Friday, 27 May 2011

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Authenticity


' A little bit of real coffee is worth a ton of watered down' - Lee Strasberg

Friday, 20 May 2011

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Shifts Happen!

For the previous 4 months I have been preparing to play 'Rooster' in the musical 'Annie'.

From the outset this production has been like walking uphill backwards wearing a blindfold. Back in January the original director had to step aside due to health complications, leaving the dance choreographer to take on the role of dance choreographer and director. As a result rehearsals have been slow and direction has been minimal. I became so upset that I made the decision to go underground with my preparations.
Slowly but surely 'The Rooster' started to emerge like a crooked butterfly from a crysallis; the wannabe gangster with his slicked back hair, pencil moustache and pin striped suit holding a cigar in his hand. On the one hand supremely confident and on the other a desperately insecure misfit.


As the first show approached I quietly poised myself on the start blocks.

Suddenly, like a bolt out of the blue last Monday during rehearsals, I started to get a sore throat which  gradually progressed into a full blown cold. Then the following day, my back went into spasm and I found myself rooted to the spot, grimacing in pain, crying out for help.


Given that I was down on my knees unable to move, I decided to ask myself the following question:


What is this for?


Tatty, twisted images of  the wounded boy started to bubble to the surface; a misfit; a no good failure!


STOP!

I am not a failure!

Julias Truly Alive blog came to mind.

What if  I stopped thinking there is a right or wrong way.


' Rise, put hat on, jam it on the head, fling it to the ground, pick it up, tear it to pieces, pause briefly ...


What if I don't have to be perfect on show night.


... strike fist hard on furniture, stamp the foot, wheel around ...'


What if simply said YES to what wants to be expressed through me?

I made a decision to drop the bullshit/pleasing/trying to be good and  take care of little Nige; resting , meditating, letting go of the jagged edges, softening into the pain. eating simple healthy food and drinking lots of water. Ell massaged my back with essential oils everyday and constantly reassured me that everything was going to be okay. Meanwhile, Rooster reluctantly looked on. Maybe, if I could bring acceptance to this part of myself  there was just enough time left to help Rooster  realise that he is loved and accepted too.


I returned to band rehearsal feeling weary,aching from head to toe, unable to sing, and during the break I sat  with Ell and and sobbed. This was the turning point which enabled me to bring compassion to the hurting boy trapped inside a mans body. In a single moment I  forgave myself and returned to tech rehearsal holding little Nige's hand reassuring him that I would stand by him no matter what happened. 

From that  moment forward 'The Rooster' has gone from strength to strength. I am learning that trying to be perfect in an imperfect world is like trying to be a potato when you're really a carrot. So, rather than focusing on trying to be perfect I have focused on perfect expression and funnily enough the moment I dropped the bullshit my heart leapt for joy. 

Last night the show opened and 'The Rooster' took to the stage - a little bit mis-shapen and rough at the edges but still 'The Rooster' and guess what; he shone brighter than the top of the Chrysler Building. Thanks Julia for gently reminding me that it's okay to be human.


Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Rebirth


'You need chaos in your soul to give birth to a dancing star.'
-  Friedrich Nietzsche


Monday, 2 May 2011

Say YES to Self-Love

We have a little experiment for you today.

Take a minute to complete each of the following two sentences. Don’t think about your answers; just blurt them out, without any modesty – false or otherwise.

I like myself because...
I don’t like myself because…

Nige and Ell did this over pancakes this morning. This is some of what we said.

Nige: 

I like that I am kind and considerate and fun and creative.

I don’t like myself because I think that I’m not educated enough (the fact that I pissed around in all my exams doesn’t count because my parents are to blame anyway). I don’t like myself because I’m quite controlling (notice the word quite!) and sometimes struggle to share how I’m feeling and withdraw especially in my relationship with Elloa.

Elloa: 

I like myself because I’m passionate and sensitive and I care about nature and people, and I feel things deeply. (Nige is now saying, “What about me? I’m caring, aren’t I?")

I don’t like myself because I am so moody (Nige agrees – that’s something I don’t like about him!), and controlling, and I have big hips and wonky teeth (kind of like a hippopotamus that needs to see an orthodontist.) 

What Nige noticed and articulated - in a very educated way - was just how easy it was for each of us in turn to become animated, passionate, convinced and alive when talking about what we don’t like about ourselves. Naming what we do like about ourselves seemed to lack a bit of colour and depth.  

What did you notice?

A Course In Miracles teaches that Spirit and ego are in same place - the mind; every thought you think either aligns with one or the other, witnessing to what you believe about yourself and eventually creating form on some level – without exception.

With practice it is possible to become as animated, passionate and alive about the things I like about myself
as those that I don’t. The choice always comes down to fear or love, but choose wisely because you can’t live in both places at the same time.


However, you can’t expect to just think thoughts like, ‘I am love’ or ‘I am peace’ and really believe them, when you have been giving so much conviction to the unloving thoughts your whole life.

It’s very important to take things slowly, a step at a time, otherwise you may end up attacking yourself for not quite getting it right or not feeling it. You may just end up wearing a spiritual mask, walking around reciting affirmations when really underneath it all you feel like crap.

So, let us all celebrate our victories along the way, and take things one step at a time. Positive statements of truth are useful when used with acceptance. Acceptance really is the key, as is having the courage to examine these beliefs and let them go. Without acceptance, these are just another thing that can be used to attack ourselves.

This much we know: self-love takes practice. 

This is why we are both choosing to focus on 100 things we like about ourselves. It is a demonstration of self-love which will better equip us to extend love to each other and the world.


We are what we think. With our thoughts, we make our world.
Buddha

This post was written by the handsome and incredibly talented Nige and the fabulous Elloa. We hope you enjoyed it - and tough luck if you didn't, because we plan on writing a lot more together.

Follow Elloa's Explorations at http://explorationsofelloaness.blogspot.com/