Dream Big

“Dream Big” has been circling my mind. One of hashtags the Bentonville Film Festival is using is #DreamBigBFF.

As actors, writers, directors, artists, all who reach for the unknown looking for ways of expressing the depths of the imagination, the phrase “dream big” becomes an endeavor; in dreaming big, artists try and take that dream, and actively translate it to an audience with their medium of expression.

These dreams and expressions hopefully reveal truths. Once those truths reveal themselves, we can let go of that particular dream, which is sometimes more difficult than the actual creation of it in the first place.

On this springtime Friday filled with dreaming, I’m rereading Prospero’s speech in Shakespeare’s The Tempest:

Prospero:
Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits, and
Are melted into air, into thin air:
And like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp’d tow’rs, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve,
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on; and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.

Being “…such stuff As dreams are made on…” one of the trickiest things to learn is having the passion to dream, the perseverance to take that dream and turn it into reality, and then the discipline to let go of that creation that will, like our life, dissolve.

Tree Pose

Swaying in tree pose a few weeks back in yoga class, the teacher said “the standing leg’s your anchor and the bent leg’s just a distraction.” The standing leg provides your roots, your stability. That anchor’s always available, internally. Like in life, all the movement around that anchor’s just a distraction.

A tree is the perfect image for the concept of being grounded. When you think of a tree you imagine the trunk. It’s strong. It’s firmly grounded with roots that reach into the ground and take in the nutrients from it’s surrounding, and discards that which doesn’t serve it. As the tree grows upwards, it’s the leaves and branches that are swayed by the wind and the surrounding chaos of the environment. But the trunk stands firmly in place, unwavering in it’s conviction to be the most authentic version of itself.

Last night in acting class (I continuously study with John Dapolito), John went on an inspired tirade about the importance of staying grounded within your authenticity. Having vision, and leaning into that vision. Being so grounded within a point of view, that the many distractions and the shit-storm of opinions can’t knock you off balance. It requires the flexibility and openness to hear other points of view and learn from the ones that ring true, and discard the rest. It’s when we abandon our authenticity because of fear – fear of not pleasing people, fear of being criticized, fear of not being accepted – that stray from our truth out of fear, will always leave us feeling empty. Because it means we’ve allowed externalities to sway us off balance and away from our most authentic self. It’s impossible to please everyone. But we can always act from a grounded, internal place inspired by truth and authenticity.

It’s that truth and authenticity that gives each of us an interesting point of view, a lens through which we see the world. And it should be celebrated. In sharing those rich points of view we expand our consciousness, empathy, and capacity to enjoy this world in it’s vastness. Like a pride flag in all it’s colors, that spectrum of experience is what makes this world rich in color. On this rainy, snowy, NYC day, remember to stand firmly grounded in your roots, experiences, and authenticity, and remember the wind, sleet, snow, and rain’s just a distraction.

Book I’m reading.

Favorite song of the week.

Video I just finished and love.

Searching for X (another year…)

I realized it’s been a year since I started writing this blog.  Oct. 10th 2010 was the first entry.  I remember standing at work, writing the entry.  I was working in a restaurant, so I was definitely not supposed to be online, let alone “blogging.”  “Costume Hunting,” was the name of the entry.  Here I am, a year later, and it’s that time of year again.

Ironically, I left that restaurant 6 months ago, and now find myself back there once a week.  In some ways, nothing has changed.

In other ways, it feels like a lifetime ago.

I hit “submit” with an overwhelming sense of fear.  “Find your voice,” “TRUST your voice,” have been what people have told me the past few years.  I’ve heard it in acting class, yoga class, life, etc.  “Find your own way to express light,” was my favorite wording.  How do you illuminate truth? What does that even mean?  My preoccupation with these questions mirrors my preoccupation with the concept of “story” and the power in telling stories.  We’re all living a story with the power to learn its lesson and the power to re-write the twists and turns.

Life offers us countless challenges to purify the soul.  It’s a battle, learning how to face situations without jumping to an emotional response.  But those challenges are gifts, without which we’d never grow and evolve.

An acupuncturist once told me to look over my days, each night.  See the day and how it played out, and ask yourself, “Have I gotten closer to myself or further from myself, today?”

Here I am a year later, and it’s Halloween season.  The difference is, I’ve been spending the last few days looking for someone else’s costume (oh the joys of part time, personal assistant gigs).  I haven’t been thinking of my own potential costume, or any ways to mask myself.

I’ve put my “voice” out there a number of ways this past year through song, a number of projects, a web series, and all the ways in which life required me to speak.   I could only attempt to have the best intention behind all.

Perhaps, I’ve gotten a little closer to myself this past year?  It’s a constant trek up the mountain, but with each step we have the choice to get a little closer.