them. And this is what hurt the most.
But I did tell my family. And my friends. And myself. I spoke the words I never thought I’d speak. I gave myself permission to change my mind. To change my dream. To speak the truth.
My ego did not like this. It tried to make me feel ashamed and guilty and defeated. It tried to fill my heart with doubt. It laughed when I stumbled and it roared so loudly some nights that I could not get to sleep.
But this, I knew, was exactly the kind of life I no longer wanted to live: a life controlled by my ego. So in its pitiful attempts to confuse me, my ego gave me the special gift of clarity. The more it tried to suck me back in, the more I fought against it. The more it tried to drown out my intuition, the harder I listened to the voice deep within.
And now, here I am. Living and loving a different kind of life. One that gets me excited to jump out of bed every morning. I am learning to enjoy the the process, the voyage, the moments. I no longer need the end result to be one of praise and accolades. It’s not about that anymore.

Someday, in the near or distant future, the perfect project may present itself and I may choose to embrace it and delve into the world of performance once again. But this choice, I know, will be guided by genuine excitement and enthusiasm rather than a distorted notion of success and a crippling fear of letting people down.
The past two years have taught me so much about the world and my place in the world. One of the key things I have learned is that dreams change. And that is ok.
Nothing in the world is fixed, it is all fluid. As we go through the cycles of life, we change, we grow, we expand and our dreams change, and grow, and expand with us. A childhood dream should never start to feel like a life-sentence and, when it does, it is time to take a good hard look at the reasons for this.
I have many dreams. Big dreams. I am a small-town girl and I am “making it” every single moment of every single day.

This week's affirmation: I live my dream.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Why Blog?

I have wanted to start a blog for years. I love writing, I have ideas I want to share, and I believe in the power of words to inform, engage, inspire.

But I did not just want to blog for the sake of blogging.

I was not interested in having an online diary, accessible to everyone, where I recorded every thought, every hope, every dream, every fear, failure, frustration, every menial detail of my day-to-day existence to satisfy the growing number of insatiable voyeurs who are consumed by the need to observe, judge, and analyze other people’s lives.

I did not want to participate in the reality TV of blogging.

So, I waited.

I waited until I felt I had something to say, to show, to share. Something that spoke to me and that I felt would speak to others. Something that I was passionate about and wanted to write about, think about, wonder about, and talk about. Something I wanted to blog about.

The answer came to me one sunny Sunday, the day after I attended the
I Can Do It Conference, a conference that focuses on wellness - physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual.

The conference, which I attended alone, reawakened within me the deep-rooted desire to regain balance, to seek wellness, and to be a positive force on this achingly beautiful planet.

Out of the thousands of conference participants, I seemed to be the, or one of the, youngest. Most of the attendees were middle-aged women and, though I was not surprised by this, I was somewhat saddened.

Where were the twenty-somethings? The recent graduates? The ones just now crossing the threshold into adulthood? The ones who know better than their parents and grand-parents? The ones concerned with balance and wellness and fairness and peace? The ones starting careers, starting families? The ones who have the power to tackle things from a different angle, from a more conscious place? The ones who hold the key to a new kind of existence?

I know they are out there, these intelligent, insightful, young people who feel a power stirring within them and who know they can
do better. These people are my friends, my colleagues, my classmates. But they are absent. They are busy.

But I am here. And I am open. And I am ready.

So here is my blog about wellness, the seeking of it and the sharing of it. It will, I hope, resonate with everyone but especially with those bright, young minds - the Generation Y-ers (“why” ers) - who need to learn from past mistakes and choose another way of life.

After all, the wellness of our world depends on the wellness of its people.

It is up to us.

This week’s affirmation: I seek the good in every experience and I share the good with others.

Special mention: Today is my brother Adam's birthday. Adam is one of the most genuinely caring and loving people I have ever known. Bonne fĂȘte Adam!

Monday, June 7, 2010

An Invitation

Wellness is like love.

It is our innate right to be loved and it is our innate right to be well. But the fast-paced, rat-raced society in which we live makes it very difficult for both love and wellness to flourish and nourish, they way they are meant to.

Therefore, wellness (like love) is a choice. A purposeful intention. A conscious decision to follow one path instead of another.

There are many paths to wellness, many philosophies about wellness, and many differing opinions about what matters most on the wellness quest.

But wellness (like love) needs to be felt in order to be known.

It can be talked about, written about, studied, researched, and analyzed but the only way to really understand wellness is to be well.

And the only way to really be well is to
want to be well.

I want to be well.

Join me.

This week's affirmation: I am exactly where I should be.