I’d be lying right now if I didn’t admit I was scared.
I am scared everyday. I am scared by the lack of leadership and coherence. I am scared by the lack of unity. I am scared that there’s no vaccine and not enough tests for this virus. I am scared of the halt to most filming. I am scared for loved ones who live in states where social distancing isn’t respected. I am scared when I sneeze or cough, or feel just plain icky.
Once again, it’s time to inventory what I can and cannot control.
I can lead by example by social distancing and wearing masks and gloves. I can post about what I am doing to stop the spread of this virus. I can set a standard for my family to follow and take proper precautions.
I can choose not to add to the din of social media right now. I can choose not to attack my neighbors, friends and strangers online or offline. I can choose to add helpful, factual information from credible sources and actionable tips and advice. An ignorant person has to choose not to remain ignorant. I can instruct the ignorant, but its not my place to scold or punish those who are willfully and dangerously ignorant.
I am not a scientist. I choose to trust the science and the scientists, doctors and nurses. When I need expert advice, I take it.
Many of our industries will bounce back after a time. It may not be on my preferred timeline, and there will be changes, but the film industry is resilient. I am resilient and I will adapt as best I can to the changes that will inevitably take place.
I cannot choose the actions or inaction of the federal, states or local governments. I can share what I know to be true with my family. They can make their choices in accordance with their local laws. I may not like what other states are or aren’t doing, but I believe in democracy and I believe people DO get the government they DESERVE. If you believe you deserve better, vote and act differently.
I can keep my risk of contracting COVID-19 down by maintaining social distance, washing my hands, disinfecting surfaces and keeping myself minimally stressed. A sneeze is not a death sentence.
When we keep facing our fears, we can be more honest with ourselves. There is no “okay” right now. It’s okay to be “not okay”. However, we can’t just let our fears spin around in our monkey minds. We need to get curious about them, like we would a new, intriguing species or a first date.
I’ve found Therapeer to be a free, valuable resource to discuss your COVID-19 fears with supportive peers.
Sometimes, after years of being in the arts professions, we have to get reacquainted with ourselves. We are not the actor, the dancer, the comic, et al, we were a year ago, much less five or ten years ago. Hopefully, we’ve grown. Sometimes, we have growing pains. With arts imperiled by corona virus, artists of all disciplines can lean into this cultural and social pause and do some self-care.
Starting last year, I went through a period where I felt I needed to take stock. One of the things my self inventory yielded up was the need to forgive and release past experiences on stage and screen. #MeToo and #TimesUp have us sharing our stories, and I also came to the conclusion I needed to re-write, by releasing and forgiving, my narrative of myself, particularly in my profession. I also needed release negative, defeating beliefs about “how things are”. This is what I came up with for myself:
“I release myself from all past and present pain in acting. I release myself and surrender times of overwork, over-stress, humiliation, body image issues, hurtful and invalidating comments and all other pain and trauma I’ve experienced during my life as an actor.
I embrace a vibrant, creative life that I love, where I do the acting work I’ve always wanted, needed and been called to do. I am a happy and healthy artist who’s thriving. I love communicating verbally and non-verbally to the best and peak of my abilities.
I release all negative, harmful, self-defeating patterns and thoughts around acting. I am a sane, healthy, happy, holy person who makes art. I am loving, kind and compassionate and that radiates throughout all my performances. I honor my unique needs and challenges and honor the needs, challenges and contributions of others. I am here, now, today, firmly rooted in the reality of my chosen profession.”
Artists, if you’re not already, utilize this valuable time. Practice, create, innovate and experiment! So often we’re too rushed and rely on technique and well-honed skills and don’t have the precious silence that cocoons inspiration. There are gifts in this experience. It’s also a great time, to challenge your beliefs and get present to yourself, the artist today.
Questions to ask yourself:
What assumptions do I make about myself based on my age, gender, etc., in my field?
