Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Dum Dums for Dumb Weather!

"We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature - trees, flowers, grass- grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence... We need silence to be able to touch souls. "
- Mother Teresa

the thing is Amy and I always walked to walk together -- for over 4 years now. and then this year, it was different -- Amy felt overburdened at home -- super busy with work and family. And I too felt overwhelmed -- I was planning my first movie and working hard for big big things. I wanted to be shooting my movie this fall -- and this was to be my reason why I could not walk.

Well, my little beasts, the movie has not yet happened -- key word -- YET. but -- I am on my way to developing it. And so, I was here still. In LA. Ready to do something -- but I didn't know what exactly what to do -- I mean, we couldn't walk because it was too late. And yet, I felt -- and Amy felt down in San Diego -- that we had to do something. Something to support the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Walkers -- during their 60 mile 3 day walk.

So, I sent out an email -- she said she'd been feeling the same way -- that we should indeed cheer them on. I was to take a train down. And we'd buy some poster board and make signs. We'd buy some candy maybe and cheer them on!

I decided to take the train and head on down to SD... The ride was what made me think of the quote I chose -- I was quiet. It was lovelier than driving a car. It was a time to read and look out the window. To write in my journal and to watch the world go by.

So often in this city because we have to drive to most places, we tune out the world around us -- we are tubed up in our cars on a slamming freeway, we turn on music or the radio or we call a friend and chat.

I do these things. Usually.

But on the train, the Surfliner, I was quiet. And I read and read and read. And I wrote and wrote and wrote.


And so, when I got down to SD, and Amy picked me up in Solana Beach and then ducked into a CVS while I sat in her car with her little son waiting, and then popped back in again with a bag of Dum Dum's, I was ready to be loud. To speak up -- and to cheer on the walkers who were braving the first stormy San Diego walk since the Susan G. Komen 3 Day began down here. It was raining and windy and in the 50's.

And these walkers -- after we'd dropped off her son and found the walkers on the route -- they walked with plastic around their sneakers and socks. They walked with colorful ponchos. They walked with baseball cops and music still playing out of their fanny packs. They walked with wet hair. And wet socks and wet sneakers. Wet pants and shirts.

They were like the Who's down in Whoville who sang without their Christmas presents.

Nothing stopped them. Their spirit. Their walk. For they were walking for something bigger than them. Bigger than the weather. Bigger than a route.

They were walking for love. They were walking for the faces on their shirts and in their hearts. They were walking for the people not yet born. They were walking for the women alongside them. They were walking for themselves.

For all of us.

And they walked and walked.

So, I thought of a slogan -- I mean, all we had was  bag of dumb dumbs -- we' weren't dressed in pink and we didn't have music, we didn't have signs -- the rain would've obliterated them -- all we were was two girls in jeans and sneaks and sweatshirts with hoods and a bag of dum dums.

So... I thought of this --

"Dum Dums for Dumb Weather!"

And so, Amy and I began to say it in unison as the walkers walked by. We surprised them and ourselves with our perfectly syncopated chant.

They smiled and laughed and some of them even took Dum Dums as we passed them out. They gave us high fives and continued along their way -- with an extra spring in their step.

It felt better than most anything in life. Honestly.

It felt almost as good as walking. And that is one of my favorite things in life -- doing this walk with Amy once a year.

We slept like little babes in swaddling clothes that night... Knowing that our Dum Dums and our cheering had brought smiles and laughs.

And then, the next morning when we awakened -- I think we were the only two souls in the whole city who were bummed to see the sun -- What would we do with our winning slogan?

We sort of prayed for  rain.


And then, when we finally found a place to position  ourselves for the second cheering part of Day 3 of the walk, and our Day 3 -- Sunday,  we placed ourselves at the bottom of the great big hill in the last stretch of the walk.

And we adjusted.

We decided to say, Dum Dums for the Dumb Hill!

