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Archive for July, 2012

Precious Moments

Friday, July 27th, 2012

It sucks to admit it, but depression is a constant in life that we all deal with from time to time. Even the happiest of people can fall into a foul mood that upsets their day, week or even month, and crawling out from such a dark, suffocating place is truly a trial and tribulation. Why? Because it takes so much energy to lift your spirits and sort through the jumble of negative emotions that tag along on the depression band-wagon. You’re already tired and your spirits are low, almost as if a giant chain is weighing you down, and you feel yourself sinking into an abyss of hell. Your body and mind are completely drained, and the better idea is to melt into a puddle like the Wicked Witch of the West or crawl under a heavy rock and disappear, rather than pulling yourself up to the light of serenity and life.

Let’s face it, the rope leading to sanctuary and peace is a mighty long one with lengths of thorns that ripe your flesh and portions lubricated in slick oil so you slip down and regress. Progress is slow, and at times nearly undetectable. You feel like you take a step forward only to take two steps back. And as the internal struggle ensues you watch as your outside life comes crashing down as well.

When you’re lost in the dark, wandering the gritty streets of sorrow, loneliness, and grief, it’s difficult to continue in the normalcy of what was your life… And you watch as your friendships suffer and your work ethic declines, and observe the look of worry and sadness on the visages of family. You’re the fly on the wall witnessing the dissolve of your beautiful life…

If only you could fly, buzz around your sorrowful face, and snap yourself from the grips of depression…

But, alas, none of us have that fly in the literal sense. However, there are things—events, patterns, safeguards, or ideals—that coach us back to our comfort zone. In our moments of depression they can guide us and loosen the tight grip of despair. In a sense, such things are our happiness that can brighten any dark day. And when you’re careening out of control, they’re the precious moments you can grab for support and reassurance.

Some things in life are just too darn good to tarnish. Nothing can ruin the sheer joy and uplifting power they bring to the table. And by holding on tight, eventually all the good will outweigh the bad…

The moment you fall in love for the first time, the joy of watching your two best friends marry, the promotion to the best job in the world, the glory in holding your son or daughter for the first time…etc. The list is endless, varied and eternal. It’s different for everyone and often different each time someone dives into the recesses of his mind to find a brilliant memory. But their power and influence remain the same, for they can pull us from our dark place to one of peace.
And not only memories help. Comfortable habits like walking down the beach, laying in the dark and organizing your chaotic thoughts in the silence of night, or putting on a strong face simply to get by; all encourage hope and a step up the ladder from hell.

So when you feel utterly alone and drained of everything good in this world, remember the precious moments in life, do the habits that make you smile, use every coping mechanism you know, and eventually the sadness will pass and with it a dawn of a new and happier day.

Lessons to Relive – Changing Your Spots

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

Life is a roller coaster. This we all recognize. We must struggle through the lows to reach moments of true elation and happiness. And while on this unbalanced ride we face crises that mold our maturing minds and provide clarity on the pitfalls of life. But sometimes our personal evolution happens so quickly and completely that it becomes hard to pinpoint the moment that inspired the change…

Because sometimes the greatest lessons are transitory, being found in the most unexpected of places…

Sex Symbol, Superstar, Student

Hollywood is an eclectic sort of place where people from all walks of life can mingle and try their hand in the movie industry. Ambitious studio actors, sport celebrities, porn stars, musicians, men, women and all those in between vie for a spot on the big screen with fellow A-list actors. To see your name in bright lights is the ultimate accomplishment; a thrill incomparable to any extreme roller coaster, because it proves you made it.

But what if you’re already a seasoned performer; one that the whole world recognizes and clamors after for entertainment and drama?What if you were Marilyn Monroe? What couldHollywood do for you then?

A Leopard in Waiting

When I first read Don Murray’s account of his experience working with the exceptional Marilyn Monroe on Bus Stop, I was floored, shocked, touched and beyond a doubt enlightened. In a single instant my mind was altered; the perverse sentiments regarding a sex symbol and the corruption of Hollywood were forever altered to include the wisdom of a lost angel. You see, despite her outward charm and childlike frivolousness, Marilyn had an uncanny understanding on the purpose and process of life – to change.

And Hollywood was her mecca for reinvention; a place for her to try on new skin and experiment with new goals and ideals.

Before Bus Stop, Marilyn was first and foremost a sex symbol. Her blond hair, captivating eyes, and perfectly proportioned body were a shoe-in for male adoration the world over. She was the quintessential American blonde-bombshell and the camera loved her for it. Movie after movie came rolling in, exploiting her good looks and charming “dumb-blonde” persona. Her success was undeniable. Nobody wanted or felt she should change; why ruin a good thing? But Marilyn wasn’t satisfied in being typecast as the pretty, dumb girl.

