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12:03 pm - Mon 9/13/04


From Backstage West:

But acting is not everything. Don't forget to be right where you are and to laud yourself for the courage it took to come from wherever you did to the second biggest city in America. Don't forget to enjoy your family's kooky ideas about your career; they want you to be a star because, to them, you already are. Don't forget that the friends you make now will be with you whether you "make it" or not. There will always be someone prettier, smarter, taller, thinner, and more talented than you are. But no one else is you. No one in history has your past with your experience, and no one interprets the world like you do. So really connect and tell your story. Make your time count. And never, never buy what they say about you not being pretty, tall, thin, young, old, fat, funny, or charming enough to "make it." You already have. You are alive and residing here in the land of opportunity—Hollywood, Calif. And you are the only one of you.

From Buddhism Without Beliefs:

Anguish emerges for craving life to be other than what it is. In the face of a changing world, such craving seeks consolation in something permanent and reliable, in a self that is in control of things, in a God who is in charge of destiny. The irony of this strategy is that it turns out to be the cause of what it seeks to dispel. In yearning for anguish to be assuaged in such ways, we reinforce what creates anguish in the first place: the craving for life to be other than what it is. We find ourselves spinning in a vicious circle. The more acute the anguish, the more we want to be rid of it, but the more we want to be rid of it, the more acute it gets.

Such behavior is not just a silly mistake we can shrug off. It is an ingrained habit, an addiction. It persists even when we are aware of its self-destructive nature. To counter it requires resolve of equivalent force to live another way. This is unlikely, though, to lead to an immediate change in the way we feel. A smoker may fervently resolve to give up cigarettes, but that does not prevent the tug of longing each time he enters a smoke-filled room. What changes is his resolve.

Dharma practice is founded on resolve. This is not an emotional conversion, a devastating realization of the error of our ways, a desperate urge to be good, but an ongoing, heartfelt reflection on priorities, values, and purpose. We need to keep taking stock of our life in an unsentimental, uncompromising way.

Appreciate that you have something that is uniquely "you" to offer the world. Don't believe that you aren't "this" enough or "that" enough to have an impact. And whatever happens, "laud" yourself for the courage it took to get where you are.

In my life, I've been a bit "hit and miss" in regards to that first excerpt from Backstage. At times, I think I do appreciate that I have something "special" to offer. But I also wrestle with a prodigous amount of insecurity that there "won't be a place for me". And I know I have a tough time giving myself credit for making it to where I am, instead of viewing "where I am" as a mark of failure.

And the Buddhism Without Beliefs excerpt "spoke to me", because I think that is one of my biggest "issues", in regards to changing my behaviors--Maybe it has to do with my early religious background, maybe not, but I've had a hard time shaking the idea that if I do the right thing, think the right thought, whatever, that I'm going to have some kind of "conversion experience", and then I'll "be the person I was always meant to be".

Turns out, it doesn't work that way.

I'd like to write more about this, but I've gotta dash--I actually have an audition!

See ya later...


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