Wednesday, December 23, 2015

VIDEO WEDNESDAY! May we all be like THIS gal! Happy Holidays!

Follow this link to UpWorthy's website, read the story and watch the video. What a great gal!
xoXOXO


http://www.upworthy.com/when-a-97-year-olds-drivers-license-was-revoked-she-went-to-get-it-back

The Holidays Bring that $hit Up: on lackluster holidays and the return of wonder, The Philadelphia Story and (wo)man's search for meaning.

It is Wednesday, December 23rd, 2015.

The puppy is off at his babysitter's, after I spent four days watching the sitter's two dogs while SHE was out of town. The house feels empty without my little boy (furbaby!) and last night I spent the evening watching "The Philadelphia Story," which is not a holiday classic per se, but which brings up every feeling of womanhood I am experiencing right now.

Well, not exactly. I'm not torn between three men, and I'm not a wealthy equestrian.

But I am all those other things that Tracy, aka Kath Hepburn, is in that movie. A goddess learning to be human, and vice versa.

In 2015, that comes off very differently than how it was used when "Philadelphia Story" was made. In 2015, we have connotations of New Age tarot decks, yogini worship of Qwan Yin, Wiccan idolatry. I myself have participated in at least two of those three.

 

But I mean it in the way that ALL humans, especially today, need to return to their bodies and get back into being human- a real human being.

We- okay, I'll speak for myself- I need to feel. I need to remember the awe of Christmas, and if not Christmas, then awe in general. This year I don't have a tree, I only did a couple of gifts, and I haven't made any cheesecakes or cookies at all. Historically, I have always loved Christmas and the magic of the dark silence of a wintry woods. Now, I live in a concrete jungle full of billboards and plastic surgeons and diet programs and celebrities famous for being talentless. I'm sorry, but where is the wonder and awe in that?

In my heart, of course. That's the answer. *I* am the poetess. I am the singer, the muse, the creator of worlds and characters and laughter and love. 

Dang.

So how can I give to myself?





What am I craving?

I don’t usually get too wild in my mood swings any longer, but lately I have been feeling a bit of a nihilistic sense of pointlessness. Then I think to myself, as soon as I catch myself wallowing, I say, "Well, Erin, you know how to practice joy, fun, sensuality, giving, being of service, gratitude. So even if part of you feels this is all bullshit, just keep loving and giving. You’ll get out of your crappy attitude and back into divinity fast."

Usually it takes only a moment. Lately it has been taking me a day or even a few days.

Either I’m losing my touch, OR I’m going through something, OR I am at a new strata, a new level, and so while it is actually better than ever before, it FEELS less effective because my personal barre has been raised…

Or a little of all of the above.

(In other news, don't you hate the meme "take it to the next level?" And yet it is SO very useful, that phrase!)
 
What am I craving?

Endless spritz cookies and egg nog with rum, sure, yes. 

But really...

What am I craving?
 
I am craving serenity- peace in my heart- and lovingness. I crave wonder. Excitement, possiblity, opportunity, a feeling of purpose, yes. I am craving awe. I am craving that feeling I had after I received in a vision on top of Prophecy Rock* in the Hopi village of Oraibi, where I felt SO in love with the world as it IS (life on life's terms!) and in such bliss that every cell in my body felt so much  pleasure and pain and joy and sorrow and bliss it was orgasmic but not in a sexual sense- well that was in there- but in every possible sense and even beyond.

That just got at once very intimately personal and very mystical. But I feel that if I am to share any learning in this blog with ANYONE who reads it, I will give an account of my honest experience in life, so as to encourage all of you to live YOUR life, or maybe just because sharing what I have discovered in my exploration of the world is PRECISELY how I feel alive in the world- as Hepburn's Tracy says at the end of "Philadelphia Story," "like a human... like a human being."

(go directly to: 2:00!)


           
But back to bliss.
  
Perhaps it is possible to feel that way all the time- Jesus, Mother Mary come to mind.

Perhaps not.

Of course I am none of those folks- Jesus, Katherine Hepburn, Santa Claus, Mother Mary, not even you. I am you, of course, and I am all of those folks. They live in me and I live in them. I am none and all as are you as are all of us.  

Goo goo g'joob, indeed. 

So, what would life look like if I gave myself even more permission to let go of what I don't want- nihilism, in this instance... it's fine for some √úbermensches, but not for me.... 

Even if I didn't know what else was out there? Even if I didn't know how else it could go? 