And boy, we couldn't keep them in our hands -- they were flying out of them like hotcakes!

3 different groups of women asked us for photo ops -- and of course, we obliged :)

They called us The Dum Dum Girls!

They remembered us, and high fived us, they repeated our chant! We were all like one big happy wet and cold and cheering walking family!!!

They'd laugh as they walked away, when they finally heard -- above the noise of the walking -- what we'd said.

They thanked us for coming out. They. thanked. us.

And I remembered how great it felt to be doing something for someone else.

To support people believe in them -- make them laugh.

One man reminded us both of why we were there. He must've been in his 60's or early 70's even. Really healthy looking and had a great pace, seemed untouched, undaunted as he began his trek up the hill.

And Amy said to him, "Wow, you seem so relaxed. You make the hill look easy."

To which he replied, "It's easier than chemo."

No Dum Dum cheer for a minute or two. Took our breath away.

And so, my Little Beasts/Blades... I write you tonight out of gratitude. I write to you as someone who had been humbled by the women and men who walked by us and who thanked us for cheering them on.

I write as someone who wants to feed people downtown on Thanksgiving morning.

Someone who is grateful to be able to walk. To have friends like you. A dog like Gatsby. My health. Dreams that take my own breath away.

Someone who has a mom up there, in the sky, who was smiling down upon me last weekend. Knowing... that I was cheering for her.

Love... Always.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Our gift.

"Your garbage is your gift. If you learn to harness it."

And the next quote is also mine... :) 
The beauty of growing up is learning to trust your gut, following your own star and having utter faith in your golden path.

my little blades, i have promised to blog tonight, but alas, i see that since my roommate is sleeping and gatsby needs a peepee and i am off to bed soon, i will have to keep this short :(

i will indeed write more tomorrow, but please know my little beasts that i have a big surprise coming up -- including a christmas party on sunday, december 12th and i have an event with an amaaaazing theatre company that i am co-hosting and i also am looking for a writer to co-write my movie with me.

and so, there are many glittering things cooking!

i love you all and i promise to write more tomorrow... but please know this much -- that your gift is your garbage, it is the same thing -- depending on how your harness it.

for example, my passion for life & ability to connect with people is my gift. but when i do no harness it, it can distract me and keep me unfocused and my ego will get in the way -- keeping me from success.

when i harness it, i am focused and full of bright energy that brings friends and boyfriends and love and money and health to me.

think of this, my little beasts. what is your gift? and what is your garbage? and think of how one brings you success and one brings you fear/doubt/chaos.

how can you harness it? to make it all positive and all a gift?

5 things today:
meeting with the great johnny clark of Vs. Theatre Company to discuss working together
repeating exercise with keith
repeating exercise with johnny
reaching out to writers about my movie
WME audition

And I have a great opportunity next week on Wednesday, wish me luck... :)
And also -- I have something coming up in NYC...
And I am disciplining myself more, paying off debt, working hard, paying rent early, taking care of my skin and hair and time to buy some new clothes for auditions and meetings!!!

Please do write me little beasts, and tell me what your gift/garbage is. And how you're harnessing it.

And to all of you, near and far, sleep with the angels...

Love.... Always.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Your one and precious life.

"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?"
- Mary Oliver.

Welp, my little blades... I am absolutely discovering this for myself! It's funny because I stopped blogging because I felt like I'd dried up -- my inspiration had deserted me -- or perhaps I had deserted it. Either way, I stopped.

And then, I was at my acting workshop and my dear friend Dasha asked me what happened to my blog. She said, "You have only like two months to go, come on." And then, when I said that I'd been Les Mis and thought it was better if I walked away for awhile, she responded brilliantly. She said, "But that's when we most want to read your column. To be inspired."

And then, I thought to myself, I need to write again. I need to share where I have been and where I am going. I need to give -- of myself and back to you all, my little blades, who stuck with me, by my side, even when I aborted mission for a few months.

