Sunday, May 1, 2016

Focus on The JOY: On Set of "Hand of God" Season 2

Friday, I had the good fortune of spending the day doing what I love... acting professionally!!

I was on the set of HAND OF GOD, when I was reminded of what my mother always says when I tell her I have an audition.

"What is for you, is for you."

It's funny how whenever she said it, I would just sigh and think yeah yeah but I want to book it. The truth is my mother's sage advice has become the best perspective I could take to my work.

This simple statement reminded me that I had no need to be nervous or waste a moment entertaining any thoughts of nervousness or fear. As I drove down to the set, I repeated my mother's words and allowed myself to focus on JOY, I set the intention of lapping up every ounce of JOY I could experience from the day from every interaction with the crew to the wonderful director to my playtime with my cast mate.
Kevin D'Arcy & Anastasia Liddeck on set

There is something about staying "present" and "grateful" that opens a door to enjoyment. To my surprise, the sound guy on HAND OF GOD was the same guy who hooked me up for sound on my stint on AMERICAN HORROR STORY last year. Small world. It reminded me again just how much I have to be grateful for.

The day was a blast. I literally enjoyed every single moment. In doing, that I felt such freedom in my work it literally felt like play.

This is going to be my performing ritual moving forward.

Focus on the JOY and everything else will fall into place.

 

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Finding Balance & Setting Priorities

This has been an interesting week. Wednesday morning I received a call from my nephew that my brother Cecil had what is called a "widowmaker" heart attack while he was at the doctor's office for back pain. Thankfully, he was in the best place for this to happen. Luckily, they did not have to open his chest but somehow went in through his leg and put in three stints. Saturday, he called me from his home in Dover, Delaware to assure me he was doing well and on the road to recovery.

My mother, this morning, fell and hit her head, hurt her neck, and had to be admitted to the hospital in Philadelphia.  She is recovering but it was definitely a scare as she is 89 and already suffering from prior falling incidents.

I have not been able to afford to go home in about two years but the "Universe" is telling me I need to make it happen. So, I intend to fly home in mid June. Where the money will come from I don't know but I trust that the money will come and I know it will come.

So what is going on? What am I meant to learn from all these health challenges? What has come to me is how important it is for me to, number one, take a good look at my own state of health. I've recently started a meditation practice and a ritual of going to LA Fitness every morning to workout for an hour. However, the most important thing I have realized is how important it is to never leave things unsaid with those you love.  I live so far away, it is easy to get lost in the busywork of my day-to day "stuff". At the end of the day, no acting job will make up for being disconnected from family. My new challenge will be striking the balance of pursuing my dreams and remaining close to those I love on the other side of the country.

Life continues forward no matter what. It is up to me to make sure I don't miss out on nurturing the relationships in my life that mean the most to me.

My love to all, wherever you are.


 



 

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Learning to "Listen" and Follow The Current of My Meditation

What a beautiful, sunny Sunday it is here in Los Angeles.  I woke up as planned to do my morning meditation which I did, Now if I were keeping with my new schedule I would have been preparing for my Spanish session followed by a trip to my local LA Fitness. My body had other things in mind.

You see, I spent so much time during Saturday's workout session on an ab machine, my body went into shock. I was able to do some plant shopping at Lowe's directly after my workout. However, after transplanting a rather large Mother-in-Law's Tongue plant into two containers to decorate my bedroom, I found myself unconscious on my bed. I slept until about 2 pm. Much of my Saturday is a bit of a fog as my ever present sore ab muscles made my plans of apartment cleaning a dream I would undertake another day. After publishing my blog post yesterday, my body led me back to bed and I continued to sleep the day away. I woke again sometime in the evening to squeeze in Rusty's second walk around the neighborhood.

Still feeling groggy, we returned home and I relaxed, did my 2nd meditation session before I visited Jordan Bach's website, The Bach Book, where I watched a clip of Oprah Winfrey giving a speech at Stanford on Living A Meaningful Life. It's an inspiring speech. It was late and in the middle of my viewing Lady O, just below my balcony window, an obviously drunk woman sat in the alley of my apartment building and proceeded to scream at her soon to be ex-boyfriend for cheating on her with some woman and keeping it a secret for a year. In the privacy of my own bedroom, I felt like an intruder on their conversation, so Rusty and I took a late night walk. I returned later, finished my inspirational viewing and fell once again into a deep sleep.

