Thursday, September 30, 2010

Meditation on Understanding

We never thought we’d have one of those fights. You know the ones I mean... the fights that neither party will ever under any circumstances admit was a fight. The ones that are largely silent and filled only with the echoey voids of communication breakdown. In the middle of it you know you’ve both lost, lost the race to being perfect together if even if totally imperfect alone. Because until then he’d mostly filled your silences or you’d let your need to be understood fly free with faith that somewhere somehow you are being understood in the bizarre and beautiful parallel universe where everything is perfect.

Understanding. Is it real? Yes, but it is not some eternal state. Once you’ve found it, there is no telling how long it will stick around. Like everything else, understanding is impermanent and requires great and tender focus, openness, egoless-ness, and presentness (the ingredients required to slip into a state of grace) before she’ll take you in her arms. When the balance is upset great holes appear... Or is it more like a game of snakes and ladders? The snakes are often the demons in our own minds bringing us right back down again. And the ladders? What are they? Nuggets of wisdom? The strength to rise? To accept the ascent as readily as the descent? Its all a bit too much sometimes... this world, these tasks and thoughts all at once. What will we do with our playing space?

It is my belief that expansion is the meaning of life. There are infinite universes within everyone of us and it is their slapping together that creates an incessant stream of big bangs, opening every moment to the creative potential. Ultimate understanding includes the understanding that this is a very difficult thing to live with. It is happening within every organism and inanimate object all the time. But as human beings with reflexive minds we are (depending on our desire to seek) living with some level of awareness of this fact. It is painful, it is scary, it imbues us with a sense of responsibility for the quality with which we receive and process this knowledge. Add into the mix my universes crashing against yours, trillions of particles displaced with every embrace...

Can physics explain why marriage is hard? Will we one day be able to map out our irritations and sore spots like constellations? Will super microscopes take the place of eye glasses and will we then be able to see the arrangements of quarks in our beloved and know... Uh oh... Will we one day have therapy sessions and dialogues that start off with “Honey, when you leave the toilet seat up it really creates a black hole in my 856th universe”, or “Babe, my 8th dimension is going crazy right now, please just pick an outfit”. Seriously though... as science reaches toward filling in the gaps in our understanding of the stratosphere and beyond, how does this knowledge relate to the life inside? The intuitive arts have always discussed energy fields and the results of vastly different intentions and desires interacting in close proximity. We all feel this phenomenon... it is such a part of daily life that it almost shouldn’t be called a phenomenon. Walk into a room where two people have just had an argument... you bet you’ll feel the flakes of that fight hanging. The grumpy guy in the cubicle beside you finally got laid... You don’t need to see the pervy photo’s on his phone to know something is definitely different. Some of us are better at immediately recognizing these energetic discrepancies than others, but we are all hard wired to receive information about our environment and fellow tribespeople within it. When we are up close with a particular person for an extended period of time we start to get acquainted with the seeming constants and variables in his or her personal equations. The intuition then starts to fine-tune to this frequency... but it doesn’t always find resolution or reconciliation when it shifts. And sometimes it is the fact that we think we know where the frequency should be that makes us especially irked or thrown off when its not where we expected it to be.

It is my feeling that the goal of enlightenment is motivated by the desire for ultimate understanding- communion with the ever expanding, the birth and continuation of all things. In order to do this, a lot of fear has to dissipate as does much need for glorification. I am also starting to think that enlightenment and understanding are the clasped hands of two cosmic lovers. Enlightenment requires a certain craftsmanship of thought, and can be encouraged along by a teacher under which one can apprentice. Understanding is the unfolding of the metaphysical heart, and is the most private of journeys. It is simply and not so simply the willingness to feel exposed and tender and turn off that pointed discerning mind that so eagerly wants to practice what it has been learning. Understanding is achieved when there is inner freedom enough to just love and be loved.

So what? What about the void? Avoiding the void... I hate the echoey void. It is in the echoey void that I become my alien and cannot be reached as there is not reception on my home planet. It is in these times I want to cut out my own tongue just to give myself an excuse for not having the right words. It is here that I want to make random apish sounds and articulate myself in some loud, raw, primal way. In these times all I want to do want to sing a soccer chant and hold up a giant foam finger that reads “Understanding is #1!” But maybe thats because these are times not for words, not for cognitive comprehension. These caverns and canyons between the particles in my heart and those in yours don’t actually exist in this model of expansion and constant crashing together. That feeling of painful passing in the night is not real. For any of us at any time. Everything is connected. Including my sulking and your confusion. We can always reach each other if we are willing to sometimes not know how. The gut feeling to get quiet, to not talk it out is right sometimes. Understanding can at times be reached through words but other times through food, sleep, staring at the sky, working silently on something, mediating on the unraveling of the heart, a kiss on the forehead or quite simply the clasping of hands.

