Feet aka Heart

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“I have one foot out the  door, but he doesn’t know where he’s going,” a co-worker told me last week, over a cup of coffee and a donut from the craft service table, as we stood, backs to a cold wind that whipped dust in our scarf and goggle covered faces, waiting for the director and cinematographer to set up a shot.  I laughed. At the moment my feet were cold, even inside winter boots, and I wondered if they had led me to that moment, or had merely followed along. “Where or when did we get the idea that a job in an office was such a bad thing?” I wondered. Later that night I sat on a cooler, next to a different co-worker, and again we waited for a shot to be set and again a dusty, cold wind whipped our faces.  And again I wondered how I’d come to view this as normal.

But, then, what is normal? I’ve spent the better part of thirteen years on movie sets, waiting for shots to be set, in the wind, and for a long time it felt very normal.  I became used to intense periods of work followed by equally intense periods of existential wandering. It is only recently, since I have been taking more time off, pursuing different goals, making different choices, and following my heart, aka feet, that my previous normal is up for examination. My new version involves sleeping well, writing, wandering with a purpose, taking care of myself physically, and making decisions based on how my overall wellbeing will be effected.

As I sat in the wind, I realized that my former and current normals had one thing in common; my desire for freedom. Somewhere along the way, I’d convinced myself that offices equalled cages, commitments equalled obligations and then resentments, and that there was no way to intertwine finances with my own creativity.  I loved to show up in the morning on a new set, to know that no job ever lasted more than a few months, and that I could save money while working because I had no time to spend it, or do anything really, other than work and sleep.  I was willing to overlook the lack of free time, the weather, and the adrenal depleting high, that was actually quite addictive.

But now, as I spend less time on set and more in the office I designed in my home, I realize my feet are leading me in a different direction than the one I am so familiar with. And I don’t actually know where we are going. I figure we haven’t gotten lost yet, so I’ll just continue to follow.

 

 

 

2015. So far. 

  
My life is present to a crazy degree at the moment. Bring the plants inside, it might freeze tonight. Put away the Dia de Los Muertos decorations and altar. Make something delicious and healthy to eat for dinner. I have no plan past the end of the week. No future trips, no jobs lined up, several creative projects floating in my mind, but none begun yet. 

A few weeks ago, while waiting for the subway in NYC, I sat on a bench and thought about my 2015 so far. At the end of 2014, I chose joy as my word for the year. I wanted fun, spontaneity, adventure, and to go with the flow. And, it came to pass. Somewhere along the way, I made an agreement with myself that, in exchange for control, I would say yes instead of no. I let go of preconceived notions of how it would be,  chose love over fear, adventure over safety, and time off over money. 

And, what a wacky ride it’s been. 2015 has repeatedly taken me by surprise and is a hard one to sum up in words. I have managed to (repeatedly) surprise myself, which might be the biggest relief and joy of all; Hip hop dancing, 12 second long videos, jewelry design, cliff jumping, a beak dancing class, new friends you feel you’ve known forever, Room 617, TSA security to enter the hotel, loading a wardrobe trailer in Times Square, loving Tayolr Swift’s latest album, feeling ready to go back on location if the opportunity arises, cizing it up at lunch, discovering pot helps me sleep, and a hammock.. None of these were anywhere on my radar back in January. 

With a little under two months to go, God only knows what is to come or how this one will end. But, if it’s anything like the first ten months, there’s nothing to worry about, as long as I continue to choose adventure over control, love over fear, and say yes. 

PS, I thought the plant in the picture was dying when actually all it needed was to be put outside against a south facing wall for the summer. Rain, sun, fresh air. It’s very much alive. 

How To Wake From A Dream?

   
 I arrived in New York almost three weeks ago, to finish my most recent movie, and will fly home tomorrow. It has been a whirlwind, dream of a trip. There have been several moments of such totally present joy, I laughed out loud for no reason, marveling at my life and current reality,  weeks of deficient sleep, and multiple new and, at times, bizarre experiences. How to unravel it? 

   
  Room 617 at the Lowes Regency Hotel on the Upper East Side-the type I never normally stay in when traveling. Benjamin Netanyahu was there while we were, among other politicos, actors, and seemingly important people. Airport style security, to enter the hotel, quickly followed- one of the bizarre experiences. But, having the NY Times delivered to my doorstep each morning, the bed turned down each night, “stealing” apples from the gym, and living on Park Ave? Awesome. 

  
Bizarre Experience Number Two- loading a wardrobe trailer in the rain, on 42nd Street and 7th Avenue;  UN motorcades passing, homeless men threatening me and my rack of clothes, tourists watching, parking cops yelling. All quite entertaining, in the end. 

   
 Shooting in the Hamptons, at The Walforf, in The Four Seasons, watching the Blood/Harvest full moon eclipse in Central Park, making it to two hip hop dance classes on school nights, boom box picnics, multiple museums, the 102nd floor of the Empire State Building, viewing the city from the water, bouncing on boobies at the Sex Museum, walking over the Brooklyn bridge at night, just for kicks, taking the subway 17 stops because the restaurant was supposed to be that good (it was), visiting old friends, and eating macaroons, it just doesn’t get much better. That doesn’t quite sum it up, but will have to do. 

 
Home again, home again, tomorrow. I hope to maintain the dance, the fun, and the adventure while allowing being instead of doing, cooking, and sleep to help balance it out. 

