incubation

I was born three months early and I lived in an incubator for a bit. The joke in my family is that I was dramatic from the beginning and just so ready to go that I couldn’t wait to get out. I have seen pictures of me that small and it, of course, doesn’t really register that it’s me. Obviously… as there is no way that I would remember that time. But I’m proud of the fighter I was as a small baby. They weren’t sure I would make it but I proved them wrong.

My play closed last Saturday and with that event comes a miriade of emotions. Imagine the end of summer camp (I was going to say the end of a relationship but it’s not really that severe). All the time spent in each other’s company and all the secret moments and inside jokes. And no matter what happens, no matter how much you stay in contact afterwards or if you all go back next summer, there is nothing you can do to recapture or sustain that feeling. It has ended. The memories are amazing and you are forever changed but there is still the sadness of impermanence. I suppose it happens often in life but in my field it’s a very frequent occurrence. You build this family during a production or a shoot and it eventually comes to an end. Or at least, it becomes something different.

I am so proud of what we accomplished, of what I accomplished, and there’s hope for future productions and a larger life for my play. All in due time. But right now I am trying to remember the value of incubating. I am trying to sit still and breathe.

I joke that I am a mixture of constant activity and absolute stillness. While I am usually go-go-go at a non-stop pace, I also have the ability to be a complete slug if given the time to do so. I can sit on the sofa in my pajamas like a champ. I don’t know where I learned this but if I had to guess, I would say my father. He seems to possess this peace, this blend of a man who’s worked hard his whole life but also can tune it all out and simply be. I think there is an amazing element of serenity in this idea. In this seemingly incomprehensible blend of characteristics.

So now, while the ideas and options and “what now?” questions whirl around me, I am trying to just stay put. So I don’t miss anything. Sounds counter-intuative, right? I know. I’ve been struggling with the notion.

But I’m trying to stay in my incubator, bask in the safety and warmth and security of NOT having to do anything right now. Freeing myself up to embracing not knowing, not being certain. And remembering that this moment of pause, of resting, of perceived inactivity is actually a chance to acknowledge the work I’ve done and prepare myself for the future. To see the world as full of options without pressuring myself to choose one right now. Because I do believe that I will grown stronger in this time. In this stillness. To be honest, I am a bit tender right now. I imagine that we all are when things shift. When they change and there’s nothing you can do about it.

So I’m testing the waters. Casually searching for projects and possibilities, but knowing that if something doesn’t come along (or if it doesn’t feel right or purposeful or necessary) that I’m supposed to wait. I will not miss out. Wow, that’s a scary thing to say. I used to be a firm believer of the thought that opportunity only knocks once, well I really don’t think that’s true. I think we have the potential to be limitless, but we have to be ready and we have to listen. Because it might knock often but very softly and if we are running around like a maniac or freaking out about the next thing, we will miss it. Maybe it’s all about trust. Trust in ourselves and in the intangible belief that we will find our way, our path. It’s okay to sit down and rest for a minute. There’s a Ralph Waldo Emerson quote that I’ve scribbled in any journal I’ve ever owned. I love it and it’s become a dear literary friend: “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”

And after all, I do have a three month head start.

Enjoy your week… it’s been pretty beautiful outside here on the East Coast and hopefully where you are,

L

Things I’m digging this week: American Folk Art Museum’s Kaleidoscope Quilts exhibit (thanks Sally!), Murphy in Astoria

Dream Role: Yelena in Uncle Vanya

1 Comment

  1. Long Huynh
    September 3, 2009

    You are wise beyond your age. I wish that more people can read your posts and enjoy the wisdom that Lao Tzu has imparted thousands of years ago in his Tao Te Ching. I am speaking of the apparent paradox that you seem to live naturally (absolute stillness and constant activity). What may seem incomprehensible or counter-intuitive to a western mind makes complete sense to an eastern one. Embrace paradoxes and enrich your life.

    Reply

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