Welcoming the Unfamiliar & How to Become a Map Maker

“It is a sign of great inner insecurity to be hostile to the unfamiliar.” – Anais Nin

culture

Have you felt yourself seizing up when presented with something new? A reaction that pushes you to retreat within yourself rather than explore that novelty?

Anais Nin reminds us in her writing that it is very possible to silence such insecurities by opening oneself to unfamiliar terrain.

“When we totally accept a pattern not made by us, not truly our own, we wither and die. People’s conventional structure is often a façade. Under the most rigid conventionality there is often an individual, a human being with original thoughts or inventive fantasy, which he does not dare expose for fear of ridicule, and this is what the writer and artist are willing to do for us. They are guides and map makers to greater sincerity. They are useful, in fact indispensable, to the community. They keep before our eyes the variations which make human beings so interesting.”

Might just be your time to become a cartographer.

The cartographer’s song from the French musical Le Petit Prince. While this is one way to be a map maker, just remember that you have to let yourself out into the world to explore.

Especially it if you plan to map it out for others to navigate on their own one day.

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5 Reasons to Celebrate Right Now

You will never be younger than you are at this very moment. Look at all that youth shining through! Cheer your ability to see, to understand, and to have those flashes of brilliance that you modestly try to downplay. You are so much wiser than you think.

You have access to the entire world from a single screen. If you’re reading this, you are among the few that are lucky enough to have an awesome techno-speed highway at their fingertips. Technology has pushed globalization into light speed and now we are only a click away from connecting with fresh faces from all around the world. When you stop and realize how incredible this is, it might just overwhelm you. Make a commitment to learn something about another culture and put together those pieces that spell out: “we aren’t all that different from one another.”

You’re living in some exciting times. We just found evidence of water on Mars. A high school student has developed potential cancer cures. The CERN scientists at the Large Hadron Collider found the “God particle” this year. We are on the brink on some unbelievable discoveries.

You are part of a community. Look around. Maybe it’s one other person, maybe it’s the locals around you. Maybe it’s a group you get together with once in a while, maybe it’s an online hub – no matter which way you slice it, you are a part of something bigger than yourself. If you feel alone, perhaps you’re not looking hard enough.  Remember that there are endless ways for us to connect. The first step is realizing that there are plenty of like-minded folks out there. You just have to be willing to be the first one to extend the hand.

You have so much. If you have three meals a day and a safe place to sleep at night, you are already living someone else’s dream. Add a job into the mix? A computer? A supportive family? Whatever it is you think you may be lacking, chances are you already have a mountain’s worth of abundance in another area of your life. If you are always focusing on keeping up with the Joneses, how will you be able to cherish the wealth that you already have in your life…the kind that others perhaps never knew they were missing? Everyone has different definitions of happiness. But most of them start with gratefulness. Say thanks for a handful of things you’ve forgotten about recently, and watch how it transforms the day ahead.

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The Start is the Hardest Part

Just beginning a project is often the most difficult part. Or perhaps the best. There is something so incredible alluring and completely daunting about a blank slate. The past no longer plays a part, and a new chance presents itself. This next step has to come from somewhere new, somewhere deeper, somewhere untouched if it is to be honest.

But how to kickstart yourself into action?

1. Dive in. One can only plan for so long before you realize that the real reason you’re still in “planning phases” is because you’re a little wary of the leap. Small actions add up quickly. Do something every day to help you along your way.

2. Prepare yourself for success rather than begin to bolster yourself against the sting of failure. Failure’s such a misleading term anyway. All the times I have grown the most in my life have resulted from what could easily have been dubbed a “failure.” And this is because failures bruise the ego. If an experience embarrassed us in some way, we are more likely to retain the lesson. The embarrassment spurs us to be hyperaware of all that happened and we rifle through the past for all of our missteps. We glean all that we can from the process so that we may never tread down the same path only to repeat the mistake in our future. So no need to fear failure – use it to push you towards your goal.

3. Reach out to others. If you need help, don’t remain silent – most people are not mind-readers. They will need to hear that you are looking for support before they offer it willingly.

4. If you don’t know how to do something, ask. It does no good to be proud when it comes to things we have yet to learn. Not one single person on this earth knows everything, so don’t pretend like you do. Look for ways to expand your knowledge every day.

5. Pull from everywhere, let anything inspire you. Who is to say what will stop you in your tracks and motivate you? A forest one day, an old CD from your childhood the next. Do not censor the influx of images and influences around you. If Wagner moves you, great. If the Teletubbies do, good on’ ya. Just make it work.

6. Stop waiting for a perfect time. There is no such thing as the “perfect time.” There will always be other activities or events to keep you from the work. Stop stalling, start doing.

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Why We Write

“We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect”

– Anais Nin

In honor of reaching 100 posts, I wanted to take a moment to stop and thank all of you for continuing to be impassioned readers of Thoughts on Theatre. Your insight and encouragement inspires me everyday.

