Ahhhh here you are again. I should have known you'd be here... you never miss an opportunity to perk up when a new endeavor is on the corner.
I can feel you in my chest, beating on me real fast. I can feel you when I am in love and butterflies are dancing in my stomach. I can feel you on stage when my voice trembles and my face flushes red. And sometimes you show up in less predictable times - out of the blue and announced - I feel you throughout the day, like a flying insect in my tummy, or a ticking clock, or a wood-pecker that longs to be noticed.
Truth is - you are one of a kind dear Anxiety. You show up when things are good, when things are bad, and any and all times in between. Like, right now as I am about to take a leap into a new direction.
Frankly, I am used to adding more hats to my collection - after all I am an actor, a voice-over artist, a screenwriter, a poet, a blogger, a jewelry designer, a business owner, an aunt, a partner, a cat mama, and lastly - a Clubhouse enthusiast... and YOU, dear Anxiety, have predictably shown up at every single of ones of those new endeavors of mine.
You are often there with Fear and Self-Doubt and together you three are making me feel like I'm the smallest speck in the universe - far too small to take on a new endeavor. Will Power and Optimism have had to peel me up with all their might to put you three on simmer at times. Sometimes you three fight back and even bring Terror along for the ride. In rebuttal, Will Power and Optimism bring in my secret sauce - Confidence, and all is well that ends well.
Sometimes when things are better - you bring Excitement along with you and together you make me a giggly bubbly version of myself. You are always a collaborator dear Anxiety. Rarely show up alone. You have many MANY friends inside my body, heart, mind and soul...
Today you showed up with Fear, Self-Doubt, and Shame to scare me off.
You showed up to warn me, like:
'Um, do you really want a piece of THAT!? We're not ready for that though, are we? No, we're not. Yes, we are! No! We are NOT ready for that. It's too much for this little frail body.'
It worked. You scared me. You made me anxious. I was warned enough to shut my computer down and announce: 'I am not ready for that!'
But then... a little voice popped up. A little voice of Acceptance.
So now here I go, with Acceptance, breathing you away, and breath by breath you seize to warn me. You seize to knock on my belly anxiously. But hey - I know you are my protector. I accept that. I honor that. I appreciate that! I know you mean well and only well.
But I don't need more protection now, dear Anxiety.
I've been here before and I can be here again.
Your services today - dear Anxiety - are no longer needed.
New endeavor - here I come!
With a loving send off...
If anyone asks (um, IS anyone asking?) my advice is always:
'My advice is - don't ask for advice.
Nobody knows nothing about anything. There is no right and wrong and everything is invented, so carve your own way in this bizarre adventure called life. May it be a good one!'
Now... I don't wish to discredit the brilliant minds of thinkers and scholars and geniuses in this world who could take great pride in their vast pool of knowledge. They would definitely have better advice than me. So if my advice of 'don't ask for advice' rubbed you the wrong way... I get it. I hear it. I see it. I invite it.
What do I know, right!?
Exactly: I KNOW NOTHING. Let's face it: I will probably contradict my own "advice" and will totally ask for advice if I had the opportunity to meet some of my very knowledgeable heroes. But YET - I aspire not to 'know everything'. I rather have a BEGINNER'S MIND that feeds my curiosity and keeps my life richer with constant new discoveries.
Full disclosure: this 'beginner's mind' advocate has been a KNOW IT ALL for most of her adult life. Frankly - even as a child I was a know-it-all. (sorry mom!) But one of the perks of the last year, um the pandemic year, has been all about re-shifting my thinking, re-evaluating my limiting beliefs and inviting the unknown with open arms.
And I'll leave you with this paradoxical thought by Socrates:
"I know that I know nothing."
Figure THAT one out. (insert thinking emoji & mind blown emoji)
I stepped into a therapist’s office. My first time there.
There was a vase of flowers on the wooden coffee table. Lillies, I think.
One chair and a sofa. I chose the sofa - naturally.
I sat down and after a very brief 'meet and greet' chat, I announced: "I am here because I am a workaholic! I’d rather die than being unsuccessful and when I don’t work - I feel enormous guilt and shame and want to bury myself under a rock."
I could tell the therapist was not shaken by my words.
Nor was she impressed with them.
I dare to say she may have had a twinkle of enjoyment in her eye... but I wouldn't know for sure. The cloud of self-indulgence may have fogged my awareness at that moment. All I could think of was: 'What is she gonna say?! How is she gonna help me?! CAN she help me? Am I doomed!? Or is this a completely idiotic thing to say to a therapist!? After all, there are far worse problems in the world than being a "workaholic". Like boo--hooo! Other people don't even HAVE work they can get addicted to! And you are complaining that you actually love what you do so much that you rather be doing it 24/7!? Um, yeah. First world problems is an understatement here.'
The therapist finally spoke to me as if she read my mind. (Because let's face it -some people absolutely know how to do that despite the complete lack of evidence)
"Seems to me like you are not very gentle with yourself, are you?"
Gentle with myself. Huh.
Wait, that’s it!? Be gentle with myself? Um, yeah, I know that. I mean. Who doesn’t? This isn't as profound of a gem as I had hoped she would drop at my lap.
