Your Life Does Not Have To Be A Crisis
I find it exceptionally hard to look backwards at this time of year, I enjoy designing what could be, much more than living in what was. This is why sharing my visions for the future with you all is a yearly privilege that brings me so much joy. Dreaming, visualizing, creating opportunity for change like this has only in recent years been met with this kind of love, attention, and intention. It gives me great hope for our future.
Speaking with this kind of optimism, being struck with this kind of inspiration, after our year of crisis feels strange. Hope is a word that doesn’t sit in our mouths the way that it used to, it no longer slides off the tongue as easily as it did more than a decade ago. Living in crisis and neglecting hope is a critical error on our part. To lose hope is to lose opportunity. Opportunity to co-create something different. Even if that something different is just experiencing what you are doing — differently.
If we were to change nothing about the methods of practicing theater, if we only changed how we wished to experience that practice, we could change our industry for the better. Policies are being written, institutions are changing, but your experience is in your control right now.
Change your experience of crisis. Human beings are not designed to live in a state of constant crisis. As so many of us have experienced, our brains and our hearts give out under too much pressure. Pressure, by definition, is applied. The pressure the board feels is delegated to the manager, who gives the pressure in turn to his employees, who applies pressure to the interns. This toxic system of need, product, and consumption, is dangerous. What if this crisis was an opportunity to work smarter, not harder? To get to know your employees and experience their ideas of what would be functional programming and capacity levels at this time? Experience this crisis as stasis, design a journey instead of seeking a destination.
Change your experience of conflict. What if nobody is, in fact, out to get you? What if every confrontation or obstacle is destined to make you a better partner, collaborator, and friend? Ask yourself what you can be learning from what is happening, if only to take you out of your anger, and bring you into the experience you’re having with this person to\ hear them better.
Change your experience of institutional limitations. The checks and balances of an institution exist for a reason. They will always serve the institution until they don’t. They often stop working because your institution is evolving, not backsliding. Consider the inevitable failure of policy as an opportunity to co-create a new way forward, together.
Change your experience of time. Time is a tool, not a rule, don’t let it rule your life. We created time to assist us in making sense of the world, and as a function, it’s making less and less sense. From experience I can now tell you the world will not end if you take a responsible amount of time to plan your season, instead of pressuring yourself to announce it on the date you arbitrarily chose a year ago. What if you tried letting things take the time they take? What if you created and communicated boundaries around the time you are willing to invest in your projects, or lend to others for their own?
Change your experience of racism. Here, I speak to my people. Racism is entirely based in fear, and there are only two choices, fear or love. Often we talk about love as passively turning the other cheek. I offer an active interpretation. Love is the most revealing action we have at our disposal. It is the truth. Love, true love, does not cost you something. Love does not require you to turn the other cheek and allow yourself to be slapped. Love looks into a person’s eyes, reveals all the pain that you did not cause, and lifts you from being responsible for it. It frees you from asking ‘why me,’ because it reveals there is no reason. Freeing ourselves from the responsibility of the racist’s pain is an imperative step on the path to reducing the ability of that pain to be inflicted upon us. We cannot afford to center it for another moment.
Change anything, change everything. Experiencing something new is the purpose of being alive. You are the hero of your own story, destined to co-create the greatest narrative you will ever live. Be the protagonist who is delighted to experience the nuanced opportunities of their life with fresh eyes, instead of the one who takes everything for granted. Whether you pivot, dive, or tumble, only you can guarantee it will be a beautiful ride. I wish you abundant, joyful creation in 2021 and beyond.
Yours in Love and Light,