If I were to wish for anything, I should not wish for wealth and power, but for the passionate sense of potential -- for the eye which, ever young and ardent, sees the possible. Pleasure disappoints; possibility never.Soren Kierkegaard
There have been times in my life when I have had money, but more times when I have not. In the past, when I have not, I have spent my energy thinking about that situation, worrying about when or how I would change it and being generally unhappy. I then began a process of shifting my mentality toward focusing on the positive aspects of my life - and the probability that everything will always be ok. And from there started to realize that, actually, everything already is.
I just moved, again. I have been here in New York for almost four months and have moved three times. Not that I mind really. I have experienced three neighbourhoods and adjusted my perspective to fit each. The second place I lived was in Flatbush, Brooklyn. There was a lot of space in the apartment, and I had a great room mate who was always filling the house with beautiful music and wonderful cooking aromas, but there were some parts of living there that were very disturbing to my psyche.
I have spent a lot of time in my short life (my birthday is coming up so expect a plethora of references to my everlasting youthfulness) teaching myself about money. I clearly still have a lot to learn about managing it (or rather the practice of managing it - in theory I know how to do it very well). BUT what I am good at is dealing with it spiritually.
When my cheerleading company fell apart I was in Europe taking one last stab at its revival by opening up a new market for camps in the UK. I had done things the same way I had always done them - I decided I was going to go to a new country and then started calling and emailing teams to let them know we were available for camps. What happened in England was different than what had happened in any other country we had worked in. I had booked a series of workshops and then teams just started canceling left, right and centre. Through a series of other unfortunate events, these cancellations, and massive problems with our Chinese clothing manufacturing I found myself with a lot of time to kill in Europe, very little money, and an overwhelming feeling that I was in over my head. It was my birthday and one of my besties was coming from Toronto to England to see her boyfriend and we had planned to take a short vacation in Italy (the three of us). I had already booked my flights and had promised to meet her so I went - even though my business and financial life was crashing down around me to the tune of three quarters of a million dollars. Yet, I suddenly found myself in the most beautiful place I had ever been in the world (the Amalfi Coast). One of the days we were there I went swimming in the mediterranean and decided to try floating. I've always been to panicked to float because I logically feel like I'm going to drown. I guess the salt water is more bouyant than fresh or pool water and I was able to float quite easily - once I let go and trusted that the ocean would support me and not sweep me to Spain (not that that would be a bad thing). As I was lying there I really let go. I let go of my house, my business, the friends I felt I would lose, and my fears of losing my Dad (who was quite sick at the time) and I just was - there, floating - a part of the cosmos in a pink bikini. In that moment I realized that all of the monetary things I had been chasing my whole life had NO EFFECT on my ability to enjoy and experience the this adventure of my day-to-day existence. Wealthy living is a choice, not a circumstance of your bank account. If you are lucky enough to live in the western world you are able to access the finer things in life. Here I was, in Italy, surrounded by fresh food, beautiful people and God, I was on the verge of bankruptcy and I was literally surrounded and supported by nature's abundance. People don't travel to sit in their expensive hotel suites - they travel to look out the window of that suite - to be close to things that are otherwise free. Stunning examples of natural wealth, friendship and love.
Sometimes - I still get caught up in worrying about money, or feeling impoverished - it is a tough habit to break. Moving to Brooklyn was my chance to re-visit the days I had spent as a single mother on welfare living in subsidized housing amongst others with broken dreams and traumas they were trying to recover from. This apartment had bars on the windows, garbage everywhere around the building, bugs, a used condom sat on my bedroom windowsill and a gang of men hung out on the stairs and intermittently greeted and harassed me as I went to and fro. There was one man in particular who got quite aggressive and I was too scared of him to be as direct as I needed to be to make it stop. I lived my life surrounded by things like this for a time, and those feelings and experiences were triggered once again; feeling ashamed of myself for being a young mom, being poor and the like. It is easy to become a victim to the aggressions of other, unhappy people when you are feeling vulnerable. But that is not my life anymore. I decided I was worth more then, went to school, built an international business, fell on my face and got back up and am trying again, and I am the furthest thing from a victim I have ever met.
This little jaunt into Brooklyn was a litmus test for me. I confirmed that I don't belong there. I have changed my programming. In my core I see that there are alternatives, and that you don't have to struggle to find them - just believe that is where you belong and are comfortable, and then go and BE there.
As soon as I recognized that I was in this environment because I had been thinking in an impoverished way (I am broke, never going to make it etc) I chose to see things differently. I decided that I could and would be surrounded by abundance, and soon after that - the Universe started to re-align in favour of that. I am now staying with a wonderful new kindred-spirit-friend in the east village in a great apartment (so grateful to you Marie!!!) and have felt my spirit rise and my light shining brighter than ever (there may also be a boy involved in my new-found-happiness, but I'm not naming any names!)
My friend Sahar suggested that we take a day trip to the Hamptons and we did on Thursday. I was yet again reminded of how easy it is to enjoy the best things in life. It was very quiet the beach was almost completely deserted and we got to wander around as though we owned the place.
When I decide that I am going to be surrounded by wealth, and not just the monetary kind - I am. It has taken me many years of practice to be able to manifest what I need and when. I had a brief moment of worrying about money on the 31st of May - having to come up with rent, subway money, food money etc was scaring me, but I just decided to relax, let go and trust that the ocean would support me, and it did. The money showed up, like it always does, and all is well. I am grateful. I am using this same mentality to bring me to the place I want to be in my career. Every time I feel doubt - I remind myself to KNOW that I will make it. I will be producing, starring in and eventually directing films (I guess I kind of already am). . .
Last week-end a wonderful group of people I have met here and I made a completely improvised film. We talked about some ideas, came up with some characters and shot about four or five takes of a film and ended up with this little beauty:
If you are interested in watching the process you can see the out takes here:
Another notable experience I had this week was in the famed, torturous Meisner class. Only three of us showed up this week - Lisa, Taylor and myself. We have all been there since the beginning and have gotten to know each other pretty well. We were able to really get to a great place together this time. I have mentioned previously that I have difficulty expressing anger and difficulty when anger is expressed around me. I was able to express my anger truthfully in class while working with Taylor and to SCREAM, and she SCREAMED with me, and it was ok! I didn't feel like I was spewing my shit all over her. Which is what I always feel when I get angry - like I am hurting the other person. It was such an amazing experience to be able to let that out - it gave me an almost orgasmic rush - to express feelings like that with no baggage - no thoughts to tangle the emotion up - no past relationship between us - just pure, raw human emotion. Amazing shit. I am REALLY glad I stuck with it. I have wanted to quit every week since I started.
Being an actor is a religious calling because you've been given the ability, the gift to inspire humanity. Think about that on the way to your soap opera audition. ~Sanford Meisner
If there is one thing I am sure of with regard to acting it is that the actor is a participant in a journey taken by the audience, the cast, the crew and herself. She is the catalyst for those around her to feel safe to view and experience their own emotional states in a heightened way that may not normally be accessible in every day life because we block contact with our emotions in order to function. Training as an actor has given me so much more depth as an emotional human being - and that is the wealthiest feeling of all.