 I had a great teacher once who taught the lesson of going just outside your comfort zone. She taught it in numerous ways. She taught us to “stay beyond the mind,” meaning, if your mind tells you it is time to leave, stay just a little longer, just long enough to see if your mind isn’t changed and learning occurs. She taught us that most people have one or two responses to stress, A and B, but taught us to create a triangle of response by being willing to find an option C- any option C- just be willing to find something new, something we have never thought to think or do before. I started applying this to my life in all sorts of ways. I started waking up in the morning saying to myself, “Today, I want to see three things I have never noticed before.” “Today, I want to think thoughts I have never thought to think before.” “Today, I am willing to find an opportunity to go beyond my mind, go beyond my norm, go beyond my comfort zone.”

It becomes a little addictive, actually.

And yes, with that, I went back to school for opera, I did tons of one woman shows, I traveled many times to India and Europe, I “did” and will always DO amazing things.

But the most interesting application in my life is in my day to day relationship with my most intimate friends and family, and with myself.

And if I lived that way all the time? Well, perhaps I do...

What would my life look like?

No idea. But I’m open to not knowing and letting the mystery unfold.








*Perhaps someday I shall post that story, of Prophecy Rock. Perhaps I am saving it for my proper memoirs. LOVE! 

I shall close by quoting Robert Frost, who said everything so much more beautifully in this:

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

By Robert Frost
Whose woods these are I think I know.   
His house is in the village though;   
He will not see me stopping here   
To watch his woods fill up with snow.   

My little horse must think it queer   
To stop without a farmhouse near   
Between the woods and frozen lake   
The darkest evening of the year.   

He gives his harness bells a shake   
To ask if there is some mistake.   
The only other sound’s the sweep   
Of easy wind and downy flake.   

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,   
But I have promises to keep,   
And miles to go before I sleep,   
And miles to go before I sleep.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Fiction Fridays, The Art of Observing, and Things We Learn From Our Sisters/ Ourselves.

Happy Fiction Fridays, all!

I have been slowing down a bit for the year, writing about 3-5 pages a day on the novel. As you may know if you've been following the blog, Carlo and I finished our umpteenth draft of our screenplay and have sent it to a few connections in the industry as a first round of marketing. We also entered a few competitions of note, just to see what happens there as well! We read that screenplay competitions, at least the ones we're entering, get between 7000-11,000 entries each year! And yet, I have two friends that have won notable competitions! An acquaintance friend from acting class won the Nicholls a few years back, and another friend (guy I briefly dated) won Slamdance. So, something about osmosis is going on? LOL. No, yes, maybe, who knows? At least I know that I am surrounded by gifted friends and colleagues and keep very good company. :)
 

In other news, today is a very special sister's birthday, and in conjunction with slowing down and reading a little more, watching some old spy movies and TV classics for inspiration for my next project with Carlo, and writing (less, but still!) on the novel, I am doing a bit of reflecting on the spirituality and beauty and peace I have learned from my experiences.

Here's what I wrote today:
 
--> When I was 17 and working with a very intense and brilliant singing teacher and coach, she noticed that I was already an insane perfectionist who beat herself up over every little missed nuance in the music I was singing. So the free-spirited, former hippie (yet somehow Minnesota Lutheran) that she was, she gave me this book: “The Inner Game of Tennis” by Tim Galwey. She told me to apply it to singing and it made all the difference in the world.

In it, a renowned tennis coach becomes a Zen Buddhist. Prior to his enlightenment, he was one of those harsh and intense coaches who shouted and yelled over the minutiae as well as the big mistakes. He started learning about  observation of self and the concept of the Observer, and though he would try it on his own tennis game. His game improved immeasurably and so he started using the art of observation on his athletes. Lo and behold, their games improved, too!


I started using it on myself with singing as well as other areas of study- academics, etc. And it made a HUGE difference. I don't know how, or perhaps I could look into how, but why? There are myriad scientists who can do so and mine is to write and sing about my life, and I know that not only did my test scores improve, but I actually had more fun!


Years later I got the idea that I could use observation rather than rules on my eating. Mostly I was coached into trying this by a former Guru, who knew about my eating issues, and, when I told her about my little secret trick of observation with regard to singing, she suggested I try it with eating, body image, binging, starving, and even purging. I started watching without judgment, and began adding blessings! Yes! I even blessed my purging.

