Friday, October 14, 2016

Adventures in Stress

Hello, all! I just woke up- about 7 am- and believe it or not, I woke up composing a blog.

Is that strange?

Well, my dreams are strange and wondrous- like last night I dreamed that Lady Gaga and I bumped into each other at a party, well, several times, several parties, and finally she struck up a friendship with me, and then eventually she became an actress on my TV show (in the dream my web series had become a real TV show on network.) Obviously that's like a DREAM of my LIFE kind of dream, and I hope future forecasting! ;-p

But this morning I woke up dreaming that I was composing a blog about stress and I thought, okay, heck, let's go live the dream in real life.

In fact, let's live both dreams in real life, in a way, so to speak, [sic], how many ways can I say [sic?]

The thing is, it's been a little bit stressful this week. How do I know? I have the beginnings of a cold sore. I know that's a very un-sexy, unglamorous thing to admit. Thanks to an ex-boyfriend (let's just call him Justin) from college, I periodically get them when I am stressed... but let me explain a little more.

See, last year I got pneumonia. And it wasn't the first time I had had pnuemonia in the last 5 years, but the 4th time. Yes. The FOURTH time in five years. This is very unusual for a woman in her 30s who eats like a health food expert and has no other illness or chronic or auto-immune disorders and has no reason to have crappy low immunity.

So since March, working with an Integrative Functioning Medical Doctor, I have gone on this journey with bloodwork and lifestyle to figure out WTH. Don't click away from the blog, I promise I will not go into the minutiae of what I do and do not eat (tuna, no! Bison, once a week, okay! Alfalfa, no! Mushrooms, sadly, once a week. Kale, anytime!) or explain the 50 different supplements taking over the space in my cupboards where once there were pretzels, oatmeal, and cans of soup.

What I find fascinating is how LITTLE stress I can take in my life.

See, this week, a lot of the stuff causing stress in my life was good stuff- buying a new car! Auditions! Lots of auditions! Things I love!

But I couldn't sleep at night because of a massage I got that a friend gifted. I was so nervous about buying my new car I also couldn't sleep at night. I take a LOT of magnesium at night to sleep, but my worried mind just overrode everything.

And I know you're all thinking, girl, you're nuts. You were stressed out because you got a massage?

And here is where I was writing the blog in my dream.

Because, see, I forget that I am not like a lot of people when it comes to my approach to life, never have been, probably never will be, and I remember it only when I reflect back with friends and acquaintances in my life. Let's call them "normies." We could call them people with healthy boundaries or in my opinion people with too HIGH of boundaries who miss out on a lot of the subtleties and deep connection of life, but then again, who don't perhaps go so deep into the emotional and visceral response of life. I don't think any is better or worse, although perhaps at certain times it is better NOT to feel so much, and at other times it is better TO FEEL. Like, if you're Marlon Brando, you gotta feel. If you're not Marlon Brando, or Heath Ledger, I'd check in on at what level you want to allow yourself to connect to the experience of all that is everything that is all.

So, for example, and then I'll get back to the massage, once a girlfriend of mine wanted to move to Vegas, work in a bikini bar to save up money to live for 6 months, and then come back and just focus on acting for a year with the year she would have made at the bikini bar. She was exhausted by her day job and the amount of hours she had to work just to live and get by in LA. I went to her going away party and at the end, I looked deeply into her eye. She, being a relatively non-normie, looked back, deeply. And into a trance of connection we went.

A girl across the table asked what the hell we were doing.

Another friend, a massage therapist fellow, said, "they are connecting deeply."

It made me smile.

And then I saw- let me just say this. I had a vision for my friend going to Las Vegas, who was leaving that night after the dinner, who was stressed and scared and exhausted and frightened and very very sad- and it was an awful vision. I don't know if the accident I saw in my vision was a real potential reality for her or just a prompt for me to ask her if she really wanted to go, but I had to speak up.

