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

Monday, October 12, 2015

Lake Michigan Epiphanies

Improv teaches commit.

In order to have a successful scene, one needs to commit fully to where they are and what they are doing. Accept! Accept! Be there for real 100% and then see what happens. Usually funny, truth and the unexpected happens. It's why I love improv.

I spent eleven years in New York City without ever really fully committing, truth be told. Sure I had an apartment (several in fact!) I had friends and a community and a church and jobs and other things that make a home, but I never really made it my home. Of course, I would never admit that at the time. No way. New York was home!

Don't get me wrong, I loved New York, truly, but it was never really home. It was always a place I was for a while. I always wondered inside when I would leave. I mean, I kept an apartment in Minneapolis for that entire time! I had furniture in Minneapolis! Wine glasses! Things! Minneapolis was always my fallback. "Well, I can always return there!" (and who knows I still might for cry-i...) After all, friends and family and potential employment lived in Minneapolis. And this is to say nothing of the extended time I spent in Mexico, being gone for months at a time. I think it some ways it held me back from fully being present and accepting NYC as my home. I don't think that was bad or good. It just was.

And now I have moved to Chicago. And I almost felt myself falling into the same trap. "I'll try Chicago for a while. Who knows for how long..." Not that there is anything wrong with that. It's how I have lived my last 14 years, but something has shifted (age?) and I feel the need to lay down some roots, to stake some claims, to be fully present where I am and in what I am commit. I said it: I feel the need to commit. So I went back to Minneapolis and picked up my wine glasses. They're all here now.

So, yes, I live in Chicago. And for now that's where I'll be. I'll still likely flit off to Mexico now and then to run an artist residency or two, as I do love Mexico :), but probably less. I want to work in Chicago and be a fixture, not a guest.

Recently, I was walking on the beach of Lake Michigan near my new apartment that I have committed to being in for at least the next year or two, and I was thinking, "I'm super lucky!" I have work I mostly love, an agent who believes in me, opportunities in Mexico and elsewhere, I have new friends, a family who lives close, an amazing new apartment that makes me happy and I can walk to a beach!! The beach!

I am here and the truth is --- I love it.

And even if sometimes I don't...just saying the words changes things.

"How do you like chicago?"

"I love it!"

I'm committing. And then --- who knows? Maybe Chicago will commit to me.

Rings and all.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Mexican Manners

So I spend a lot of time in Mexico.

I love it for so many reasons: the people, the culture, the food, but not the least of which are the manners I have consistently noticed and experienced in this country.

For example, when someone walks in a room where people are, (and by people, I mean strangers) the entering person almost always say hello. "Buenos Dias!" to almost all the little groups of people and then they respond! "Buenos Dias stranger!!" (Well, they don't say "stranger", but you know what I mean.) I love this!!! How civilized! You walk into a room or a bus or a restaurant and you greet those already there! Why not? It's pleasant people! Pleasant!

My other favorite Mexican tradition is when you walk by someone eating or about to eat you say, "Provecho!" --the Spanish equivalent of bon appetit. It's so polite! Everyone says it--to strangers! I love it! "Enjoy your food! Provecho! Even though I don't know you! I wish you a pleasant mealtime experience! Provecho!"

I even say it now. When I walk by someone eating, I give them a little knowing smile and like a local say, "Provecho!" They look up to thank me, thrown for a moment perhaps because I am not Mexican, then with a smile full of pride for the polite gringa, they thank me.

De nada. De nada.

Lesson for us all: It takes so little to make someone's day pleasant.

Manners: underrated

I heart MX.