Then, she proceeded: ‘How do you self care?’
I mumbled: '...Well... I love what I do...'
‘I realize that.’ She continued.
'But how do you self care? DO you self care? Let's brainstorm together some ways in which you can self-care.’
I didn’t knew what to say.
I was dumbfounded by the simplicity of the notion of 'self-care' to fix such a giant life/death problem (not really, but you get my drift...hopefully) and by my inability to answer what seemed like a fairly simple question.
The session continued with a discussion on the various self-care methods that may help me be 'gentler with myself' and before I knew it - time was up and I was out to the races to investigate what IS this mysterious thing called 'Self Care!?
Naturally - I opened my calendar - as a workaholic does - and squeezed in a weekly ‘chore’ to go to the Korean spa, and unwind in the best way I could think of: Five different types of sauna, hot mugwort bath, and a scrub or a massage if I felt like splurging on myself that week. Several months later - I was acing my spa version of self-care. My muscles were thankful and my skin was enjoying the pampering.
But... I was still a workaholic.
And more importantly - I was still talking to myself in a very UN-gentle way.
My therapist noticed. I mean - we were far from strangers now, and have had long talks about my childhood and what's not, and as a preceptive and empathetic person would - she recognized my tendency to be guilt-ridden and be hard on myself way too often.
She asked me: 'How do you talk to yourself?'
I grinned: 'What do you mean? I don't talk to myself. I mean - I talk to my cats occasionally when no one is around, but to myself? No, never been a person that does that...'
She laughed at my momentary innocence: 'I meant - in your mind... in your heart. How do you talk to yourself? What do you say to yourself? How do you self-talk? Self sooth? Self-reflect?'
I proceeded to laugh at myself and finally got on her wave length.
'Huh. I am not the most versatile in my self talk I believe.'
'Okay, well... how about you diversify the ways in which you talk to yourself?'
Once again - my therapist had me dumbfounded by the simplicity of her questioning.
And here I was - down with a challenge and determined to diversify the ways in which I would 'talk to myself!'
For as long as I remember - if I have had a hard time telling someone dear in my life something important - I’d write a letter. Even if I would never send it.
I wrote a letter to my grandmother when she passed away - as a way to deal with the loss and grief, I wrote letters to my teen boyfriend when I didn’t like how our relationship was going but found myself unable to tell him in person, I wrote letters to my parents and never sent them. And since the process of letter writing to my loved ones had always brought me some sort of understanding and even joy - I thought to myself 'Why not write... to MYSELF?'
So in a true 'yes, and' fashion - I started writing letters to myself.
And in order to diversify - I started writing to different aspects of myself:
To the guilt that came up, to the perfectionism in me that seemed to have a hold of me sometimes, to the sadness when it appeared, to the pride when it came over for a visit, to my body in the days when it needed a mental hug, to my inadequacy when it showed up, and my self-doubt, my fear, my rage, my innocence, my joy…..
Before long - I had found my way to talk to myself. To ALL parts of myself.
'Dear Self' is the collection of all those letters.
What drives you?
When you are on the engine, what gets you to spend hours, days, nights, and years achieving your goals, mastering your work, honing your craft. The grind, the hustle, the hard work towards a goal or with intent, the ambition to achieve, to accomplish, to master and finesse a craft or a job, the rush to go against all odds, the stamina to make the impossible possible, reaching new highs because let's face it - the sky is NO limit when you are driven. Those are all come hands in hands with being DRIVEN.
But what is it that drives you?
Some call it Grit.
Some call it Purpose.
To some, it is a Calling.
To others - the 'Why'
Sure, sometimes it is the limiting beliefs that drive us. Like the need for some of us to prove ourselves, or to make a name for ourselves, to be validated, to be the children our parents want us to be, to fit in the mold of society's expectations, to be seen, to 'be a contender!'
But when we tap into our purpose beyond our limited beliefs - we are driven in a different way. There is a different essence to be driven by a force of a calling, a purpose, a grit.
It took me a long time to understand what it is that drives me to spend hours on end embodying characters, people watching, analyzing the psychology of imaginary characters, going to the depths of the emotions of others so other others can feel something. As an actor and writer, or a storyteller as I prefer to call it - what I ultimately do and work in is the practice of EMPATHY. I have spent my whole life practicing the arts of embodying others and creating others - which is a great lesson in empathy. But Empathy is more than a lesson. It's an absolutely necessary tool, and to me - it's a purpose. It's a calling. It's my 'why.'
When I think 'what would make the world a better place' - I don't hesitate when I answer: 'If empathy would grow substantially. If people would see each other not as separate - but as themselves.'
The Mayans greet each other by saying 'Hello, myself.'
I always wonder - how does a society change when its inhabitants use empathy in the language like that? Or if the society highlights and prioritizes empathy and understanding? Or when parents teach their children a less comparative mindset like so many do in our over-achieving western society, and rather prioritize teaching how to grow in empathy and understanding at a young age? I don't know the answers for that. But I know somewhere deep in my gut... that if we understand each other, and if we feel what others feel - the world could be kinder, could be happier, could be wiser.
