Theatre of the Absurd: Holiday Edition

Act I: Arrive at family’s house and proceed in joyous greetings of family and friends.

Act II: Bide time with niceties and stories around the table until an appropriate drinking hour approaches and proceed to kill off 12 bottles of wine. Between six people. Over the course of 4 hours.

Act III: Miraculously awake early (and without headache) and wander downstairs to watch giant balloons float across the TV screen while preparing for Turkey feast.

Act IV: After said feast, brother presents a new near-finished musical. Commence read-thru of a story complete with lightening-pace humor, 10 part harmony, and pokemonsters.

Act V: Family and friends again gather around the table, in that satisfyingly circular way that is everpresent in this life – repetition through tradition, tradition as a means of recapturing a memory, a feeling – a means to a hopefully familiar end.

Hope your weekend was long, luxurious and memorable. You’ll notice this “play” lacks a central conflict. Because these past few days of holiday were absolutely divine.

Say it With a Song: One for the Fathers

How was your weekend all? This one was filled with seeing a few friends in shows around town, figuring out how to perfect orange zest scones, and celebrating Father’s Day with the papa.

I’ve always had a special fondness for Father’s (and Mother’s) day. Some kind of nostalgia creeps up each year and brings me back to the mornings my brother and I would rise early to try to create some sort of edible breakfast without parental supervision. (Lots of toast, people). From macaroni cards to Hallmark, each year was marked by us looking for new ways to remind them that that they’ve done a heck of a job.

For me,  nothing says it better than a song. Have you guys heard this tribute to padres before?

Its a rare gem from Closer Than Ever, a show that ran for roughly a minute and a half Off-Broadway in the late eighties. But oh, the male harmony.

How to Keep Afloat Amidst Changing Tides

Change is hard. But stagnation makes life harder. When the riptide starts to tug at you, give into its pull. Though you may fear the shifting sands beneath you, staying still is no longer an option.  You’re not underwater – you can keep your head above the waves. You may get shaken up, but you can find a safe harbor again.

Let go. There’s no use denying that change is happening if that’s exactly what’s going on. You do not have to like it at first, but embrace the transition without giving it a label of good or bad. They are such normative terms and do little but provide a black and white lens through which one can experience this new adjustment. If you approach it objectively – “X is happening in life right now” instead of “X is happening to me, I don’t deserve this, this is terrible” – you’re more likely to adapt with ease.

Come up for air. If you feel like you’re drowning (when there’s no water to be found), rise up out of the situation and breathe. Take an hour to sketch, listen to an old album, go for a run,  or just sit in silence. Don’t berate yourself for this break. You’re allowed it. Life isn’t about rushing to the next step, it’s about living through each moment.

Use your voice. Whether its talking to a friend/family member/stranger or simply putting pen to paper, push negative thoughts through and out of your head. Allow old grudges and hangups to loosen their hold on the inner chambers of your mind where you’ve made comfortable homes for them. They have been taking up too much space altogether. Do some spring cleaning by voicing that which grieves you.

Make an accomplishment list . When things are new or different, it can be disorienting. We can get caught up in the thought-cycle of “I don’t have this yet,” “I’m so far behind,” etc. Instead of noting each and every thing that your life lacks, start tallying all that you’ve accomplished thus far and realize that your path is entirely unique. Instead of a to-do list at the top of the day, try a accomplishment-list at the end of the day. It can include everything that day that went right (got a 20 minute nap, no rain, read a fantastic article, spoke with a friend).  Sometimes these things are more important than those which we lay out for ourselves on lists that we scurry to check off as quickly as possible.

Mind what you can. If the rest of the world seems to be swirling around you, take authority over that which you do have control. Clean your room, floss, fix those pants you tore a year ago. Even the littlest efforts will help to afford peace of mind. We often think we can control the outcome of  a situation by worrying about it. But worrying is like praying for something you don’t want to happen to go ahead and happen. So shift ‘worry’ into ‘action,’ as small as it may be.

Photo by Sarah Anne Loreth

How Do You Measure Success?

Does no good to compare when everyone is on their own unique path to success. Should you lay these paths out side by side, you will see they are all equally fulfilling. Choose your own, mix and match, and remember that your success story may not look a thing like someone else’s.

On Finding Perfect Moments

How to capture a snippet of life – a handful of seconds sewn together and framed by a desire to hold on (hold on, tight!) to the memory at hand.

How elusive these moments seem if we should try to chase them (chase them down!) and keep them, capture them, force them to stay.

We want a bit of peace, or love, or laughter – quiet, golden moments,

Ones we can scrapbook in our minds and save for a rainy day –

But instead we stalk our prey with hurried anticipation.

Now! Now! Now!

We grasp and clasp our hands overhead

Only to pull them to our chest, peak through our palms to find them empty.

Or we tiptoe gently, cautiously,

Back- hunched, prepared to pounce,

And they sense our approach, hot air on the back of the neck,

And scatter like birds.

But if we should sit and wait a while (shhh just a little while) preparing for their visit,

We may find they have been closer than we’ve thought. And that this time, they’d like to stay a while

If it’s okay with you.

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Seven Good Reasons to Stop Whatever You’re Doing and Go for It

Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better. 

– Samuel Beckett

What is it that stops us from doing exactly what we want to in life? Most of it can be chalked up to some sort of fear – of failure, of reproach, of uncertainty. Here’s a quick list to help determine if that big risk of yours is worth trying.

1. You can’t stop thinking about it. The idea pervades your thoughts. You smile every time it crosses your mind. You’ve already worked out the best-possible scenario in your head, and you think you have the tools to make it work.

2. You’re unhappy with the status quo. Remember that little voice in your head? The one that reminds you when you’re feeling down and that now is the time to do something about it? Yeah, listen this time.

3. You’re willing to put in the work. No doubt what you’ve been dreaming about will require you to put in some effort. But that’s what has made it so elusive thus far right? It’s up to you to decide whether you want to live a life where you look back and say “I’m so glad I tried that” or one where you admit “I really wish I had done that.”

4. You’re clinging to an illusion of safety.  You’ve created a false cocoon of security in a world where no such thing actually exists. “But this way I don’t get hurt!” you convince yourself. Well, newsflash: you hurt yourself more by holding yourself  back than by mustering up the courage to change. Do what you actually want to do. Be who you actually want to be.

5. You want to. Passion is the number one ingredient in making a dream a reality. And ultimately the decision is yours, and yours alone. If you’re taking the leap solely for the reason that it will impress someone else, reevaluate.

6. You attempted to before but it didn’t work out. As a baby, did you give up on walking after the first few times resulted in a happy marriage of your forehead and the hardwood floor? Nope. You pushed yourself and tried again. Somewhere along the line, in our efforts to grow up and act like adults, we learn to stop “trying again”. We rid ourselves of the spirit that allows us to tackle anything in favor of one that promotes mental barriers and excuses. Chances are you learned something from that failed attempt. Time to put those lessons to good use.

7. It completely terrifies you. Good. You will grow 1 million times over if you look that fear in the face and mutter through gritted teeth: “bring it on.” Who knows, you may surprise yourself. And what beauty there is in such surprises.


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