“People are hard to hate close up. Move in. Speak truth to bullshit. Be civil. Hold hands. With strangers. Strong back. Soft front. Wild heart.” ~ Brené Brown, Braving the Wilderness
“The paradox is one of our most valuable spiritual possessions … only the paradox comes anywhere near to comprehending the fullness of life.” ~ Carl Jung
I’m directing a play this semester in addition to teaching two other classes. It’s my first time directing a Shakespeare play, which was a scary prospect, but the message in Measure for Measure called to me and I couldn’t stop thinking about doing it. I told Divine Oneness that if things fell into place, I’d go forward with the project. There have been many hurdles to jump over which I will not bore you with here. Let’s just say everything seemed to be falling into place. Students were excited about the play, as were other college instructors. I met a professional actor who had done the play seven times and gave me a shortened script, and there were so many other positive signs that I decided to move forward with the production.
We’re a week from our first performance and during the last few rehearsals everything has begun to fall apart. Last night I was so discouraged I cried all the way home and cried while telling Barry about all the obstacles that have been cropping up, ranging from college events that have kicked us out of our performance space two nights during our last week of rehearsals, to students who have to work when we’re supposed to be polishing the play. I was so distraught that I didn’t sleep well.
This morning I’m still feeling discouraged, which is not like me at all. But, yesterday I watched an episode of MarieTV that popped up on my YouTube feed when I opened it to access my meditation video. Marie Forleo is one of my favorite young women leaders. She supports women entrepreneurs. The video was from a few months ago when she was interviewing Brené Brown about her new book Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone. Brené Brown is another one of my favorite women authors and teachers. I’ve read almost all of her books and had recently finished Wilderness. She studies the effects of shame and how vulnerability can help us live an authentic life. Marie brought up something that also touched me when I read the book.
Brené writes that if we are going to be authentic, we have to be careful how we talk to and about other people. If we are going to respond to people calling us, or the people we support, names by engaging in name calling in return, then we are perpetuating negativity. We’re contributing to the dehumanization process. We are making our fellow human beings, something not worthy of respect. If we want a loving, peaceful world, we need to stop demonizing the people who have different political, religious, or moral views than we do. Often our first reaction to being attacked is to attack back, to give evil for evil. Doing that is not going to make the world a better place in which to live. Maybe, giving love, for evil is what Jesus meant when he said to turn the other cheek.
So what does this have to do with what’s happening in my life right now. Well, I certainly would like to, (and I have) yell and curse, when the latest bombshell goes off exploding my plans for the play. I haven’t done it in front of the students until last night’s rehearsal. One of my students said, “I can’t believe you haven’t done that before now.” I realized that I have been stuffing my feelings and trying to protect my students. That’s not good for me or them. So, I’ve decided that I’m going to tell them that I cried all the way home because I failed to convey to them how important it is to be there for each other. That each member of our production is important and that we owe ourselves and the audience the very best performance we can give.
And one other thing occurred to me. I’ve been living a kind of double life these last nine years. I’ve been trying to balance teaching, which includes directing, with my writing life. I’m taking this experience as a sign that maybe I should give up teaching theatre all together and concentrate on writing. I have very much regretted that I have had so little time to work on my novel this semester. I need to go spend some time with myself and Divine Oneness in the wilderness and see what my next steps should be.
Thanks for reading, liking and commenting. I appreciate it very much.
Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2018
Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, women’s novel, and is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. I you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.