November 19th, 2009
I’m going to really let you in today. This entry is not filled with my attempts at witticisms. This is just where I’m at today and I committed honesty to you from day one. It’s good for me to tap into these places because comedy(well in my opinion, good comedy) ultimately comes down to truth.
People are like candy to me. This was alarmingly evident to me when I was in a complicated relationship living in isolation in a house in the woods 45 minutes outside of Boston. While I appreciated the beauty, significance and power of nature, there was only so much peace I could get from meditating on a leaf. To just feed off the energy of people with seemingly light energy, I would force myself to the mall. No, not to shop...just to refuel. Yes readers, it is an unfortunate scenario when you get more solace from observing people at a food court than the comfort and ease you get in your own home. Needless to say, that was a dark time. Fortunately, I saw that the particular situation could no longer be my life. I left and came back to New York.
I wish I could say that I just jumped back into my life with optimism and fervor. I most definitely suffered from exhausting self diagnosed post traumatic stress. I went inward and ruminated over the following:
How could I have hurt someone?
How did I end up in a situation that was so emotionally draining?
Why did I stay so long?
I teach comedy improv workshops...I teach people how to be present, let go and forgive others and themselves. Why can’t I do this for myself? Am I a fraud?
I was not at my best. Luckily, with the help of unbelievably supportive friends, family and something deep inside me that I didn’t even know existed, I got my life back.
It still is challenging to make sense of this time, but I have tools and a support system. Most importantly, I have developed much more compassion. I’ve always considered myself a kind person(yay me) but sometimes embodying our darker selves, although excruciatingly painful, is also unexpectedly enriching.
I have had many candid conversations with my uncle who has suffered through the loss of a spouse and child to cancer. He knows loss. He has felt pain at the core of his being. Yet, he is committed to making it through each day. As a doctor, he has always been more of a science man than a “spiritual” seeker. Now he is open to all that can carry him through. Embracing ambiguity seems to be a significant survival mechanism. Let go of control. What will be will be. The good and the bad. In fact, you can’t have one without the other. Embrace the darkness as it will be an ongoing component in our lives. Don't be ashamed of it. It’s not going away..but how we manage it can make it bearable. As I mentioned, I doubted if I should continue teaching the very topics that I was struggling with myself. My uncle shared something with me that I needed to hear. He argued just the opposite. He felt that I was the candidate to be teaching because I now had developed an even deeper empathy that would undoubtedly enhance my ability to be an effective teacher.
I took his words to heart and feel positive about classes that I’ve taught since the conversation. I have also realized that I’m the one who ends up learning invaluable lessons from my students. Another tool for my well being. Watching adults who have not “played” since they were children dive right into one of the scariest things(unscripted performance on stage...the metaphor of life) is beyond inspirational as vulnerability is front and center. So Real. So Raw. Just their commitment to powerfully throw themselves into the pain heals them, heals me and even heals the audience.
I will end with a visual. Imagine making the choice to find that centered place where you seek the strength to lift yourself up…you’re like a giant parachute lifting up other parachutes that are the people needing a shift in consciousness. It’s not about words. It’s about moments. It’s about energy.
Be the change you want to see