Getting Through the Fog
I thought I had “made it”. The local papers wrote articles. My friends oooh’d and ahhh’d. It was my first Equity show. I was on my way! Getting cast in The Heidi Chronicles at the Arizona Theatre Company….holy smokes….it was more than 20 years ago… was my first big break. It was an awesome experience. I worked with the wonderful Wendy Robie and got to wear Martha Plimpton‘s costumes. (Hey, I don’t get to name-drop often, let me have this.)
I was going places, but not where I had anticipated. I thought I’d find my way to NYC’s theatre district to act. Little did I know… A lot has happened between then and now. My passion for acting waned and I didn’t know which way to turn. Lots of starting and stopping. And starting. And stopping. And stopping. And ever-so-slowly starting again. And through it all, as I’ve gotten to know myself better, I’ve found my way to a very different path – one I didn’t even know existed when I started.
So often we feel like we have to have it all figured out before we forge ahead. Know exactly where we’re going. What we’re up to. What we want. But for me, if I would have waited to find the answers before I started, I wouldn’t have traveled very far. Like making my way through dense fog, I discovered my path by brailling the world in front of me.
And now it seems I’ve come full circle. This Friday I’m leading OnStage Leadership at Playwright’s Horizons, and I’m so excited that I can barely stand it! Why? Well Playwright’s Horizons is an off-Broadway “writer’s theatre” in the heart of theatre district in NYC. They’re committed to developing and producing new works, of which many, many, many have won multiple awards and have gone on to Broadway for successful runs. Yes, on Friday we will be doing OnStage on hallowed ground.
And what I discovered today, is that one of those plays was Wendy Wasserstein‘s The Heidi Chronicles.
What are the odds?
While I’m a huge advocate of mindfulness, and taking the time to pause and think before we act, sometimes standing on the outskirts of the unknown, we get ourselves stuck in the “pause” position. We forget that discovery is active. It happens through action. We must find a way to act.
When I find myself stuck in “pause” – when I’m scared because I don’t know what’s out there, what might happen, or if I’ll lose my way, I channel Agnes de Mille: “The artist never entirely knows. We guess. We may be wrong, but we take leap after leap in the dark.”
And while I still get scared in the face of the unknown, my time on “pause” is getting shorter. I’ve learned to trust that somehow I will find my way. And when the fog clears, I’m always glad I moved ahead.