Admitting My Fears

I’d be lying right now if I didn’t admit I was scared.

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I am scared everyday.  I am scared by the lack of leadership and coherence.  I am scared by the lack of unity.  I am scared that there’s no vaccine and not enough tests for this virus.  I am scared of the halt to most filming.  I am scared for loved ones who live in states where social distancing isn’t respected.  I am scared when I sneeze or cough, or feel just plain icky.

Once again, it’s time to inventory what I can and cannot control.

  1.  I can lead by example by social distancing and wearing masks and gloves.  I can post about what I am doing to stop the spread of this virus.  I can set a standard for my family to follow and take proper precautions.
  2. I can choose not to add to the din of social media right now.  I can choose not to attack my neighbors, friends and strangers online or offline.  I can choose to add helpful, factual information from credible sources and actionable tips and advice.  An ignorant person has to choose not to remain ignorant. I can instruct the ignorant, but its not my place to scold or punish those who are willfully and dangerously ignorant.
  3. I am not a scientist.  I choose to trust the science and the scientists, doctors and nurses.  When I need expert advice, I take it.
  4. Many of our industries will bounce back after a time.  It may not be on my preferred timeline, and there will be changes, but the film industry is resilient.  I am resilient and I will adapt as best I can to the changes that will inevitably take place.
  5. I cannot choose the actions or inaction of the federal, states or local governments.  I can share what I know to be true with my family.  They can make their choices in accordance with their local laws.  I may not like what other states are or aren’t doing, but I believe in democracy and I believe people DO get the government they DESERVE.  If you believe you deserve better, vote and act differently.
  6. I can keep my risk of contracting COVID-19 down by maintaining social distance, washing my hands, disinfecting surfaces and keeping myself minimally stressed.  A sneeze is not a death sentence.

When we keep facing our fears, we can be more honest with ourselves.  There is no “okay” right now.  It’s okay to be “not okay”.  However, we can’t just let our fears spin around in our monkey minds.  We need to get curious about them, like we would a new, intriguing species or a first date.

I’ve found Therapeer to be a free, valuable resource to discuss your COVID-19 fears with supportive peers.

Join me on Therapeer to receive peer emotional support, and to support others in need. Follow this link to get your own private support room for free https://www.therapeer.app/invite/xupg3

I am still scared, but I am supported in moving through and beyond my fears.

Self Care for Artists During Self-Isolation

Sometimes, after years of being in the arts professions, we have to get reacquainted with ourselves.  We are not the actor, the dancer, the comic, et al, we were a year ago, much less five or ten years ago.  Hopefully, we’ve grown.  Sometimes, we have growing pains.  With arts imperiled by corona virus, artists of all disciplines can lean into this cultural and social pause and do some self-care.

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Starting last year, I went through a period where I felt I needed to take stock.  One of the things my self inventory yielded up was the need to forgive and release past experiences on stage and screen.  #MeToo and #TimesUp have us sharing our stories, and I also came to the conclusion I needed to re-write, by releasing and forgiving, my narrative of myself, particularly in my profession.  I also needed release negative, defeating beliefs about “how things are”.  This is what I came up with for myself:

“I release myself from all past and present pain in acting.  I release myself and surrender times of overwork, over-stress, humiliation, body image issues, hurtful and invalidating comments and all other pain and trauma I’ve experienced during my life as an actor.

I embrace a vibrant, creative life that I love, where I do the acting work I’ve always wanted, needed and been called to do.  I am a happy and healthy artist who’s thriving.  I love communicating verbally and non-verbally to the best and peak of my abilities.

I release all negative, harmful, self-defeating patterns and thoughts around acting.  I am a sane, healthy, happy, holy person who makes art.  I am loving, kind and compassionate and that radiates throughout all my performances.  I honor my unique needs and challenges and honor the needs, challenges and contributions of others.  I am here, now, today, firmly rooted in the reality of my chosen profession.”