Sometimes in life, and I am a big proponent of this, it is enlivening to walk away from something. Gain a fresh perspective. See things more clearly. Meet someone new. Discover a new song. Change our minds. Or maybe -- maybe even we need to listen to old songs, meet up with an old friends, see things the way we used to see them and yet differently at the exact same time.

The thing is, we are always growing. Even when we think -- ugh. This is so not where I am supposed to be. Maybe it is. Maybe we are all part of this divine make up of the universe and we are spinning, turning just right. Just right if -- and this is a great big if -- if we have what I have discovered to be the courage that it takes to be honest. With ourselves. About ourselves. If we embrace who we are.

And at The Women's Conference in Long Beach a few weeks ago, I learned -- or rather re-learned about that. I felt anew. As the hours stretched on and the more people I listened to, the more the voices all collectively became this harmonious pitch, like the sound of a hummingbird's wings as it clings nearby a bird of paradise. 

I could hear them. The wings. My wings. And I could feel like this warm feeling falling over me and I remembered me. The me who attended Barnard. The me who went to Peddie. The me who dreampt of great big things as I swinged (swung?) on the swingset in my backyard. The me who hid on the side of my house, thinking of being an actress, shewing my gum and the peanuts I'd also incomprehensibly popped into my mouth.

I'd stare into the bathroom mirror, the one downstairs, and do a commercial, act it out, sell a product, but I'd always make one up that was kind of dramatic. And boy, did the tears flow easily.

I'd sing Somewhere Over The Rainbow on the swing in the backyard. And when my momtold me that the lion had died in "real life" -I cried then too. I cried for the lion. And for his courage. And for the actor -- because why did he have to die?

I remember these things.

I remembered me.

At the conference, as I listened to the women -- and the few great men who also spoke -- I remembered me. And what makes me great. Made me great. Will make me even greater.

The truth. Who I am. The scrappy kid from Jersey. The big brown-eyed dreamer with the out-sized dreams. The girl who made her childhood best friend, Gretchen, whom I'd somehow nicknamed Pooch, (she called me Bear) rehearse with me for our "movie play" about two women who were secretaries who rose up and defeated their boss. Our soundtrack was Private Eeyes. And I'd make us both rehearse assiduously. 

We also danced for the local retirement home -- in Danskin leotards a la Solid Gold. I'm sure our strange and energized performance either brought them closer to death or life, depending on their current physical state.

That's me, my little blades. That's me.
Or at least, this was the beginning of me.
And now... I have picked up the stick again and started to Bridge to Terabithia my way through life all over again.
Honesty about my money. Honesty about my school. My culture. My desire for love. My gratitude for all of the love swarming my life. My need to be close to my father. My missing of my sister and great need to see her again.

I am buying a new car. Selling my old one. My dear friend is living with me. Jes! I have a roommate again -- it's been years and years. And I LOVE it.

I am growing. We are growing. But the thing is, I am taking me -- along the journey.
This is my one wild and precious life. And I am beginning to know -- just what I plan to do... :):):)


Monday, November 8, 2010

To all of my friends...

I love you all. Thank you for always listening to me, and helping me out when I need you... These are times of greatness and times of great challenge. And every day, I have facebook messages and texts and emails and phone calls... And every single word of love makes the quality of my life exceptional. In the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make. Love, love, love each and every one of you. Always!!! All of my little blades near and far, you all make me shine.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Life is like a prism.

