Saturday, February 17, 2018

Oh hey! 128!

My last blog has been viewed by 128 folks. Or 128 times? I'm not sure. I don't bother pretending I know enough about technology. I am so ignorant. But I know a thing or two about a thing or two. I guess. And I like the number 128.
Who are you internet voyeurs? Nobody comments 'cept my baby sister because I make her. Drop me a line if you dare.
After yet another tragedy, I was temporarily stalled at the keyboard. What can I say that hasn't been bouncing around my echo chamber? What could my heart venture to express that could make one bit of difference?
8 days ago I was baptized by fire.
Not literally.
Although clearly that means nothing anymore in our post-truth world. The upside down.
Close to literally, tho. I actually suffered 1st degree burns from a cup of scalding hot tea that slipped from my fingers and spilled all over my chest. I am fine. It was painful and lonely. Jake's been in KY, and I had an early night at rehearsal. I'd just settled in with my night-time tea and a good book and was ecstatic at the prospect of getting a good 8-10 hr nap in, and it was a chilly night and was aiming to rest it on my bosom over my thick bathrobe and just hit the steam and warm my hands on the mug as I have done thousands (if not, definitely hundreds...literally hundreds) of times.
In retrospect, I was too excited.
I'm pretty excitable. I think people like that about me. I don't know. Do people really like me? I mean, 128 people like me enough to at least click on my blog link to make me believe they've read my blog. That's certainly enough for any one small human to need.
THEN WHY AM I SO NEEDY??? Why do I want more than I need? Why do any of us? Where does insecurity come from?
I was about to write "human nature?" when Freeman Lovejoy (my feline familiar) started to scratch at the door. He didn't want to go outside so I deduced he could see the bottom of his bowl. He's a fat cat, but not seriously overweight...I mean he likes to exercise the 4 hours/day he's not snoozing. But he is hopelessly insecure. He won't finish a bowl of food before he'll just drive you crazy with scratching and meowing and his weaving thru your legs threatening to trip you.
I've been his human for 7 years and he's never known true hunger. But his instincts say "Wait!!! This might be all you get!" And turn him into a total asshole. A worry-wort. A greedy fat cat. And I can't say I don't get it. We're all insecure assholes unnecessarily worried and greedy. It seems nature cannot be severed from the human, try as we might.
I mean, the knowledge Eve tricked Adam into gaining made them less ignorant, but they lost the bliss of the garden. Greed is what happens when our collective instincts are skewed by the great forgetting. Maybe this is what the early Semites were exploring with their mythology? They imply that what humans had before we became self conscious was gone after that original sin. Lost. Forgotten. Taken away. Forbidden.
I think if people don't like me it's because I can come of as judgmental. I mean, I can recognize that in my past I have spent a lot of time judging. I think I also just struggle with the difference between simply making a choice and judging. I sit down to stream some tv, and I choose the latest HBO series (which happened to have 3! actresses with whom I have directly's so close I can taste it) because I judge it to be the best thing happenin right now in that realm and my time is so limited. I read Jill Soloway's Tiny Women in Shiny Pants because I judged it to be a solid recommendation from a genius on how to start my career as an actress and writer. Sheila Callaghan graciously has many more scopes to light my path (which I plan to gorge on post thesis project).
But my baptism from the hot tea has me itchy. And that itch is manifesting itself as this blog of wise meanderings. The wisdom is not my own. I'm just open and finding it coming in waves. Perhaps it's the wave in my mind coming from Ursula K. Le Guin's collection of talks and essays?
Maybe it's Brené Brown's On Being episode this week? She brilliantly addresses the cultural amnesia that's temporarily lifted in moments of great joy or excitement with strangers (like hugging the fan next to you at a sporting event). Host with the most Krista Tippet quotes a line from Brown's latest book that advises "Hold hands. With strangers."
Did I mention I'm in a play called the strangers? I have a whole monologue about this exact topic. It's beautiful, and I'm having a swell time making Christopher Oscar Peña's character come alive. Brown eloquently noted a beautiful sentiment that is the heart of Peña's production, "He or she who chooses comfort--over courage and facilitating real conversations in towns and cities and synagogues and areas who need it; when you choose your own comfort over trying to bring people together, and you're a leader, either a civic leader or a faith leader, your days of relevance are numbered."
I pray for this post-post-truth reawakening with every fiber of my being.
Come hell or high water. Or hot water, as it were.
Before we knew there were judgements to make about one another...before we "knew" of this blaringly relative and subjective "good and evil," we recognized the truth underneath it all. That great capacity for love. It is the true North (while there is still one). It is our gift from Divinity. The apple just fooled us into thinking it was about something else because of our basic capacity for hunger. For more always. And subsequently the capacity for a lack mentality. Insatiable and constant it steers us toward greed more often than we'd like. Or like to admit.
But there. Is. Enough. If we go back to the Judeo-Christian mythology (and why not, it is Lent), Jesus completed the cycle or circle of humanity's damnedness to remind us of what we collectively forgot in the garden. That love is the only key we need to unlock redemption.
My sweet, ever-lovin décolletage may be marred for another good week or more, and I'm hoping it doesn't leave a scar. Though I'm no stranger to 'em. (I guess it could help the haggard/prisoner/trashy/victim trope a little better for my future cameos on OITNB and other hit tv shows.) As I sat down at my alter to meditate this evening, a sacred heart my husband drew at it's center reminded me of a time when I felt most insecure and incomplete.
When I first started to meditate with some regularity (desperate for a partner to love), I kept having recurring visions of this sacred heart. I had seen it depicted in many a picture of Jesus and the Mother Mary growing up Catholic, and I thought it was just a memory stamped in my brain that came up in spiritual stirring. From a teacher in the school of metaphysics, I was given a pdf of a spiritual Taraka Yoga practice entitled "The Keys to Your Heart"and I taught and performed the ritual during the return of Venus (remember when she came between us and the sun back in 2012?) on retreat in Upstate NY. Printed on the pdf was this picture of the sacred heart.
When I found this drawing of my husband's, I got goosebumps. It was his "tag" during a brief exploration with street art. These coincidences bring me joy and literally (not literally) set my heart on fire. If I do have a scar from this foible, it will remind me of the baptism or revelation I've come upon in this dark dark time. That somewhere between my heart and throat sits a fire burning in me...and I will use it to LOVE.
8 days ago I was baptized by fire.
2 days ago, a young man forgot how to love.
1 day at a time, we heal. It's itchy and it may scar forever, but we heal.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Solar Warrior