Do I have a teacher, coach,mentor in the arts, that I have hurtful memories with? What did they say or do? What toxic lesson did I learn from that? How do I re-frame this to empower me, now, today?
What are my culture’s harmful beliefs about my arts profession? Stereotypes?
What are my family’s harmful beliefs or invalidating comments about my arts profession?
What do I feel I lack as an artist? Discipline? Depth? Re-frame that belief.
What do I truly desire for myself in my arts career?
Identify patterns. Re-frame your beliefs to empower you. Claim the power in the present–whatever the present may bring.
With the Holiday Season here, this is a great time to think about a fresh start. Sometimes people make resolutions or new objectives, thinking about what they want to do. One common approach is to capitalize on the upcoming new year and simply design something or restart something.
There’s little thought, however, given to what must be ended. Although endings are a part of our professional and personal life, they can be a natural next step or they can be a cumbersome roadblock.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow said, “Great is the art of the beginning, but greater is the art of ending.” Consider some examples, like relationships, traditions, events and leaders. If you’re working in an organization, there can be leadership and strategy changes.
I grew up with endings as part of my family’s lifestyle because I was an Army dependent. With my Dad serving in the Army, we would…
The great news is, that if you are reading this, you are ALIVE. Congratulations.
I feel like “cautious optimism” needs a big comeback moment. Can we be cautious and optimistic at the same time? I hope so.
Today, keeping “safe at home”, I made some simple clay from flour, water, salt and vegetable oil. I’ve never made clay before. I am used to it looking grayish, in perfectly formed blocks, wrapped in glossy plastic, straight from a box. Mine was more like a cookie dough, sans the eggs and sugar.
As I worked with the clay, I remembered that I get to shape some things. I may not be used to what I am working with, but I can still shape it towards what I intend. I can create hearts and smiley faces, or I can create something less pleasant. We are all creators, even if what we’re working with is, at times, less than ideal.
What can we create, optimistically, at this time? Maybe it’s only a new perspective, but that is something. Maybe it’s a smile?
Let’s face it, we’re still fighting the corona virus. It’s not spring-as-usual. It’s easy to escape into thoughts of Easter eggs, bunnies and chickadees. All these things are nice and help us to feel good, but right now, I feel the world is called to restore balance.
So many us are chronically over-stressed, busy in lieu of being present, and not balancing rest, repose and activity. Our environment is over-burdened by the pollution caused by our commutes. Our psyches are now overburdened by fear, anxiety and panic. We need to embrace this pause, this balance point, offered by the vernal equinox.
Looking ahead, this spring equinox we have a void-of-course moon on March 20th for most of the day, if you are in the US. Check your local times. Void-of-course moons are ideal times for reflection, study and meditation. Take this opportunity to re-calibrate your body, mind and spirit.
I did a tarot and Lenormand pull by sign pairs, regarding what needs to be brought back into harmony and balance. Every Aries has a deep part of them that’s Libran, acknowledged or not, and vice-versa, as so with all the sign pairs. When restoring balance, it’s helpful to think of the signs as a story with a theme that’s playing out between the “opposing” or complementary energies. Look at your sun, moon and ascendant to see what areas to re-balance.
The Sun, reversed
The Queen of Wands, reversed
It’s time to stop and smell the flowers for Aries and Libras. Too much doing is scattering your energy and robbing you of joy. Don’t keep knocking on metaphorical doors, looking for approval from everyone. You have the keys. Use them. Your mission is to set yourself free of the approval trap this equinox.
Saturn moves out of Capricorn around the equinox. It’s now time to put the old criticisms of a boss or your own father to bed. This is especially true for Libra and Aries women. You don’t have to earn daddy’s love now or ever. Build a new life around an empowering POV, instead of answering for “mistakes” you made deep in the past.
The Chariot, Reversed
Taurus and Scorpio, how you feel about a matter is not moving you forward. Now is not the time to choose freeze or hide. How can you move forward valiantly and purposefully? Old, unprocessed emotions are keeping you stuck. Get grounded to get in a safer emotional space.
