April 11, 2013
I kinda love flying.* Among the annoying travelers and awkward security checks, there’s a reminder of life’s awesomeness. So many people and interesting stories.
For example, the three diverse guys that surrounded me on my first leg to Washington, D.C.:
- An older Jewish male art auctioneer who frequently says “hm” with an admirable red-eye sleep routine complete with eye mask, pillow and blanket.
- A curious blond male professor and art collector wearing a vest and small glasses (of no relation to the auctioneer).
- A rough, raspy voiced divorced male construction worker with two daughters on opposite sides of the country and who claims his latest girl is “his heart”.
I recently went to a taping of Sir Ken Robinson‘s upcoming PBS special. He is a gifted, brilliant author/speaker/human whose mission is “to transform the culture of education and organizations with a richer conception of human creativity and intelligence.” (Watch his hugely popular TED Talk here) He spoke about his new book Finding Your Element (to be released May 21), giving snippets of ways to discover your talents and passions (no matter how old you are).
One of his talents is storytelling with bits of humor and connecting with people. At one point he asked us how many people have ever lived on the planet. People rose their hands and gave their guesses. He answered with something along the lines of “no one knows” and went on to point out that out of these X number of people, no one has ever been like us. No one ever will. We are unique. Made in the way we were meant to be made. Each given our own innate talents and passions.
It’s pretty powerful when you really think about it. Not one person is the same as another one. Not one is the same as me. Or the art auctioneer. Professor. Construction worker.
Not one is the same as you.
And thank goodness not all are the same as the obnoxious announcer screeching in the mic at 7 am at Gate 23 in Philly.
* It should be noted that I wrote most of this post on maybe an hour of sleep on my way to a vacation in D.C. I noticed my feelings were a tad different heading back to reality.
January 13, 2013
There are a bazillion books, websites and coaches all focused on helping us find happiness. Discover our passions. Live our best life (thank you Oprah). It’s overwhelming.
I will say that reading The Daily Love everyday did help me go after a dream of mine I’ve had for many years. I gained the confidence to put myself out there in auditions, plays and classes. Throughout 2012, I’m proud to say, I was pursuing my dream.
But it felt funny. Uncomfortable. Frustrating. I didn’t understand. I was ready to fully commit, but I was still anxious.
Before turning 30 in August, I did the Free to Love Chopra Center 21-Day Meditation Challenge. I wanted it to ease my anxiety. It did that. And so much more. My mind was finally quiet enough to hear that inner voice that had been buried by so much crap. Slowly I dug through the heavy pressure. The worries. Judgement. All dumped on me by me since who knows when.
I had waves and visions of joy that I’ve had since I was young but had forgotten. What I realized is: what brings me joy is my passion and what I need in my life to succeed and to live my best life. Acting brings me joy but the industry does not and I’m not willing to make any sacrifices for it anymore. My family brings me so much joy it hurts. I cherish Sundays with Andrew and Brin. Connecting with people. Listening. Helping others. Cooking. Exercise. Writing. Good wine. Great friends.
And Justin Timberlake. (of course I had to work this post back to him … I mean he is FINALLY releasing new music today). I know some people don’t get this JT obsession. I can try to explain it but like I said in The Day I Met Justin Timberlake, he just … brings me joy. And that’s that.
So I actually think it’s quite simple. This key to happiness and living your best life…
What brings you joy?
No explanation necessary.
November 7, 2012
I never thought I’d care so much about politics. But I care more each day.
I never thought I’d want to attend grad school. But I do. And it’s not for Marketing or even Acting.
Some people never thought they’d see an African-American president. But we have one. For four more years.
Some people never thought women would have the right to vote. And now 1 Senator in 5 will be female. And, dare I say, HILLARY 2016.
“Republicans and Democrats will never agree.” ”America will never be the same if Obama is reelected.”"I’ll never be happy until I have X or X happens.”
When we open our minds and listen to our inner selves and to others, amazing things might happen. And if we raise our voices for what we believe, like equality, and never say never, change will happen. Yesterday’s results clearly show that change has happened and I believe it will continue to in a positive direction. It’s when we remain stubborn, selfish and narrow-minded, that we remain unhappy.
So in the wise words of the Bieber, “Ne-never say never. Ne-never say never. Ne-never say never. Never say it, never, never say it.”
September 9, 2012
I wanted to do something somewhat significant for my 30th birthday so when my friend Melanie brought up the idea to do the Tough Mudder together, I got excited. Nervous excited. Perfect for my 30th! But after doing the research I found that the Tough Mudder is … significant. And I said “somewhat” significant so, um, no. Then she suggested the Warrior Dash. Less running. Less electrocution. Let’s do it.