"Do you really wanna go to Vegas?" I asked

The connection between us softened a bit, as she retreated into her mind, into the place where she could make choices based on thinking and reason. The place MOST of us live MOST of the time and some people live ALL of the time, the place that is very helpful when doing taxes.... but not necessarily helpful when following dreams... and it takes courage to live from intuition and ontology and the integration of ALL systems- heart, mind, soul- and practice- but more about that some other time- in this moment, my friend explained to me her struggles in life and what she thought she would be getting out of moving to Las Vegas. Money.

I asked her if it wasn't possible instead to just stay HERE and work straight two jobs and then maybe take the 6 months of to focus only on acting... she could get a cheaper apartment... at least that way she could be open to opportunity if it came in, and she could be HERE. Here where she wanted to be.

And that's what she did.

And if I wasn't the sort of person who connected deeply and listened extra carefully, and if she wasn't the sort of person who was open to that, God only knows what might have befallen my friend. But she didn't want to live in Las Vegas. She went on to get an amazing day job, work in commercials, work on the Star Wars movie, and get a great new boyfriend.


Not because of me, but because of her, by the way.

ANYWAY again,

So this massage. It was supposed to be the greatest massage therapist ever, better than me and my girlfriend who recommended him who was also a massage therapist, and I was going to cry and feel cradled by the loving energy of the cosmos, and the angels were going to sing and I was going to release my stress unto the table like I did once at Prophecy Rock in the Hope village of Oraibi. (another story for another time.)

Another friend of mine, a mentor, and I had been talking on the phone several weeks prior and he had said, "you sound stressed. I'm sending you money for a massage." I gladly and gratefully said YES! THAT made my heart sing, oh God, oh yes, oh, please! Oh relief for my body.

So I book the appointment with this Christ of massage. And I go to the spa- Santa Monica- which- is a beautiful town- but a pain in the a$$ to deal with. So I'm stressed driving over. Okay, not the best planning on my part but also, I'm just a very high strung person. It's just the way I am. I am working on it, I have been meditating all these years and doing kundalini and doing every kind of transformational workshop and working with a therapist and etc etc etc. So, I know it's me, and I do all my little techniques to calm my mind. "It's Colombous Day," I tell myself. "It's a holiday. There's nothing to worry about. I'm not missing out on work."

I get to the spa. It's fine. I sit in the hot tub. Fine. I'm wide awake. I'm watching the minutes tick by on the clock. Finally, five minutes before my appointment time, I go into the waiting area where I was told to be for my massage. I look at magazine. Then another one. I look at the clock. I look at a magazine again. I watch a cute guy who comes in, fills out paperwork. He looks back. I'm taken, so I don't want to give signals, so I look away. I look at the clock.

Okay, so the therapist is 20 minutes late for my appointment and I'm wondering if I got the wrong time. You know, I don't live in the lap of luxury, so I'm not relaxed about mistakes. I go to the front desk and inquire. "Yes, you're appointment was 11:45, they say." I smile. "It's five after noon," I say. The girl yawns. "Let me check." I smile through high blood pressure.

I go back and sit down, talk to myself. "Erin, you're being silly. You don't HAVE to be home until 3 to walk the dog."

But now, writing this, I realize why I was on high alert.

Finally this guy comes to collect me. He's sweet. He's overly touchy and connecty. Well, of course he is. He is a massage therapist. I have worked in that industry MANY years, I know a LOT of massage therapists. A lot of them are SUPER touchy and huggy and connecty and not always appropriately so, if you ask me. It's great to eonnect deeply! But like, you know, with boundaries.

This I have learned the hard way in my many years of working in the healing industries.

I don't offer healing without being asked, I don't offer advice without being asked, unless I absolutely MUST, like in the case of my friend, and that was different. That was my friend of many years and she WAS asking, in a way.

So, I'm a little put off by Mister Best Friend I Never Met Before Massage Therapist, but I try to remind myself- he's a sweetheart. He's kind and gentle. He's a healer.

