Filmmaking & Hikes

Taking last weeks post a step further and applying the practice of meditation to filmmaking…

I’m entering preproduction on my feature film Lez Bomb. The idea of making a movie seems monumental. Everything it entails becomes a monstrous to-do list that’s both overwhelming and off-putting. When we approach it as such, it looks like an impossible journey.

But let’s compare it to hiking. I have the tendency to look up a mountain and feel instantaneously overwhelmed. Yes, there’s a sense of adventure. But once that initial awe wears thin, I start thinking about the energy it requires, questioning if it’s the ideal temperature, I start question everything, I think about all the other things in life I need to attend to instead of this hike such as work, phone calls, etc. The story’s endless and it’s off running. Until – I bring the mind back to take the first step upwards. Then another step upwards with space to admire the surrounding scenery. With each step and each breathe, the journey continues and before I know it, I’m at the top of the mountain.

When we create space between our thoughts through a practice like meditation, we’re able able to identify when our minds gone off running. We’re empowered with the ability and control to pull it back to the present, where’s there’s a single task in front of us. All we need to do is conquer that single task.

Embarking on this movie once seemed impossible. Now I see it broken into tasks. I’ll attempt to tackle each task as they come, and deal with the ups and downs as they present themselves instead of mentally fabricating all the what-ifs around scenarios that aren’t reality. Step back and take cues from your surroundings. Like a hike, the path presents itself once we return to the present, look at what’s in front of us, and see the directions pointing us where we’re trying to go. What once seemed a monstrous feat becomes a slow climb upwards, step by step, and before you know it you’re at the foot of a waterfall.

Blog link in bio. Slowing things down with @aineod8 on yesterday's #hikingadventures

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Playlist I’m currently writing to: Writing Jams

Book I’m currently reading: The Hidden Messages in Water

Food I’m currently experimenting with: Vegan Sushi

 

Meditation & Clouds

A sequence of text messages from friends about “being present” got me thinking how that term’s thrown around often without tangible tools to help one arrive at a state in which you’re actually present and not talking about it.

If we take the “woo woo” out of the conversation and look at the practicality in our everyday lives, meditation’s an invaluable tool. Meditation provides the opportunity to clearly see the thoughts as they pass before the forefront of the mind, creating space to choose which thoughts are entertained. The majority of actions we take are determined by habits, not spontaneity or intellect. By creating space between thoughts, and choosing which thoughts to engage, we’re given time to carefully observe the thought and decide the most informed way to act.

When meditation has come up in conversation, I’ve often seen family, friends, acquaintances have tried it, it didn’t work, so they stopped. Instruction to “clear one’s head” isn’t necessarily useful. And approaching the mat with the expectation to experience something is set up to fail. The best instruction I was given was “go to the mat, practice every day and stop asking so many questions.” While questions are good, they’re often an excuse and procrastination masking itself as a question.

Go to the mat, sit in silence, watch thoughts as they pass. When you’ve found yourself latched to a thought and off on a tangent, return to the breath without judgement. “But what should happen?” Listen, if I told you the directions from my home to the Statue of Liberty – does that mean you wouldn’t go? Or would you go, probably notice different things, and have your own experience? We all arrive places a different route, with experiences shaded by the set of lens through which we perceive.

Playlist I’m currently writing to: Writing Jams.

Coffee drink I’m currently obsessed with: Mushroom Coffee.

Book I’m currently reading: The Obstacle is the Way.

Giving Thanks

 

Blog Pic

‘Tis the season! Being just a few weeks before Christmas and after Thanksgiving, I can’t help but fixate on giving thanks.  The word play is killing me – my ego that is.

After training for and running the Philadelphia half marathon I came to three realizations: 1. I could finish 2. I want to run a full marathon 3. When left to run for long periods of time I was struck by how often my mental state went negative when the running got difficult.

Life is just a series of hills and plateaus.  Without the challenges we’d grow complacent. Challenges give us the opportunity to transform – the only way to overcome a challenge is to go through it and within that journey is a personal transformation.

I was deeply inspired by the amount of people out in the streets cheering – mostly for the folk running the full marathon, but hey I’ll take it.  With our names pinned to our shirts, I got a few personal cheers.  And let me tell you – those cheers from perfect strangers meant the world.  I never knew just how powerful encouragement was until that run.  With that giving, I was eternally gratefully, and the running became about something outside myself.

When my mind went into bitching mode with an approaching hill, I caught myself and remembered gratitude – for beautiful weather, for enthusiastic cheers, and for my fiancé who pushed me into this new long-distance-running-territory.  My exhaustion and nagging mind fell to the wayside as I let my mental activity quite, and the presence of the moment inspire each stride with gratitude.

With every journey there are challenges, but gratitude’s the sip of inspiration that can help us get to the view on the other side.

Holier than thou, thee, and you.

