Day 226 – I’m Back!
I’m back! And I can’t quite believe it. To be honest, I’d almost forgotten that I needed to get started with this project again. I’ve definitely gotten into a funk of not being used to writing everyday and the thought of doing so is rather overwhelming.
But, I’m beginning again. In fact so much so that I had to familiarize myself with how I usually create my posts!
I hope you all had a wonderful October and smooth entry into fall.
October was wild for me. It was a whirlwind of emotions and to some extent it still is. My mind has been on a roller coaster, with no signs of it slowing down, which has made me realize how much writing daily on this blog contributes to my mindfulness practice. Thank goodness I’m beginning again!
I was so excited to get back to the US and start living my life. Yet, when I got back, as should be expected, things didn’t exactly go according to my master plan. And my mind soaked it all up.
I had moments of extreme highs, full of gratitude and joy. Then I would sink to ultimate lows of sadness and disillusionment.
It was only when I got working on the feature film I just finished that I began to get some insight into my mind once more.
I learned some interesting things about myself:
- If I don’t eat food, I have very little control over my emotions.
- When it comes to work I have the confidence it takes to meet new people and get involved. When I’m not in a work situation, this confidence vanishes.
- When I’m open to life and possibilities, no matter how crazy they may seem, amazing things start to happen.
- I am very linear in the way I think. My black and white thinking often crowds out alternative views and it’s only when I’m in the midst of life that I begin to see things in all shades of gray.
- I like having a purpose and being busy. I find it hard to deal with my mind and thoughts when I have no plans or work to focus on.
- I have become very selfish during my time in Oman and find it difficult when I don’t have time to myself.
- I still don’t know if I would be a good mother and whether I want to have kids. I find them very difficult a lot of the time and feel conflict over this because I’m a woman and society says I should find child rearing easy and endearing (at least that’s what I’ve been taught).
One of the things I had to give up during filming, was going to the Zen center I attended when I first got back to the US. The whole time I was on set, I knew that some meditation and dharma was all it would take for me to find more patience and show more compassion at times of great stress. Yet, I had no time to devote to either of these things.
I also overlooked a very important point that Thich Nhat Hahn made in today’s Zencast talk – your sangha doesn’t necessarily have to be Buddhist.
The film business is funny. By nature you work very long hours in short periods of time with a group of people you may never see or work with again. Therefore, film crews become your second family during the shooting period. You eat breakfast, lunch and dinner together (most days), work intensely and closely together, laugh together, argue together and then pack it all up at the end of the shoot and wave goodbye.
I believe the group of people I ended up working with on Patty Paper were truly a bunch of angels that came together to make a great little film for kids. The only reason I got involved was because other people had dropped out at the last minute due to school commitments so I was lucky to get involved. I ended up being given the opportunity to work in a position I would otherwise never have been paid to do, which meant I worked with the crew at a capacity I’m normally not accustomed to. I worked alongside the director and the DP (director of photography), which meant I learned a lot and yet was also subject to high standards that were not always within my inexperienced reach. Let’s say that humbled doesn’t quite do my experience justice!
The crew was hard working, kind and respectful. Everyone left their egos at the door and we all did what it took to get the job done. And we did it! We managed to get the majority of the script shot out in 2 weeks, which is simply a miracle in many ways. Of course, we could have done with more time and money, but that’s indie filmmaking and we at least have an understandable film to show people without having to go out and film extra shots that we missed the first time around.
The whole time I was rushing around on set (sometimes in tears, often times in joy) I was focused on how much I was missing my Zen center sangha, all the while my filmmaking sangha were all around me. They were asking me if I needed help, making sure I had cups of tea in the morning (thanks Muki!) and the right food to eat considering my dairy allergy (thanks Raquel!). They were patient with me when I didn’t send out the call sheets until 10pm at night for the next day’s shoot, and understanding with me when I realized we needed an actor who we had told we were finished shooting. They brought us food when another film crew ended up getting the pizza order that had been set aside for us (by mistake) and we even got massages on set through our on-set makeup and hair stylist!
I could not have asked for a more supportive, friendly and giving crew for my first feature film experience back in Savannah. I now see that while I may not have a Buddhist Sangha to join at all times, my true sangha and family is around me all the time, everywhere. It’s just up to me to recognize it and respond accordingly.
Never a moment goes by where practice and insight isn’t possible. I worked hard to recognize this fact during the film shoot. Often times when I was overwhelmed with my work load, or when things weren’t going according to plan, I would look up at the clear blue sky (when it wasn’t raining!), listen to the birds and take deep breaths until I felt calm, centered and mindful enough to continue on.
During those two weeks in October, I had it all. I had it all and yet I failed to realize it. No wonder it’s so hard for me to recognize my own Buddha Nature, even though it’s been with me throughout my entire life.
And speaking of that, although I wanted to post this on November 1st to mark the beginning of my continuation of this journey, it’s now past midnight and my birthday. I have lived a ripe old 33 years on this earth so far and today marks the first day of my 33rd year.
I’m grateful to have lived a full 33 years on this earth so far and I look forward to living and practicing for however long I may live after this. So today, to mark this special day in my life, I’m blessing myself with a Metta prayer:
May I be happy.
May I be safe.
May I be healthy.
May I be peaceful.
And may I love and appreciate all the people in my life for who they are and their true Buddha Nature.