Chapter 3- My Words are Inadequate.

I was just trying to write something here for the first time in several days, but a wedding passed by the hotel, so I had to go and watch. And so it goes.


Words, or at least the ones I know, seem an inadequate form for India. I want to touch it, wear it, hear it, eat it, smell it, and live it.

The compassion. Curry. Textiles. People. And the, literally, totally rocking Temples. Everyone I’ve met, from people on the street, to shop keepers, to drivers, discuss vibration, energy, and the Gods as if discussing restaurants or the weather. Spirituality is so interwoven with life, it seems impossible to separate the two.

And, why would we want to?

This morning, while eating breakfast, I watched as a wild pig, two cows, several dogs with pups, monkeys, chipmunks, birds, and people went about their morning routine, together. None with any more right to be there, in the intersection, than the other.

The fields surrounding town are full of mustard plants, blooming with yellow flowers. Our driver told us it will be harvested at the beginning of March and then it will get hot, very hot, through October.

Right now it is beautiful outside. Warm in the day and cool at night.

If you’d like a silver pendant shaped like a mango and filled with perfume, look for Mangoman’s shop in Bundi.


All photos taken in Bundi, Rajasthan.

Checking In

I am happy. I realized that recently, as I drove down a nondescript street doing nondescript errands. It was an ordinary day and it was good. The air felt soft because of recent rains, I had just eaten lunch with a dear friend, laughed at her stories of recent African movie set adventures, and I was beginning to plan my own overseas adventures for the fall.
It was somewhat startling to realize that I had achieved my New Year’s resolution, maybe the first ever.

Along with that realization came the feeling that I was in my life, I was present, here, now, and was living it rather than vice versa. I was making choices based on how they might lead towards the life I envisioned for myself. Happiness is an abstract term and differs for everyone, but I am becoming clearer on what it means for me. It means being home more often and on the road less, at least for now. It means feeling like I am part of a community, it means having time to be creative, to travel, get out of debt, cook healthy food in my own kitchen, harvest veggies from my garden, and be in town long enough to make new friends. It is about presence and making choices, rather than going along, making the choice not to make choices, always feeling there will be time to be happy. Later.

‘Happiness’ was my word for 2014 and ‘congruence’ the word for age 35. Keeping both at the center of all decisions I make has made it easier and clearer to figure out what works and what doesn’t. The second guessing, what ifs, and desires of the ego have been replaced with a clarity. Not that they’re gone; they’re simply easier to recognize and to ignore.

So, as I check in with myself, more than half way through the year, I am happy to report it feels like August. I can account for the first seven months of the year because, though some were difficult, I was there. There have been years of my life when, like someone driving a well known route, I didn’t know how I’d gotten there and couldn’t believe another year was half way over. But, not 2014. I have been present and as I move forward I see how intertwined the ideas of presence, happiness, honesty, and congruence all really are.

Improvising Happiness

One week into my new year here on earth and I’ve honestly been too busy to think about much, other than my sore feet. But, as my recent jobs, working on shows that take place in both Ancient Egypt and the 1940’s, come to a close, I have some time to reflect.

I’ve always liked where my birthday falls within the year. With three months between it and New Years, I am usually a bit clearer about my wishes, hopes, and a word for the year. Three months ago, I chose “happiness” as my word for 2014, in an attempt to keep things simple.

Now, for age 35, I’m adding the word “congruence.” Hoping to stay on track with happiness, I am attempting to make sure my choices and decisions are in line with that desire. It’s taken years to finally figure out that I truly am the engineer, manifester, designer, or whatever you want to call it, of my life. Happiness is a choice and one that I want to make daily.

I’ve spent much of the past year really paying attention to the small things that repeatedly bring me joy and those that don’t. I’ve allowed things to change and evolve and accepted that things which used to do the trick, might not anymore. And I’ve had to realize that my life might end up looking very different than I once thought it would, but that if I’m staying on track with being happy, then it doesn’t matter and it’s all good.

Eight weeks ago, I signed up for an improv class on a whim. It was something I hadn’t done since college and that I hoped would go well with my creative writing classes; getting me out of my head, keeping me present, helping me to have fun and take myself less seriously. It achieved all of those and yesterday, after the last class, we were all given “World’s Best Improvisor” awards.

I had to laugh at how perfectly this fit into my life. I feel like the universe keeps asking me to replace outdated plans and agendas with improvisation and trust. By staying present, paying attention to what makes me happy, letting go of what doesn’t, and keeping my decisions in line with that happiness, I have more of it in my life every day.


Oh, 2013, it’s been… interesting!