"If you are waiting for a miracle, change your perception."
- Oprah Winfrey.
So, lately, my little blades, I have been going through all of these changes... Feeling ready to move, feeling excited about being with my new agents -- and yet, wanting more, craving more, neeeeeeding more. But -- it's amazing. Because I have been seeking and finding. I have been meditating every day -- welp, starting today. I have been meditating on and off, but this morning, I vouched for every day. And it feels great. And in my meditating, I have been feeling clearer. Things are becoming clearer. 
Like when you squirt the windshield wiper fluid on your window and all of a sudden, you can see -- I mean, really see the city. Or what's in front of you. Hehe. But this is how I feel... I am also walking Gatsby 3 miles daily and this has also been clearing my head.
I am in action. Remembering to -- probably the greatest clarity I have had lately is in how I spend my time. I have had to hunker down and not buy my chai every morning. I've been thinking about New York. And not in some sort of wishy washy way, but in the way that I am going to go in a month and take a great meeting that could lead to even greater things...
I am. Clearing up debt.
I am. exercising.
I am. Steaming my voice.
Taking care of my skin.
Taking care of what I eat.
I feel like a warrior.
I feel like I am in the final stretch of the year and I am going to work hard as opposed to half-assing it. I have my eyes on the prize and where my perception has been changing is in my discipline. How I spend my money. How I spend my time. 
Exercise and eating well and meditating, emailing and talking to my agents, telling them my goals, getting them in on my goal -- so that we are all a team, doing it together. Meeting with them, hugging them, reaching out and creating like a force field so that we can accomplish this together.
I am looking at my life at the moment as if I were walking for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Walk. I am telling everyone my goal. I am asking for help, emailing and calling, texting, anything to reach my goal -- what became our goal. And this is also what I did with Little Bird -- and what I shall do with Little Beast. What I've done with bringing friends to see Yellow. It's this collective thing -- where you tell people, include them, make them a part of something bigger than all of ourselves, we become something greater. 
And honestly, this is how I have been most fulfilled in my life thus far. When I believe in something greater than myself -- when I include my friends and family -- everyone I meet pretty much and they come along and we are all shining.
This is where I am.
And so, if any of you have ideas for me on how to be debt-free by Christmas, let me know. I am committed. And excited.
I send you all LOVE and all of the light you guys give me by reading my blog, I give it all back to you. And more.
p.s. Thank you to the Indian man who gave me $5 for a toy for Gatsby after he pet him, saying that Gatsby was the first dog he had pet in over ten years. He had been afraid before then. I bought him a new toy and he has already chewed half of it up. This is a good sign! So... thank you for paying it forward.
Yay for all of our dreams! For the quietude in which they grow, for sharing them little by little so that our friends can dream for us too, and for knowing that as we lay down to sleep our dreams are already here. Inside of us. Happening. We just need to change our perception :)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Coffe Bean & Frugal Leaf.

"Excellence is the best deterrent to racism or sexism."
Oprah Winfrey

 So tonight, my little blades, I am going to be brief! Because alas -- I am just getting in the swing of blogging again -- and it feels good :) But the truth is, I am dipping my feet back in and swirling the water around and feeling the coolness in between my toes... Taking my time...

And so, tonight is about one thing I am doing these days to reach my goal. In fact, it is about two things:

1. I am thinking about saving money -- as paying off my debt is my goal for this Christmas. And so, I have been thinking about my beloved Coffee Bean chai latte. And what I realized today is that I have never even known the exact ingredients in this drink that I have been drinking religiously. So, today when Rose brought it over and I saw that sugar was the first ingredient and I think of the fact that I have sugar added and that I drink it almost every day -- and -- that it costs $4/day, I thought -- Kieren, you need to cut down on your drink and make it a treat to drink it. Maybe 2x a week. And then, I thought and maybe I will mix it up and have a Starbucks chai -- the enemy chai :( because theirs is all natural, it's Tazo. And I adore my Coffee Bean and my friends who work there, but in my efforts to be frugal and to save this holiday season and pay off all debt, I am watching my pennies.

I am also going to make sandwiches the night before and put some veggies chips and an apple in a bag when I am on the road -- I'll buy the ingredients at Trader Joe's and farmer's markets. I am watching my dollars.

I am also watching what I put into my body -- I am walking with Gatsby 3 miles a day at least 5 days a week. I am also meditating every other day -- and starting tomorrow morning, every day -- tomorrow which is today! I am reading again -- I abandoned it for like a year at least -- and me, an English major!