I believe THIS is why I have been able to truly make lasting changes- the blessing- because I’m not manically affirming the purge (or now, the small amount of overeating that sometimes occurs. Nothing like the old days! I can’t overeat because it actually no longer really applies to me, meaning, I don’t believe in the CONCEPT of over eating any longer! Weird, huh? When I think about how I used to think, it’s more like reading about a distant relative rather than thinking about mySELF.) I simply watch myself and remain present- as present as I am able to be- for every breath, every bite, every movement. I stop and ask myself: is this joy? I allow myself to binge and eat as much as I want as long as I am truly, sensually ENJOYING every bite. For a while in there,  I was not truly sensually  enjoying every bite and something beyond the pleasure drive is forcing food into my mouth. I watched that and blessed that, too.



In a world of pressures to be perfect, and if not perfect, then at least always striving and pushing and driving and never arriving, how do we talk to ourselves for lasting change?


How do we incorporate our desire to “improve,” or “succeed” with our desire to be and practice love?
We do it with love. We do it with as close to non-judgment and as close to blessing as we possibly can. If we can get to the point of just observing, the shifts that come out of that will astound us, for we will no longer be driven by the external presentation of pressure, but by our own inner divinity.


Something my sister and I came up with many many years ago was the idea that when we were stymied about what to do our how to react or how to behave, we would ask ourselves, what would my sister have me do? We happen to have a very loving relationship! I recognize not everyone is blessed with a sister relationship that is so pure. If you can’t do this with your sister, ask yourself how you would advise your niece, or your best friend’s gifted daughter. How would Mother Mary, or Qwan Yin, or Jesus, or Wayne Dyer advise you? Go into their hearts for a moment, looking back at YOU, and see what they have to say!


But back to me and my sister. Like I said, she and I are “sororital soul mates,” (my term, I think, haha!) and we together came  up with the idea that if and when we were faced with challenges of punitive self- admonition, self-sabotaging behavior, or any other question at all, really, we  would ask ourselves, “What would I tell my sister to do if she were in my position and asking me for help?” The love between us is so pure- pure enough- that we could at least see what WE would want in regards to health and joy and dreams coming true for the other.


What a change in self-talk! We would never want the other to abuse food/ drugs/ alcohol/ anything else for that matter, or date BLEEPholes, or stay in negative relationships, or spend so wildly that we would ruin our financial lives.


We WOULD want the other to eat mostly healthy but not beat the self up over a deviation from the plan. We would tell the other that celebratory eating on a holiday was a gift from the ancients and that it would not affect our bodies long term. (A lapse is not a relapse!) We want the other to pursue our gifts and build a career all the while finding financial stability and dignity.




NOW is the only time there is. This is the only time I can do anything, from breathing and involuntary body movements to making choices and taking actions. I don’t really know what’s possible for me now or in the future, but I do know who I am and what I love and that I am pursuing a beautiful life. I am committed to love. The gift of love and of art running through me is just that- a gift. The rest is all gravy. 

And so, I commit, and recommit, to being love, acting from love, creating from love, and then: love is what is returned to me. 

Have faith, dear one.


Of course we all can, and of course that is what we will do anyway, for this is the life we live, whether or not the conscious mind sees it as such. But how wonderful would it be to marry the subconscious and the conscious minds in love during this lifetime?

May the cosmos bless each and every moment, and each and every moment within that moment- regardless of our judgment. All of this is a dream and a gift. Let us honor it as such. 


With love,
 
Peace in your heart.
 
xoxoxo
Erin

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Year End Recap: ARE YOU CELEBRATING YOU!?

Hello, everybody!

You all know I love my "internet challenges." You know, the platform challenge from October through Writer's Digest, the #nanowrimo national novel writing month challenge... right now, as part of my day job, I am doing the Mentor Masterclass Holiday Challenge. :)

Today is Day Two, and the task was to list alllll of my accomplishments for the year 2015. No achievement was too small. My list was smaller than years past, perhaps, but mighty. One of the things I consciously have been doing is slowing down- doing less, focusing more!

(I know my artistic challenge of a few weeks back is contradictory to what I just wrote! Which is why you will find an AMENDED version of that on my Patreon. I was reminded by most everyone I know that QUALITY is important as well as QUANTITY. And I don't want to spread myself too thin!)

But I am sharing with you today not to list all of my accomplishments, most of which were things like- didn't get sick this year. Got lots of nights with solid sleep this year. Didn't waste as much time on Facebook so that I could read more novels. Of course there were a few choice biggies- moved in with my love, did a one woman show, wrote and re-wrote (a hundred times) a very intense and smart and fun action script with my partner in life, love and writing. Etc.

Then, there was a question for reflection about celebrating accomplishments, and about creating a community of friends where we all honor each other... Here's my reflection.



