I was reminded by one of my closet friends that the practice of intention is had by staying present. Present to our surroundings – physical and mental. Present to the receiving of praise or gifts that we are given. Present to the little moments that combine to be BIG moments. This presence allows us to filter out what is helpful and what is not. When we busy our minds and bodies so much by jamming everything on to a “to-do” list it is difficult to mindfully take action. So, it is easy to lose the reason why we were doing it in the first place – we lose intention.
Being so extremely busy in recent years made it difficult for me to maintain my intention. I take full ownership of that. I didn’t have to take on, emotionally and physically, so much. It was a habit that I didn’t realize I even had. A habit that slowly diminished the work that I was doing and by the end it was hard to see the benefits. In result, it was hard to stay present and fully acknowledge what I was capable of and actually doing at a high level. It was so easy to identify it in other people – in my students – but it was so difficult to turn the focus to myself. Doing so would have required me to fully believe in myself, fully believe that I was worthy of success, love, and admiration. I have many loving, supportive people in my life and they have been so generous with their praise of me but I never really believed them because somewhere in the back of my head I was beating everything that they said down. I would tell myself that it couldn’t possibly be true – they are just being polite. I’m really not that good or I’m really not that talented. In a way, it protected me. It protected me from being vulnerable. Because I believe that the only way to grow is to make yourself vulnerable which is to be open to feedback, to make mistakes and to not be in control. This is a rather new belief for me.
Early in my career this was definitely not how I saw the world. Now that I am “older and wiser” (Name that musical! – sorry Musical Theatre Nerd Joke) , I see the world and how I interact with the world as being more intentional. I love that the second definition of intention means the healing process of a wound. Setting an intention helps us heal.
So, a year ago today I started my healing process, I set the intention to grow as an artist and as a teacher by taking the last few items out of my classroom at Grants Pass High in preparation for attending grad school in San Diego. I also set the intention that no matter what Adam and I would create a new life in Southern California that would honor both of our needs. I also set the intention to open myself to new experiences, to love and to believe in myself in a way that I had never done before. I had to trust myself. And, I am glad that I did. Some days were better than others. But, lately, I have seen more of an upswing of better days!
Today, it really hit me that being intentional in your actions can directly affect your future. I never would have thought a year ago that I would be sitting in a room with the composer/lyricist team Kristin and Bobby Lopez (Disney’s Frozen, Ave Q, The Book of Mormon), Director Alex Timbers (Here Lies Love, Peter and the Starcatcher, Rocky), Choreographer Josh Bergasse (Smash, On the Town, Gigi), and the rest of the very talented La Jolla Playhouse company. I would like to say that I am getting a once in a lifetime opportunity but actually I’m not. I am getting a every day opportunity because I expect to have more of these type of days. This is what I do now and I can confidently say that I was right where I belonged. I have something to give and something to say.
Right now, I am wearing my educator hat while I am working in the Education Department at the playhouse but I do know that the intentions that I am setting as a performer will help me succeed in this difficult yet rewarding industry. And, my ultimate intention of finding a way to balance both my desire to tell stories as a performer and also impart knowledge as an educator will become a reality….somehow. Right now, I am trying to stay present and show gratitude to myself and those around me for making this all possible.
Each day, I am just trying to live intentionally and with purpose. I will see where it takes me. Right now it takes me down this path every day and I am loving it!