In a society that thrives on competition and being better than the best, it’s sometimes difficult to see we’re all on equal ground.

Within each of us lives that enlightened spark and bliss.  It’s just more obviously visible in some.  There are many who have lost touch with it, many who doubt its existence, and a ton who just couldn’t give a sh*t about it and are too busy with life to seek it.  But it dwells within all of us.  Like a treasure chest, we have to dig, dig, and dig until we hit upon it, and then even more effort and work is required.

The person to your left and right, each have that spark.  You may be closer to the treasure chest, FOR NOW, but they could easily find another path, a short cut, some secret underground tunnel that leads them directly there!  You never know.  We all seek happiness and have the potential to become enlightened beings.

The externals are mirrors.  They are ways of learning.  Relationships we are deeply invested in (family, friends, lovers, business) serve as learning tools.  The people we’ve chosen to invest ourselves in serve us by mirroring an aspect of ourselves.

Sometimes the most tumultuous relationships are the ones we learn most from.  With that said, there’s no room for judgment.  Everyone’s heading towards the same destination, and there are many roads that lead there.

Take a look at your relationships, especially the tumultuous ones and the people you’ve judged here and there.  Instead of thinking you’re holier than them, for whatever reason pops into head, thank them for acting as a guru in some way.  Perhaps the truth of the relationship will blossom and reveal itself in the future.

Lack of Reality

 

Reality is a funny thing.  It’s purely subjective.  My “favorite” song tends to change within minutes, and my ipod mix tends to sound like someone with a personality disorder.  People have used the word “eclectic” to kindly describe my mixes.  But these are songs I LOVE.

 

We all have our favorite songs.  These are songs that resonate with the individual.  If we all loved the same song, it being the BEST SONG would become a universal truth vs. the subjective truth for the individual.  It’s all a matter of how the song hits you, the unique individual.

 

Same goes for situations.

 

Flashback to last week’s dinner with my best friends: 9 girls from NJ…it’s going to get loud.

 

A man approached our table.  We all warmly greeted him with a smile, thinking he was coming to congratulate us on our beautiful friendship.  So wrong.

 

“In this restaurant we talk.  We don’t need to scream.”

 

So much for congratulating us on our long lasting, every growing friendship.  Yes, we were loud.  But the nine of us were scattered down a long table and wanted to catch up.   The reality of the situation was very different for us than it was to surrounding tables.

 

Obnoxious? Perhaps. But we walked away with smiles on our faces, and the disgruntled man left pissed.  He was disgruntled before, during, and after the meal.  We just helped facilitate his chosen state.

 

The view of a situation depends on the viewer’s perspective.  If we approach life with that in mind, the reality of the world is of our own choosing.  Yes, there are struggles, highs and lows, etc.  But with optimistic eyes, those hurdles can be looked at as opportunities and blessings brought upon us to force growth.

 

If life were a breeze, we’d all be tan, bored, and no more spiritually evolved than the day we were born.

 

Take a look at “reality” and see it’s no more fact than everything else constantly changing.  If you don’t like what you see, choose a new lighthouse to view from.

Patience with the Ick

I had lunch with my former roommate, Ryan.  I haven’t seen him as much as I’d like since he’s gone off to HBS.  “A lot of BS indeed,” I told him.

We were duped into an Apple Pie sunday.  We explicitly asked the waitress which dessert was better, “The Apple Pie or Birthday Cake?” Answer: “The apple pie is over the top.”  We jumped on that.  When she set down an apple pie sunday with no sign of any existing crust, we both exchanged sarcastic glares.  “You’d think she’d have explained the apple pie isn’t a pie at all, but a sunday, when we asked.”

I shared the dairy filled sunday with Ryan.  I have a thing with sharing dairy.  Ryan knows this.  “This is a big moment for us,” he joked.  It’s hard to tell where the dairy ends and the saliva begins once that spoon goes back into the bowl.  A mix of deliciousness and an attempt to overlook the “ick.”

Sort of feels like producing.  Follow me…

I’ve recently dove into my first producing endeavor with “Parker & Maggie.”  While the shooting days have been filled with laughter and I couldn’t be more excited for the final product, the stress leading up to the days and managing everyone’s schedules, budget, etc. is a total biatch.  It’s sometimes difficult to see the deliciousness of the process when swimming around all the icky factors.

It’s been a practice in patience and perseverance, very much like the rest of life.  Number one thing I’ve learned: It will happen, just not EXACTLY when I want it to happen.  A little patience goes a long way, topped with an openness to adapt.

I suppose all the enlightened beings out there felt the same on their journey towards Enlightenment.  It’ll happen, when it happens.  Until then…patience, perseverance, and remember to indulge in the deliciousness even when dealing with the ick.  The final result makes it all worth the wait, and the ick turns out not being so icky after all.