Artists, if you’re not already, utilize this valuable time.  Practice, create, innovate and experiment!  So often we’re too rushed and rely on technique and well-honed skills and don’t have the precious silence that cocoons inspiration.  There are gifts in this experience.  It’s also a great time, to challenge your beliefs and get present to yourself, the artist today.

Questions to ask yourself:

  1.  What assumptions do I make about myself based on my age, gender, etc., in my field?
  2. Do I have a teacher, coach,mentor in the arts, that I have hurtful memories with?  What did they say or do?  What toxic lesson did I learn from that?  How do I re-frame this to empower me, now, today?
  3. What are my culture’s harmful beliefs about my arts profession?  Stereotypes?
  4. What are my family’s harmful beliefs or invalidating comments about my arts profession?
  5. What do I feel I lack as an artist?  Discipline?  Depth?  Re-frame that belief.
  6. What do I truly desire for myself in my arts career?

Identify patterns.  Re-frame your beliefs to empower you.  Claim the power in the present–whatever the present may bring.

May you be happy, safe and well, now and always.

 

The Old Injury. The New Perspective.

When I was in 3rd grade, I broke my left arm.  I fell off a swing backwards on the playground and snapped my left ulna.  The bone was set properly.  It seemed to heal quickly.

yoga bitmojiFlash forward a few decades, it’s giving me trouble when I do Wheel Pose during yoga.  I’ve had an on-again, off-again relationship with yoga.  I’ve settled into a  steady yin and restorative regimen.  I’ve always loved Wheel Pose.  I made an ambitious goal.  I was going to practice Wheel Pose every day.

It seems the old injury has come back.  I can’t get up into wheel everyday.  My left ulna needs a rest for a day and then it will cooperate the next day.  It took me a week or two to figure out why this was.  And then I remembered my elementary school swing incident.

Healing is an ongoing process.  Long after the cast comes off, long after you’ve done talk therapy, you may still have flare ups from an old wound, whether the wound is physical or emotional.  It’s okay to rest.  It’s okay to say, “not today”.  It doesn’t make you less than.

It seems my left forearm needs my patience.  If I force myself into the position, it hurts.  How often have we forced something that ended up hurting ourselves or another?  Probably more often than we’d like to admit.  We’re often told to toughen up, feel the pain, push past it or get on with it.  That’s not how we heal.  We heal by listening.  We heal by respecting our boundaries and limits.  Right now, I have three limbs that are consistently ready to do the Wheel.  My back appreciates the stretch too.  My left arm needs a little coaxing and permission to back off when its too much.

Compassion for yourself is trusting your process–even if its decades-long.

 

 

 

 

 

Silence Is Not Always Golden

I’ve been talking more lately, and not because I’ve been feeling chatty.   I’ve realized how much I’ve kept under wraps and repressed to keep the peace and to just get along.  Frankly, it’s one of the worst things I’ve ever done to myself.  Silencing myself has been a huge burden.  I’ve been grieving.  I’ve been healing.  I’ve been shouldering some difficult situations that don’t have easy answers.

copy of copy of copy of copy of copy of copy of copy of body positivityThere’s a lot of good too, but I’ve realized in the past week that not all silence is golden.  Not all silence heals.  Sometimes, you have tell someone what you feel.  We all want to “look our best” at the expense of feeling our best and fessing up that there may be some issues.

One of the biggest things on my mind and my heart this week is remembering Fortuna.  She was diagnosed this time last year of renal lymphoma and in April, almost four months to the day later, she died.  Her death and issues around her death had me in a deep state of shock and denial.  I told few people she had actually passed.  I loved her so much and I couldn’t speak about her without being immobilized by grief, pain and anger.  fortuna and kristinCancer is a cruel disease and some of the circumstances I dealt with peripherally didn’t help either. I’ve been having a fundraiser for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society to help raise funds for research to help both people and pets who are suffering from this rare disease.  I still tear up each time I post about the fundraiser.  It’s okay.  Better a thousand tears than a mess of hardened, bottled up feelings.