A couple of weeks ago, I got a call from the Sierra Club thanking me and giving me the address where I was expected to go to speak at a hearing (or perhaps before at a meeting?) concerning the action being taken against TVA for continuing to dump coal ash into the waters here in Tennessee.
I feel like I am engaged in battles on many fronts these days.
But speaking anywhere in a formal setting on an issue of which I am only peripherally aware (tho clearly against) was not a battle for which I remembered signing up recently. I mean, I'll sign all the petitions guys. I'll make the calls when I can (which I'm pretty sure is how this misled voicemail-leaving Sierra Club volunteer/employee got my number and made the mistake). But I am in grad school, remember?
For a moment it was very much like the actor's nightmare I've had so many times. You're on stage or in the wings about to go on, and you don't know what production it is...
Had I volunteered and forgotten?? I mean, I am vehemently against dumping coal ash into our rivers. But no. I felt pretty confident this kind soul had reached me in error, tryin to reach some other more accomplished activist. One not overwhelmed by and often paralyzed by fear.
One not in his/her/their last year of grad school.
So I called and left a message for the unwitting phone tag opponent, and I suppose she realized her mistake and called the other Emily she was likely trying to reach...but she never called me back.
I bought a domain today to put up my website for school.
.com wasn't available, but I sort of like the responsibility .org implies.
It makes me feel like I'll somehow be held more accountable. More...organized. And I guess that's a comfort zone and a mine field for me simultaneously. Sometimes I question the size of my sense of responsibility. Meaning it can be so large and burdensome, it weighs me down. It slows me. It arrests my action. I can't possibly get it all done so I think I'll just crawl up in this hole with a book (or more often binge watch a tv series...I can always claim research) and ESCAPE from reality. And I question my organizational skills...I mean, do they really even exist?
Because minimizing stress is the best thing you can do for your health, I take great care in identifying and naming stress to weaken n tame it.
I currently have a lot for which I am being held accountable: a thesis project, applications for future writing endeavors (writing labs and internships), audition preparation for a few things coming up, all while rehearsing a brand new play and working with cohorts and our professor to figure out a new digital showcase platform. Mix in relationship maintenances, holiday, travel and a birthday that puts you on the back-side of your 30's, and I think you'll find a little stress to be quite natural. Even necessary.
But the unnecessary stress comes from the overwhelming responsibility I feel to live up to my own ideals. Ideally I'd just like to do no harm, but our infrastructure and cultural mores are unsupportive on this road less traveled. Straws and styrofoam, plastic bags and cutlery, and cars or trucks with noxious exhaust have started to illicit in me a strong physical repulsion or sensation that isn't unlike hearing nails scrape a chalkboard. And I often worry about the fact that most of the people I'm around most of the time don't have any averse reactions to these things.
I happened upon this article a couple of days ago and easily joked with my family about setting up the bunkers and prepping. The article's author, award-winning Canadian science journalist Alanna Mitchell, frighteningly asserts that a magnetic reversal of planet Earth's poles is imminent and natural and nearly due, and all the systems we've built as a modern society do not take this evidence-based hypothesis into account. Technology could be crippled...the Earth could be transformed. Many species may not survive.
I think most people might find this depressing, but there was a deep comfort in it for me. I used to frequent a shaman who would give me the same solace: Pachamama will take care of's not my personal responsibility to save her. My husband is also a great teacher/neutralizer when I feel burdened or overwhelmed by my aspirations for (and ultimately disappointment in) humankind. But I've said it before and I'll say it again: no one believes they can make a difference, but what if everyone thought they could? Finding the line to walk of accountability and responsibility without stumbling over into self-aggrandizing and false fault is a challenge I'm taking head on.
I thought .org's were only available to registered nonprofit groups and entities, but now I've got my very own. It kind of makes me worry about the validity of things I've read on the web that I assumed to be factual because of their being from .org sites, but mostly it makes me want to tell the truths I know and represent this domain family well.
As I was getting ready to write this, a film director/activist who moonlights as a professional fundraiser called soliciting donations for the Sierra Club. I took the recent snafu as a sign I should contribute to this reputable organization, but I guess there could be a slim chance I just fell prey to a new targeted elaborate marketing ploy to guilt people into contributing by calling them first by "mistake" to remind them of how their physical presence is very much appreciated at this important battle to which they had not actually committed, and then following up with a "would you [at least] like to support us with a financial contribution?" call.
I offered a monthly contribution. Ploy or no, I'll show up when and where I can as the "social justice warrior" I aspire to be. The Sierra Club is a .org afterall! They are on the frontline of many battles against this administration to protect our environment (while we're still lucky enough to be stewards).
That is until the solar flares and radiation win the war.
Gives new meaning to I'm with her.
Leave it to a Trump presidency to make an Armageddon-like prediction seem like relief.