finding a more authentic, playful life --- finding your story

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Jungle Reflections

Twice in my life now, I have been literally plopped down in the middle of a jungle with no transportation, phone service or guarantee of people to assist before nightfall.  Weird, right? Both times I watched my ride drive off down some dusty road leaving me in oblivion. And both times it was really hot. I mean, really hot.

People say I live an adventurous life. I guess they are right.  I am very often flying by the seat of my proverbial pants, hoping I land in one piece. But adventure can be challenging, make no mistakes about it.

Five years ago it was on the outskirts of Cayenne, French Guiana. Although worrisome at first, I ended up having one of my most memorable nights ever sleeping in a hammock in the jungle. Today it is the outskirts (deep jungle) of Akumal, Mexico. This night’s outcome is yet to be determined.

Both times, dogs barked in angry greeting only to quickly become my friends.

Both times, I wandered aimlessly around for a bit, wondering what one does in a situation like this.

Both times, I seemed to be foodless until morning. (There are worse things.)

Last time, as the taxi pulled away wishing us luck, I wondered if I should cry.  On the surface things appeared rather discouraging. But who has time for tears when you’re abandoned in the jungle.

But this time, as I watched the car of friends leave me behind, although part of me again wanted to cry, I decided it was another adventure, the way I choose to live my life. It was another excuse to fly and hopefully land on my feet…with any luck, pants-ed.

And both times, I was fine, completely fine in the end.

Life is short, folks; Have an adventure.

(Oh, and sleep in a hammock whenever possible)

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Change Ahead.

I have been doing a 21-day meditation with my good friends Oprah and Deepak. They sure are nice. We have coffee and chat and then meditate. They have lots of good advice too. I love friends like that.

Anywho... of the afternoons I spent with O and D, they said some things I thought I would share with you
---about change.

Change is hard. We all hate change. In fact, I just auditioned for a TV show where my character said the exact same thing. (It's following me!) CHANGE SUCKS. We think keeping things the same is easier. 

Well Deepak says "There is wisdom in change." Yes I know. Blah blah blah. Wisdome-schmisdom! Change still sucks, kim. But he's right. We learn in change, right? We learn more of what we want, what we don't want, who we are. Etcetera etcetera etcetera.

It's in change that we begin to more closely align our lives to what we want. It's like a "get out of jail free" card. Scary but true. 

So seek out the new and fresh. See how it feels. Try something unknown. There is nothing terrible in the unknown. It's just unknown. It could be wonderful. How do you know? So no need to be afraid.Improv teaches us to SAY YES. Foundational improv tool: SAY YES. It's how things move forward. It's how things happen. So I'm a firm believer and coach in always saying yes. I try to also live by that philosophy as much as possible. 


Well my buddy Deepak likes the idea too. But he says it a little differently. He suggests us to "say yes more than you say no." Love that Deepy! It's even easier for those of us more fearful. You don't have to say yes all the time, just say yes more than you say no. Today. 

And then tomorrow.

And then the next day and see how your life changes. 

You have a little courage today so you can have more tomorrow.

ALL of this leads to a more dynamic life. And isn't that what we all want?

A more dynamic life.

Hang on, Oprah's at the door. I gotta get this...


Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The Death Slide

"What a stupid way this is to die."

I thought to myself as I squatted at the edge of a ledge in the middle of a jungle, strapped in a harness, tied to one single wire via a pulley---my life dependent on a couple of stoner dudes and a handful of carabiners.

"For real. If I die, this is my own stupid fault. I agreed to this. I said yes."

(Sometimes living what you preach ain't easy.)

I was zip-lining. I did not want to be zip-lining. I had no intention of zip-lining. Ever. (Zipping is also referred to as a "deathslide" ---for a reason!)

But my best friend treated me to this experience along with her whole family on the vacation to Hawaii I was co-opting and there was no turning back now (unless I wanted to waste all the money and look like a scaredy-cat.)

I adjusted my helmet ---like this pathetic little thing is gonna make a speck of difference as I plummet to my death.

"As a grown woman, I should be able to do this! The kids aren't afraid. Why am I?" I said to myself still squatting, a gajillion miles above land. Safe, safe, beautiful land. How I missed it so!

I had a choice: I say yes and I jump. Literally. And possibly die. Possibly, seriously. literally die. Because at this height, there are very few other ways this turns out.

Or I don't. I let fear make my decision.

I have always considered myself a jumper. I take chances. I'm a risk-taker. I tell a great story about jumping off a train in my youth. I JUMP! 

But I'm older now, less reckless. I consider all the options more than I used to. I also have apparently developed a sincere fear of heights in my old age. All these things matter. A fear of heights matters!

The stoner, surfer dude asks if I am ready. I ask him to triple check all my connections and wires and other zipping apparati. He obliges me, again, smiling. I am not the first afraid to jump, nor will I be the last.

