Scrooge

As I’m sure my fellow bloggers know, coming to the page can sometimes be hard, so here goes! At first, when I thought about Scrooge I went for the obvious: bitter about Christmas and life. To be honest, sometimes I can feel a tiny bit Scrooge-y during the holidays…just a tiny bit. Holidays can be hard. I also decided I felt like adding levity to my post because laughing is so much fun. Trust me, this one’s pretty unique. I can’t imagine anyone out there has this exact story, ha ha!

I was 18 years old. I was a senior in high school, and I was performing at a local dinner theatre in “Scrooge: the Musical” 4 nights per week. To me, it was so cool that I was doing professional dinner theatre while still being in high school! It was a lot of fun, and I’ll never for get it; especially one particular performance. During one of the party scenes of a Christmas in the past I was wearing a hoop skirt and there was a lot of spinning in the choreography. There were 3 of us girls on stage, all in hoop skirts. Now, I’m not sure how many of you are in theatre, but for those who are not, hoop skirt costumes don’t always have as many layers to wear underneath as regular hoop skirt outfits. I can now hear the collective groan as you, the reader, see where this is going, ha ha. Well, the spinning portion of the dance came around…and boy was there a lot of spinning…and I was in heels, too. Of course, when you’re spinning in that kind of dress it tends to take on a velocity of its own, so you better hold onto your partner tight! I did just that, but somehow…our hands came undone…and the world went wildly out of control. I saw the horrified faces of the other performers as I spiraled out of control, off the stage, skidded across the floor, and landed underneath the table at a poor older woman’s feet. Here’s the cherry on top of a fall that doesn’t seem like it could be more embarrassing: since I was flat on the floor my hoop skirt…well, you get the idea. There was more to be seen than I intended, that’s for sure. Without giving it a second thought I remembered that the show must go on, so I popped up, brushed myself off, ran onto the stage, and resumed…spinning with my dance partner, all the while smiling more so than I’ve ever smiled in my life so my embarrassment would be hidden. For the record, no one got hurt and now it makes for a fun party story! I’m glad, though, that this was not recorded.

I hope I have made you chuckle, as that was entirely my sole intention in telling you this story!ย Scrooge

Kindness is Contagious

I’ve been inspired lately to write about something that I feel can sometimes be taken for granted. I don’t really know what to say about it so far, so here goes. This is my brain drain about kindness. Kindness is contagious.

Have you ever noticed on the train how someone asking for money often goes ignored? Then, out of the many, one person donates…and it’s a ripple effect. People notice what is happening. Something in them encourages them to give what little they can. Automatically the heaviness on the train lightens just a little bit. A few smiles and kind words are exchanged. We are all reminded of the fact that others, too, are sometimes kind, in a world where it feels that not many are. For a brief second someones day has been made better, and that candle has been re-kindled inside them. The hearts of all involved have been pushed open just a little bit and warmth has been let in. It’s contagious; the best kind of contagious.

I’m a lover of inspirational quotes, so naturally I was looking up the perfect quote to share in this piece about kindness. There were way too many perfect quotes for me to share in one article; too much good material available, ironically! One of my favorite ideas, though, is that kindness begets kindness by using the law of attraction. In a nutshell, what you feel and put out into the world becomes your reality. I have personally known this to be true in my own life.  So, by being truly kind to the core you are not only improving the lives of others, but you are attracting kindness to you. Even when kindness is not reciprocated you can rest easy knowing that the universe has your back, and feel good about what you have done. So, you may ask, what inspired me to write about this? 

I won’t go too far into detail about the reasons behind why I was feeling stressed and low, but I will tell you about the person who showed unconditional kindness. It all happened in a coffee shop, of all places, in midtown NYC. It was a colder day and I went to Princi (which is fabulous, by the way) for a hot chocolate. Upon reaching the register, the barista, Nefertari, could tell that I could use a little boost and she treated me with such care and kindness that it truly warmed my heart. She went above and beyond with amazing customer service, a true to the core smile, and I could tell that her heart is very kind. She didn’t ask questions, she just knew and exuded such a warm, understanding energy that I couldn’t help but smile. I left that day feeling a little bit lighter. I was on the receiving end of a truly kind act, and I haven’t forgotten that. Everyone should have a Nefertari in their lives. I told her I would be writing a shout-out to her on my blog, and I hope to help pay it forward. If you have the chance, stop by, grab a hot chocolate, and enjoy the awesome atmosphere and warmth (literally, too) of Princi on an otherwise cold day. It could be exactly what you needed. Thank you, again, Nefertari, for reminding me that there are truly kind people out there. I hope it comes back to you tenfold!

