“If you freeze an idea too quickly, you fall in love with it. If you refine it too quickly, you become attached to it and it becomes very hard to keep exploring, to keep looking for better. The crudeness of the early models in particular is very deliberate.” ~ Jim Glymph, Gehry Partners
Right now, I’m kicking around some ideas for a new theater project here in D.C. I’m excited about the possibilities that this community offers. It’s open and welcoming vibe is just what I’ve been looking for and it’s opened up my sense of what’s possible.
Whenever I begin a new project, I try to leave my mind open for as long as possible. Eventually, I do need to synthesize my ideas but I try to stay in the generation process as long as is feasible. Sometimes, we’re so anxious to get to an answer and then get on with the work.
This quote from Jim Glymph reminds me that there’s a time to dream and a time to do. Both of those states are equally important to the creative process and each deserves its due.
One year ago today what I thought for many years was impossible became possible through the tremendous dedication, love, and talent of an incredible group of people. My play, Sing After Storms opened in New York, and when that final black out happened I cried. A lot. A year later, life is so different, and that play still remains the piece of work that I’m most proud to have ever been a part of.
Thank you thank you thank you to everyone who supported that effort and most especially to Rob, Ellie, Joe, Kate, Jaclynn, Amelia, Brianne, Oheri, Brittany, Mia, Celia, and Marita. Thank you a million times over!
“A bad day for the ego is a good day for the soul.” ~David Brooks
I think of every day as either a glow or grow day: either I’m glowing with accomplishment or growing into a better person by learning from my mistakes. I try to take my bad days (and there are plenty of them) in stride. I don’t always do a stellar job of that. When things are rough, I want to crawl under the covers and wish it all away. But this glow or grow outlook does help me to try again tomorrow. It helps me to take my punches and use them to make myself stronger, more determined, and hopefully a little bit wiser, too. And in this way, every day is made into a good day.
“If you want to sleep more soundly, count blessings, not sheep.” ~Dr. Robert Emmons
I read this quote in a book recently and decided to give it a try. Though this week was stressful, this nightly practice really did help me appreciate the good things that were happening right alongside the tough things. Despite the scare with Phin, I could stay focused on getting him the best care and appreciate my loving friends, the sunshine, the flowering trees, my comfy home, and all of the new adventures ahead of me.
It’s easy to let life weigh us down. Living is hard work. Living fully is even harder work. But we can do hard things. We can pick ourselves up and keep going and keep recognizing that while life is difficult, it’s also pretty amazing.
I’m a big believer in writing down my wildest dreams and hopes in my own handwriting. It worked for finding my dream job. And now it’s worked for Phin. Yesterday, I had to take Phin for an MRI. He was having intense pain, but I wasn’t sure where it was coming from. While I waited for him, I wrote him a letter about how I wanted this situation to unfold. It was a hopeful wish against all odds. 15 minutes later the neurologist called me and delivered exactly the news I had written down moments before. She even used some of the exact same words I had written down. It was wild! It is a minor issue that we can fix with medication and rest for two weeks. Call it karma, the power of prayer, or magic. Whatever it is, I know it works. If you’ve got wishes, write them down.
Here’s the letter I wrote to Phin:
I really need you to be okay, buddy. You’ve been through so much in the last set of months, too much for a dog so sweet and loving. I know you are strong and brave, and that we have many more adventures ahead of us. We still have quite a way to travel together so I know you are going to pull through this latest blip like the champ that you are.
We’re going to look back and shake our heads at this. Once on the other side, we’re going to be very grateful that this wasn’t serious at all, only something minor and easily fixed in no time. You’re going to be happy, healthy, and whole. I just know it. You already are. These tests are just to be 100% certain of it, without a trace of doubt left.
From now, we’re going to take it easy. Just snuggles and walks and laughs together. Many more years of them. This reality already exists for us. I’m just pulling it out of the ether now. We have a house to buy (eventually), a beau for me (and a dad for you!) to find, and a city to explore. Hikes in Shenandoah. Roosevelt Island, the monuments around the Tidal Basin, Rock Creek Park, the C&O Canal.
You have so much life and love and adventure still in you. So have faith and courage. We’ll face this together head on, as we always have, as we always will.