The massage begins and he is SO connected right away. The massage is great. I can feel the deeper part of him that is a healer- hard to explain to the rational mind- but I feel what my friend who had referred me to this guy was talking about. He has very flexible boundaries- so do I- I've just learned to have very strong boundaries!- and yet there are some obvious problems. First of all- his boundaries are too soft. He starts massage areas a little bit close to the sacred spaces of a woman's body. I can tell he is trained in Esalen, like I was. It feels somehow completely unsexual even though it is going in sexualized areas.

But the entire time, I smell the alcohol.

Not that he has been drinking today.

But, you know, when a person has had too much to drink the night before, and the alcohol is coming through their sweat, and it comes out this sweet, almost sickly sweet way?

Like that.

So I figure, oh, the guy has a drinking problem.

Then I double back. That's not my place to say. He maybe just drank a lot that one time. But I feel it, I do. The guy has really bad boundaries, an incredible gift that is REALLY hard to understand and wield in a world of slide rulers, and he drinks.

Now, perhaps normal people would get really uptight and ask to be done early. Maybe they'd just say, "fuck it, this massage is great," and take it. (I partially did the last thing.) Maybe they'd have bad boundaries too, and go there when he offered "tantric and more intimate work." I said, no thank you, but I began to study him and ask him questions. THIS is where and why I get amazing adventures in life, but don't necessarily get the intended value of the session.

I NEEDED to relax. I needed to trust. I needed time for me.

I wasn't out studying animals in a wild life refuge-

only I was.

And it was sort of like being on a date with an overly handsy guy, where you don't know why you're still on the date and you're totally uncomfortable and you're like, why don't I just LEAVE?

Next time, I think I'll just leave.

So your body opens up. But your nervous system is on high alert, your mind is alert, and you are wondering which of the responses to stress this is: not flight. Not fight. Not flock. It's tend and befriend. And you wonder, how is this helping me? Should I depart? And then the session runs way over and you're still annoyed that he kept trying to give you a happy ending, but you're also really amused, because, well, it's never really happened to you before, and you're not shocked or horrified or offended but wonder if you should be because it's like, he's kind of giving the reputable massage therapists LIKE YOURSELF a bad name because he's all licensed and bonded and everything- and it's like you're neither uptight nor relaxed in this completely other place where you're just observing and learning and studying human behavior, until several days later when you realize that all of that is fine and well, to detach from your body in the moment and step just outside and merely WATCH what is going on, like a big sister chaperoning a date where the guy can go SO FAR but any further and the big sister will come slap those hands away... and you go, well, dang.

Why did I even let myself be there in the first place?

And that is all for today's strangely personal blog, which I have no idea why I wrote it or am publishing it, but I think you might have found it interesting.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Gratitude List #287-300

'Cause I need it:

287. The Pure Wow 40 movies to see before you're 40 list:

I've seen all but three..... and one of the ones I haven't seen is currently stored in my DVR. You'll never guess which ones I haven't seen. Hint- I HAVE seen all of the Ethan Hawke movies listed.

288. Car leases and turning fear into excitement

289. Emotional hunger

290. Nervous energy

291. Growth opportunities

292. My Ford Escape- she's going to greener pastures now and it's time for a new car, but she sure was a good friend to me!

293. The month of October. My favorite month..

294. Massage therapy. I renewed my license. It's a good day job.

295. Elayne Boosler. I watched a TON of her videos on YouTube yesterday preparing for an audition!

296. Standup comedy. It's time to get out there again soon I think. I've got some material on eating, money, relationships, fairy tales, and dogs.

297. Gratitude lists, endlessly.

298. Movies in general.

299. Movie theaters. I recently saw two female centric females in the theater: Monday I saw "Certain Women" by Kelly Reichert and Sunday I saw "The Girl on the Train."

300. The knowledge that I may not get to 2016 things to be grateful for in 2016 on THIS list, but that doesn't mean they weren't in my heart! And I won't give up. Magic happens all the time. :)