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“Work for something because it is good, not just because it stands a chance to succeed.”

“Truth and love will overcome lies and hatred.”
Vaclav Havel

“I am not what I ought to be, I am not what I want to be, I am not what I hope to be in another world; but still I am not what I once used to be, and by the grace of God I am what I am.”
John Newton

“If I had an hour to solve a problem and my life depended on the solution, I would spend the first 55 minutes determining the proper question to ask, for once I know the proper question, I could solve the problem in less than five minutes.”
Albert Einstein

 

“I cannot teach you violence, as I do not myself believe in it. I can only teach you not to bow your heads before anyone, even at the cost of your life.”

“It is better to be violent, if there is violence in our hearts, than to put on the cloak of nonviolence to cover impotence.”

“God has no religion.”

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
Mahatma Gandhi

“It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.”

Theodore Roosevelt

 

“A warrior is not about perfection or victory or invulnerability. He’s about absolute vulnerability. That is the only true courage.”

“Sometimes you have to lose your mind before you come to your senses.”
Dan Millman

 

“If the sight of the blue skies fills you with joy, if a blade of grass springing up in the fields has power to move you, if the simple things of nature have a message that you understand, rejoice, for your soul is alive.”
Eleanora Duse

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It’s been a while coming and not at all a quick and hasty conclusion, but today I found myself in the first steps towards permanently departing from Facebook.  The reasons are hard to sum up into one neat little package and any attempt to do so results in far off tangents all over the place.  The biggest draw to NOT do so is the obvious, which is losing the quick easy and instant connection with friends, family, and loved ones.  But that’s actually one of the biggest reasons TO do it; the quick and easy instant “connection” with friends, family, and loved ones.

 

We live in a culture that thrives on instantaneous gratification, and we accept posts of what someone ate for dinner, a check-in at the local gym, and a gif with some inspirational message that gets posted a million times by every friend we know as just that.  I walk down the street and I see something beautiful and inspiring, and my gut reaction is to take a picture with my phone and immediately upload it to the world.  What happened to the simpler times, where I could just take that beautiful whatever and drink it in with my entire being and experience it all just for just me, or at the very least with the person I’m with.    Sharing is caring, but somehow in this high-tech fast-paced world of ours, we’ve begun sharing to the extreme that we miss so much of the beauty and truth in what it is we are sharing.  Then there are these political posts where someone somewhere has done something really terrible and the original poster is pissed off as hell.  Then everyone starts sharing like crazy, completely outraged and about to lose their minds…but how many of those sharers read beyond that tiny article (or worse, even read the full article, or any of it, at all) to research it to make sure they actually have all of the information to justify their pissed-off-edness?  I have no doubt this happens more often than not.

 

I have a million ideas and thoughts about how modern technology and internet globalization is adversely affecting  humanity;  a group of friends go out to eat and everyone has their head in their phone.  On the train nobody knows how to interact with each other because there are no “like” buttons or upvotes/downvotes to read “behavior”, so everyone just avoids eye contact of any kind.  And now every part of the internet is oozing with advertisements (you can’t escape it, and you probably don’t even consciously noticed half of them) which leaves me to have to wonder, how much is the general public at large even ABLE to think for themselves anymore ?  Google’s no privacy policy and Facebook about to go public is surely sealing the deal.

 

Myself, I am a billion times G-U-I-L-T-Y of all of the above and much, much more.  I recently was talking with a friend about this trend where people will comment on the internet when they think they are “anonymous” (facebook groups posts, at the end of news stories, youtube comments, reddit, etc) and the ugliness of humanity that comes out as a result.  There have been times when I’ve gone back to comments I’ve made in such places and noticed how I fell right in to that trend, appalled  and asking myself what is THAT about?

 

Social networking sites like this have their goodness.  You find long lost friends and relatives, share pictures, stories, life events.  But they also create this somehow inescapable time sucking vacuum that can and does lose facets of humanity and eats up creativity in ways that only the computer and internet can do.  And somehow I just know that disconnecting from the madness and reconnecting with the juicy life in the present-right-in-front-of-me world is the only way to  truly heal.  At least for me,  this is truth.

