I was reminded of something very important the other day when I saw Viola, our new cuddly kitty, sitting on my lap. This is one of the most affectionate cats I have ever come across, and trust me, I’ve come across A LOT of cats (my mom has more than several).
I suddenly remembered one of the times I was feeling low on the Camino and was second guessing my reasons for doing the hike. All I needed was a reminder of home to make me right as rain again. I mentioned to Claire and Courtney, my hiking buddies, that I could really just use a cat right now to come plop on my lap. Well, clearly the Universe was trying to teach me the old lesson of “ask and you shall receive.” Not only was there a cat on my lap within 24 hours, but we came across a town that seemed to actually have a cat PROBLEM. It turns out that there is a bit of a stray animal issue in Spain due to a lack of a strong animal control system and a lot of the cats and dogs are cared for by the local restaurants around the town. A few days later, we even rescued a very young kitten from the bushes, named it James, and snuck it into our hostel. The next morning, the cat had made itself at home, woke the hikers up with a visit, and was being fed by the hostel’s owner. Perhaps she had asked for a cat in her life too.
My last blog post addressed my ongoing frustrations with auditioning. I was convinced I was on a “bad audition run,” and had been for a few months. Your comments and some conversations I had outside the blog were invaluable to helping me out of the funk, so first of all THANK YOU. Feeling less alone in my frustrations is a huge factor in working through them for me. Second of all, I found that writing the post opened a door of determination. Like the sudden appearance of cats on the Camino, a slew of helpful events in my life reinstated my faith in what I am doing here in the city.
Last Tuesday, after feeling rather lumpish all day, I dragged myself to a yoga class which changed my outlook on the rest of the week. It was one of those “who told this teacher that I needed to hear everything she had to say?” moments. The overall theme of the class was to replace each negative thought that arises with a positive one, no matter how unnatural it feels at first. By simply making the effort to counter-act the negative thoughts (even the little ones), we eventually will respond more positively to everything around us.
Negative Thought: Why did that asshole smack into me when I tried to get off the train at 34th Street?
Positive Thought: Maybe that guy is really freaked out about being late. Or…Perhaps he has no depth perception and bumps into everything! Poor guy!
Negative Thought: It’s Saturday morning, does my upstairs neighbor have to exercise with all her friends, causing my walls to shake?
Positive Thought: Maybe this is her favorite part of her week and exercising makes her less angry at the people who smack into her at 34th street.
It was incredible how quickly I noticed the slightest change, and I say the slightest because to think you can completely rewire your brain overnight will only create more frustration. Those negative ideas are naggy and don’t like to be messed with. A trick of the mind is sometimes all you need. That slight change took a world of weight off my shoulders.
This way of thinking led to one of the most important parts of my week…A GOOD AUDITION. Yes, it happened! I used the same monologue which bombed two weeks ago and NAILED IT this time. It was a mixture of taking your advice and getting a lot of those distracting negative thoughts out of my head. They even asked for an extra monologue, which I had prepared a had a lot of fun performing. I thought I could leap over the moon when I left there. I bought a cupcake instead. It was as if an evil “I’m a a crappy actor” spell had been broken. I will not put a lot of weight into if I hear back or not from the theatre, the important part is I felt good about my work.
My point in all this rambling is that the power of thought can really surprise you when you need a change. A few years ago, I had a friend debate with me that trusting in a higher power (whatever that may be for you) came across as laziness to him. It sounded to him like a dependency or expectation that something else would do the work for you. I disagree, but only now feel at peace with my response. I do personally believe there are many things beyond your control that can be guided by something bigger than us (whether it is a god, the universe, whatever your deal is, I’m not here to start on religious beliefs). But in turn, that positive and hopeful mindset allows you to not only approach things with more confidence but also allows you to see the helpful things in your life you already have. So perhaps it’s both! A little help from a “higher power” supplies you with the mindset to make the change you need.
Yes you can change things on your own, but a well-timed inspirational yoga class or a town infested with cats can help too.
Soon to come!!
Since Helen has been living with me for two weeks now (and we having been having a lovely time!) I hope to post on a lot of happy plans and great finds in the city for the Spring. After the band Frightened Rabbit came out with an album called “The Winter of Mixed Drinks” a few years ago, Helen and I have been naming the other seasons accordingly. Ideas are welcome…Spring of Good Beer? Spring of Trader Joes Wine?