There is always a method to my madness.
This year has been a lesson in the unexpected. In other words, I have been up against not being in control for ten and a half months straight. Which is interesting…what is not interesting? I am always interested. However, it has not in any way been comfortable.
A brief aside–last night, the lovely and talented Marc Ewart, my co-director, created a zombie dance ala Thriller. It was so much fun, and so ridiculous, and I got to fall in love with him all over again, which was a gift. I need to be falling in love with people every other day or so in order to enjoy my life.
So, the unexpected and uncomfortable. January 2, I get a dental implant. It is painful. And I don’t get better. In fact, I’m in pain and exhausted, and starting to have chronic fatigue symptoms. Two MORE oral surgeries later, the implant is removed because it turns out I am allergic to the metal. It’s another month before my body recovers.
In the meantime, I’m doing a consultant gig at a Catholic school, trying to bring diversity through a school slam to the school population. Notice: Catholic school. How can this be a good idea? I asked them to come to two of our normal slams before I’d agree to work with them, I met with administrators and discussed the levels of edge in different plays, I set up a system so the administration could okay the plays, and they still did an about face on a play they’d okayed when there was a homophobic reaction to it. They canceled the event in a panic, without meeting with me.
Then my partner started having some trouble.
I, for some reason (method to my madness), felt compelled to do a 10 day silent meditation retreat, where I fell in love with Insight Meditation. I have meditated nearly every day since, until Don died, when every practice I have flew out the window. But I am returning…when I finish this blog, I am returning to being able to tolerate sitting with my own experience, even if it is grief, loss. Yesterday I closed my eyes and I could feel his energy, and you know, there’s just nothing bad about feeling Don’s energy except that he’s not here. I remember him, and there’s safety.
The 10 day meditation retreat is in June. In July, my partner gets a sublet for two months. But we travel together to Arizona, where we met. Well, not exactly together. She goes for a week by herself to the Grand Canyon, I fly to Phoenix and drive to Sedona and hike Bear Mountain alone. Really ALONE. There is no one else on the mountain, just me, the silence, the desert, the red rock, the scrub trees, everything spreading and rising, the sun beating down, early morning, early afternoon, trying to hike down before the monsoon hits.
My partner and I attended a couples weekend with friends. Then I did a week long workshop on…what was it on? It was on grief, in the end, I suppose. The leader had a dowser for where each of the six participants were stuck, and he followed that dowsing instinct with utter relentlessness, forcing each of us to reconstruct our understanding of our lives.
Personal growth summer.
I started working with a board for the theatre company, decided to end my very long tenure as Artistic Director, brought on Lyndsay Allyn Cox, did some play readings with my people, chose plays for the slam and went to work on that. At the same time, I started teaching the Full Training in the Meisner technique with a class I have come to really love. They are such kind people. They are good to each other. They are committed to learning. It grounds me to go to the school and open the door. It grounds me to see them. And the teaching has been good this semester, every class, even in the middle of death, wake, memorial. I am grateful for this.
October 7: I went to New York City to attend my friend Riva’s bridal shower, attended two plays, saw a ton of old friends, had a blast.
And came home to find out that Don was in a coma.
I wonder what each new day will hold.
Yesterday I sent in a resume for a position with Cambridge Insight Meditation Center. My draw to Insight Meditation remains overwhelmingly strong–I have signed up for another long retreat, plan to do day longs as CIMC. I wish I’d been a little more mindful about putting together a new resume, but this time of year is so busy, that I whipped it up, wrote a letter about how much I’d love to work there–I didn’t say, but felt, that I hope working there would put me inside the community, that being able to be there and do sits and take workshops is a huge plus, that mindfulness and meditation give me hope in this year of loss and change. In Buddhism, you face impermanence.
I have been facing it, and facing it, and facing it.
Yesterday I sent out an email and scheduled the first meeting of the acting ensemble group. We have 5 beginning members. I hope we all want similar enough things from the group for it to come together easily.
And looking at this, trying to be with this, with not knowing, impermanence, beauty, hope, loss…I can’t make sense of it. I can’t construct anything.
This is a life, apparently.
Metta for all of us, in this life of impermanence and not knowing. With beauty and loss. In which constructions mean less than ever, facing the existence of what is.