I pray everyday for understanding, in love, in life, in work, in my art, and all the time with all the tender fractious hurting humanness of wanting to feel the ever present but often so hard to tap into truth that everything is happening all at once and is connected to everything else that is also happening... and that means me too! We are all on the inside. We are all in the know. I pray for the dissolution of whatever it is that impairs my ability to resonate, to feel the harmonies rising up to meet in the space between. Heaven for me is understanding, and understanding for me is hearing the symphony and moving motivated by its lilts and tempo changes, all the while recognizing that my involvement will in turn contribute to where the next movement resolves itself and again finds form.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Right on Schedule...

I am about to reveal the writer’s deepest non-secret, their most obvious, over developed and ugliest talent: procrastination. Sometimes its the idea of the hard road ahead, the sweat and tears WORK of it all that gets me off the page or screen and onto the couch or yoga mat or street or phone or internet. Sometimes its the tenderness, the fear of failing, of writing something “bad” or revealing too much or having an idea so ready to bloom but without the skills yet to articulate it that pushes me to do anything but hit the keys. Today I have a very specific task ahead of me, and very localized angst and fear and discomfort at the sheer thought of facing up to it.

I used to worry that I didn’t have the self motivation or “get up and go” to be an artist at the helm of their own creative endeavours. But time and again I have watched myself, marveled at myself and the energy that rises up from a seemingly infinite source and propels me up out of bed at the crack of dawn to be on a set or run around the city hitting auditions with three outfits in my purse only to get back at work by 5 to put in enough hours to pay the rent or even staying up until 3 in the morning after a double show day writing just to feel and see and explore. I know I have everything I need... and also a bunch of stuff I do NOT need... to stumble ever further down the rabbit hole of this journey towards that holy land of manifestation. So I try not to judge the tired, the weary, the frightened, the feelings of being monumentally UN-special, and chalk it all up to humanness with trust that it will come out when it wants to and like all the times before when I’ve really actually wanted something I will find the guts and the hot sticky desire to make it happen.

But... I don’t just want to write for self-exploration and catharsis. Here’s another secret: I want to be a writer. For an audience. I want to conquer these blocks and aversions to just DOING IT so that I can write articles and books and plays and poems and make it part of my WORK. And when you are, when I am, writing for work, for something outside ones self... it has to be a labour of love and devotion and stubborn bull headed often awkward forcing out. Sometimes it will flow making sense of itself as it reveals what it means to word after word. And sometimes it will eeek out like nails on the chalkboard of your mind. Oh god. I want to throw up.

I have to read the first draft of my first play today. I don’t want to. I want to pretend I never wrote it. But I know in my heart that not only can I absolutely not abandon this little creature... I have to learn to love the warts and folds of fat and finally accept that I gave birth to this totally imperfect being. And then after cradling it in my arms and feeding it from my own body I will trim its gnarly mane (that it most certainly inherited from its mother), take it out of its potato sack dress, pick out some party shoes and maybe frilly socks (too much?) and then set it free to roam the creative kingdom and fend for itself warts and all.

I want my work to be accessible, inclusive. I most certainly write from myself, a personalised voice that I will never apologize for or try to change, but at present my play is a philosophical play about philosophical things. And that’s all well and good and will remain the case even after the 4th draft, but I want it to stimulate and entertain and not just be a selfish vomiting of my existential escapades. It is so hard to make that switch, to stay rooted in truth and authenticity but be writing for the market place, writing something with the intention that it will someday be shared, interpreted and (ouch!) probably judged. This blog has been my bridge to the outside world. I have been writing faithfully for the last six-seven years: poetry, ideas, journal entries, stream of conscious gibberish, mini articles, scrapings of dialogue, but it was always for ME... And here I write knowing I will most likely post this and even when it gets super intellectually wanky or all about my personal feelings I can justify it by saying: I never ask anyone to read it. I don’t publicize this blog or tell people its “good”, if you find it by accident and choose to read on: cool. If you are one of the handful of friends or family I have invited to check it out then, well, you know me and I’m willing to bet that none of these often nonsensical ponderings really come as any surprise. If you’ve read this far and you hate it... well that’s your own fault!

But my play... and all the other plays that are starting to stir in my belly... I want to be proud of them, I want to hand out flyers on the street, I want to advertise them and ask people to act in them, I want to ask people for money at the door and re-coup my costs. So... it needs to be worth someone’s time. And oh god... what if its sooooo not!? I still won’t let my parents see some of the film projects I’ve been in because I’m afraid they’ll ask me for that 5, 10, or 80 minutes of their life back. But bad movies, bad plays, bad business ventures get made, get supported, get invested in all the time (please immediately click on these links: Hawaii Chair and then Patton Oswald “Death Bed”... TOTALLY worth 5 mins of your life and illustrates this point with much more hilarity than I can). So why not this? Why not MY idea?