I'll end these thoughts on a late Thursday night, by greeting you all with:
Today I got a little treat for ya:
Fairy / Faerie
*A small imaginary being of human form that has magical powers, especially a female one.
~I don't know when was the first time I said to myself: 'Yeah, I'm a fairy in a human form. I'm a fairy y'all!' I mean, quite honestly - I don't wake up every day feeling like shouting that to the world. I'm more of the matter a fact - too cool for school kinda gal. But a FAIRY is an identity I am more than happy to wear every now and then. Don't get me wrong... Wendy rocks. But I've always been more of a Tinker belle type. Because hey - who doesn't want to fly around and spread magic everywhere!? Seriously - #goals.
Looking at this definition - I think I possess some magical powers, am fairly small in figure, and I am most definitely female. So take away the word 'imaginary' and give some freedom to your definition of 'magic' - and you'll see the fairy in me. Maybe - you'll also start seeing the fairies in others around you. Or maybe even in yourself. Many of us fairies are out there, floating around, running around doing a million things and trying to spread joy or talents or love everywhere we go. Look close - and maybe you'll see us. Maybe you ARE us.
All you gotta do - is believe in magic...~
Sing us a lullaby -
For the days that passed
And the ones that have left us
Who are asleep at last.
Sing us a lullaby -
For the tiresome helpers
Who despite the chaos
served as protectors.
Sing us a lullaby -
For the song that has died
And with it a dream
Of harmonious life.
Sing us a lullaby -
For the friends who are gone
And the love that we cherish
That we must carry on.
Sing us a lullaby -
That we shall always remember
One that pinches the heart
And will stay with us - forever.
*Today, there are recorded 2.48 million deaths worldwide due to the Covid 19 virus.
This poem is in memoriam to those millions of lives lost, their heroes and their loved ones.*
Flaunting your million dollar smile wherever you go.
Showing those shiny teeth and laughing out loud like you own the place. Own ANY place.
You don't give any flying fu**s to anyone and truly own the meaning of 'loving yourself.'
Between you and I - I dig you Pride. You made me blush and you tickle my insides when you grace me with your presence.
Sometimes though... sometimes dear Pride, you go too far.
Maybe from your own fear of Shame coming along and stealing your thunder.
Maybe you get high on yourself a bit.... know what I mean?
Maybe it's so intoxicating so you hide some of that authentic pride with a capital P PRIDE.
Or maybe you enjoy it a tad too much and invite infamous miss Ego over?
(Asking for a friend.)
But when you are gentle in your presence - you SHINE dear Pride.
You remind lil' old me not to be so darn hard on myself and let in some caring patting on my back. It feels good to rub that back. After all... the knots in it thanks to Doubt and Fear and Pressure and so many others... those knots hurt.
Your presence lightens their toll, Pride.
Grateful for you, but don't get over excited... okay?
Let Humility come along with you.
Together - you two are the golden ticket.
In a discussion about creativity, this quote by cartoonist Scott Adams kept popping up in my head:
'Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes,
art is knowing which ones to keep.'
To make mistakes, one must work through fear, perfectionism, vulnerability, trust and other belief patterns that keep us from jumping head on into the process of trial and error. But it's in the error that we find the most original creative solutions and ideas, it's in the least expected - the unknowns - that we come up with something NEW.
Here's to making mistakes.
A cup of coffee,
A window sill,
A cat purring on my lap,
And a wind so loud it breaks my heart piece by piece.
The wind has come down on the entire world
With its horror and its ravaging madness.
It is angry.
It is frightened.
It has been ignored for so long
It's now fueled with vengeance.
My cup of coffee is spilling drop by drop,
The window is shaking out of its core,
And the cat shrieks, afraid.
The wind has come down on us like fire,
And even a mighty fire can't save us now.
I remember more innocent times,
When coffee was hot enough,
And windows stayed in place,
And cats slept all day.
I remember when the wind didn't bother us so much,
When it was building its resentment,
Because we didn't understand it.
We didn't understand her.
Did we ever try to?
And while we blame the non believers -
It was US who saw the wind,
And let it boil.
It was US who used our plastic,
And tossed it out.
It was US who didn't want to change,
And who are now changed for good.
How will this story of a trillion pieces end?
Or is it only its beginning?
The beginning of detention,
When we all become better beings and better humans,
And habits are suddenly gone,
With their cattle,
And their pain.
When we all live happily ever after
Like fairytales that don't exist.
How will this story end?
I wonder as I drink my cup of coffee
in nothing else but a to-go cup.
'Imagination is more important than knowledge.'
I don't believe this quote need any introduction, but I'll give one anyways:
In a 1929 interview with the 'Saturday Evening Post', Einstein talked about his intuition about his theory of relativity. That lead the interviewer to ask Einstein about his thoughts on imagination and Einstein brought up this gem of a quote that has inspired me and so many others.
In April 2020, while experiencing her first ever global pandemic, Tamar Pelzig pledged to write something every day, even if it's only a word, so she welcomed to the world a daily blog to keep her creative writing wheels rolling.
Header Art: Daniel Landerman