Both Scorpio and Taurus need to keep expecting the unexpected, with Uranus in Taurus. Some surprises are good, some not what we’d hope for, but from now til the next equinox, you are asked to make the best of everything. You’re being a called to alchemize the inconvenient and adopt the attitude that all things are ultimately moving in your favor. What’s needed most is a deep surrender. Pull the anchor up and trust the tides.
The Ace of Swords
The truth sets Gemini and Sagittarius free for the next six months. Commit to the truth, speak it, write it, teach it and preach it. You’re keenly aware of other’s masks, pretensions and follies. People who put on a nice persona around you may be eager to take from you. Be careful of flattery and ask yourself what’s truly behind it. Your gut will know what’s a sincere compliment versus one that’s intended to get something out of you. The strength of your will and character are being tested. Choose integrity over shortcuts.
Venus enters Gemini in early April. Venus, being the lover, the coquette and seductress of the zodiac, brings pleasant distractions to you this spring. That in mind, keep it real in dating and romance. Opt for deeper conversations and don’t just hear what you want to hear in the game of love. Deep listening in matters of the heart is called for. Does the beautiful lover you desire have beautiful thoughts? A beautiful spirit? Look at the whole package.
The Four of Pentacles, Reversed
The Nine of Wands, Reversed
Capricorns and Cancers, are your defense mechanisms working? Your strong self-protective streak may be backfiring. Your equinox goal is to dismantle the deep tiredness and apathy you’ve been feeling. Give a little, especially to yourself. It’s safe to splurge on something that will revivify you at this time. Likewise, look at what you tend to hoard–things, bad memories, resentments. It’s time to purge all the past junk that’s not serving you. Stop chasing. The truth that you seek is seeking you too. It’s time for stillness. I am talking to you, Capricorn and Cancer men, especially. Sit down, chill, meditate. You have a deep, unacknowledged need for space. Give it to yourself.
Saturn moves out of Capricorn at the equinox, so the long-held burdens weighing down the Capricorns and Cancerians are lifting. Pluto, Mars and Jupiter are all in Capricorn at this time. This is a powerful, transformative, activating energy at work. It’s time to drop the past and build the future. Don’t build your new future with stones of anger, resentment and regret.
For Leo and Aquarius, it’s time to identify the small things that are taking up too much time and energy. It’s time to gently and deeply investigate your work processes, habits and impulse buys. You are called to make the best use of your resources and rid yourself of the tiny thieves of your life. What’s robbing you of joy, calm and peace of mind especially? Leo will be deeply in their element with this inquiry, as the Strength card resonates with their sign. Aquarius, keep this purging gentle, like you would a fast or detox.
Saturn enters Aquarius near the equinox and for Aquarius, it’s time to take stock. Ask yourself, “am I making the best use of my time?” For Leo, Saturn in Aquarius rewards them for being and staying on mission and purpose, using their natural leadership skills to lead others towards a better life. Both signs need to examine how they want to grow as leaders and what they want their legacy to be.
The Magician, Reversed
The 8 of Wands
Pisces and Virgo need to be more intentional with their actions at this time. Both signs are in the trap of feeling like they have to work themselves to death to accomplish something, anything. They may also be trying to prop up a situation that’s far outlived its usefulness to them. It’s time to say “enough” and acknowledge there’s no more you can or should do. Meditate on right effort, right mindedness and right actions. There’s no magic words you’ll be able to conjure to bring something back to life. Let it be.
Mercury is in Pisces til about mid April with Neptune in Pisces. Both Virgo and Pisces need to trust their intuition, but not indulge in too many fantasies, what-ifs and such. The situation or burden they are facing will undo or unravel itself. Let it settle. No more effort is needed.
Wishing you a beautiful, restorative spring journey, full of health, wealth and love.