I awoke today, now with the rest of my body as sore as my abs still were. LA Fitness was not on today's menu. I am happy to say, I did fit in my Spanish session, albeit later than planned. As if a repeat of Saturday, I fell asleep only to be awakened by a group of women from a neighboring apartment building screaming at each other for some unknown reason. Rusty and I took it as our cue to go for his walk. We returned and, yes, I found myself back in bed. I have only felt this exhausted after running the LA Marathon. While in bed I noticed I had been sleeping next to the second book picked up from The Illiad Bookshop during the week. It is entitled "The Heart of Meditation: pathways to a deeper experience" by Swami Durgananda. Truthfully, I have no idea why I picked it up other than impulse.  I only read the book's Foreword and I realized this book has, in some way, a part to play in the journey I am now on. Swami Durgananda writes:     

"Meditation is the basis for all inner work. We might struggle conscientiously to change our limiting qualities; we might saturate ourselves with instructions and help, both concrete and subtle. Yet in the end, it is the direct, naked encounter with our own Awareness that shifts our understanding of who we are and gives us the power to stand firmly in the center of our being. No one else can do this for us. Only meditation unlocks those doors."


After reading this, I suddenly realized this was in essence exactly what Oprah was talking about in her lecture but I allowed the distraction of the drunk lady under my balcony to overshadow the message I was given.

I find myself in the midst of a mini epiphany. There are so many things going on around me that may seem completely irrelevant but may hold something, whether it be as simple as a thought, or a passing comment that I am meant to hear if I a open to the hearing. So what am I saying?  I have been expecting some big revelation to appear within the silence of my meditation practice, and in the past this is where I would get frustrated and give up. However, what if part of the point of meditation is, the practice of getting quiet in my mind allows me to be aware of messages sent my way through the seemingly random experiences of daily living? What if there is something to be gained by questioning why of all places that woman last night decided to have her drunken rant under my balcony? All of a sudden, every moment of my day has the potential to teach me something.

I would much rather see my life as brimming with endless possibilities for spiritual growth. Listening, living more mindfully, seem to be the inescapable messages the Universe is sending this weekend.      



Saturday, April 16, 2016

Getting "Daily Rituals" in Order with Help from Google Calendar App!


 No one,who knows me, would ever accuse me of being tech-savvy.  That's a fact! But things keep falling into my lap to give me the assistance I need to stick to the new rituals I am currently incorporating into my day.

Two days ago, while strolling through Twitter I came across a cute ad for the Google Calendar App that has a new feature allowing you to set goals. Just what I needed to keep me honest. So, I scheduled my morning and nightly meditation sessions, a half hour morning Spanish study session, and a morning trip to LA Fitness. What I like about it is that it sends me a reminder 30 minutes before my scheduled goal and prompts me to mark the goal as completed after my scheduled session is concluded.  Yeah, it may seem like a bit much, but having my goals planned out on a calendar with reminders forces me to stay on track. I know myself well enough that keeping track of things makes me feel good and eliminates "forgetting" when I would rather stay in bed.

The cool thing is I am back to waking up at 6:00 am and by 9:00 am every morning I have meditated, studied Spanish- currently via Duolingo App, and worked out for an hour. This is a far cry from dragging myself out of bed at 9:30 am, getting wrapped up in work and not feeling like I have any "me" time.

The overall goal is to develop the daily routine that doesn't feel like a chore.

Thanks, Google for giving me something useful and helping me feel productive first thing in the morning. I look forward to finding more uses to improve my time management.  Now, yes, the app isn't perfect. I'm not doing an ad for Google but it just really works for me, and that's what matters.

My next step is coming up with a workout routine so I maximize my hour at the gym. This has been my challenge in the past. No more excuses.  If my ass is gonna wake up early I better make the time count, right?

Below is the funny Google ad that turned me on to the app and inspired me to add Learning Spanish back onto my "To Do" List! Haha! Watch and it will make sense. :)   







Friday, April 15, 2016

Meditation Practice Opens Door to Discovering the Works of Marianne Williamson

I find myself struck by the tiny shifts happening in my daily life once I made a personal decision to live from a place of Truth in a real meaningful way.  I have for years had much difficulty embracing a meditation practice. I just had big expectations of some big spiritual awakening but my mind seemed to ramp up with mindless chatter and I gave up.