We are all afraid at one time or another. Afraid to move, afraid of a new relationship, afraid to make a change, afraid to take a chance. We have the option of fear all around us. In fact, we are encouraged towards it. Watch the news sometime---

Stormageddon coming! Deadly virus coming! Immigrants coming! Be afraid!

Fear is easy. Fear sells. Fear of people who are different from us, fear of different religion, different culture, different race. Fear of the other. Fear of ourselves. Like I said, fear is easy. It's jumping that's hard. Seeing and jumping...and trusting.

So I jumped.

As I was flying across the abyss, jungle volcano lands far below me, I loosened my grip on the wires just a bit to look around and enjoy the scenery from this vantage point. I tried to breathe.

"Look down at the lake!" Stoner, surfer, new-best-friend dude yelled at me from his own parallel high wire.

I looked and smiled. Beautiful.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Follow the joy.

I was in a conversation with my friend Deb a few weeks ago and she was discussing her life and the changes she was making to it. Casually she mentioned: "I'm just trying to follow the joy, Kim."

I stopped her and made her repeat the phrase.

Follow the joy.

What a great reminder how to live. I love it. Imagine how happy we would all be if we just would/could follow the joy.

Following is active, engaged. It's not passive or waiting. It is steps in motion. Finding is hard. Following seems easier.

We would be in wonderful relationships in wonderful jobs with wonderful friends doing wonderful things. There would be joy. Sure, this may sound pollyanna, but there's truth in this. Yes?

Something not making you happy? Stop it

Someone sucking joy from you? Unfriend them.

Someplace not right? Change it.

Follow. The. Joy.

It's easy and hard all at once, right? If where/what/who you are isn't bringing you joy---change it. Go to where/what/who makes you happy and maybe the joy will follow you.

Follow. The. Joy.

Certainly makes more sense than the opposite.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Open your eyes

I am as shocked as many are with the choice UK citizens made today to leave the EU. Most of my British friends are equally shocked and dismayed.

"How could this happen??" We all ask.

After listening to hours of NPR and reading more Facebook suggested articles than I should have, it seems to me: no one thought it would happen. The issue wasn't taken as seriously as perhaps it should have been and that reminds me of something a bit closer to home.

We never took Trump seriously and look where he is. He has a 50% chance of being president of the United States after promising to build walls and close borders. He is running on fear and hate.

I'm not one for political posts on my blog. I have a wide audience and am not sure this is the platform for politics, but I can't be silent. Silence only creates more harm, more fear.

The Brexit vote, it seems to me in my research, was in large part, against immigrants and refugees, and is based in racism and xenophobia. It was in large part a closing of doors and a building of walls. It was a retreat from progress, community and the greater world. It was nationalistic and isolationist in tone and it is exactly what is happening in the U.S.

And as we know history repeats itself. The world paid very little attention to Hitler as well, and look what happened. Now we are a long way from there, but we are taking the early first steps. We must remember we ARE the other. It is us. The lines and differences are made up, created. We all (unless we are Native American) come from somewhere else. And yet here we are---excluding and fearing others because they look or sound or pray or love differently.

We need to open our closed hearts and closed borders.

Open your eyes. Pay attention. Fight the small-minded darkness with large-hearted light.

At least this is what I think. Would love to hear from you.

Monday, June 20, 2016

10 ways to improvise your day. The reboot.

1. Walk a different hall, drive a different route, take a different path.

2. Actually "hear" what is being said to you, not just the words.

3. Talk in an accent at Starbucks.

4. Speak your truth to someone with whom you haven't been lately.

5. Wing something you hadn't intended to wing.

6. Do something new every chance you get.

7. Close your eyes. Big breath. Open your eyes. Be present.

8. Take a risk---big or small. Just take a risk.

9. Say yes to 3 things suggested or asked.

10. Be more of who you are.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Sitting in Mexico

I am in Mexico again running my artist residency. Aside from a cruel bacterial infection that is stopping me from eating all the tacos I want, life is good.

I love Mexico. I love the warmth, the sun, the people, the food. Blah, blah, blah, I've written about this before. But there's more I think.

Life is slower here. (Truer?) I don't know what it is, really. Culture? Weather? History? Things are simultaneously easier and harder and none of it matters all that much. It seems that there is more face to face, less technology. More connection, less isolation. Less faces in cell phones? More experiential moments, more fully lived moments.

But also, keep in mind, I have a crush on Mexico. Have for quite some time.

My friend Andy writes crazy good. He sends out periodic emails with some of his writing from experiences in every day life. It's mind-boggling that so much happens to Andy in the course of an average day, but then I think: the same happens to all of us! Andy is just better at noticing it and then recording it.

So that's what I do: I try to be better at noticing things. And I'm better at it in Mexico. More observant. More aware.

Sometimes I feel more awake in Mexico.

A lesson for all of us to keep awake to what is around us. Life is in the details observed. Joy is in the interaction.

Eat more tacos.