Monday, April 29, 2013

Scrambled Eggs opens in NYC!

I have worked on this play alone, with a dramaturg, and with my writing partner, for many years.  Often I would say to myself, "Why are you still working on this?  It's a waste of time."  But something compelled me to go back to it and to keep re-working it and refining it.  And the joy of the writing always motivated me to keep at it.  And the desire to entertain and also be of service also inspired me.

I never really thought that someday it would open in a theater in New York, with an excellent cast and director and that people would come and see it.  I never really imagined that there would be an audience for this play and that people in New York, one of the toughest cities in the world to succeed in theater, would actually laugh and really enjoy it.

This entire experience has been (so far, at least) a labor of love, community, creativity and joy.  There have been difficult times, creative arguments, some scary moments, lots of stress, but overall, so far it's been a dream come true and everyone from the assistant stage manager to the director is enthralled with this production.  I think the fact that our director has set a tone of generosity and respect for everyone, has given us all a freedom to be part of the creative process, enjoy every moment, to stay in the now, to take each day as it comes.

I decided to look at one of my Pema Chodron's books this morning and opened to this passage:

"We never know

When we think that something is going to bring us pleasure, we don't know what's really going to happen.  When we think something is going to give us misery, we don't know.  Letting there be room for not knowing is the most important thing of all.  We try to do what we think is going to help. But we don't know.  We never know if we're going to fall flat or sit up tall.  When there's a big disappointment, we don't know if that's the end of the story.  It may be just the beginning of a great adventure.  

I read somewhere about a family who had only one son.  They were very poor.  This son was extremely precious to them, and the only thing that mattered to his family was that he bring them some financial support and prestige.  Then he was thrown from a horse and crippled.  It seemed like the end of their lives.  Two weeks after that, the army came into the village and took away all the healthy, strong men to fight in the war, and this young man was allowed to stay behind and take care of his family.  

Life is like that.  We don't know anything.  We call something bad, we call it good.  But really we just don't know.  

Learning to live with not knowing has been a challenge for me, but I'm definitely getting better at it.  Like so many things in life, it is a practice and you just continue working on it, not until you get it right or perfectly, but until it becomes second nature.  And I don't know if that ever really happens, because even someone as enlightened as Pema Chodron says she struggles with day to day challenges.

Just being alive is a gift though.  It's almost May, the trees are filled with gorgeous blossoms.  And I look forward to tomorrow night, to being back in the theater with my wonderful creative family.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Life as an experiment

I haven't written on this blog in a long time.  It's mostly because I've been extremely busy and so much is happening.

Our play "Scrambled Eggs" is opening this coming week.  It's very exciting and also very stressful.  I have never had much confidence, so this is really a stretch for me.  I know that every creative endeavor, when you put it into the world, requires some nerves of steel, which I don't have.  But I do have the awareness that life is about taking risks and sometimes you come out okay and sometimes you don't.

The fun of this experience has been in the work.  I have enjoyed writing this for a long time and working with this cast is a joy.

Also, I've continued writing for the Huffington Post on various subjects - faith, loss, grief, dancing, divorce, women leaders.  It's been a great outlet for me to write anything I am interested in.

Today, I have mostly been obsessing about the play and how the dress rehearsal had some major mistakes and that the leading man, like me, seems to have terrible allergies.  And on and mind can go into the most imaginative and creative disasters.

So once again, Pema Chodron came to the rescue. I was cleaning out my wallet and I came across this passage, that I carry around with me (and forget to look at):

"My teacher, Trungpa Rinpoche encouraged us to lead our lives as an experiment, a suggestion that has been very important to me.  When we approach life as an experiment we are willing to approach it this way and that way because, either way, we have nothing to lose.

This immense flexibility is something I learned from watching Trungpa Rinpoche.  His enthusiasm enabled him to accomplish an amazing amount in his life. When some things didn't work out, Rinpoche's attitude was 'no big deal.'  If it's time for something to flourish, it will; if it's not time, it won't.  

The trick is not getting caught in hope and fear.  We can put our whole heart into whatever we do; but if we freeze our attitude for or against, we're setting ourselves up for stress.  Instead, we should just go forward with curiosity, wondering where this experiment will lead."  

As I published this, I noticed that my last blog post included this same passage!  Interesting coincidence.  I guess it's important that I take this in.