Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Things I DON'T Want for Christmas.

It is that time of year again, folks- the time when we all are scurrying about town trying to find the perfect gift for our loved ones. Here are the items I do NOT want for Christmas:

1. A foot spa. Way more mess than de-stress.
2. Any bath product/makeup gift set that was purchased at a drug store/Wal-Mart while you were on your aspirin/cheetos/shaving cream/extra twinkly Christmas lights run. These lotions smell like depressed middle aged women, and sort of make me feel like an afterthought.
3. Anything the Kardashians have endorsed.
4. Any gift basket filled with sausage and cheese.
5. Gout.
6. Glass figurines of any kind. Those will never have a place in my home.
7. Any CD on which Barry Williams is a featured artist. Although I do have an appreciation for novelty albums from the 1980's featuring washed-up television stars, but Barry Williams is a little too much for me.

I was just reading a blog that Jason Mraz posted recently (which inspired the creation of today's post) and it got me feeling spiritually awakened. About a year ago, he got a tattoo on his arm that reads "Be Love". He is all about this idea of being "Love Itself" and not waiting for it to show up (a concept he first learned about at the beautiful Cafe Gratitude in San Francisco). This is a concept found in many eastern religions and one that I think needs to be more widespread here.

It seems to me that if we all just focus on being love ourselves, all the things that bother us about others will disappear. Jason cited the example of the fact that we often beat ourselves up over something we think we heard. Say you’re driving and your passenger yells “BRAKES!” to avoid disaster. Sometimes we hear that as, "YOU CAN’T DRIVE!" It’s common to interpret in that manner. It happens all the time. We apply meaning in ways that make situations much more difficult to deal with. If we can learn to "Be Love", maybe we won't internalize so much or so often. This is the perfect time of year to start with this new mentality. What ways are you all "being love"?

Sunday, December 5, 2010

no day but today...

On Friday night, the show I've been rehearsing for the past few months opened. My Saturday was spent performing a matinee and an evening show. We had a break in between, so I went to a new friend's home to watch RENT with her and another friend. 

Every time I watch the recording of the final night on broadway, I feel as though I am experiencing the story for the first time and I am reminded of the prolific messages within.

Maybe it's the love that Collins and Angel have for each other-  a constant reminder of how we should be loving every day. "when you're worn out and tired, when your heart has expired, with a thousand sweet kisses, i'll cover you"

Maybe it's Roger learning that there is "no day but today" for life and love, and living "there's only us, there's only this, forget regret or life is yours to miss"

Maybe it's Maureen standing up for something she believes in so passionately that she can convince an entire audience to moo with her. 

Maybe it's the fact that these people are living the best way they know how and making every day passionately and profoundly important. 

"to the stage! to Uta! to Buddha! Pablo Neruda too... actual reality, act up, fight AIDS! VIVA LA VIE BOHEME!"

Jonathan Larson's magnum opus changed a lot of people's lives, myself included. His life was tragically cut short by an aortic aneurism just before RENT was to open at the New York Theatre Workshop. I often think about what important messages might have come from him had he lived, but I will be forever grateful to him for the important role his work his played in my life. Here's to you, Mr. Larson- you changed the world and never got to see what wonders you created. Rest peacefully.

Jonathan Larson