 

Sociology and culture trends aside, for me personally, this is about getting back to basics and simplicity in my life.  Letting loose the distractions and procrastination tools I use as my excuse to not step fully into my artistic life that longingly and without rest pulls me forward.  It’s about being more present in the right here right now, allowing focus, noticing, and being more engaged and connected.  It’s about where am I putting my attention.  Mixed with these ideas of integrity and authenticity that continue to monopolize my head space.

 

So there it is.  And now here I am.  Open, present, grateful,  humble.

 

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After reading a friend’s latest thoughts on this weekend’s Occupy Oakland protests and arrests, I started searching on the current happenings and came across this article about the damage done by the anarchists.  He and I have talked before about Occupy’s refusal to stand up to the anarchists but rather this idea of respecting everyone’s rights to the way they protest.  Which IMO is bullshit, especially at the detriment of the purpose of the movement itself.  (But that’s a whole other post.)

 

What I look to then is a creation like Reddit, where the community DOES so easily self govern, and those that try to cause nonsensical havoc are quickly smothered out.  Which leads me to think then, why does this work so easily in an online community but not in a current in-person revolution?

 

This is something I’ve been pondering on and accessing  for quite some time–this idea that current technology that “connects” us also disconnects and dehumanizes us in so many ways.  There has been a shift where people are freer and more apt to communicate via technology than in person, via technology losing the human aspects of eye gaze, voice intonation, and body language.  Certainly anonymity plays a part in this; there is the  freedom to say whatever you want if nobody really knows who you are (or where to find you).  Or even for those that are completely forthcoming with personal information, but know there are no real in-person consequences to whatever one might say.  I’ve been both disgusted and fascinated with comment sections in various forums (news, FaceBook, entertainment sites, YouTube, etc) where people will say the most astounding things; and you know full well if someone were to actually have the balls to say such things in person (they wouldn’t), retaliation would not be deemed unreasonable but perhaps even cheered on.

 

In light of all of this and now the recent Google privacy changes, I have to ask is the internet becoming (or has it already) the new television, aka  the means of propaganda control by government and the 1% corporations?  While we, the 99%, are certainly beginning to figure that out and using it to our advantage, how much are we awake and aware to how it influences us as humans in our everyday, interactive (or non-interactive) lives?  Certainly the governments and corporations (same thing) see the big picture and are well aware of how to both use it against us as well as how the people are using it to fight back; hence SOPA, PIPA, ACTA and the likes.  But are we, the people, seeing the big picture and fully at choice in our daily lives in the use of the internet and modern technology and how it might be influencing our in-person interactions?

 

 

 

I don’t have any answers and not necessarily expecting any in return, but rather am presenting food for thought, as it is something that has been mulling around in my head space for quite some time.  I think it’s more than worth considering and being brought to awareness and discussion to the public at large.  Even today so many of the people do not get that the TV is being used against them as a propaganda machine and a means of control.  I would guess that even though the internet is a prosperous means of information  and idea exchange, even less of the people realize that the internet is being used for this exact same thing and in a much more intrusive way.  Is newer, more advanced, smarter, faster, and more more more better?  Is it helping or hindering us, or both?  And what can we do with and about this information?

 

Lastly, I’ll live you with an excerpt from this great interview with the film maker, Terry Gilliam, on this very subject:

 

“Would you ever make a satire about the world we’re living in today?:
Well that’s the part… I don’t know how to get at it. I mean, how do you get at it? I think if there’s anything, it’s about how people are becoming so disconnected from reality even though we live in a time when everything is connected. And that’s the irony of it. And that’s why I’ve got this house in Italy. When I’m there, I just do manual labor. Just physical work, and dealing with trees, birds, bugs, rocks.

And then I start talking to younger people and I realize that they don’t understand where things come from. They don’t understand how the system works. This is terrifying. They just are consumers, and that’s it. And that’s like the dream if Orwell had written the dream. We don’t live in a socialist or capitalist society; it’s a consumerist society, and nobody cares, as long as they’ve got their goodies. And if it’s well-designed, it’s even better [points to an iPhone on the table].