It’s been a year of lessons, floods, introspection, things coming from left field, and of learning to let go, to laugh at myself, and to trust. Really, it’s been the exact opposite of the extroverted adrenaline high that was my 2012.

I should have known when I bought a calendar on which proclaimed that 2013 would be “the best year ever,” that I was setting myself up for trouble. I really wanted the excitement of 2012 to continue, but it was soon obvious that 2013 was to be about landing back in my life, examining, and moving forward from there. I had to learn to trust myself and the universe when I had no idea where I was being led.

In one of my first smagik posts, I wrote that I’d chosen “centered” as my word for the year and that I’d have to wait until the end of the year to see if that was an appropriate choice. Well, be careful what you ask for! The universe will not simply bestow the feeling, but will hand you the situation in which to practice that which you say you want.

For much of the summer and fall, I felt that I was in a little rowboat, trying to make it through stormy waves of emotion I’d never experienced before, heading towards an unknown destination, trying not to capsize. Trying to stay centered.

Turning down job offers, I took writing classes which had me plumbing my depths for material, unsure where any of it would lead. Submitting work and heading to El Salvador for surf camp, I crossed two items off of my bucket list.

As I sit here, on the last day of the year, I think Wow. It actually has been a good year, just not in the ways I expected it to be. It had some great highs and dark lows, but here I am, feeling truly more centered than ever. Watch what you ask for!

And so, as a friend likes to say, “keep it simple, stupid.” This year I’m choosing Happiness as my word. Keeping it simple. I’ll report back in a year!

Happy 2014 to all!



Ever since Happiness heard your name, it has been running through the streets trying to find you.

I’ve loved this quote from the first time I saw it hanging on my sister’s refrigerator.  The idea of happiness as a living thing, searching for you, wanting to be with you, waiting until you pop around a corner and then wham, slamming right into you.  Something to be cherished when it happens. And when it does, don’t waste time by worrying that it might be short lived or that you don’t deserve such joy. No, simply enjoy it and be present. As you become comfortable with it, happiness will find you more often and it will become normal. Still not something to take for granted and always something to cherish, but not unusual or frightening, as it may have been in the beginning.


Since my last movie ended, while waiting for the next to begin in March, I’ve had time to fall into a natural daily rhythm, of which writing these posts is now a part.  Without work as an anchor, I try to keep to a schedule of sorts, albeit a loose one that involves afternoon walks, writing, and tea drinking.  Trying to fill these empty days in a way that is meaningful and doesn’t just skip over them as the time between jobs, is something I’ve spent the past ten years figuring out.

I wake, make my way downstairs, and turn on the kettle.  I open the curtain on the large, south facing, kitchen window and even on the rare cloudy day, light fills the main room of my house.  With my tea and my most recent gluten free (more on that to come) breakfast discovery, I sit at the kitchen table, turn on the computer, and after first clicking on The New York Times to make sure the world hasn’t ended (sad but true), I end up on wordpress.  I think for a few minutes of what I feel like writing and, more often than not, go with the first idea that pops into my head.

After posting my latest ponderings, I think of a plan for the rest of the day. Small tasks left over from my remodel kept me busy for most of January and February and recently I’ve turned my sights on my yard. It is still too cold to do much outside, but I’m coming up with a plan with the help of pinterest, books, and daily walks through the neighborhood, for what to do once spring arrives.

In addition to checking home projects and basic life organization off my list, I try to concentrate on things that I miss and have no time to do when working 80 hours a week on a movie. I cook, I baby my plants, I ride my bike around the neighborhood, I drink too much wine with friends on weeknights, I read until late, and I allow myself to be lazy.  I get great joy out of organizing my life, whether perfecting a new filing system or decorating my house, knowing that these things will be my anchor once the days are too busy to think or deal with anything other than work and sleep.

It’s a strange, imbalanced life and has taken me years to figure out.  At some point, when I was younger and new to the film industry, I realized that I was counting down the days in my life; I was either on a film waiting for it to wrap or between films, waiting for a new one to begin. I was never really present. This was a startling realization and one that I worked very hard to reverse and change.  I now try to do small things while working that keep me involved in my life, whether it is a yoga mat on the floor of my hotel room, weekly dates with friends, or simply remembering to be present at work, realizing what a bizarre job I have and appreciating it, even when I’m tired.  And, when I am off, I try to appreciate that time, taking care of business, going on trips, spending time with friends and family and taking time in the morning to talk to my plants.

By continuously counting down the days, always feeling like it should have been different than it was, or that happiness and contentment were things that would simply appear in my life when the outside circumstances were perfect, I spent years of my life unhappy and not really living. It was only when I became truly present, whether working or off or home or away, that I began to see the opportunities and beauty that were all around.