Wednesday, October 21, 2009

pumpkin curry, Carrie Fisher, and being present


I just got home from a really nice evening. I am feeling buzzed and I haven't even had a drink yet.

Today I woke up and wrote for a while, made a delicious lunch, watched Shelley Long on "Modern Family" (I recommend it), then took a little stroll in the gorgeous sun to my favorite patch of green on 48th street (a community garden to which I have a key.... it makes me feel SO local) and read a book that a friend sent to me called "Someday This Pain Will Be Useful To You". A great title and one you'd find bizarrely amusing if you knew our relationship. I started reading it in the garden, on a bench, perfectly situated in that vitamin B friendly sun, I'd bundled up more than I needed to so that I could stay toasty and warm as long as I wanted. I sat there and started on page one of the book, I completely and utterly lost myself and before I knew it an hour had passed, Cole was calling from outside my apartment, AND I was a few chapters in. I love that. To completely turn off like that almost NEVER happens for me. I am in a constant pursuit of the next step.... whether its career wise, financial, how to get free shit for my apartment (I'm looking for a lamp and some shelves by the way), whatever. I am SO rarely here and almost always somewhere else. A terribly scary idea. Being present seems like the hardest challenge in the world. To me, the idea of being elected President of the United States AND starring in a multi-billion dollar remake of "An American in Paris" (all in the same year, naturally) seems more likely.

It's universally one of our greatest struggles and I envy my friends who can do it so easily, or at least pretend to do it so easily. So many of my unique experiences in life I've really not been there for, in retrospect I can't tell you what the theater I performed at Sodie Daisy, Tennessee smelt like when I performed in it on tour at fifteen (though my strongest guess is cafeteria macaroni and cheese), I have few intense memories of tech rehearsals for the Broadway show I worked as an assistant on when I was seventeen..... all because..... I was not present. Yet somehow this afternoon, for a mere hour.... okay maybe just forty five minutes..... I was. I could tell you everything about that book, that bench, the garden, the sun, the way my jacket felt, how I was beginning to sweat just a tiny bit underneath my three layers but how I didn't care because it was a good sweat, not a gross humid, smelly sweat. It felt awesome.

I told myself I wanted to have something fun to do tonight. I wasn't sure what but something fun. An event. A party. A show. Something. I put that out there this morning and assured myself that something would reveal itself. It's New York, after all. And sure enough..... Ashley, from yesterday's blog, of all people emailed me to ask if I'd be available to have dinner and see Carrie Fisher's one woman show "Wishful Drinking" on Broadway. Well. Duh. Of course she did.

I went and my day, like it was supposed to happen this way (and I guess it was), all made sense. Talking with Ashley was perfect. Enriching and happy. I talked about my struggle to be present lately, how guilty I feel for not working more actively, how I feel like its all output output output when I try to create, how I use ambition as an excuse to be jealous, an avid end gainer, and sometimes a shitty friend. And she pointed out, as my experience in the garden had tried to do..... it feels good to be present.

It seems all those struggles.... those "manifestations" I mention are truly stemming from one thing. EGO. Mister Ego. Old Man Ego. Lady Ego. Lord Ego. Ego Peabody, I am going to kiss Conrad Birdie and I won't hear another word about it!

Over our delicious curry dishes (mine had pumpkin curry in it, What? amazing!) Ashley said: "Ego doesn't exist in the present, and its the ego that's making you jump somewhere else.... but the present is all we've got."

And she's right.

Like any good dessert, Carrie Fisher brought the whole meal of my day together quite nicely. A gal who's been there and managed to be present to a number of wonderful circumstances. Some hilarious, some tragic, all unique. They are hers. Cause she was awake and she was there. In her brilliant delivery, her storyteller magic, her real experience... it inspires me: like Ashley did over our curry, like my forty five minutes of being with the book in the garden, like all good things..... to be present, cause it feels really good.

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