I’ve been making light about the panic around toilet paper and other supplies on my other social channels, but I must admit, as a person who’s anxious, it was hard to keep things in perspective when out getting groceries today.
I am not a health professional, so please check all the tips I am about to give against your own common sense, life circumstances and the advice of your doctors, the CDC and your local governments.
Renew your prescriptions IF THEY ARE LOW. I have one medication that I take that has some serious withdrawal symptoms if I suddenly stop taking it. If that’s the case with your medication and you have a week’s worth or less, you may want to consider calling in your refill and picking it up.
Social distancing does NOT mean isolation. Facetime and Google Hangouts work. Reaching out doesn’t mean you have to be in the same room with someone. Reach out, especially to those who are vulnerable.
If you are out, be kind, polite and give people plenty of space. Our healthcare workers, grocery workers, retail workers and many others are seriously overburdened at this time. No yelling, shouting or snarky comments are going to make things any better. Stress ups our susceptibility to disease. Don’t stress yourself or others out. Smiling improves your health.
Get support if you are going through a hard time already. If you are struggling with addiction, there are support groups online too. If your usual meeting is canceled, Virtual meetings of AA, Al-Anon and CODA groups are happening all the time, all over the world, and you don’t have to leave your home. I also recommend Therapeer, an app. Join me on Therapeer to receive peer emotional support, and to support others in need. Follow this link to get your own private support room for free: https://www.therapeer.app/invite/xupg3
Try to keep up your healthy habits, even if your routines are disrupted. There’s a treasure trove of exercise and yoga classes on YouTube. It may help to keep up your morning routine even if you’re not commuting to work.
Many of us are news junkies. It is very important to keep up-to-date on what’s happening, but if you find the news is making you anxious, limit your time reading the news. Check in the morning, noon and night only, and for short, designated times. Consider a digital detox.
If you’re bored, try something new. Take an online class or take on a household project.
Meditate and rest. Can’t stress this enough. During today’s grocery store gauntlet, I had to stop and do a quick grounding meditation because I was so unnerved by how under-stocked the shelves were.
Focus on what IS going RIGHT. Be grateful when stores are still open. Say thank you to people working at this time, especially in customer service jobs.
Remember and remind yourself of what you can control…and what you can ‘t. You can control your attitude, your preparedness and your response to this situation as it unfolds. You cannot control others. You’re doing the best you can and that’s sometimes the only thing you can really do.
Laughter is great medicine. Watch a comedy or some stand-up on your TV. It’s for your health!
If you’ve ever had the word “too” weaponized against you, you know how baffling and painful it is. So many women have felt the pain of this three-letter word. I have and I am not allowing it to hurt me anymore. Not now, not today, not ever again. Someone’s hurtful use of the word “too” is now my marching orders to go further in that direction.
It’s brave to be who you are, as you are, in a world that says, “You’re too much” and yet never enough at the same time. Ladies, I am sorry that someone tried to dim your light. I am sorry that someone tried to quiet you down. I am sorry that someone tried to stunt your leadership growth. I am proud of you that you kept shining, kept speaking and kept growing in spite of a world that says confusingly, often at the same time, that “you’re too much,” and will never be enough. I’ve had enough of it, personally.
This International Women’s Month, this is my focus: to reclaim the parts of me that were “too much” and to shush the nonsense monologue in my head that says I’ll never be enough for this romantic partner, or that job, or that level of income. It’s time to kick “too much” and “never enough” out of our lives. They’re two-word poison pills we keep swallowing that stunt our growth, joy and potential.
You are never too much. You are beautiful and brilliant just as you are AND always enough. Wishing you a healing International Women’s Month.
It think it’s time to reclaim the word “fat” this Fat Tuesday. The “fat” of Fat Tuesday is happy. It’s a last hurrah before a long fast. It’s the celebration of bounty. It’s excess and indulgence. It’s happy. In the case of “Fat Tuesday” we are supposed to be happy.