 

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Can A Place Hold A Memory?

I found myself thinking this while sitting in the audience tonight at rehearsal. I love sitting in the empty theatre of whatever show I’m performing in and coming to a state of comfortable balance in the space; just observing, centering myself. It’s a space of exploration for me. I’m curious about the great actors who may have graced that stage before me. How cool is it that I get to be in the same space? I’m not sure if it’s just me projecting my assumptions or not, but either way it’s special to me.

I learned about centering myself in the space in a class in college called The Speaking Voice In Performance. For the first few classes we laid on the ground, eyes closed, focusing on being in the moment and the breath. It may not seem like work, but you’d be surprised at how much emotional work and mental effort goes into quieting your brain and allowing yourself to let go of your anxieties or thoughts. After a while, with the noise of the outside world drifting away outside the black box doors, for an hour each day my mind quieted long enough to hear things I’d never noticed before. The hissing of the pipes, the creaking of a door, the sounds of the building becoming increasingly louder, as I myself grew increasingly quieter. The energy of the room became more apparent than it had before. This room had its own life, its own energy, its own vitality. I became just a passerby in the big scheme of things. I liked that. It reminded me that my anxieties are not the totality of the truth of my existence. There were many bigger elements outside of myself. For some, realizing that they are a tiny particle in a much bigger universe is frightening and makes them feel unimportant. For me, it started to relax me and showed me that the universe is vast and wonderful if you stop long enough to listen to it. It is not frightening nor depressing to me, my small nature in the big scheme of things; it is a relief. I am only in control of what I do. I can’t control the world outside of me, much as I can try, but at the end of the day I am not responsible for the actions of everyone and everything else in my vicinity. It’s a huge weight lifted. This vast world and the infinite space beyond all have their own marvels that I get to be privy to, should I choose to wonder at them. So, can this microcosm of a space in the big expanse hold a memory?

It may be far-fetched to jump from the contents of the last paragraph back to the original question, but in my brain it makes quite a bit of sense, so I’ll try to span the bridge as best I can for you, dear reader. Quieting my brain enough to be rooted in the space I’m in with no outside distractions, no cars honking, no passersby cursing, no trains humming, and getting in tune with the energy of the space leads me to question how one effects the environments they’ve spent time in, energetically. Who came before me in this space? On this stage? In this audience? In this dressing room? What great work has been performed exactly where my two feet are planted? How many wonderful memories have been created in this theatre? How much laughter? What did that sound like? How many memorable performances? How many standing ovations? Am I standing on the same ground, the exact spot, of the great performers who have inspired so many? There are so many that I admire. Have they left their energetic mark on these walls? As I experience the room, thinking these things, my imagination goes deeper and deeper, until I can almost see and hear each of these instances happening. Am I walking in the literal steps of the greats who’ve gone before me? I like to think so, and hopefully someone will come along and wonder the same about me…

RDP Wednesday: Wanderlust

Wanderlust isn’t a word that I hear very often. In fact, I think I only started hearing it used after the movie “Wanderlust” with Alan Alda, Jennifer Aniston, and Paul Rudd (to name a few) came out in 2012. It’s a weird-sounding word to me. Wander and lust combined together. It makes sense, though. I guess you could say that I have wanderlust. I want to travel the world, with the exception of a few places. I want to eat new foods, observe new rituals/ceremonies, experience new beaches at sunset, swim in different oceans, and just generally be able to say “I’ve been there. I saw that in person.” Who wouldn’t want to say that? Who wouldn’t want to know what it feels like to be elsewhere instead of just the safe confines of home? Home is wonderful (in some cases), but I feel like it’s when you leave that you can truly appreciate what being home feels like. If you never leave home, I don’t think that you can ever entirely know exactly who you could be if you experienced things outside of your scope and culture in life. I think traveling the world would be life-changing. My bank account would agree. My bank account wouldn’t be changing for the better, though. My point of view might. Getting to know people in other countries takes away the level of fear that some experience while thinking about how big the world is out there. It becomes smaller and easier to handle when you know you’ve got friends, when you know that you can connect with those around you in other countries. Sometimes I think that in the US we forget that many countries live surrounded by neighboring countries, so they’re more knowledgeable on a firsthand basis about the people and cultures around them. Here in the US we are relatively isolated (other than to the South and North) from the other countries. Being able to communicate with others in their native tongue is something that I’ve found exciting and fun. You see, I’ve taken Spanish since I was a little kid, and I will continue to practice it every day. I love getting to speak to people that I would otherwise not be able to communicate with. There’s something so special about making a connection with people who come from an entirely different place than I do and sharing a laugh with them simply because language is not as much of a barrier. It’s liberating! I truly hope that someday more students in the US are required to take years of foreign language lessons. We could then be able to communicate more effectively and kindly with all parts of the world because so much of culture is represented by how the people of that culture formulate their communication with each other. If we can understand how to communicate, we can better understand how to work together. ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Composing Beauty

