On change (The Recovery Series)

I’m lying in my bed. It’s been a while, but I don’t remember pain like this. Even the brilliant drugs that they give you in the hospital doesn’t work. So what best to do with pain but to write. This is my recovery series. It mightn’t make much sense. I blame the pain.

There has been a lot of change lately. In these few days alone the concept of change has become solid to me. I have become acutely aware about the difficulty of change. People often say it, as if it’s easy – ‘If you don’t like the way you look, change your diet’, ‘If you don’t like your job, quit and change to another one’, ‘If you don’t like the way you think, change your mind and think a new thought’. Happy-clappy, self-helpy, new-agey literature is full of change for those who are hard pressed to spend their spare change on yet another dust attractor for laden bookshelves of ‘better-you’.

Change is hard.

It’s difficult to change my position on the bed, which always wakes the angry boob-ferret, who immediately protests with his inner scratching. The smallest adjustment is a struggle and brings about a merry dance of negotiation with space, time and gravity. This minor change is excruciating. Changing my clothes is another challenge, with that task comes friction, and friction of any kind is not nice. Friction is charged, causing pain on the rubbed and resentment of the source of the rubbing. Only hurt remains. Changing the dressing on the scar has been a beautiful battle, it meant touch and closeness and that brought with it a fresh hell. I wanted the source of my soreness to remain motionless, to calcify in its present state, harden and become strong, without the interference of hand just right of my heart.

Aren’t all those reasons why we never want to change?

It’s easier to stay the way we are. We desire new bodies every first of January but want to remain untouched by discomfort. We shun movement in favour of epicurean delights (What would the Epicureans say!) because we just don’t have the time, the energy, the motivation, the will. We will accept unfair situations and decline to negotiate our sense of worth in unequal and uneven relationships because we don’t want to upset anyone or ruffle any feathers. We toughen our souls and allow ourself to remain out of reach, become callous and sharp, so that our tiny, frightened, beautiful hearts doesn’t become broken yet another time. We live in fear, because fear is comfortable. Perhaps it is not so painful now, because we have become accustomed to the pain of not getting what we deserve. Because that is all we deserve.

Change is painful. Not changing is even more so.

Published in: on February 25, 2013 at 7:45 pm  Comments (2)  
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Every path is beautiful

On the first day of the Camino.

We set off from Tuí, after spending a night in a hotel. We didn’t sleep much, though we were in extreme comfort. We were too excited. We live completely sedentary lives, both sitting at computers during the day. I was filled with trepidation about how I would handle the 16km before me. I did not know if I would flake out in my boyfriend, if I would beg to go the rest of the way by car. I did not know if it would take me all day to cover the needed distance to get to the albergue. But it was 7 a.m. and it was time to go and all we had was the road before us.

And what a road it was.

Walking through Tui with the sun rising before us was the most beautiful thing. The little houses and the quirky roads and tunnels filled us with delight. We saw the first of our little shells and arrows that would come to be the most important thing that we had on this entire trip. We smiled and took pictures as we entered the Camino and chatted and joked as we walked along our first stretch of main road, after walking through fields of green. We left that main road and were immediately enchanted by the first of three important streams that would define what this Camino meant for us. We met the first of our fellow travellers at the first stream, but we were yet strangers and didn’t know what else to say other than ‘Buen Camino’. We washed our faces in that stream, stood on the most beautiful bridge and my heart was aching with joy as the green, the sunlight and the water sang to me. I could hear my entire life and the lives of all humanity on the ripple of the stream. I could smell the Universe in that green. My mind exploded, a tiny, gentle, slow motion explosion of nothingness. I had nothing else but to be here, to be with my love, to love and to walk. Standing on the stony bridge, what I called the ‘Hobbit Bridge’, I felt my feet on the Path. No angels sang, no heavens opened, but I felt love. And I felt my mind empty of everything.

All I wanted to do was walk.

There are times when we are so caught up in the bustle, when our mental chatter is so loud and constant that we become swept up in raging torrent of noise and to-do lists and ambitions and insecurities and stress and fear. At those times, if we can, we might find it useful, almost life-saving, to snap our minds back to where we are.  We can look at our feet, one falling in front of the other, and listen to the sound of their steps, on the pavement, up the stairs. We can concentrate on going faster, going slower, evening out our speed. We can bring our minds only to walking, and in doing so, we can let our minds rest. In doing so, we may find, that in our present moment, there is nothing else to do but walk. Walk, and be where you are.

Published in: on October 1, 2012 at 9:45 am  Comments (1)  
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Fear 1

I promised you my fears, so I shall share with you a series of them.

I am currently studying. Those of you who follow me or connect with me on various social media platforms know this because I’ve never stopped harping on about it. There have been a decrease in theatre discussions and links in my timelines and an increase in posts on existential psychotherapy, counselling and various therapeutic approaches. This is because there is a shift happening in me.