I’m not defending obesity. I’m not minimizing the diseases that obesity exacerbates. I just want to complicate “fat” a bit. Instead of saying “She (or) he is fat,” as if it’s an existential state, inherent to the person, like character or temperament, can we be more compassionate AND clinical? “She (or) he is experiencing obesity.”
Indeed, obesity and the struggle with it is an experience. If you’ve ever combed through a Ross rack at midnight trying to find a decent plus size dress, you’ve had the obesity experience. If you’ve ever watched plus-size loved ones yo-yo diet and cycle through success and failure, you’ve had the obesity experience. If you’ve ever been starved for something in your life (love, attention, respect) and found a short-term substitute at the bottom of a pint of ice cream in the middle of the night, you’ve had part of the obesity experience.
I’ve been every size from a 6 to a 20W, and even when I was thin, I wasn’t happy. I was panicked about regaining the weight. It made shopping easier, sure, and I felt noticed. However, keeping the weight off was my entire life. It was a full-time job on top of the job I already had. Thinness is not happiness. Happiness is happiness. We all struggle with happiness, thin or fat.
The word “fat” has bedeviled me my whole life. “Pretty for a fat girl,” “too fat”, “too fat for the role,”–just a few of the many things I’ve heard. Behind that “f” word “fat” is another “f” word, that often follows close by and is implied, “failure”. Being “fat”, or more compassionately, experiencing “fatness” does not mean you are a failure. It doesn’t mean you’re weak, or lack will power. We ALL experience failure. The pitfall is making experiences into identities.
Many of those who have been conditioned to be ashamed of their fatness have also been conditioned to hide. How many of us retreat to the back row of a group photo because we don’t care to be seen from the neck down? Too many.
Fat tropes have been around for centuries. I think of Shakespeare’s Falstaff, that repulsive, yet humorous fat Flemish drunkard (who’m I’ve actually auditioned to play). How many times have I auditioned for characters destined to be the butt of a joke, just because I wear plus size clothes? So many. Too many.
It’s time to get past the fat tropes and complicate “fat”. It’s not a state of being, a character defect or a joke. It’s a medical condition that needs attention and also compassion. My takeaway from all of this is that “fatness” doesn’t preclude happiness. You have a right to be happy, fat or thin. However, we each have to claim and create space for our happiness. Part of happiness is treating ourselves well, no matter how others speak about us. The word “fat” needs complicating and compassion at the same time.
I wish you a fun, happy Fat Tuesday–fat with joy, fat with happiness, fat with hope that the best is yet to come. Celebrate you, who are you are now, today.
So many people bewail a Mercury retrograde period–the lost emails, poorly chosen words, broken contracts and travel mishaps. Even people who know nothing more than their sun sign somehow know to blame a Mercury retrograde for all their whoopsy-daisies during this period. This particular Mercury retrograde starts in dreamy, watery Pisces and moves to forward-thinking, eccentric Aquarius. I’d like to break down this down some more.
Mercury retrograde in Pisces is dreams of the past, dreams lost and reclaimed. This is the energy of a person who gave up a dream to raise a family or made some other sacrifice who is now rediscovering their purpose or mission. Those who are lucid dreamers or experience night terrors may have more intense dreams about the past or may be extra wakeful at this time. Keeping a dream journal is advised for all who have strong Piscean, Mercury or 12th house aspects. Something in your dreams is opening the door to your future. Follow the clues.
Since Pisces rules the 12th house, home of institutions, asylums and jails, there could be headlines about the prison system, mental health facilities and the like. If you have interactions or work in any of these types of facilities, take extra care at this time, especially since Neptune is also in Pisces. Those who work with or in the water, maritime or boating fields should also exercise caution.
Many will be frustrated because things will not seem to move fast enough. Be still and know. Pisces corresponds to The Hanged Man in the tarot. It’s time to be still and get a fresh perspective and approach anyone or anything that claims to be your savior with caution. Cults might also garner headlines.
