Tag Archives: risk taking

Which Is More Stressful? Doing What You Love Or Not Doing What You Love?

29 Oct

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I’m a firm believer that following one’s dreams is not only life giving- it’s a necessity. When we don’t pursue our hearts we run the risk of growing old, resentful and disconnected from our life force.

That said, chasing a passion extracts a cost.

There is never balance. It’s a constant juggling act.

I remember a loved one suggesting that I consider art a hobby and not aim for it as a career. Creating for the sake of creating should be reward enough.

At some point toying with passion isn’t enough though. At some point, if you are serious about yourself and what you have to offer, you become serious about it all. It’s not about whether or not you actually hit the big time; it’s about whether or not you actually swing at the bat.

The funny thing about pursuing a goal is that it requires a degree of relaxation too. Trying too hard stunts creativity and spontaneity, so you have to loosen the grip a little. But if you want to be in the game, you have to practice, sweat, get dirty and deal with stress and exhaustion. That’s just the way it goes. No one who is remotely successful achieved anything by wistfully dreaming about it. Creativity requires risk and action. It will throw you off kilter and plunge you into the unknown. Forget security. It will require last minute decisions, schedule changes, and sacrifices. It will mean that not all will understand or even support you. In fact, most won’t even care. And that’s okay. Because the only person who needs to care is you.

Because which is more stressful? Doing what you love or not doing what you love?

Most new mothers would never go back to the hospital and say, “Thank you. I’m returning my child. I miss eight hours sleep.” While they might dream about eight hours sleep and miss aspects of their previous lifestyles, most wouldn’t trade their children in for simplicity and convenience. That wouldn’t enter most new mothers’ minds beyond mere fantasy.

So which is more stressful? Doing what you love or not doing what you love? And who and what do you make sacrifices for?

Transitioning

16 Feb

We are all in a state of transition, sometimes incrementally, sometimes more dramatically. What does it mean to move on? Whether in this life time or on into the next?

My Grandmother, perhaps the person I have loved most in my life, made her transition yesterday on Valentine’s Day. I found that very fitting. She has always been fiercely in my heart but now will be there more than ever on February 14th.

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Again, we are all in transition, eventually.

This Valentine’s Day I also said goodbye to Minou and a host of people who mean the world to me. I said goodbye to the town where I was raised and the home I’ve lived in for the last ten years.

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When we leave behind people, places and things we deeply cherish, it’s discombobalating. But in order for new experiences to emerge, we sometimes have to transition. To transition is to evolve perhaps in a spherical sense – we move forward, yet we integrate the previous and include it in our present domain.

Transitioning entails dying to what is known so that we can fully embrace new life.

 

 

Acting on the Edge

27 Dec

In acting class there is an exercise sometimes referred to as a “frozen reading.” Two actors are given a scene they haven’t set eyes on before and are instructed NOT to read it. Instead, they are told to look at each other. Only when they are locked onto each other’s eyes, can the person with the first line look down at the script. He or she is to read the line quickly, grab the words, and then deliver them while looking right back at the partner.

It’s super weird doing the exercise because it makes me feel like I don’t know what the hell I’m doing. I don’t know what is going to happen and that is precisely the point. It’s about being in the moment and about being relational. If I’m looking at my partner, I’m not thinking about how I’m going to deliver my next line. Instead I start to act on the edge, responding to what is unfolding in real time: my partner smiles, my partner twitches, we burst into a nervous giggle, a certain strange sexual chemistry unfolds, even though the script doesn’t indicate romance…. OR, the script’s words are about love, yet my partner stares coldly at me, and I in turn, deliver my line clipped….

The exercise is about letting go of preconceived notions and allowing the moment to unfold as it is meant to go down. For control freaks like me, this is the perfect metaphor for life. Can I let go and see what happens? Can I be open to new experiences? Can I love? Can I perform without a safety net? Can I invite possibility in?

Great art emerges from risking taking and generosity. It unfolds from NOT playing it safe but from acting on the edge.

Sure we all want a little security and consistency in life but what happens when those desires threaten to make us prematurely old? What happens when we abandon our childhood dreams and our heart’s desires? Children don’t think about how they might get hurt on the playground. Instead, they just dive in and play.

As we enter 2015, I want to act a little more on the edge. How about you?

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On the Road

25 Jan

When writing, we take a journey, thinking we’re going to wind up one place only to discover that we take an entirely different route. I have found that the best writing occurs when we allow ourselves to deviate from the plan. While it’s good to have a general feel for the direction we’re headed, we don’t have to have it all figured out. It’s better to risk getting lost and to find alternative routes.

Thus, I find it fascinating that poet Richard Blanco’s parents wanted him to become an engineer because his writing would “never take him anywhere.” How ironic then that his writing took him to the White House where yesterday he read his inaugural poem.

I’ve never been one for GPS.

Here’s to being on the road…and not always knowing where we’re going or how we’ll get there. But how exhilarating to roll down the windows, breathe in the fresh air, and enjoy the ride.