I am returning to being quiet. To bargaining for better prices. To watching what I spend and how. To looking at receipts to get a better glimpse at how I prioritize my life.

And also -- I am steaming my voice in the shower, doing vocal warm-ups before auditions, sleeping with my humidifier on, and drinking tons of water. For my on-camera auditions, I am scrubbing my face, getting facials, conditioning my hair, using natural make-up and experimenting with putting on make-up -- doing it more beautifully, I am buying, treating myself to clothes here and there that I can wear at auditions, and for theatrical -- I am being honest. This is who I am. I am ready and talented and unique. I am someone special. I've got something rare to share, a huge gift and I am present and have nothing to lose.

And so, I am a warrior at the moment.

And I have had conversations with Debbie downers, people who say it can't be done -- we all have things "against us" in "this industry" in "this town" and what I have found to be true is what Oprah said -- excellence is the way to beat off sexism, ageism, racism, any ism that exists.

If you are extraordinary, you will change the world.

And I get this.

And I am.

One moment at a time.

And the truth is, we all can. We all hold the world in our hands like little balls of clay.

And if you think, honestly Kieren -- aren't you being just a little idealistic? I mean, come on -- times are tough, this nation is struggling, people are losing jobs, they're not hiring new actors, blah, blah...

And by "blah, blah," I do not in any way mean to trivialize the genuine and heartbreaking suffering of many people across this nation and further stretches of the world, rather what I mean is -- if you think you can't do it, think of Helen Keller, Stevie Wonder, Oprah Winfrey, Susan Boyle, Martin Luther King, Jr, Gandhi, Barack Obama, Sandra Day O'Connor...

And sooo many more.

They ALL defied the odds.


They worked hard, they disciplined themselves, they organized their time, they were passionate and expressive and they never ever gave up.

And so shall we all do these things, my little blades. Let us structure our days:
1. write in your journal/computer.agenda the night before 5 career things you are doing the next day.
2. exercise daily. Keeps you strong and focused. Healthy.
3. Do one thing that scares you s day -- scares you about your career fears -- not sleeping in a dark alley :)
4. Eat well. Take care of your body.
5. Prepare, prepare, prepare. Part of this is mediation & visualizing your success -- get specific -- picture that audition and how confident and relaxed you are. Know your lines perfectly, be prepared in a meeting for every kind of question, and know what you are going to wear the night before.

And then -- when the moment comes, breathe and let it all. You have done the work and it all there, inside of you. All you need to be now is you.

I am learning that I need to curb my socializing through Christmas, I need to save pennies, sharpen my work ethic, write and edit my movie, and pay off debt. And oh, yeah -- I'd love to fall in love :)

And speaking of love, I am sending each and every one of you -- Love... Always! 

Friday, November 5, 2010

Taking Responsibility Sets You Free!

"None of you are victims. You are here because you created this."
- Suze Orman.

Honestly my little blades, I am STOKED to be back!!! I have taken a reprieve and the time has come for me to return to you all. And thus, here I am. I am wizened and in an honest, warrior-like place. I am on a mission until the end of this year. And I shall take you all along with me...

But the truth is, I am sleeeeeeepy.... And thus, I leave you with this quote, which I heard from the lips of Suze Orman at The Women's Conference last week in Long Beach. 

When I walked in the door, she was saying these exact words and they were absolutely what I needed to hear!

I am empowered and super motivated and honest about where I am. In a place of hard work and of lots of love. I am strong and resilient and ready for the world.

I am putting one foot in front of the other, I do not feel entitled, I feel realistic -- meaning, as I see it -- this is my year! And I shall continue where I left off -- to create it as I dream it. And to being others along with me.

And so, on that note, I send you all love, my little blades...

May you all sleep with the angels tonight. And let this lovely little owl watch over you and guard you as you sleep.

There is -- clearly! -- more to come.

Love... Always!