Summer is almost here. The warm air and the long, happy days filled with sunshine are just around the bend and I can’t wait to share them with you on our long walks together. All is well. All good things.
“The words you speak become the house you live in.” ~Hafiz
Have you ever thought about how you speak to yourself vs. how you speak to others? So often we say things to ourselves that we would never dream of saying to someone else. Kindness to self is just as important as kindness to others. We need to be our biggest internal cheerleaders and champions.
The second you hear yourself using negative self-talk, stop. If someone spoke that way to someone you love, what would you do? What would you say to your friend who was being spoken to that way? My guess is that you’d stand up for your friend, that you’d support him or her and negate those negative statements with positive ones. That’s what friends do—we support each other.
Do the same for yourself. Be your own friend. Turn the language around. Hafiz is right—the words we speak become the house we live in. Build a tower of strength to house your dreams. They’re worthy of it, and so are you.
Yesterday I had a chat my dear friend, Mary, and she explained that in quantum physics there is a principle that states the reality you want already exists. To realize it on this plane, we have to change our perception from wishing to envisioning. I took her advice to heart during lunchtime and saw myself in the reality I’ve been working toward. I was finding my way to it as an explorer and adventurer. Once I arrived I tried it on like a new coat and it fit perfectly.
What if we could approach every situation in life like this? We could let go of desperation and longing, and replace them with the profound awareness that we are already in exactly the place we’re meant to be. What we want we have already built.
And we’re set for our next adventure! Phin and I will hit the road on Wednesday to move to D.C. My plan is to stop halfway to rest and arrive in D.C. some time on Thursday. I’m abundantly grateful to my friends, Matt and Alex, whom I’ll be renting from as I get my feet under me and re-establish my life in nearly every way. The constants during this tough time are my amazing friends whose support of my wild ideas never waivers.
The Universe has a wild way of speeding you along the path once you find it. Just a week ago I had planned to be in Florida for another 2 months. I thought I had to stay because it would be safer to do a long-distance job search, let Phin heal in Florida, and secure a D.C. apartment for a few months from now. One by one, the universe knocked down every one of those obstacles I put in my own way. I learned it’s much easier to job search in D.C. if you’re in D.C. Phin’s neurologist said he was doing very well on his healing path and felt completely comfortable transferring his care to another neurologist in the D.C. area. Then Matt and Alex wrote that their former tenant just moved out and they were looking to have someone else move in.
There’s a Buddhist belief that every moment contains exactly the lesson we need exactly when we need it. And that is certainly true now. I need to trust that if I’m willing to take a step there will be safe ground there to support me, even if I can’t see it. It’s an enormous leap of faith to act when we are sure of the what and unsure of the how. It takes a strong belief in our own abilities to overcome obstacles and an equally strong belief in other people to support us when we are brave enough to ask for help. I don’t do either of these things easily, but I’ve learned I can change, that I have changed. Magic happens, and I plan to pay forward all of the magic I’ve received (and then some!)
As I said earlier in the week, I read a short passage of The Poisonwood Bible before going to sleep and it’s working wonders. Here’s another bit of writing that’s come from my dreams and I scribbled down in the wee hours of the morning while half asleep:
“Maybe she’ll grow up to be like us. But I hope she’s braver and more courageous than that; I want her to grow up to be herself.”
The storm danced toward the sunny shore, consuming it, not out of will but because it was called to do it. I just didn’t know by whom. A thousand strands of light struck from cloud to ground. It was artful in its destruction, if it’s possible to do something so terrible with grace. It was strange to face the sea and the sun, and then turn around and see the advancing rage of the darkest swirling clouds.
I did my best to find the notes of subtlety and press play.
I’m trying a new writing practice. I read a bit of The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver before going to bed (which is an incredible book!), and then I set my iPad next to my bed with an email to myself already set up. I’ve found that this book’s language is doing radical things to my writing, in my dreams. I have the iPad at the ready to capture words I’ve dreamed. Here’s last night’s bit:
“She mixed the ingredients together, like a sorceress, like a doting grandmother makes meatballs or matzo, with such care and tradition and love. It was best to not disturb the magic.”
I don’t know where this is going or what it’s for, but I do know The Poisonwood Bible is good for me.