" I used to never celebrate my achievements, because it always felt like a waste of time. Then I started a reward system because my life was starting to feel useless, pointless, nihilistically depressed. There WAS no point to life. 

And while there may or may not be, part of my mystical conversion in India was realizing that THAT way of thinking, living, believing, being and living- THAT was not for me. I was a rose and for me all there was to do was to bloom- i.e., a rose is a rose is a rose. A rose grows, blooms, withers, dies. It does not choose when it blooms, when it withers, when it dies. It doesn’t even think it has a choice. It merely roses- does as a rose does- in accordance to its OWN co-creative interplay with nature and with the cosmos. So for me, it was the same: I would simply act and be the truest MYSELF I could be in accordance with MY interplay with nature and the cosmos. 



Easier said than done, but then again, not really, because that’s all any of us are ever doing, whether we recognize it or not. 

Then again, we are human roses. And we do have some and certain choices- and MINE at this time is a practice of choosing the humanistic and the hopeful, and putting that into practice.... 

SO in regard to the reward system, every Friday I get a reward just for it being Friday. (Looking for rewards where I don’t spend money, though, as I am also now trying to live within my means, something I’ve never done, but want to really get my debt- and credit- in better shape.) Then, I get rewards for all sorts of good behavior as well- keeping commitments, doing responsible/ boring things that MUST be done (seeing the OB/GYN for example, definitely warrants an hour with the phone turned off, just me and a novel.)


I looked at my list for this year and it is very small and low compared to achievements of previous years. That said, I think slowing down and doing less was of extreme important to me and it seems that perhaps it has only helped me with some of my other accomplishments. My screenplay with my partner took a lot of time and attention. Not getting sick was on the list, and that is another biggie for me. I used to get sick all the time. But now, this last year, aside from allergies and a few remnants leftover from car accidents and last year's pneumonia, I have been VERY HEALTHY. I

no longer miss sleep, that should definitely be on my list!



I had to break the very difficult habits of saying yes to everything, of spreading myself too thin. I had to end a few projects and in so doing I also lost a few relationships… but I did what I thought was the right thing to do because I REALLY WANT TO CHANGE MY LIFE, for real.



So, I will celebrate that I have been willing to change, and in so doing, a lot of the WAY things have come to me have- and will- change(d.) I am only in the beginning stages of a slower, more meaningful, more sensual, more thoughtful way of life. I guess I had to begin with a small discussion about semantics about what I see as accomplishments, because I want quality rather than quantity now…



How would it feel if I celebrated all of them all of the time?



This is what I aspire toward actually. ;)



Great parking spot? Yay! Celebration dance!



Authentic conversation with a family member? Yay! Foot massage!



Loving kiss with my partner? Yay! Another loving kiss!



LOL.



I think it would be INCREDIBLY EMPOWERING.



Okay!



Champagne, anyone?"

p.s. If you haven't seen STANDUPERA yet... it was on my list of accomplishments... ;-p 

Monday, December 14, 2015

StandUpera! It's HERE!

And now, without any further ado,
Maestro! If you please:

STANDUPERA!


Friday, December 11, 2015

Fiction Fridays: December 11th, 2015: What I'm up to writing wise (screenplay, novel); a poem from college and its context; Sappho.

December 11th!

Today is Friday, and that makes this FICTION FRIDAY!

WHOOT!

I wanted to give a little update on what I'm up to these days writing-wise.

Just this morning, Carlo and I held a reading of our feature-length action-thriller screenplay. We had made a few major changes after getting feedback from a script analyst from Sony, and another from a reader at the agency CAA. Both analysts had great feedback- "the future looks bright [for your script]" and "...reminds me of the best scenes from 'Homeland." Both analysts ALSO had a lot of suggestions on changes to implement and so, after discussion about how to really make the script the best we possibly could, and after 6 weeks of intense rewriting, editing, reading, rewriting, editing, etc., we feel it is ready for the market.

Whew!

Meanwhile, I took part in National Novel Writing Month (#nanowrimo) last month! I wrote 250 pages of my novel, Eva de Los Angeles, expecting that my first draft will be about 400 pages. Oof duh! It's a magical realism road trip novel... more to come. I also re-read parts of the first novel I ever read, My Life as a Phone Psychic, and the comedy screenplay version of my FIRST one woman show, The One. My goal is, one at a time, to write a draft of one, edit/ rewrite the next, etc., until each is ready for agents/ publishers/ self publishing. At the point at which I feel any individual project is truly ready, I will proceed. In the meantime, my Fiction Fridays will DEFINITELY continue, with essays from the "self help" version of The One, (sort of along the lines of the book "He's Just Not That Into You," only really screamingly funny, so I've heard.) I will also put up excerpts from my novels that I just mentioned. Currently, my goal is to finish draft ONE of Eva de Los Angeles (based on the musical I wrote in 2012, but realized was far too large a story for a two act musical) by my birthday in February.

