Expectations

I’m pregnant. For most this is not news, but I haven’t put it anywhere yet on my acting website. So here it is. I’M PREGNANT!6months

While this is extremely exciting and awesome news, it’s been difficult for me to grapple with everything that’s changing. Not just in my acting career, but especially in my acting career. (That makes perfect sense to me so just go with it.) But also life as I know it has completely changed – physically, mentally and emotionally. I get out of breath climbing the subway stairs. I’m hungry all the time. I get irritated at my husband for the smallest of offenses. I am completely freaking out about a new human joining our family.

Freaking out because my normally scheduled routine is about to change forever. I’m a virgo so routine is paramount to my well being. For example, I post to my blog every two weeks. The last couple of months, I have been completely inconsistent and have only posted once or twice total. This bothers me because I am not giving you, my readers, the story of my journey – which is what I set out to do. Cheesy? Maybe. But it’s a non-negotiable to me. I feel like I let you – and me – down. And it doesn’t feel good.

For now and until after the baby is born, there may be weeks I don’t post. I have to be okay with that. Relax my expectations that I must stay on such a rigid timeline. I know I’ll get back on the horse eventually because that’s who I am. But right now all bets are off. This is truly an example of striving for excellence not perfection. Perfection has no leeway. Perfection is boring. There’s no humanity in perfection. Excellence means doing the best you can do. And that’s what I stand for. I will be the best blog writer, actor, mom I can be. I just have to let go of some of the controlling virgo tendencies…

Love vs. Lack

Be thankful for what you have, you’ll end up having more.
If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.
 

– Oprah Winfrey

When you think of your life, do you come from a place of lack or a place of love? I try to be grateful and come from a place of love as often as I can. Key word: try. I set a daily intention to help me do this. I try to remind myself of this intention throughout the day, especially when I catch myself walking down the office hall with a zombified expression.

I remember one instance clearly when I first began practicing this. I was on the train during rush hour and there was a woman with 2 kids that sat down across from me. “Ugh,” I thought to myself. “There is nothing worse than being on a crowded train with kids running around, crying and screaming.” (This is pre-pregnancy mind you so my mindset was vastly different.) I’m not proud of myself here, but I used to shoot these women daggers that said “How dare you disturb my train ride with your kids snotting all over the place? Can’t you shut them up? Have you no control, woman?”

This time though, before I had that thought, I distinctly remember coming from a place of love as I looked at her, and my entire perception had shifted. I didn’t feel hatred. I felt compassion. It’s hard what she’s doing and I acknowledged that.

This can be true in acting too. It’s way to easy to focus on the negative things that aren’t happening in your career. But what about the great things in your life that are happening? Come on, they’re there. You may just not recognize them. If you take a moment to focus on what you’re grateful for, what you already have, you may be surprised with more bookings, an awesome new agent or a book deal. Okay, maybe I’m talking about what I want here, but I try to always practice what I preach!

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Dealing with Disappointment

I recently received some bad news about a project I poured my heart and soul into for six months. The film would not be produced after all due to factors outside of my control. Obviously, this is a huge disappointment for me.

I realized that I have two choices here. I could:

  1. Wallow in despair and use this as an excuse that the industry sucks, is not fair, that I’ll never “make it”, I’m a terrible actor or anySunny other myriad of excuses that keep me in a negative frame of mind. OR
  2. Choose to focus on the good things that came out of this project such as transitioning into lead roles in full length films, learning a new skill, standing up for my rights as an actor on set, putting into practice what I’ve learned in the classroom and telling stories from scene to scene to create a cohesive project.

Which one feels better to you? Because I’ll tell you, choosing to focus on the positive feels waaaaaaaaayyyyy better to me. Putting my energy into the things that lift me up will always win in my book. So that’s what I will do. No, it won’t be easy because my ego cruelly and easily slips into the negative more readily than the positive. When I notice this happening, I will stop what I’m doing and consciously turn it around in my head.

Hopefully, when I look back on this experience I will remember what I learned and how I have applied that to my acting career moving forward.

Magic

Lately I’ve been going through what I can only call a creative transformation. It started with listening to the audio book of Elizabeth’s Gilbert’s ‘Big Magic’. And listening to it again. And again.

Seriously there is so much good stuff in there that I will probably listen to it 20 more times. 12 hour flight to Hawaii? Yep. Commuting home from work? Definitely. When I get ready in the morning? On repeat.

It’s hard to sum up this book with just one way it has helped me because it is gold. It has blasted through many of my hang ups about being a creative person. Or the lack of me being a creative person. To name a few: asking for permission to make something, the tortured artist or that all art has to be meaningful.FullSizeRender

As an actor and writer who has a full time office job, it is so easy to slip into the limiting belief that I’m not really an artist. Because if I am, what am I doing in this cubicle? I can’t support myself with my art? I’m useless. I’m no good. I must be a bad actor. I could choose this way of thinking, but it doesn’t serve me. All it does is make me miserable. I definitely do not want to be miserable.