The answer: Well Laura... because it isn’t done yet. Its in first draft form, it is a fetus. It is totally unready to be bought, sold, have the hands of strangers upon it. And if you don’t love it enough to stare it in the face and love it and accept it and put YOUR time into it well then why should anyone else? Oh god... wisdom... you are so annoying sometimes... I was just here writing about the fear of writing... procrastinating to the HIGHEST degree (the fact that I have now written over 1,000 words about why I’m afraid to start this, to start to finish this... well that kids, is the definition of creative procrastination.

So here I go... I am diving in... any minute now... but wait, first I have to read over THIS... and then edit a few things... then pull up my blog website... transfer it in... post it... re-read it on line... do one more edit... check my email... send my dad a happy birthday message... order another cup of tea... oh SHIT! Then it will be time to go to that movie. Darn

(My monkey mind... with the voice of an evil professor):

Ha progress! I’ve escaped your clutches for one more day!

PS. Just for the record... I'm not going to that movie. I'm going to get to work. Self honest awareness can be a real bitch sometimes.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Playground Scientist

You know what’s hard?

Exercising conscious mental will, choosing thoughts that are beautiful and understanding with love the tendency to create problems that will feed the analytical mind.

It is not enough to be happy, to be bliss, to be one... not for the wiring, the way we’ve come to understand the world. To let go and let everything connect in a jumble of things is a frightening endeavor. The inability to live without the cerebral capabilities of categorizing and labeling is the source of much mental illness. But the mind has evolved to include a reflexive quality and in that reflection it is clear that perceived understanding through the ordering of things is no real peace at all. The self imposed superstructure is both a crutch and a false lead in terms of where we come from, where we’re at, and where we hope to go. These lily pad leaps of mind move towards nothing more than hypothesis. The giant experiment that is one’s life will inevitably yield data that both supports and contradicts this teeter-totter thesis. From these supposed smatterings of findings we then go about our days working from the belief that what we’ve gathered in our play pen laboratory is truth. We are bad scientists. We are not scientists at all. Just because we have silently and collectively agreed on the parameters of this test piece doesn’t mean everything isn’t still a variable. The attachment to this idea of life, the dependence on it and our relationship to it and the expectation that things will always be in alignment with how you see them is what leads to mind crushing pain and disappointment and the need to hold on and go to sleep.

This is one reason why things are not as they seem. This is one reason why gut reactions always reveal more of the truth then long drawn out pro/con paradigm based decision making.

Nothing is real. Nothing is right.

And this is not a sad thing.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Oh! My Mama

My mum has always gotten the brunt of it. I have been my whole life blossoming and growing and shining and rising and with every layer I peel back, with each level of wisdom unearthed I time after time hand her the skin I’ve out grown and then run off to play with my friends.

Most know me now as an aspiring actress and singer unafraid to fill a room with voice, with energy, with light. But there was a time when I was sick with nerves, when my voice shook from the first note to the last and when I would cry until my heart was a stone after every exam, recital, competition. And guess who drove me to all of these? Guess who I snapped at the whole way there? And guess in whose arms I balled afterwards?

I left Vancouver Island this past Wednesday afternoon. It was a beautiful day and I was in every sense setting out on a new set of adventures pure in the knowledge that I would be returning soon. But still I was a mess. I was miserable. I was terrified. It is safe there, it is healthy, my parents love me, I can be an earth child, I can wear no make up, I can do yoga on the beach, swim naked in the ocean, I can be quiet, not have to prove anything to anyone and be still, let the moment be enough. And as I stared down the barrel of my own crazy aspirations, my insides tangled up and I forgot once again where I truly sought comfort (and who had all along facilitated this epic journey in every sense). Mama.

Mothers and daughters. Why is it so weird? Are we mirrors too close to ever see anything clearly? Or are we so clear to one another that it reveals too much all at once? Expectations? Sure. Lots of them, on both sides. But the love. Oh, the love. How many of us really know how to be loved? I think if I could really let all the love I have in my life fill me I would spontaneously combust. And I think mothers have a hard time feeling loved. I think they must forget how to feel it because they are so busy pumping love OUT. And eventually if they really do forget how to feel it in return, and/or how to fill themselves up again then they start to take pieces of themselves, break them down and convert them into love. A good friend told me that her mother said to her the other day, “Oh you and your universe!”. How weird it must be to create this human and then watch it wander off into the sunset of its own experience. And how horrible when they won’t let you be part of it. 1997-2007 must have been pretty rough for that hey Mum? Sorry.

So this is my formal invitation, to my own mother to invite her to be a part of my universe, and to anyone who wishes to share their tender fragmented human spirit with the one that gave them breath. Welcome to my universe Mama, I made you a key... come and go as you please. And if you ever feel like doing some dishes or my laundry on one of your visits, I’m totally cool with that, it would NOT be considered robbing me of my independence.


Sort of.

Post Script:

For a more sensorial salute to mothers check out one of the most beautiful modern folk songs: Alela Diane "Oh! My Mama"