After talking a year off to study and hone her craft at the Actor’s Studio, Marilyn returned to Hollywood searching for critical acclaim. Bus Stop was just the ticket and Don was lucky enough to be on the ride…

Marilyn was everything Don expected her to be; gorgeous yet uncoordinated in the viable workings of a film set. Her lack of concentration and short attention span made Don doubt her success as a serious artist. She had a childlike quality that contradicted the dramatic essence of the film, generating a murky and unstable environment for the superstar.

Although Marilyn knew her purpose and goal, her naïve mind doubted her presence and performance. She was in the middle of a transformation and couldn’t see the light at the end of tunnel.

And it was this utter lack of certainty and formable presence of confusion that sent her looking for outside help…

The conversation was quick, said in passing without any bells or whistles, but forever remains etched in Don’s soul as well as my own. “Don, do you think a leopard can ever change its spots?” Simple, direct and to the point. Can she, Marilyn Monroe, a quote-unquote dimwitted blonde, metamorphose into a credible dramatic performer?

We now know this to be true, but more importantly we know that with conviction anyone can change their spots. Marilyn just happened to be the teacher for Don. As she evolved from a sex symbol, to a superstar, to a humble student and finally a dramatic actress, her spots were constantly fluctuating to realign with her new roles and paths in life.

In a singular, unpretentious moment Marilyn Monroe laid out an unforgettable lesson – you can change and be whoever you want to be. Don didn’t need a sweeping,undeniable force to come gallivanting into his world and forcefully show him how to change and deal with the ups and downs of life. All it took was the softly spoken words of an innocent and wise blond bombshell…

Now we know that in order to stay on the roller coaster and enjoy the ride, we must learn to cope with theextremes of its peaks and valleys.

Red, White and Bright Lights

Thursday, July 5th, 2012

Remembering the Free

It’s been over a decade since the tragic events of 9/11 unfolded before our nation and the world’s eyes in a plume of smoke, ash, fuel, fire and death. Billowing forth from the rubble and destruction was a wave of searing pain and agonizing anger that snapped our peaceful and naive existence back to the demons of reality. Within a single moment we were reminded that security is arbitrary, and the ideals of freedom can be broken with one violent act. Once again our freedoms, liberties, and lives were at risk, and the brave souls of men and women, young and old alike, marched into an acrid, cruel and unknown world to fight for and once again secure our sovereignties.

That was nearly 11 years ago, and although the horrific events are forever etched into the back of our mind’s eye, their potency has become lost in the workings of everyday life and everyday struggles. The initial shockwave and its aftershocks have faded into the recesses of the underworld, buried beneath a heavy layer of financial burdens, political upheaval, and family woes. The immediacy of life has become far too important to the world, and events and lessons of the past are all but forgotten.

Now is the time to remember. Our freedoms were forged from the blood, pain, and determination of those fighting for separation from the British crown; and now we struggle for the freedom to live and pursue our happiness…

The meaning of the Fourth of July retains the same power as it did back in in 1770’s, and we mustn’t tarnish the integrity of this great day by only drinking and being merry…

Celebrate with Understanding

Make no qualms about it; the 4th of July is certainly a day of celebration and fun. Planning a massive barbecue before night falls and spectacular fireworks light up the sky, is part of the American dream. My childhood wouldn’t have been complete without the yearly firework ritual; driving to a secretive lookout or finding a place on a jammed packed beach to watch the show was always a favorite venture of mine. And in all honesty, canoodling with a lover beneath the fiery night sky is undoubtedly one of the most romantic things to do.

The 4th should bring about carefree, intimate and joyous occasions. It’s a time to connect, spend quality time with those you care about, and celebrate the freedom of our nation. For we are all connected, young and old, rich and poor, civilian and veteran, by the fabric of freedom that binds our great country together…

Smoky, Starry Sky

And freedom is a virtue I value tremendously. Every day I am free to decide what’s best for me, my business, and my home… well usually at least, as my family tends to boss me around from time to time…

But in the grand scheme of things, I have the power to choose. This wonderfully complex, at times utterly stressful and other times inexplicably beautiful and forever progressive life I’ve built exists because of my choices.

Because I live in a world that promotes freedom, I’m given the opportunity to make my envisioned dreams a reality I can touch and feel.

I am in debt to those that provide such a luxury…

I am free; we all are, because of what our ancestors fought for, and what our soldiers continue to fight for…

So, after the fireworks, when you look up to the night sky and watch as the smoke drifts from view, take a moment to remember the true meaning of our Independence Day.