And yet at the same time we’re supposed to be getting cleverer and thinking. What may be happening is, I just think people are becoming neurons, and they’re just part of this big thing. Hollywood was always like this. A new idea pops into the system “Boom!,” all these neurons start firing, synaptic gaps are being leapt. And then it dies down and the next idea comes. It goes like that. And the world is becoming like that now.”

 

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It’s actually been  more than a week, but here goes.  I have a lot to write about, or perhaps more accurately said, a lot brewing.  For tonight, though, I will keep this brief as Breaking Bad episodes, season 2 via Netflix are waiting (thank you dear sister for this new ADDICTION).  Normally it would still wait, but it’s Jack’s one day off this week, and while he knows I have self commitments I am wanting to stick to, I also want to capitalize on the time with him.:)

The 30 minutes exercise daily has been getting the least attention, definitely not by choice, as I’ve been pretty sick  this past week+ (and actually was ordered to have bed rest).   In addition to the “calcification” or whatevertheheck is trying to exit my body, I also woke up on Monday with an oh-joy cold/sore throat/sinus infection medley.  Doc says this is actually good as my body is trying to cleanse itself. Well cleanse away body. CLEANSE AWAY.

The daily creative writing has been mostly good….I did miss 2 days this week, but it was due to low energy level and how I was feeling those days health-wise.  Yesterday was one of them, which I also missed doing a blog post (the only day missed so far, however).  The writing I am LOVING and am fascinated by the themes that keep showing up (as well as what keeps showing up in my life to feed these themes): spirituality, religion, honne and tatemae, authenticity and/vs audacity, grace vs nature, ho’oponopono, shame, blocks, cleansing, release, lies, truth, etc.  As my goal was to have this daily writing prepare myself for work on my solo performance work (and beyond), I find these themes to be exciting and I am open and ready for what is to come.

Through my morning pages, meditation, and constructive rest, I am reflecting and opening to how this all relates to me personally as well as my life’s work.  The shoulder still has not healed and I have opened up to the possibility that it actually might not heal enough for me to return to restaurant work.  I’m not as stressed out about this as I was in the beginning, but rather continuing my work (along with my healing) and being open and actively inquisitive as to “ok, then, if not that then what’s next?”

I have stayed 100% vegan:  SUCCESS!  I have cooked up some pretty incredible vegan dishes this week, so keeping Jack happy in the process= double success.  Constructive rest has happened daily without fail, and I am really noticing the difference it is making in my body and my awareness (where I unconsciously have been holding tension, aka “protecting”).   There is a definite shift happening in my back and neck, and so I am completely motivated to keep this up and feeling all around pretty good about that.

Staying off Facebook and websites of the like has been easy (I did go on to  “exit the conversation” of a couple of mass emails (that I’m not able to participate in at this time, as I was constantly getting emails as a result).  While I do not miss the inundating myself with constant information that drowns out my own creative voice and/or using it as a huge mode of procrastination, I DO  greatly miss the connection with my family and friends.  This has become exponentially true with the isolation(even though I’ve still been in touch with many) of being at home so much to due to injury and illness.  There is one friend in particular that I think about daily as she is undergoing treatment for breast cancer, and has been very forthcoming in her moment to moment experience of it all via facebook.  Her status updates (and those of others like her) being trended would be a lot more beneficial to the spreading of true awareness of breast cancer and the likes than silly little hidden messages in status updates that really don’t mean or do jack shit (sorry but it’s true!).  I know that’s harsh, and I have a number of friends actually participating in this facebook status trend (which I know about from the emails until I logged in to drop out), but I feel like if people want to spread awareness, do it in a way that is real and deep and actually has some meaning and the potential to really impact and awaken people to something they don’t already know.  It’s not like breast cancer is some big secret.  We are all perfectly aware it’s there.  But my friend (who is undergoing treatment) and the sharing of her experience…now THAT’S some effective awareness spreading right there.  I’m just sayin’.