This book taught me that having a day job might be the best thing for my creativity. Huh? Yeah. I can create freely on my own without putting extra strain on myself that whatever I’m creating must be a masterpiece because if it’s not, I’m not going to have electricity next month. What a relief!

And I have found myself creating. I’m writing short scripts to make videos on my iPhone. I’m shooting the first one with my husband at the end of the month. And that is so incredibly fulfilling whether it wins the top prize at the Tribeca Film Festival or not.

 

Extra! Extra! Read all about it!

I love my neighborhood and am happy to tell you all of my favorite places in Astoria whether you ask me to or not. That’s why I was super thrilled when the Queens Gazette, a local newspaper in my borough, asked me to participate in an interview for their Local Express section about being a local performer living in Queens. It was a no brainer. Although, I have to say my absolute favorite part of this article is my placement across from the presidential candidates!

Click on the photo below to read the entire article.

QueensGazette

Loooooooooove

Valentine’s Day is almost upon us, and although I tend to categorize Valentine’s Day as a made up Hallmark holiday that I try not to give into the hype of, it actually has a much richer history dating back to the Roman Empire. While that’s all lovely, what’s more on my mind as I’m thinking about this day is love. Love. Such a simple word. Such a loaded word. But at the heart of it, love is what Valentine’s Day is all about. It’s what life is about.

0cd64a0978a05534f9592cb5bfd59abdThere are whole heaps of ways you can invite love in your world. Romantic love. Platonic love. Pet love. Family love. Love of lime green. Love for fried chicken. Self love.

What? Self love? Am I some kind of pervert? Nope. Self love can be defined as love for one’s own well-being. Doesn’t that sound important to your, er, well-being? Don’t you want that kind of love in your life? I’m hoping you answer a giant, loud YES!

What’s keeping you from wrapping your arms tightly around yourself and declaring ‘I love you’? There could be any number of things that make you shy away from love. It could be something in your past like that high school boyfriend who broke your heart and ruined your belief in love forever. Or your cat Sparky who got hit by a car when you were seven. Or you know if you just lose a few pounds then you’ll like yourself. Well, that’s just not gonna cut it. You need to get real with yourself now. Dig down deep and discover where that resistance lies. And open your heart up to love yourself now. Because that’s the only way you’re going to rocket to the stars and be the person you are meant to be.

I know it’s easier to say than do. I’m still on my own journey. I make progress. I hit a set back. That’s what life is. But what I know for sure is that when I make it a daily practice of inviting and giving love, my world is a happier place. And that’s what I’m really striving for.

 

What are you striving for?

 

Dreamin’ of Bali

I’ve been dealing with a major case of the winter blues the last couple of weeks. It started when I was walking out of my apartment in my puffy coat, arms loaded with bags of all sorts: my purse, my lunch, the trash, the laundry. As I opened the door, my purse slid off my shoulder and static electricity electrocuted hair into my face.

“That’s it. I’m done. I’m moving to Bali.”ayana-resort-and-spa

That was my immediate reaction. And I’m still thinking it too. 🙂

But in the meantime, back in reality, I need to invite harmony back into my life. I’ve tried all my usual tricks: meditation, intentions, breathing, exercise but nothing seems to be working. What gives?

I know this blah feeling will run it’s course, as all things do. I will be back in tune with the Universe soon. The trick is to not get frustrated or anxious with myself in the meantime. That’s tough.

A friend of mine posted on Facebook today about a TED Talk he enjoyed given by Scott Dinsmore about how to find work you love. I’m a big TED Talk fan, but had never heard of this one. I checked it out and thought it was really cool. Because I definitely want to find work I love. Heck, I have found that in acting, and in health and fitness coaching. This talk was the encouragement I needed to help my day be a little brighter. Click on the embedded link if you want to find out the secret too.

Maura Won, But Have You Watched Dominic?

Maura Tierney won a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress in a Television Show for The Affair on Sunday. She joked in her acceptance speech that her co-star Dominic West needs his own category called “best actor in a role who makes every woman hate him”. Cuz, yeah, he’s a dick on the show. But have you watched him act?

I’m going to go out on a very unpopular, shaky limb here because most people watch a show for entertainment value. ep2I understand that. So the most obvious reaction to his character is that he is a piece of shit. They don’t break a scene down into tiny technicalities or watch each behavioral response for truthfulness. As a student of acting, I cannot help but look for deeper meaning in each tilt of the head or raise of the eyebrow. Thanks, Andrew.

Dominic West is a master at differentiating relationships. It thrills me to watch him yell at his ex wife (Maura Tierney) one minute and do a complete 180 when his kid walks in the room and interrupts them the next. Yes, thrills. He’s that good. Because you don’t talk to your mom the same way you talk to your lover, do you? Right, so you don’t talk to your kids the way you talk to your ex-wife. But to be able to convey this is extremely difficult. It takes skill.

I know this because I’ve spent many frustrating hours and have shed many tears trying to learn how to do this myself. I won’t bother you with fancy acting terminology, but believe me, when you master this, everyone will fall in love with you. Unless you play an adulterer who leaves his wife of 25 years for a much younger woman…as Dominic West does in The Affair.