Create your balance. Design your life.

Musing #39: Why make art? Why do anything? (Shower Thought)

Musing #39: Why make art? Why do anything? (Shower Thought)

Nov 28, 2014

NOTE: It has been a Sisyphean task to stay focused on this writing. My heart and soul have spent all day gleefully gallivanting in a galaxy far, far away. That teaser is tremendous. It reduces me to tears, unfailingly. ANYWAY… *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   * Tomorrow, dear readers, I am going to fail. And that’s OK. For tomorrow, dear readers, I’m shooting a very short film (we’re talking, half the length of a one-reel) that I wrote and am both acting in and directing. I have near-complete faith that it will prove an unwatchable turd. But I know for certain that, even in failure, I cannot lose. How’s that? Because even if it sucks, I will have done it. “Man in the Arena,” and all that bully sort of thing. This very short film amounts really to just a scene; one that should theoretically be situated toward the end of a long cinematic journey into the hell of alcoholism. It has a beginning, middle and end, so it does stand alone. But I’ve, nevertheless, been agonizing over the potential “WTF?” factor. “WTF?” you ask. Permit me to explain. Immediately before every one of the last several weeks’ rehearsals, I found myself lost in epic musings whilst showering. Most of these daydreams eventually morphed into paralyzing self-doubt panic attacks. And the worst of those mid-ablution freakouts pertained to the arguable pointlessness of this very short film. LITTLE ME to LATHERED, NAKED SELF: “What the hell are you trying to say with this thing? Nothing original. So why the hell are you saying it?” “That LITTLE ME poses excellent questions. I think I like her.” Fortunately, my co-star helped SELF realize that she always knew how to answer ME. (Yeah, the pronoun manipulation really ceased to work at some point, there. Sorry.) I know not from whence it came, but this itty-bitty baby film gestated in my gut until it finally burst unstoppably forth, John Hurt-style.   “Baby mine, don’t you cry.” This immaculate conception also explains how I ended up with a feature screenplay, having never set out to write anything of the sort. I was a screenwriting virgin and happily expected to...

Giving Thanks From This Day Forth

By Mo Breden Today is Thanksgiving, and we all have our own reflections on what the day means to us and to those things and people for whom we give thanks. I want to shift the focus just slightly to center your thoughts on today and every day from this day forward. In order to do that we go back to Robert Herrick in the 17th Century, who wrote a poem, To the Virgins, To Make Much of Time. Don’t know it? Oh yes you do. Gather ye rosebuds while ye may, Old Time is still a-flying: And this same flower that smiles to-day. To-morrow will be dying. This, the first line of the poem, was introduced to popular culture in the movie, Dead Poets Society. In the movie Robin Williams encouraged his students with Carpe Diem, Seize the Day. I will include the entire poem at the end of my blog post for your contemplation. I came face to face with, Gather ye rosebuds while ye may, when they changed my mother to a new room in the nursing home where she now lives. It hangs in the form of a beautiful tapestry on her roommate’s side of the room. I contemplate it every time I visit my mother. My mom communicates less and less as time passes, so I have had more and more time to contemplate, and reflect on the phrase. Nursing homes are full of flowers, that one day smiled and now, well, are dying. It’s not a happy subject, but it is a reality and the braver we are in facing it, the better we are as completely formed human beings. And so, to gather ye rosebuds, we must live fully in this moment, fully in the day that is laid out before us. I believe each day is a gift, although sometimes it doesn’t feel like it, it truly is. For me, being fully aware of myself, engaged in those around me, and actively participating in the life of the day, is gathering rosebuds. There are no do-overs, this day is here for 24 hours and then it’s gone, if we bog ourselves down with bad habits, addictions,...