Things I’ve learned since launching this blog:

Everyone is looking for a way to connect. People reach out into the community and strangers walk away as friends.

People are downright fascinating. You want to know about basket-weaving in Indonesia? There’s a blog for that. Feel like learning a bit more about how to take apart your computer? There’s a blog for that. Want to jump out of planes and land safely after 65 seconds of awe-inspiring terror? There’s definitely a blog for that.

Small messages are often the best ones. It’s amazing how the simplest posts from have stuck in my mind for days. There’s a true power behind harnessing your words to convey a concise message.

Never hurts to try. Even when you’re not sure about how to approach a new project/entry/chapter in your life, might as well go for it. Chances are you’ll receive valuable feedback here to  keep you on track.

There are few things better than a good laugh. Make me smile. Life’s too short to take things too seriously.

People will always misuse your/you’re.  Don’t get angry. There are so many things that are more important to spend your energy on in life. Politely correct the person if you must.

– Keep going. No matter what. Life will pop up with it’s surprises both large and small, but let them push you forward instead of hold you back.

 Thanks again all.

Kreativ Blogger Award

You guys are the best. Thank you again!

Last week was full of little surprises – one of which was Pete Denton‘s nomination of Thoughts on Theatre for the Kreativ Blogger Award. Pete, thank you so much for your recognition. You should all take a moment to peak at his blog – he’s got some really good stuff over there.

In terms of recognizing other blogs and for a few fun facts, I’d like to direct you all to this post.

I’d also like to thank Elsie of Bowen Diaries as well as Jay of Positive Cookie Attitudes for their nods with a Versatile Blogger nomination.

Thank you Pete, Elsie, and Jay once again!

And thank you all for continuing to be wonderfully supportive readers.

Have a great start to your week!

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Genuine Blogger Award

Really? So grateful right now. Another huge thank you!

Coming back from a weekend full of birthday celebrations, football madness, and show-hopping, I was stunned to discover that the wonderfully creative blogger Flujan of My Voyage through Time nominated Thoughts On Theatre for the Genuine Blogger Award. Thank you so much for this nomination – I am honored to have your support. Again, I want to thank all of you who have taken the time to give your feedback and share this site with others these past few weeks. I’ve seen a number of new readers join us lately and I want to extend a warm welcome to you as well.

Apparently this lil’ guy is designed to have no rules at all – an award that allows you to celebrate as you see fit!

The original post on this describes the joy behind getting a nod of recognition and created this award because they “thought it would be nice to create an award that had no “rules” or “requirements.” It is just that…an award. An award given in the true “spirit” of giving some recognition for effort… It is an award that I hope allows recipients to know that their work is appreciated, valued, and noteworthy by a fellow blogger and it does not have the pressure of “rules and requirements” to follow.”

So as my way of celebrating, I would like to give a shout-out and thank you specifically to Anthony of Buy Art by Ant  and Mystic Vixen of Mystic Vixen for their kind words and recommendations of Thoughts on Theatre recently. Thank you for sharing with others. I hope to continue to see more of you in the future!

Flujan, thank you again!


Happy Monday everybody. If this adorable guy doesn’t get your morning started off right, I don’t know what will.

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I Have a Dream, or two, or three

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that”

– Martin Luther King, Jr.

In honor of MLK day.

No better way to pay homage than by sharing a dream or two:

I have a dream that the people of this nation recognize that history repeats itself. I hope that we can open our eyes and see that the struggles of the gay rights movement are no different than the struggles of the civil rights movement. Individuals are  fighting to get equal and fair treatment owed to them under the law. I hope we may soon be able to look back and shake our heads over the folly of not recognizing this truth sooner.

I have a dream that we may realize that the “American Dream” never included a provision on blatant arrogance and egoism. I hope that as other nations progress and potentially surpass our status as global superpower, we takes notes on how to improve rather than try to cut down their success. If we attack other nations verbally, physically, or ideologically simply because they stand a chance to rival us, we only promote xenophobia.

I have a dream that future generations may be able to live in a country that champions the health and wellness of its citizens. I hope to see families who ensure that their children stay active, schools that offer vegetables other than pizza to their students, and prescription medications that cost less than the price of  summer beach home on the southern coast.

I have a dream that we all may come to understand that protecting and caring for this earth is a global responsibility. This shared gift is one with an expiration date. If we continue to treat the planet like garbage, that is all it will become.

I have a dream that even with all of the entertainment and ease of communication technology can provide, we acknowledge that there is no substitute for human connection. I hope that we continue to see value in face-to-face conversations, hand-written notes, and random acts of kindness in the future. Even if every three year old starts toting along an iPod to preschool one day, I hope we never forget the importance of forging real relationships and learning from others.

I have a dream that we may finally free ourselves from the shackles of prejudice. I hope we can understand the difference between one “bad person” and an entire community. I hope that we can see that fear begets hatred. And if we allow fear to control us, we will shrink our perspective day by day. We will see only a fraction of options when there are a multitude. May we choose freedom now.

I have a dream today.

Let freedom ring.

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