Well, after hearing that Yahoo 360 is going to be kaput soon, I decided to move into the real blogging world, posting my thoughts for the world to see. On Yahoo 360, I'd always kept things pretty private, only letting people view by invitation. It feels weird to totally put myself out there for the universe, but it feels good too. I'll probably have different kinds of posts: the documenting of my days, creative writing (if I feel so moved), blessings, and things that I'm thinking about that I just want to write out and put into words somehow. Today's blog will be one of those.
Here is my big inner change of the year:
I belong to a prayer group that meets on Fridays. We practice Contemplative Prayer, which is very similar to meditation. It's good for me because I have so many things flying around in my brain that it's good to learn to be quiet and listen for a change. Ever since I've been doing this, which has been about 10 years off and on, my word/mantra/focus/whatever has been "hope." I love the word and all the optimism it implies.
I've had a hard year this year. My grandma got sick in September and passed away (I actually really hate the term "passed away." I have no idea why I typed it.) in December. She and I have always been close, but especially since my mom died. I would actually say that the last couple of years have been difficult. I've had a sense of, "Is this it? Is this all?" I guess I've felt unfulfilled, like I'm waiting for my life to actually start.
Early this fall, I decided I needed a change. Despite my (somewhat illogical) loyalty to "hope," I changed my focus to a line from a John Bucchino song that I really love called "Grateful." The line says, "Grateful, grateful, truly grateful I am." You can listen to it on Amazon.com. It's the opening track on this cd http://www.amazon.com/Grateful-Songs-John-Bucchino/dp/B00004SBV2. The whole thing is good, by the way. The song "This Moment" is one I regularly use for auditions and performing. But I digress...
This change of words might sound small and insignificant, but in me, it's made a big difference. I have noticed the good in things more. Even in terrible things, I've been able to see the good. It's really helped me deal with my grandma's death and focus on the gift I was given of spending her last few days on earth by her side. Blessings have fallen in my lap, despite the struggle of this year. I became a Nationally Board Certified teacher. I shared the stage with a slew of Broadway stars for the opening gala of the Sondheim Center for the Performing Arts. I workshopped a George Furth musical called Happy Hour, working with the Tony Award winning author himself. Man, I grew as a performer during that process. I've held my best friend's new baby in my arms. I had the time of my life with my cousins after Christmas in California. It's like a shift has happened inside of me. I mentioned it to Tracy (my best friend), and she had a great take on it all. She said when I concentrate on HOPE, it implies that something is lacking in my life... that I'm waiting for more to come to be happy. By concentrating on GRATEFUL, I've been able to be thankful for what I have. I wouldn't say I'm completely content with what I have... I don't know that I ever want to stop striving for things... but, I've been able to enjoy what's there already. And because of that, it seems more and more things happen to be grateful for.