I started going to kickboxing several times a week. I tried to eat better. Hiked and ran. Of course my body wasn’t in the shape I had envisioned when July 29th came around, but it probably never will be. I like beer. And cheeseburgers. I was ready for it though.
My body was ready for it. My mind, not as much.
I forgot how much my mind mattered. I got through the first few obstacles but then I came upon a wall. Literally, a wall. And unlike the previous wall obstacle, there wasn’t a guy on the other side helping me to land.
I used the rope to walk up the wall. Solid. I got to the top, looked down on the other side and panicked. It was high. I dislike heights. I had a new vision. And it was of me getting stuck on the top of that wall and the crew needing to help me down. I also had a flashback. To elementary school at Penny Whistle Playground when my leg fell through a cargo net hundreds of feet in the air (hundreds? probably more like 10-20).
Those thoughts sent me back down the wall the way I came up, excusing myself to the other braver souls.
I was immediately mad at myself. My own voice inside my mind scared me. Not my legs. Not my arms. My mind. It’s a powerful thing, that mind. And it’s much more useful when it’s a powerful POSITIVE thing.
Damn right, I got over the last cargo net obstacle to finish.
July 19, 2012
To My Twenties:
Please accept this letter as my resignation from My Twenties. August 2, 2012 will be my last day as a “twentysomething.” I have had a (mostly) wonderful time with you, but it’s time to move on.
Thank you for the transitions and challenges. From graduating college and moving back in with my parents to changing jobs, getting married and moving across country. Thank you for the many memories I have of living with my best friends and then my parents during those confusing years. And time spent with those who are no longer here. Thank you for the dreams that I never forgot which led me to where I am now.
However … I will not miss the pressure of feeling the need to know what the hell to do for the rest of my life. I still don’t and am excited about that. I will not miss the pressure of feeling that I need to do what others think I should do. I will not miss the panic attacks. Although they very well could visit me again. But this time I’ll be aware. And I will not miss standing in line for the Riv freezing my ass off in the dead of winter for Burgerama. Okay, I will miss that.
I’m looking forward to the new challenges and transitions ahead with My Thirties. New dreams. And many new memories. With new and old friends and family.
But first … the Warrior Dash.
June 23, 2012
I was a shy girl who didn’t ask any questions or comment in class. Never wanted to be called on. One day a teacher actually gave me a question on a piece of paper to read out loud in class. It didn’t work. Pissed me off. Was he really trying to help?
I never liked confrontation. I used to (okay, sometimes still) get anxious when people disagree. I try to get along with everyone, which I think is a good thing, but I’m wondering now, how successful can you be without having any sort of opinion or point of view?
Actors find and play their characters point of view. Politicians talk about their opinions so much that I think they forget why they even have them in the first place. Any owner of a successful business has a point of view and vision for their company.
Deepak Chopra, physician, writer and “spiritual guru” definitely has his opinions and yesterday on Twitter someone disagreed with him. His response? “Ignore it then.” That’s it.
Life is way too short and there are too many people in this (cyber) world to care about what everyone thinks of you. You will never really see from someone else’s point of view. Too many factors involved.
Which is why I’ve blocked certain political FB posts. And refuse to talk politics in certain situations. It’s for the best.
In my opinion.
June 15, 2012
Anyone who has spent some time with me, knows two things. 1. I adore Justin Timberlake. 2. I twirl my hair. A lot. (up until 12 days ago)
I’ve twirled my hair my entire life. People always commented. I laughed it off as a habit. A silly addiction. At least it wasn’t harmful.
I started to get annoyed. By the comments. And by the fact that I seriously couldn’t control it. I would be doing it without even realizing it. I’d try to stop and then I would find myself doing it again.
Two weeks ago I went on an audition and was sent video of the audition. I’ve had on-camera classes but to see an audition is another thing. It actually was fine, but I realized something. I had probably been twirling my hair in the lobby before (because it’s always worse when I’m nervous or worried) and I didn’t want to be that girl. That girl appears nervous or ditzy or just plain crazy.
And then I saw Jennifer Aniston on Ellen. There is no way the Goddess of Golden Locks and Good Hair twirls.
So I decided to stop. Really stop. No twirling allowed. I thought it would be harder than it was/is. Mostly because I thought it calmed me down. Turns out it was just a part of a vicious cycle.
I feel more present now. More aware and awake. Empowered. You’d think I quit smoking.
Hi … my name is Nissa and I haven’t twirled my hair in 12 days. And yes, I had the Rachel haircut in high school.