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These have been tough times recently. Most personally, two days ago was what would have been my mother’s 71st birthday. She died in September 2009 after a long illness. As my birthday is today, it’s the first time that we haven’t celebrated it together. I’m just feeling a little bit numb about the whole deal.
The other area that I’ve been knocked off my foundation was the election of soon-to-be Massachusetts Republican Senator Scott Brown. Enough has been said in the media about how he ran a good campaign (which is true) and how poorly Martha Coakley ran hers (which I also agree with). I’d like to talk about how this personally affected me.
I was very down and upset at the results of the election, and the grandstanding of many people. The vitriol of many of the conservatives was out of place (I’m particularly taken by Facebook updates such as “Ding Dong the Witch is Dead” upon her conceding.) As a woman who has been working tirelessly for the betterment of all citizens of the Commonwealth, I don’t get when people were calling her names and saying things about her that just had no reason in fact. She wasn’t the most exciting candidate (I think Mike Capuano would have taken this race easily), but she was much better in my opinion that Scott Brown.
To me, his election is not only a complete ticket to the Party of No (Those who think that he’s going to be an agent of “change” and independant I think will be eating their words shortly, as I think he will fall in lock step with the obstructionist part of Congress), but also a complete slap in the face to people like me, namely the GBLT community. Scott Brown doesn’t feel we should be treated equally, and will work with those in Washington who want to keep me a second class citizen. This says nothing about the fact that he will vote against what will actually help the people who voted for him.
I heard an interview with Rep. Barney Frank on TV recently, and he stated that a common phrase on Capital Hill is “It’s not personal”, but he said that any law that will make GLBT people “less than” others is personal. For those friends of mine who voted for Scott Brown for “change” (which to me means that you didn’t want change, as you’re voting for obstructionism and bad behavior which will now have more of a toehold in Washington), you’ve really said that my basic right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is not important.
Needless to say, this upset me. What if we brought back the “Irish Need Not Apply” or had different bathrooms for different ethnic groups? It might be personal to you then too.
Anyway, I can’t change what has happened. I’ve been thinking about what I can do. Here are my thoughts:
- Breathe: I can only control myself at this moment. Is the next thing I say kind? Am I being the change I want in the world? If I can show compassion to others, maybe those people who are hard-hearted to my situtation might see it differently next time they vote.
- Forgive: For those that have been so uncaring of the fate of others, I just have to let go and not assume that it’s done maliciously. Even if it were, it doesn’t do me any good to think that way.
- Take Care of Myself: I need to focus on my own needs. Nutrition, exercise, mediation, friends, etc. I need to bring good positive things into my life, so that I have a positive vibe to my day.
I’m sure there’s more, but I’ll ask you what you’ve learned. Post them below!
Well, I’m sorry that’s it’s been a while since I have posted. Just like so many other New Year’s Resolutions, I’ve found that sometimes things get in the way. The funny thing was that I was better at it before the New Year than now!
One of the reasons that has kept me away from writing has been that I’ve done three workshops in the past two and a half weeks, and there was a lot of preparation and writing that went into those events. One was the New Year, New Goals workshop that I did at Easton Mountain for their New Year’s Spiritual Retreat for Gay Men. It was a wonderful mini-week, with lots of great workshops, meditations, and conversations.
Then, I was the guest presenter for the January Teleconference for the Alumni Career Services Network, which is a group of career professionals that work in colleges and universities around the country with alumni. As you probably know, more and more people are going back to their alma maters to get career help. My presentation was on Career Development in the Creative and Non-Business Fields, as many career professionals are used to working with people in standard business fields (e.g. engineering, accounting, etc.) and might not have as many people coming into their offices who are looking for help in being a film producer, novelist, minister, or performer. I tried to give some tips on how to approach this conversation.
One of the main concepts that I talk about is that career development in an arts/freelance field has a different approach. The analogy that I give is that developing in a career is like filling up a bucket. The more successful you get, the higher the fill line in the bucket. The way that bucket is filled is very different though in the different fields.
- In a standard “business” career, it’s like filling the bucket with liquid. If you get a full-time job as an accountant, it’s like you’ve put a scoop of liquid into the bucket, and it covers the entire bottom layer, just like you spend all your time at that job every working day. When you get a promotion, it’s like you put another scoop in, and the liquid is at a higher level. Sometimes you can add a little more liquid by getting an advanced degree or certification, but for the most part it’s the different promotions that fill up the bucket.
- In an arts/freelance career, it’s like filling the bucket up with marbles. As most careers of this type are project-based, you don’t have just one job to do, but many. For example, if you were a writer, you’d have a marble for every article that you got published, writing class you’ve taught, journal you helped edit, etc.) You might have bigger or smaller marble depending up the status of the magazine you were published in. The big message here is that you can’t move to the next level until you’ve got enough marbles to fill up the bottom level. Only then will you get a chance at working at a higher level. The story of the “overnight sensation” who has been working in the industry for 10 years is a care in point.
This analogy is especially important for artists, as many of them think that there is no rhyme or reason to why some people are successful and others aren’t. It’s a tough thing to hear that you have to put the grunt work just like the people in guilds did many years ago. While you might have somewhat that magically finds your feature-length screenplay and wants to spend $30 million dollars developing it, you might have a better chance at getting a 10 minute short produced, and then if it gets into a film festival and wins an award, you’ve got something to show for it. Many, many successes will add up more easily that just trying to get that one big smash hit.
I’m a big proponent of setting goals and taking incremental steps toward them. Knowing what steps will lead you toward you goals is sometimes the first step.
How many marbles are in your bucket?
Welcome to the start of the rest of our collective lives. I’ve been up at Easton Mountain, where I taught a workshop on New Years, New Goals (in other words, how to align your callings of your spirit to the actions you take to make your life want you want it to be.) I had a great turnout, and some really good reviews. While up here, I’m also doing a lot of planning for my weekend workshop here in February called Finding Your Calling. I’m looking to find ways to let gay men who might be interested in the program know about it. Please direct them to the link for it if you can. I’m also putting together a You Tube video invitation to the program, so look out for that!
We had a great New Year’s Celebration here last night. We had meditations, poetry readings, music, and followed up with some dancing. The crowd here is from all over the country and there’s a lovely spirit of trust and healing to this community. I’ve done yoga every morning, and I’ve also been doing my meditations. Check out my Twitter account to see what I’ve been saying there.
This first decade of the millennium (What do we really call it? The O’s? The Naughties?) has been a momentous one for difficult change in my life, as I know it has been for others. Between the major illness/near death experience I had in 2001, change in career, break up of my 16 year relationship, sale and moving from my condo in Cambridge, and starting a new life, it’s been a lot of transitions. I don’ t know about everybody else, but I’ve gotten a great sense recently that a whole bunch of the negative energy of the last decade has been removed, and that there are very positive times ahead. I’m making plans, and putting project plans into motion to make this the best I can. I’m expecting great things for myself, and hope the best for the rest of you!