Tuna was naturally very expressive.  She always would tell you what she wanted.  You didn’t have to guess.  She was not coy.  She didn’t hide what she thought.  So much of what is hurtful and damaging grows in silence.  We don’t acknowledge something someone said or did hurt and then it just becomes part of us somehow.  My silence magnified my pain.  I was getting harder and harsher as time went by because I was really angry.  I was angry at cancer for killing her and turned some of that anger on myself.

I am doing better now.  The tears are still there, but the what-ifs or what-could-I-have-done-betters are now mostly gone.  I got to a point of surrender–and if you know me, surrender is not an easy thing.  I’m used to winning..  I expect myself to overcome.  The word “surrender” is not a go-to for me, but it has been lately.  I’ve surrendered some of my pain, some of my angst by talking about it.  Talking about her life and her suffering has helped heal some of mine.

If you have something that’s burdening you, please get some help.  “Suffering in silence” may seem noble, but it can hurt too.  It can make your pain greater.  We all have problems to face and once you get in the habit of airing them out, the problems become more manageable.

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Silence is not always golden, but the love in our hearts is.  Speaking from the heart, even when it’s inconvenient, will always serve you better than pushing your feelings down.  I miss Tuna every day.  I miss her honest green eyes.  She not only saw people; she saw through them.  I miss they way she chewed my hair.  I missed her demanding things of me as a matter of course. Today and every day, ask you if your attitude of “put up and shut up” is really serving you, or if you may be hiding something you really need to heal.  Today, I am still healing from my loss of Tuna.

Thank you for taking the time to read this and thank you for caring.

 

 

Deep Coughs, Deep Breaths, Deep Insights

From 12/22 to New Year’s Eve, I caught that nasty bug.  After gallons of cough syrup, mountains of tissue and a lot of rest, I’ve shook most of the nastiness off.  It’s not the first time I’ve been sick during the holidays.  However, this sickness was definitely teaching me something.

I had been keeping a breakneck pace up almost from October forward.  I had crisscrossed the country and also dealt with some decidedly un-fun situations too.  Right before I caught the bug, I felt like I was fighting nearly everything and everyone.  I was hyper-vigilant and agitated.  I feel inadequacy often, and I felt like I was steamrolling into 2019 without a plan and I was a nervous wreck in early December.  Definitely wasn’t feeling “all is calm; all is bright”.

On 12/22, there was a hot tickle in my throat that I knew wasn’t strep.  It’s funny when your throat chakra is out of whack, because it seems like everyone and everything suddenly wants to hear from you.  And there I sat, on my couch, with a a hot lump at the bottom of my throat.

As the illness progressed, it dropped into my chest and I coughed so hard at times that my sides hurt.   Of course the gunk came out in many Pantone shades of yellow to near chartreuse.  I’d tire easily and it was hard to breathe.

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I’d put a steamy towel on my face with eucalyptus oil and just inhale.  It helped me get up in the morning.  It would calm my cough down enough to sleep too.  I had to take time just to breathe, with full focus, with full intent.  It’s so important that we breathe, especially if in our stressful moments, especially if our tendency is to hold our breath.  Breath can heal and I was reminded of that as I journeyed with this bug.

Stillness heals too.  How often to we allow ourselves the healing that’s available in stillness–not expecting anything of ourselves, not moving, not doing?  I need more stillness in my life.  The world didn’t end because I wasn’t managing it.

 

I slept with intention.  I’ve been learning to set an intention before I sleep, especially to heal what needs healing, resolve that which needs resolving.  I had very thick, metaphoric dreams when I was ill.  I paid attention to them.  The struggle in my dream world reflected the tensions I felt when supposedly wide awake.

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I finally shook off most of this illness on NYE.  I still have a shallow cough, but I’m mostly back to being Kristin, but Kristin with a new perspective–one that is paying attention to her breath and giving herself enough stillness.

My wish for you is that you have a wonderful, healthy, happy 2019.

Thank you for journeying with me!