This time around, I have found that simply being in a place of wanting to make a life change and if you will, surrender, has made all the difference.  I am one week in to, once in the morning when I wake up and again at night before I go to bed, sitting on my meditation pillow and listening to the silence without expectation of anything. My goal is to simply establishing the "practice" and whatever benefit will come when it will come.

To my surprise, what I am finding is while nothing particular seems to be happening while I am on the pillow, I am finding myself drawn to material during the rest of my day that is showing me a more spiritually mature way of looking at situations as they arise.

Case in point, I have heard of Marianne Williamson, but for some reason, I have never read a single bit of any of her many bestselling books on spirituality. In retrospect, I find this strange since, I have a ton of books on spirituality, self-help, what have you. So why have I never read anything she wrote? Odd. This week, however, she has been popping up for me almost daily. Of course, I walked to The Illiad Bookshop a few blocks from my home and bought my first Marianne Williamson book, A RETURN TO LOVE. I get it. I don't think I was ready for her.

If I am truthful with myself, up to this point in my life, my sense of spirituality has been about escaping my own pain and finding happiness through spiritual "Ra Ra" positive thinking without addressing on any deep, meaningful way, what is actually happening.

Now I am ready and listening to her conversations, her thoughts and it makes complete sense. It isn't easy but what she says just makes sense and inspires me to look at the shadow and light of who I am.

I just came across this Youtube interview that Kristen Noel had with Marianne Williamson for Best Self Magazine. Such an interesting, thought provoking discussion, definitely worth listening to when you are ready to make the time.

     


My "New Chapter" Begins: Appearing on Amazon Original Series, HAND OF GOD!


I am happy to say, the Universe has given me a sign I am on the right track starting this new chapter of my life, as mentioned in my prior post!

I just got word that I booked a role in an episode of the Amazon original series "Hand Of God." I look forward to shooting later this month.

Every opportunity I receive to do what I love professionally is truly a blessing.

Getting Back on Track with the Help of A Daily Meditation Practice

It has been an interesting journey I have been on moving through 2015 and into 2016.  I am happy to say that my niece continues on her long road to recovery. While she faces many many challenges still to overcome, she is truly inspiring.  How she keeps her sense of humor and positive disposition through it all is amazing.

Unfortunately, as fate would have it, my 89 year old mum has her own health challenges of late. Out of all this, I have to give mad props to my sister Andrea who is back in Philadelphia, holding things together for both our mother and her daughter. I struggled with feeling a bit selfish being so far away on the other side of the U.S.A. pursuing my acting dreams while my family has been in crisis mode. One of the reality checks of the life I have chosen is, when family issues arise, my finances and sheer distance from my loved ones make it impossible to physically be there with them as often as I would like. Suffice to say, I have not had much desire to write on this blog.

My sister, being the wonderful woman she is, assured me that the best thing I can do is focus on my career and give them something positive to focus on as my family members are my biggest cheerleaders. So, I am in many ways renewed by my desire to succeed, not only to make my family proud but to also one day be able to be a means of support beyond phone calls and pep talks via my I-Phone.

That said, I have decided to spend some time, taking yet another hard look at my career and life. I know there is nothing that brings me more joy than when I am acting on set. The question is, what more can I do to move my career truly to the next level? It's strange, but having this "new motivation" beyond myself to succeed, has me seeing how much can be gained by my shifting things up and pushing my comfort zone limits.

My first step is establishing a meditation practice. It is currently in its infancy as I near the end of my first week of meditation once in the morning when I wake and once before bed. By the weekend, I will be adding a morning trip to LA Fitness to my daily practice. The fact of the matter is, my beginning to get real with myself has made two things very clear. I have two immediate tasks on my road of renewal. One is quitting smoking, once and for all. The second is losing about 35 lbs and getting into competitive shape. These are not new revelations. I have simply used cigarettes and food to deal with career and personal anxieties. Period. I have been lazy. Period. I can no longer afford to be lazy.

I believe it is never to late to change. So, I'm here at the beginning of a new chapter in my life. I may need to use this blog to speak my truth and be accountable to living in my truth so I don't allow myself to "half-live" a life of "lame excuses."

Here we go...