Mercury and Neptune together in Pisces connotes the “deceit that gets us to the real, transcendent truth”. Are you a willing party to your own delusions or suffering? This is a perfect time, up til the 4th of March, to bust any illusions or savior fantasies you might be entertaining.
Mercury in Pisces makes us prone to forgetting. It makes us soporific and at worst dissociated. Keep mindful and wakeful, especially in Piscean ruled environments.
Mercury moves into rebellious Aquarius on March 4th. Looking into the past helps us discover and build the future under this influence. Aquarian energy is humanistic, altruistic and liberating and many may rediscover a cause or charity that speaks to them.
At a more mundane level, we could have power outages. Aquarius rules electricity. Have your flashlights and batteries ready if you’re experiencing strong winds. The winds of change are here.
Mercury in Aquarius squares stubborn, lavish Taurus at this time. A surprise communication may come up late in the retrograde for those with strong fixed signs in their chart or prominent 11th or 2nd houses. The tension here will be between the intellectual and the tangible. For some, this means that an idea is not materializing (literally) the way they want. A model or prototype may delight or disappoint. A communications failure (Mercury in Aquarius retrograde) that costs a substantial amount of money (Uranus in Taurus) could also be possible.
Mercury in Aquarius is very much the communication of evangelization. It’s about larger social movements, as opposed to one-to-one communications. You may feel in a time warp of sorts with social movements from bygone eras getting a resurgence of sorts.
Above all, commit to honesty with Mercury in Aquarius. There’s no romancing the injustices of the past under this influence. This is very much the “air of air”, akin to the Knight of Swords of the tarot, who will cut through everything to move forward. Expect a quick change of pace, where things almost seem to move recklessly after March 4th. Check impulses and flights of fancy and intense emotions in favor of a more grounded approach. Don’t be too quick to make your Piscean illusion from earlier in the retrograde an Aquarian crusade.
Above all, you are in charge of your Mercury retrograde experience. Mercury retrograde is great time to take stock and revisit. It’s also a reminder to respond rather than react.
Mercury retrograde in Pisces: I reclaim my dreams.
Mercury retrograde in Aquarius: My honesty and sincerity moves me forward.
Wishing you a positive, productive Mercury retrograde.
One of the biggest and most persistent criticisms of the body positivity movement is the notion that it promotes obesity and in turn, poor health. Yes, there are strong correlations of high BMIs with heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes and even depression. “Fat and happy” is often a myth.
The reason that I am strongly body positive is that I want to feel good about myself as I make lifestyle changes that support my overall health. I have always had a higher BMI. “Skinny” is not in my genes, but “healthy” can be in my habits and my choices.
To that end, I want to remind women everywhere that February is Heart Health Month. Heart disease the leading cause of death for women, according to the FDA.
According to the FDA, heart attacks manifest differently in women than in men:
The signs of a heart attack can be different for women than they are for men.
Heavy ache in your chest or back between your shoulder blades
Sharp pain in your upper body
Shortness of breath
Breaking out in a cold sweat
Unusual or unexplained tiredness
Feeling dizzy or light-headed
Feeling sick to your stomach
You can have a heart attack without experiencing chest pain or pressure. Women may also experience back pain, jaw pain, shortness of breath, indigestion, and nausea or vomiting.
Whether you’re lithe or voluptuous, ladies, please schedule a heart check up if you haven’t had one in awhile. That saying that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” is true. You only have one heart. Take care of it for a long, healthy life.
“Many sensitive people are loving warriors. We love, observe and care deeply. That doesn’t mean we’re going to take callous or abusive treatment or spend hours crying about it.
Secondly, we’re not all drama queens. We’re not all acting out our own versions of ‘The Princess and the Pea’. Not all sensitive people are prissy. In fact, we’re highly adaptive. There are some people who use their sensitivity as an excuse or weaponize their sensitive natures, but healthy sensitive people know and acknowledge their sensitivities and adopt healthy coping skills,” Kristin West