Giving Thanks

Giving Thanks

Nov 25, 2014

Movie Bad Girl of the Week will return next Tuesday   Thanksgiving is approaching quickly. That makes this the time of year that we think about what we are thankful for. In reality we should be thinking of what we are thankful for on a year round basis and not just in November at Thanksgiving time. So I am going to list things that I am thankful for all the time. I do speak of things I am thankful for year round although not enough. I am making a list here to let you know some of the things I both appreciate and am very thankful for year round. Make your own list, I would love to hear some of the things you are thankful for. A list of some things I am thankful for…(to list all of them would take weeks) I am thankful to my Grandparents for raising me like their own child. They gave me a wonderful life, one that would have been lacking had either of my parents raised me. They got married far too young and separated while I was an infant. At the time neither of them was ready to raise a child on their own and I do not hold this against them. I know that both loved me very much and made sure that my grandparents (on my father’s side) adopted me so that I would have a good life.  My mother faded out of the picture while I was still very young so I only have a couple vague memories of her. I would someday like to meet her again. My father and I for many years had a rocky relationship that was a mixture of emotions both positive and negative. Now as an adult he and I have a wonderful and loving relationship and for that I am also thankful. I am thankful that my grandmother gave me a special gift. The gift of loving books and reading. I can spend hours lost in a wonderful story. When I have nothing to do I can go up the street to the used bookstore and come home with several novels for very little money and have...

All in a Day’s Work

All in a Day’s Work

Nov 20, 2014

As I was ruminating on writing this article a few days ago, it occurred to me that when I think about work-life balance, I often think about how much I’m working versus not, or what I am doing in my down-time for self-care and to decompress. Holy smokes! I have been overlooking an enormous chunk of the day in this equation: the work part of the day. Interestingly, this part of the day has been on my mind a lot recently, as I’ve been having some soap-box moments around the topics of workplace hierarchy and employee-fairness. I will table those for today though, so we can stay on topic here. The intention of finding or exploring balance between your work and non-work parts of your life is generally around health, happiness, and meaning. Every person is going to have a different relationship to those ideas; a different desire or quest. For most or many people, overwork creates a situation of over-stress and the rest of life goes out the window…so the quest becomes one of pumping up recovery activities, like fun and bubble baths and meditation and all those goodies. Imagine this scenario for a moment: one where you do not come home from work worn out. That’s right! For those of you working full days outside the home in a focused or fast-paced or multi-tasking environment, coming home worn out might be the norm. If you work at home, or your job is really easy, or you are self-employed, you might need to think a little harder about how you feel at the end of the day..and if it’s okay with you or not. So back to imagined scenario, imagine ending your work day relaxed, energized, calm, and if that’s too far fetched then just imagine neutral. I suggest to you, now, that there are likely a number of things you can do, adjustments you can make, throughout your work day to move you closer to this imagined scenario. Things like setting priorities for your day when you first arrive at your job, before any meetings, before any email, before helping any customers with their urgent customer service needs. Try it tomorrow: take...

Choosing Sanity This Holiday Season

Choosing Sanity This Holiday Season

Nov 19, 2014

They’re here whether we like them or not. The “holidays” are on us like a tick on a dog. Some of us may be gleefully pulling out Christmas decorations while the rest of us cram leftover Halloween candy down our throat. It’s time to STOP. I mean it. Last year, at this very time, I started a fast descent into the holiday blues–which turned into spring depression–that turned into twenty pounds. This was an accident of course. I fully intended on following my own advice and staying balanced through it all. What I neglected to account for was: a difficult birthday, a lonely holiday, and a life-changing family rearrangement. One on top of the other, I teetered and fell way back to old habits. I write all of this as a cautionary tale to myself (and anyone else who might be reading) to STOP right now. Chances are we already feel the expectations piling up. The “to-do” lists have started, and although we haven’t reached a fever-pitch just yet, many of us feel like we are already running out of time. STOP. I have twice as much on my plate this year. And having finally come out of a dark tunnel, I want to make sure I don’t loose the grip I have on my own life for a few weeks of twinkle lights and egg-nog. 1. Get rid of the expectations. There is always a pressure to be happy during the holidays. It’s in the songs, the commercials, the dessert. It’s not real. The expectation that the entire holiday season is going to be filled with joy is insane. The expectation that a family in distress, who has been fighting all year, is going to sit down and have a happy meal together, is unrealistic. Pick what you want to have happen ahead of time, and then manifest that for yourself. For example, if you want to have a Thanksgiving dinner filled with laughter and real Thankfulness–DO IT! Gather the people who bring that into your life and celebrate with them. Does it have to be on Thanksgiving? Maybe not. Maybe you feel like you are not ready to set boundaries with your family...

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