Ok, off soap box.  The only thing that truly got neglected this week was the working on my PATH. Oh wait, that is somewhat a lie…..I did buy a new 2012 planner.  I just didn’t do anything with it other than admire its newness and beauty.  So that is something for me to really look at  and think about why and how it can be approached differently.   We’ll see what new news I have to report about it next week.  To finish off, daily meditation and morning pages happened without issue (and I have found myself already lengthening my meditation time), as did my artist date (which is in my last blog post).  I am already aware of a pretty big shift happening in myself;  a slowing down to notice details so much more as I am doing things even mundane tasks, an increased calmness, a new sense of enjoyment of  even the smallest things.  I’m laughing a lot more, too.  This is good and is keeping me motivated and focused toward my daily tasks and I look forward to more and more and more.   As I wrote out today, every writing or meditation or creation of every kind doesn’t have to be golden.  It’s awesome when it is, but it’s obviously not always going to work out that way.  What’s important is the practice itself, showing up, and how you show up(and sometimes just saying “hey, I’m here okay” has to be enough, and that’s okay, too).  The rest will eventually somehow, in Its Own Way, start to work Itself out.

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Because I, in general, like to set myself up for the next-to-impossible, I’m beginning 2012 with just that.  2 months from now I will be taking a 5 week “Solo Performance” workshop class at ESPA  (through Primary Stages), of which I fully intend to come out of with a completed first draft of a solo performance piece. And then…of course… the dreaded…the awful… the evil:

AUDITIONS!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

 

And so, you know, just to make my life an utter living hell (and by hell I of course actually mean  totally freaking awesome), I will be starting out the first month of 2012 in Creative Incubation. This means:

1.DISTRACTION DEPRIVATION: Exactly what it sounds like.  I am the Q-U-E-E-N of distraction procrastination. This was my safety zone, by binkie, my warm and cozy blankie as a child, and sometimes I forget that I don’t actually (always) need it anymore. For me, the biggest culprits are: Facebook, computer/phone games, and news and entertainment websites. Soooo, for the next month, if it isn’t directly related to acting, creative “work” (re:  play), personal connections (emails, letters, phone calls, in-person), bills(gotta be responsible sometimes), and/or work, it ain’t happening. So,  DEAR, lovely black holes of my precious sweet time, I’m sending you on a little va-cay for the wintery month of January. Sayonara.

2.  30+ Minutes DAILY Intentional Movement: Gym, walking, sit-ups, yoga, dancing, whatever. As long as I am purposefully MOVING.

3.  DAILY Morning Pages

4.  Daily Meditation

5.  Alexander Technique’s Constructive Rest Exercise Daily (At least 15 minutes)

6.  30 Minutes Creative Writing Daily (this will be left up to flexible interpretation, but will always mean some sort of 30 minute nonstop writing-just-for-the-sake-of-writing exercise)

7.  Weekly Artist Dates

8. 100% VEGAN!!:  I’ve been riding the edge  on this for a while now, not fully BYALONGSHOT giving up the dairy. This action definitely supports a happier, healthier, more creatively nutritious me.

9.  Making and keeping my appointments with myself (and weekly POW meetings) on my PATH. (I fully give myself permission to have all of the appointments be creative-play-based, as long as they fit within the perimeters of my PATH.)

10. New (VEGAN!) Recipe Each Week!   Jack’s not likely going vegan anytime soon (and by soon I mean NEVER), so I gotta keep things tasty and interesting to keep him happy, as well!  Happy husband=happy wife, and vice versa.

11. DAILY (did I just type that?!) Blog Entry: Yes, folks, you heard it here first. This blog has been sporadic to say the least, but not this month!  It might be a one liner, a simple picture of something inspires me, or it might be a 300 page novel.  Let’s play it by ear.  (And honestly, I’m totally stealing this daily posting idea from Bekah Brunstetter, whose blog I adore:  http://blog.bekahbrunstetter.com/ )

12.

 

 

 

Ok, actually I don’t have a number 12.

 

Ok.  Maybe that’s actually what number 12 is.  Not having one…an end goal,  a specified outcome, or a needed result. Just a daily  re-commitment for the next month to being more fully present with myself and life, caring for and nurturing my creative and spiritual sweet Self.  And then…whatever hatches, hatches.

