Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Before You Act: Hemingway

Before you act, listen...

I'm listening.  I'm listening to my heart, and consulting my mind.  I'm listening to the silence behind the sounds all around me.  I believe there are answers there, and in some moments, understanding dawns.  I'm finding calm.

Before you react, think...

At this, I have failed, so now I have less to react to, and that is healthy for me.  Simplicity heals.  A crowded mind has no space to think, so the reactions come... willy-nilly.  :-)  Willy-nilly, I think, is no way to conduct one's self.  Space in the mind allows for perspective.  In a cluttered mind, like on a cluttered desk, you can't find anything... everything is a scramble.  It's time for me to clear my space so I can think.

Before you spend, earn...

So I guess I'm not going to law school.  Ha!

Before you criticize, wait...

In my world growing up, there was no waiting on my behalf, so I didn't learn waiting.  But I have as an adult, and I'm getting much better.  Even the most constructive criticism is best given after some healthy, quiet discernment.  People, I've found, like to rest in their own truths.  And I've learned that truth is much more subjective than I always believed.  Again, space is a healthy answer; space to allow others to be as they are, even if their truths are a little different than yours.

Before you pray, forgive...

This is one of those wonderful things that seems hard to remember to do.  Forgiveness feels like a supernatural thing to me... Despite my doubts, when I seek it, it comes, and it dissolves pain.  When we don't forgive, it can be painful to others, but we mostly feel that pain ourselves.  

Before you quit, try...

If I'm seeing myself clearly, I'd say this isn't hard for me.  I'm not afraid to put myself out there.  I'm a great-big-huge-giant believer that the benefits always outweigh whatever pain or failure may come.  If you can hurt, you can love, and nothing is greater than love.

And in my life, at least once, quitting WAS trying... I wanted to do something, and I was scared.  Fear often keeps people from trying for what they want.  They are scared of what might happen.  I wanted to quit college.  But I was scared of what might happen.  I dreaded what resistance I would meet.  Just the same as moving to Los Angeles to audition and advance my performance skills, people had so many doubts and opinions to give as to why I shouldn't do it, why it was risky, and what I should or could do instead.  I knew it was a big decision, but I wanted to try it, so I quit college.  I am very proud of myself for quitting college.  It took huge cojones for me to follow through with that, and a lot of strength for me to deal with the extreme reactions I got from some family.  

You have to do things that take strength to be strong.

My dad accused me of being on drugs and sold my car out from under me.  It was so hard to follow through with what I wanted, but I was convicted, and nothing could stop me.  And because I didn't let fear guide me, I learned, experienced, and became stronger.  

And a side benefit is that I have a lot of great stories to tell about the many things I did (became a coffee aficionado, met and worked with Broadway/TV/Movie actors at a Tony Award winning theater festival, was friends with Mia Farrow's daughter and Lewis Black, got engaged, escaped a cult, lived in NYC, overcame severe depression and OCD) during that year and a half before I returned to college and graduated. 

That Hemingway was a smart dude.  Too bad he didn't take his own advice.

From Japan,

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