   
   

Love It All

  
 Back at work for a week and, so far, so good! I have been sleeping AND waking with enough time to stretch and meditate, two things I’m determined to hold onto as the hours grow longer and the off-time shrinks. 

I can feel the adrenaline creeping back in but hope to keep it at the lowest levels possible. The annoying little truth is that on some level I love the crazy, the high, and the pace of a movie set. And this show promises to be a busy, if short, one. 

As I stood on set yesterday, our first day of shooting, I felt comfortable and confident, doing a job I’ve done for years and that has, overall, benefitted me on many levels. I am also starting this job having just had three months off. I feel refreshed and know that the money I make over the next couple of months will allow me to take more time off this fall. 

I’m beginning to see how these two sides balance each other; the prompt, organized, slightly OCD costumer and the relaxed, creative, let’s just see what happens wanderer. It’s a tricky balance that, even after twelve years, I haven’t figured out, but I’m optimistic that with awareness I can have and/with rather than either/or. Balance, balance, balance. I want to be in love with every minute of my little, awesome life, rather than waiting for this or that to happen or for the time when it’s all crystal clear and figured out. 

It’s a whacky ride and I think that’s what I’m starting to accept and appreciate. And sleep, meditation, and stretching all help that appreciation!

Sun Tea

 It is hot! 105 in Albuquerque yesterday, with the same expected today. And, after such a cool, rainy spring, I think we are all in shock, though June is usually the month where it reaches triple digits for a week or two, so we really shouldn’t be. Today I plan to make mint sun tea, write a short story, meet a friend at the pool, and be grateful that for the first time in over a decade, I am not outside, working on a film set in this heat! 

Producers love to shoot in New Mexico in the summer; long days full of amazing skies, desert vistas stretching for miles, 16 hours before you lose the light.  Pouring water over my head, wrapping a wet bandana around my neck, reapplying sunscreen again and again, holding the wool coats and petticoats of actors too hot to wear them, lugging garment bags up a mountain or into a canyon, eating bananas for the potassium, waiting for the sun to go down, trying to drink even half as much water as I should. 

Early in my career, I wore skirts and light blouses, but after ruining too many, switched to shorts and tee shirts, but after getting too much sun, switched to high tech UV fabric clothing that I rinse out each night, same outfit day after day, no skin showing. Only when the director goes down with heat stroke, do people slow and drink a Gatorade. 

I think of my dad, building a house out in the country. Watermelon for lunch, gallons of water sweated out, like a cleanse, year after year working through the summer. And of all the farm workers, road crews, and walking mail deliverers, working in the heat. My grandmother would meet her mailman at the door with a glass of lemonade. 

And six months from now, I might be writing the same post for cold. Bitter  and biting. Seems unimaginable now. 

Stay cool out there!

Just Be. 

  
I’ve been off for almost a month and, besides attending the writing class I signed up for, feel that I’ve done very little of what I set out to accomplish with this time.  I haven’t consistently gone to yoga or organized my studio or sat in my studio and made a bunch of stuff like I’d planned. 

But, what I have done is begin to calm down, get still, and just be. I bought a hammock and a stack of books, which I devour by the week. It reminds me of the summer between 7th and 8th grade when I sat on the front porch rationing pages of “Gone with the Wind” until finally it had to end, at which point I simply started it again. Somewhere along the way, reading went from necessity to luxury in my life and this summer I plan to reverse that trend.  

After living on the adrenaline high of a film set for months, it can be difficult to see how being is just as important as doing, if not more so. One month into my “self funded sebattical” and I’m only beginning to unwind. I look at the titles that caught my eye in the bookstore and I see a theme- stillness.  It is where we find the answers and the inspiration.  The answer being that our only job is to be our most authentic selves and that once we understand that, all else will fall into place. I like what these ladies are saying. 

In addition to reading, I’ve been gardening, cooking, and meditating; all things that are quickly ignored and forgotten when life gets crazy and chaotic, but which do more for my health than all of the supplements, acupuncturists, and massages combined. 

As I lie here wondering how to make a living from reading, swinging, writing, creating, traveling, and imagining, I realize that’s not for me to figure out. All I need is to keep doing the things I enjoy, make time and space for them, and trust that the next little clue will appear if I’m still enough to notice. 

Sabbatical 

I am sitting outside of a coffee shop in Albuquerque and a movie happens to be shooting across the street. Men in workbelts scurry around and I had to park around the corner because the street is full of “no parking due to filming” and “businesses are open” signs. And all I feel is relief. Relief that after sitting here for half an hour I can leave and go about my day. A day that didn’t start with an alarm and will end whenever I get tired and feel like going to bed. I’ve been off for just under two weeks and am only now starting to feel rested as the insomnia that dominated my last show begins to subside. 

I have a list of things I hope to accomplish during this self funded sabbatical, not the least of which is beginning to try to figure out a new way to make a living that doesn’t wreak havoc on my nervous system. Yikes! Whether it ends up taking over my film career or simply gives me more of a purpose and income in between film jobs, I don’t know. But, I do know that as I get older, the lifestyle that goes along with the film industry seems less and less sustainable for me.

I’ve signed up for writing classes and jewelry classes, I revamped my long neglected Etsy site, fresastudio.etsy.com, and am trying to stop thinking of such things as just hobbies, incapable of possibly supporting me. What if I gave them half of the hours I give my film career in a given week? Chances are they’d flourish. 

I am very grateful for a career that gives me the time to explore other options and has been such an interesting one for over a decade. But, at the moment, my studio is calling and I’m going to go see what I find there. I’ll let you know.