 

 

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I‘ve been avoiding you.  Don’t take it personally.  I’ve been working very hard to avoid all creative outlets in any way possible.  Facebook.  Sleeping.  Eating.  Housework.  Perezhilton.com.  You name it.  Anything that could fill my time with anything other than what I really want to be doing.

I haven’t been nice to myself about it either.  Deeming myself a procrastinator, lazy, a facade.  And the longer it has carried on, the more frustrated I have grown.  Just ask my oh-so-patient husband on the receiving end.

I have been blessed with an incredible amount of inspiration as of late.  People, places, sights, from-the-Heart live music, conversations, movies.  One was “Black Swan,” which we saw last weekend and which addresses the idea of “perfection.” (Btw, I’ve also seen “Blue Valentine” and “The Fighter” within the past couple of weeks…both which are excellent, HOWEVER, if you see only one movie in the immediate future PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE  do yourself a favor and see “Blue Valentine”—it is so rare to see a movie that is so utterly honest and raw and the true true true expression of Love—this movie lit a fire in me and moved me beyond description).  It (“Black Swan”) got me thinking a lot about myself and how I use the excuse of perfection (perfect conditions, perfect knowledge, perfect preparedness, etc) to put off and off and off free creative expressions that my LJ (Little Jenn—totally stole that from Julia Cameron) longs for.  And then by “hap circumstance” (hahaha), last week I found myself agreeing (??—certainly not without resistance) to co-facilitate a 12 week undertaking of The Artist’s Way….when what to my wondering eyes should appear, but….oh you sneaky, sneaky little chapter one:  the shadow artist and creative blocks.  Yes, of course I’ve read this chapter several times before.  Yes, of course I’ve taken 1000 classes, gone on a zillion retreats, done all kinds of release release RELEASE DAMNIT! work in the past.  Did that make me any more aware as to why I found myself avoiding the very thing I love, my very reason for being, around what this entire move to NYC has been about?

Nope.

So, okay.  NOW I know.  In hindsight (20/20), it is so easy to see how and why this happened.  This move emerged from the Artist’s Way class I took last summer; the class that is about GENTLY recovering your artist.  And so what do I do with that class, but clearly hear the Voice that is within me and… I run with it.  Not teeny tiny little baby steps like Julia Cameron suggests, but huge, ginormous, giant leaps and bounds  to the moon and back.  So of COURSE there is the ego/logic brain of me that, even if on a subconscious level, is freaking the eff out.  What have you done with our safe, predictable Jenn?  “To hell with her!” Little Jenn proclaims, but the fight-or-flight, look-both-ways-before-crossing-the-street jenn (yes that lower case j is intentional) has been shaking her head vigorously, “oh HELL no.”

Prior to this revelation, I did realize I needed to get some Chi movement going in my life.  Activity breeds activity, and even though I didn’t understand that the procrastination was a block, I knew that if I could just get myself moving on SOMETHING, that would bleed out into every other creative aspect of my life.  So weeks ago, after “happening” (re: hahaha) upon a catalog, I signed up for a Creative Writing class through Gotham–which starts TODAY.  I know at the very least, it will highly benefit my acting process (during which I tend to do a lot of writing).  My gut tells me the benefits will spread out way beyond that intention.  When The Artist’s Way opportunity came along, I strongly considered dropping the class, thinking there was no way I could do both, especially with other projects I am inspired to do right now (oh, right– but am NOT doing!); but I quickly kicked that nonsense to the curb.  I have had FAR more on my plate in the past and gotten along juuuuust fine.

So here is what I am declaring: I give myself permission to take baby steps.  I give myself to take ridiculously gigantic steps.  I give myself permission to fall down, make a mess, cry, laugh, sing, scream.  Oh, and re: this blog—I give myself permission to NOT wait until the “perfect” time and inspiration have occurred.  Writing one sentence is fine.  One word.  One picture.  Whatever strikes me at that moment.  It doesn’t have to be about some big “aha” moment in my consciousness.  At the time it can seem like utter and total crap.  As long as it is me being Me.  That is my new definition of perfection.

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