Ingenuity, I love that word! It has such a nice ring to it, and such a deep meaning (at least to me). I view ingenuity as an essential skill in creativity, and creativity/ingenuity an essential skill of surviving in this new, digital age. I find it fascinating that one can create a job or a career for themselves where there was nothing before. In today’s day and age the opportunities for money making are endless. One of my inspirations for this exact thing is Lin-Manuel Miranda, internationally famous composer of Hamilton,ย In The Heights, and a member of Freestyle Love Supreme (who, I’m sure, has many more credits, both famous and not, to his name).

I’m absolutely enthralled by his tenacity, skill, perseverance, and his genius. He literally put himself on the map in the entertainment world. He created something brilliant using just his brains, skills, experience, and a pencil and paper. Not only that, but it’s given other artists the opportunity to be a part of the beautiful, caring community that he’s created throughout this process. He’s even changing the world and peoples’ lives by using his works to support causes that he cares deeply about. That, to me, is ingenuity. It”s creativity. I could write many, MANY more paragraphs about my admiration for him as an artist and person, but I’ll get to that in a later post because I could write a novel on it with my ability to go off on tangents and daydream (although that is not a bad thing).

With technology we have the tools to create new things every day. Heck, this article is new right now. It is not a masterpiece of an article, but it’s being created now, in the moment, and shared. Nowadays we have all kinds of opportunities for financial success, we just have to use our ingenuity to build on them. For example, in the past we couldn’t write something and automatically earn moneyย  within a moments’ notice. Now we can. We couldn’t write a book and have it published on amazon without going through the proper book publishers outside of the company and then selling it…but now we can self-publish books and sell them online. We couldn’t automatically create a video of ourselves performing and broadcast it to the world, thereby gaining fame. Now, we have stars who got their start doing just that on youtube. The opportunities are endless. When you think about it, once you open up your mind and heart to creativity so many ideas can come pouring in, and you just have to work tirelessly at them, with all your passion and heart, to create something that you truly stand by. You don’t even have to create for others. Create for yourself, and your passion, care, tenacity, strength, and genius will shine through and you will find your own success by using inginuity.

RDP Saturday: Air

I love summer. I love the ocean. I love island life. I love the breeziness of the ocean air. I love the relaxing feeling that comes over people during a perfect summer evening; where the sun is setting, you’re enjoying dinner by the beach, sharing a laugh with family and friends, etc. It’s tranquil. It’s fulfilling. The light summer breeze gently blowing, it’s perfect. The air is perfect. It’s got a small scent of the ocean and the sand wafting through the community. You can smell freedom in the air. You can smell salt, fish, and hear seagulls squawking, their voices carried on the light, summer air. I love the summer air. It’s peaceful. I can’t wait for this air; for the beach. I can’t wait to feel the relaxation that only a small, quiet, relaxing beach community can bring. Those summer nights are perfect. My ode to this experience was the first thing that popped into my mind when I thought of air!

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RDP Saturday: Light

I love the idea of writing about light. Light has so many different meanings, whether sensory, visual, etc., but the very first thing that came to mind when I read the prompt was about my favorite holiday: Chanukah. Much like this past weekends celebration of Diwali, Chanukah is another festival of lights. To me, it represents both visual light and the lightness I believe burns bright within. To me, it is a very special time of the year. Just as the Maccabees celebrated the re-dedication of the Temple and the small amount of oil available lasted, miraculously, for 8 days, so we are reminded during our darkest season to hold light in our hearts in our hardest times. To me, it is important to remember that this lightness does not have to be felt just for those 8 days, but that I can carry a brightly shining candle within me whenever I choose to. It can be tough, but I feel that the message of Chanukah is that miracles can always happen. It is up to me to find the good in times where it doesn’t seem to be. RDP Saturday: Light