End of Year Journal Reflection (not fundraising!)
December 31, 2016
(e-journal at a Starbucks on Connecticut Avenue, Chevy Chase, MD)
Is there time to even enter thoughts? So much to do, even though “filled to the brim” would be inaccurate – there is still room in the trough to take on more. When the flood comes, I will be present, available, with capacity to be able to serve. So many people are serving something larger than themselves these days; something different than what they expected to be pursuing. I'm thinking of our star artists on both shows. Poised for surprise. Able to adjust. Perhaps this is the gift of our middle aged privilege; to be ready-willing-and-able.
And yet, what happened to personal objective; ambition; burning desire? Is that supplanted by the urgency of the day; the sadness of deterioration; the tragedy of losses suffered and soon to be coming? This is another year where we'd be wise to follow the lead of actors, for they know things; their craft has taught them (or taught the best of them) to serve the need of the larger whole; to say "yes" and to trust, and to work out, and prepare. To be devoted to craft and to the rigors of rehearsing. And to express and probe deeply.
Let it be not enough to simply set the table for someone else to eat the meal; let us remember, as cooks, as dishwashers, as happy shoppers, that it is important to partake in the bounty, and to lean into conversation and speak deeply, inwardly, outwardly, taking in the talk around you, and being… in the moment.
Follow through on everything humanly possible that is on the list and there for the addressing. Engage and probe. Write and write, through the fear and indifference, and enjoy the revision process always; the refining you offer unto others but have always treasured more yourself. Write freely and proof read once. And then have confidence to Save and Send.
We are in rehearsals for two buoyant shows, and late on tech that will begin today, after all, but only after a delay, but remarkably all the same, after tech staff and team have pulled an all-nighter before a New Year’s Eve and day off soon to come. We will ring out the year exhausted and behind, but exhilarated too about meeting the approaching dark clouds of a new regime, with more art of light and power, grit and gusto than we’ve ever mustered in our career.
A January that proudly kindles a full menorah’s worth of passion and light, these are the candles we light tonight. And the "we" is me. And me has become we in this collective writer’s voice. The “i” is now lower case in this new age, with an approaching birthday. The tsim-tsum of the self is no constriction of ego. It’s a letting in of more light to be nurtured and enlarged anew. And this has happened over this transformative year of contraction. We have given birth to a fractious and terrible new political reality. But with contraction and the aching losses culturally, personally, politically, and the fear on the horizon, something else has been born and that is a graceful being of empathy and bonding; a new hybrid entity of synthesized identity. We are embodiments in transition and we are learning from the new emerging communities that are only now receiving platforms from which to sing with powerful voice. We have learned how to transform and transition from allies. And these new partnerships empower.
Look around. Still surrounded by family and friends and artists and audience and people in the neighborhood who are here to make communion; forge community; we are here to lift each other up. This is the optimism of every new year, but especially this one, stepping up, upon the scaffolding erected over so much loss and wreckage and roiling, toxic rivers of debate still unsettled, sure to spew anew. There is still the gazelle. There is grace.There is our new self. Same as the old self. Only wiser. Older. Humbler. Stronger. And still hungry. For health.
Happy new year. May we let the light shine.