Today I forced myself to get out for a brief walk in the park to give my body some much-needed exercise. The scenery did not disappoint! I’ve been writing a fair amount during my quarantining due to Covid-19 in NYC and social distancing, but today I needed a break. I hope the picture I took at my local park makes you happy!
Can’t is a word that I often said.
Can’t is a word that was stuck in my head.
Can’t was a cop-out,
A way to get by,
While letting life,
Pass me right by.
But what if I could,
Asks the engine inside.
What if I found,
I could no longer hide?
Then what would happen?
Would I look up at the sky?
Would I grab the opportunities
That were passing me by?
Would I fly like an eagle,
Or soar like a bird?
Or would I be afraid
They would think I’m absurd?
But if I’m like a bird
I belong in the sky.
Not stuck on the ground,
So eager to fly.
My wings are not broken,
They’re simply afraid,
But now I must try
For what I was made.
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…
Today’s word…sibling…what to say about sibling? I didn’t expect that this word would be something I’d be writing about. I guess I would start by saying that family comes in many forms. Although sibling means that you are connected by blood as a brother or a sister (and I have 4 that I love dearly), I think that friends are also family that you’ve chosen. My best friend, for example, is more than a best friend to me.I call her my sister from another mister, and her daughter calls me her aunt. We talk for hours on end, probably even more so than I talk with my actual family. She and I are so tight-knit, I couldn’t ask for a better best friend. She’s been there for me through all of my ups and downs, my happiest moments, and the darkest times. She will be a part of my entire life. I love her so much! So yes, by definition siblings are biologically related to you, but in my opinion family is what you make of it. She is part of my family even though I only met her when I was 20. Here’s to hoping that each any every one of you gets to have a best friend and confidant as fabulous as mine (raises glass and cheers’s the daylights out of yours, too)!
I’ve been a dog lover since the age of eight years old, and I certainly have my own thoughts on which kinds of dogs I prefer…in the end I love them all, but I do prefer the larger breeds. Now…if I had it my way I’d have my own sanctuary or something of the kind that would benefit all dogs that are having trouble being adopted or who have been abandoned. Who knows, this may happen in the future. It saddens me to no end to think of any animal being put down unnecessarily and alone in the world. They all deserve to be loved in return, and they are the best at loving. Now, to my next point: how can we give our dogs the best life possible? Here are some of my tips as a dog walker in NYC…have fun reading!
- Make sure that your apartment or home (especially if you live in a cramped city like NYC) is a suitable space for a pet. A lot of NYC spaces are very small and truly only suit one being comfortably. Although it may work great for you, that doesn’t mean it will be ideal for your pet. Bigger dogs need room to exercise and romp around during the day when you’re not there. Think about it: your dog will be staying indoors at your home for the entirety of the time you’re working, out with friends, etc. That is probably very monotonous and could lead to depression in dogs. When they’re depressed they often become unruly and develop bad behaviors because they’re not happy, just like humans! So…make sure that you have a big enough space depending on the size of the dog you’re interested in. This leads me to my second point.
- Socialization. Although NYC is not a very large dog friendly kind of place, there are ways of providing a great life for your lovebug if you’ve got the funds to do it. All of my family pets have had the opportunities to live in places in the foothills, free to roam on our land, and plenty of open space to play with and explore. Our Rhodesian Ridgeback had a best friend who lived in the same neighborhood! The two of them would play and romp together for hours on end. They were inseparable! Two big doggos wrestled and played all day and came in pooped in the evening several days per week, at least. My mother worked long hours daily, so she would drop our dog off at his friends’ house or vice versa so that he would get exercise and be social. He was such a happy dog because the owners made it a great time for the two puppers! Now, what NYC’ers can do is this: investigate doggy daycare ideas. There are so many of them in the city and they are in very high demand. I recommend finding one that will take the dogs to the park sometimes, and that will supervise them responsibly throughout the whole time. This playtime and interaction can help to mitigate the difficulty of living in the city with a dog, as they will feel loved while you are out making a living and cuddling at home with them in the evening! Another service you can look into is dog walking. Wag and Rover are two of the most popular dog walking services, they’re great, and signing up is very easy. You can even search for dog walkers on the site for Rover and choose one based on their price and profile! I highly recommend this option as well. Just be sure that you meet your dog walker first to make sure that this is the right person for you and your dog! Plus…depending on the walker your dog may get more exercise and love than with another walker, so meet and greets are very important. Although, given a choice between the two, I’d look into doggy daycare at least several days per week first.
- Make sure you look into the different breeds before deciding. Some dogs’ typical habits make apartment life more difficult or less than other breeds. Their energy levels can vary as well. Some bark more than others, too. Our Rhodesian hardly ever barked!
- On a more personal note, I want to see every doggy and kitty get adopted out there, so the first place that I, personally, would go would be the shelters. No matter the breed, you might just find your best friend there. Many shelter dogs are the biggest lovers I’ve ever walked/met and I’ve walked a good amount of dogs. With the right training and care they can become the best behaved loveys. Yes, I also call them all my loveys. 🙂 It’s almost like they know they’ve been rescued…or is it them that are rescuing us?
As always, please be careful when selecting your pet. There are always possible dangers, so please be careful with pets and kids, etc. Also…have fun!