Tuesday, May 15, 2012

the unbearable lightness of being

Consider yourself warned that this post will have no neat beginning, middle, and end, no moral to the story, no general theme lined with specific examples, none of the stuff that I usually strive for in my posts. My mother, who is a professional writer, would be ashamed. But I've been busy - busy working, busy chasing my own tail, busy being busy, trying to put one foot in front of the other and accomplish my goals in a linear fashion of when projects are due versus which project has people attached to it that like to scream and wave their hands frantically at me and insist on being the center of my universe.

What I would like to be doing: catching up on episodes of Revenge. Eating my weight in ice cream. Working off the ice cream by doing Yoga or something else that might make me feel strong and healthy and be able to stop my brain from doing the Neurotic Tango when the lights go out - three things I haven't felt or done in a long time.

What I am doing instead: memorizing lines for the show I'm in once a month; memorizing lines for my acting class; memorizing lines for the web-series I'm co-starring in and shooting almost every weekend day (which means I haven't had a proper weekend in a month, as I work Monday through Friday, then shoot 8 am to 8 pm on Saturdays and Sundays, then go back to work on Mondays); memorizing ASL signs for the ASL class I'm in (my final was last night, and I passed with flying colors); and doing production work (putting together call sheets, call times, time schedules, etc) for the web-series I'm also acting in. I also just got elected to the Board of my church, as its youngest member. Oh, and hey, I'm also planning my wedding.

Color me overwhelmed. With what feels like permanent marker.

So here's a list of things that have got me through the past few weeks.

  • I've started leaving my office during lunch. Instead of sitting at my desk and eating in front of the soft, romantic glow of my computer screen, and occasionally working during my lunch (answering phone calls, responding to the boss' needs, checking work email), one day I just walked out of the damn building with my food and a book and found a quiet place to sit and read while I ate. And it was the best lunch hour of my life. So I did it again the next day, and the next. I can't tell you how much it's improved my sanity to eat while no one is bothering me, and to eat outdoors. It's like getting a high-five from the universe every single day.
  •  This line by Mary Oliver, which pretty much has become my dictum for life: "Pay attention.
    Be astonished. Tell about it.”
    Just about every thing Mary Oliver writes comes down to attention, so much so that she compares it to prayer on numerous occasions. And whenever things suck in my life, it's usually because I'm not paying attention to what really matters, to being in the moment and instead I'm elsewhere, distracted, half-assing it. It's the Kairos moment I talked about as my new year's theme and it's where the root of my spirituality lies and every second I am kind to myself or to someone else (which is by far the most important thing on this planet), it's because I was finally paying attention.
  • An interactive photograph of the entire universe. It's not fake, it's not Photoshop. It's the deepest photograph of the universe as we know it yet, and when things get stressful I literally just go to the website and tilt up the picture 90 degrees so that it feels like I am lying on my back, staring up at stars. It works wonders.
  •  Realizing my ego does not go gently into that good night, and reciting this line over and over again to counteract the loudness of its tantrums: "Do you value your reasons for staying small more than the light shining through the open door?"(source here)
  •  Following this guy on Twitter. He also wrote a book. Sample dictionary definition of his: "Between, prep.: I live in the area bounded by my expectations and my disappointments."
  • Buying tickets to not one but TWO Hollywood Bowl shows this year: Pixar in Concert in August and Florence + the Machine in early October. 
  • Oh and: fresh strawberries, naps, back rubs from my favorite guy, engagement parties, flip-flop weather, Mother's Day picnics, ice cold pink lemonade, frozen yogurt, clean sheets, too much poetry, letting it go, letting it go even more, and gratitude, gratitude, gratitude.


Lira Kellerman said...

Breathe. And remind me how busy you are when I yell at you. xoxo

rosaria williams said...

Ah, the pace of youth, the dizziness of it all, the balloon of hope held on a long string. I loved all that you are in this minute squeezing more minutes than possible into your day.

Robin said...

That sky thing was awesome. Funny how we are both trying to fully appreciate being present and finding it difficult, but for such different reasons. I have no doubt that you will sort it out and find ways to make the most out of each moment.

kj said...

tracy, i LOVE so much about this post. i went to all your 'heres' of course. i'm always impressed that you and lori take the time to share so many great links. i could write you a book tonight but i'll just say i love mary oliver too, i love that you are happy, i love seeing the universe, and keep eating lunch outside :^)

p.s. i've given up on being present. and hahaha, guess what?! i forget to be somewhere else when i don't try. who knew?! ♥

Marion said...

I love you. You are a wise woman, full of love and light. Thanks for sharing your coping techniques. I'm going to visit that sky site often. I'm glad you're busy doing things you love. That is huge. Love & Kisses, my friend. xoxo

Anthony Duce said...

I so enjoyed this glimpse into your world at the moment. There was a little jealousy of wanting to be back in my earlier days when so much was wanting and needing to be accomplished. It seemed like it was taking forever then, and now it seems like only yesterday.

Two Tigers said...

This was a really great post. Of course I have sooo many other things I should and could be doing, but something made me slow down and not only read through the whole thing but follow all the wonderful links too. I think you just racked up some serious extra credit in the "doing someone else a kindness" category! Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Barbara said...

I'm exhausted just reading what you've been doing! But you're busy doing exactly what you should be doing....LIVING LIFE. :)
Your list of coping mechanisms is great. I loved the universe photo...amazing. But especially, taking lunch time outside by yourself, that's the best. Keep doing that, no matter what. You need that time to recharge.
Loved the post...your mother would NOT be ashamed, she'd be impressed!

Gwen said...

I now have the sky website saved as a favorite! And there is nothing better than leaving the office during lunch. I used to do the same thing you were doing. But now I never stay at the office. It's my quiet time.

Just remember to enjoy as much "me" time as possible. Buy a new nail polish. It always helps to have to sit with wet nails drying. :)

drollgirl said...

good lord lady! you are busier than a kardashian! yikes!

Eric W. Trant said...

Wouldn't mind seeing Florence. That'll be awesome!

I find my daily lunch breaks are necessary, too. I hit the gym, and if I don't feel like working out, I walk, and I think, and I relax.

I call it "me" time. It's something everyone needs, even if you are so busy you can barely find blood enough to keep up with your racing heart.

- Eric

Bathwater said...

Pay attention, I get that.

Red Shoes said...

Breathe... never forget to breathe.

I LOVE that interactive sky link!!

After viewing that, talk about feeling insignificant...

As for everything else, you are BUSY!!


Behold the Metatron said...

LOVE your leave the office for lunch rule. I need to do that!

ps I'm hosting a postcard giveaway!

Eric W. Trant said...

Tracy, saw your post today, and I don't know if you read my earlier post just below it. My 18mo son died of a seizure the weekend of May 18.

- Eric

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