I was watching the Lifeclass on OWN with the Reverend TD Jakes and he said something to the effect of this – ‘Do not confuse talent with your purpose’. He went on to say that just because one has a talent for something, just because one has been doing something always, do not confuse it with what one is meant to do.

This has been on my mind for some time before seeing that broadcast.

Because I have been thinking of becoming a psychotherapist.

And that scares me.

It means that, unless I can find a way to combine my love of the stage and my desire to help people recognise their own purpose, that I may be looking at a future that does not include the thing that I thought I loved. My desire to help is certainly becoming stronger than my desire run behind the next big musical. I am so fortunate at this point in time to be in a show that resonates with me, that is congruent with my love of learning, reading and hope. But I have done many shows in my lifetime for the sake of doing a show. And I have done many shows in my lifetime where I didn’t make a difference. And I am beginning to wonder if that is a productive way to spend one’s time.

I have a great desire to entertain, a great desire to touch people’s lives, but I have come to the point of questioning whether I am doing that in the best way possible.

Published in: on June 29, 2012 at 1:52 pm  Comments (2)  
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I’ve never been happy, really, with the name of my blog.

That’s because this blog started out last year as something completely different. And it didn’t last very long.And I came back to it and it became something else. And the name didn’t fit.

So I decided to change the name. It may not be perfect yet, but I’m putting it out there.

Do you have a situation that you’ve named, that you seem to be stuck with? A situation that you’ve taught yourself to be comfortable with, that you’d rather not change for fear of rocking the boat, that you’d rather continue to bear it, because you’re used to it and people may not like it if you start to call it something else. Has your ‘career’ become ‘just work’, has your ‘faith’ become ‘rote’, has your ‘relationship’ become ‘settled’, has your ‘passion’ become ‘safe’? What would happen if you renamed those things and called them what they were, or what they appeared to be to you at that moment? Would that make you do things differently?

So tell me what you think of the name? Suggest some others if you have any?

Published in: on April 2, 2011 at 9:30 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Start Small

A young director I once worked with and whom I hold in very high regard is taking his unique brand of talent and expertise to Singapore, directing a version of the Scottish play there. He tweeted of his experience that on his first day he felt nervous and felt rather ‘small’. I replied to his tweet – ‘From a tiny seed a mighty oak is grown, from a particle, a Universe. Celebrate your smallness.’

I wanted to finish thus –

‘…for it is the wellspring of the mighty.’

Too often we have an idea, and before it is fully formed and articulated we automatically become ‘them’, we know why it will not work before even presenting it to others. We doubt our authority; doubt our ability to make a unique and formidable mark because we fear we are ordinary, that we are too small to shake the firmament of the mighty status quo. Some of us take comfort in that smallness, if we curl into a ball tight enough, perhaps the predators will not notice us, and we will not be eaten alive, our ideas and beliefs scattered like half eaten bones amongst the other trash of ‘could have been’. We will not make a noise, will not embarrass ourselves and we will live to fight another day.

Or we may be like my friend, who may feel his smallness today, but will awake tomorrow to battle it, to push to the centre of it and say, ‘I am small but I am the spark of change. I will make the fire rage here, for I am here to create. Creation comes with great discomfort, with effort and pressure, but what I create will be magnificent in its being for it will be realised with others, from the hearts and minds of other unique beings. It may not be universally loved, but that is because it is extraordinary, unique and will challenge the very core of others’ beliefs. I am small, yet mighty’.

Will you look at your place in the world today and feel your insignificance, or will you see your smallness as being just the right size to manoeuvre and infiltrate this great maze of Life and Experience in order to creatively, responsibly and spectacularly affect the lives of others for the better?

Published in: on March 16, 2011 at 12:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Zooming in…

What are you focusing on right now?

Stop what you’re doing. Drop everything. Stop reading. Just sit back for a moment and look into your mind right now.

What is the overriding thought that is running through your mind?

Are you thinking about making more money? Perhaps it is your thought of lack of money that is behind this motivation. Perhaps you are focussing so strongly on lack that you are stopping any creative thought from entering your mind that would inspire you to move out of the place where you feel you are stuck.

Is the central thought in your mind affecting how you are going through your day? Does that thought have an emotion attached to it? Are you feeling angry, sad, bored, depressed, blasé, ecstatic, satisfied? Are your actions throughout the day reflecting that emotion that is so strongly coursing through your body without any notice.

It is a useful exercise to be present, to remind yourself to look at yourself, to audit the unconscious effect of those intangible things on your tangible outcomes. Look inwards and see how it comes out. Shake yourself out of the zombie-like state of doing without intent.

Zoom in on your mind and see what lies there.

Published in: on March 5, 2011 at 1:30 pm  Leave a Comment  
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