I know. It's a lot. But you've met me, right? If not? You're meeting me now! :) Un plaisir de reconnaitre.

So let's move on to something I found while looking through some old boxes-

a poem I wrote in college!

I write a lot of poems. Some of them are channeled and I am very proud of them. Some are sonnets, exercises in the integration of form as well as nuance. Of those, I am sometimes proud and sometimes... um... not so proud.

The following poem I actually really love, because of what it stands for in my life both NOW and at the time I wrote it.

I found it encased in some handouts from a class I took my fresh(wo)man year of college. I was in a program called "The Great Conversation" at my first college, St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota. I LOVED it. It was a two year program that would take care of every liberal arts requirement as it was taught by five different professors, covering Western Civilization from the time of the Ancient Greeks forward, taking a holistic, systemic study of each era (Ancient Greeks, Romans and Hebrews, etc.) History, art, architecture, science and math of the era, comparative studies of literature, music, religion... basically, everything I have always loved and studied, and continue to love and study now! Only now, I am definitely NOT an academic, but am merely an autodidact/ fangirl.

The handouts were about what we, meaning scholars, knew up to that time about the Greek poetess Sappho. I know that in recent years, more has been discovered and learned about Sappho, but the handout I am looking at now was the most recent at THAT time. I am going to include a few snippets of translated Sappho works, and then the poem I wrote, apparently at that time, right before my first rehab.

 (that's Sappho, not me! Although my real hair is that color, my eyes are truly blue.)

At that time of my life, I felt very lonely. I spent hours wandering the frozen woods near my college campus, communing with the endless gray skies and barren trees. I would wake up every day at 6 am to practice piano on the glorious Steinways in the practice rooms of the music hall, and then go for a long walk before breakfast, which was usually one apple. I see now, as an adult, I was isolating myself, and I know I was yearning for the life I WANTED to live but wasn't yet ready to claim for myself.

Now, MANY years later, forging a new path every day, I look back to that younger Erin and reach out a hand of compassion, yes; understanding, hell yes; and hope.

There are a lot of wonderful passages in this handout I have from so many years ago. I will share some now, and some again, perhaps. I encourage you all to investigate the "tenth muse" (read below.)

SAPPHO SNIPPETS:

"Some say the muses are nine. Careless!
Behold the tenth: Sappho of Lesbos."
-Plato, The Greek Anthology, IX. 506.



"Eros the loosener of limbs shakes me again-
   bitter-sweet, untamable, crawling creature."
-Sappho, translated by Jane McIntosh Snyder, p 27, in
   The Woman and the Lyre: Women Writers in Classical Greece and Rome



"As a sweet apple reddens
on a high branch

at the tip of the topmost bough:
The apple-pickers missed it.

No, they didn't miss it:
They couldn't reach it."
-Sappho, translated by Jim Powell, p 12, in
   Sappho: A Garland



"Like a mountain whirlwind
punishing the oak trees
love shattered my heart."
-Sappho, translated by Willis Barnstone, p. 9, in
   Sappho



"The moon has set,
and the Pleiades,
midnight--
the hours are passing
and passing--
yet I lie alone."
-Sappho, translation VLH









My poem:


i ask myself what i'm waiting for?
false knowledge drops on my doorstep.
after a mundane moment of
     fingering my desk
i choose now to ignore the lies,
the fragments chasing through my mind
of                i love you, i don't love you
   i need you, i don't need you

i'll end it now.

i choose you.

     and fear?
                 i ate it for breakfast.









Have a great weekend, all. And for breakfast, this weekend, I'm thinking a beautiful green juice, followed a few hours later by my favorite almond croissant and a cappuccino. ;-p

xoxo
Erin

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

"Sweet Little Jesus Boy," sung by Erin Carere, a cappella, live in 2013

This is a recording I found while searching through my files of old mp3s, scores, and song lyrics.

A couple years ago, my friend Jenna Edwards had a show called "Create Your Life With Jenna Edwards," and she invited me and Monique Maffiel Hester to come on and sing some Christmas songs to raise money for the Red Cross.

This is a song I chose to sing a cappella.

Enjoy!

Erin