Friday, October 7, 2011

Just a thought


At the end of my yoga practice today, a sentence popped into my head: "you can't change your past but you can change how your past controls you." It is pretty unusual that I have something concrete like that arrive--I am usually thinking about what I am going to make for lunch! Oops!--so I thought that I would just put it out here. I know that most of my readers (and especially my friends that I interact with regularly) are mainly older than I am and probably wise enough to know this but then again, we all know that unfortunately age and wisdom do not always go hand in hand...

Now that I am definitely into my forties, perhaps it is time to re-examine some of the ideas that have defined me, shine a light on a different type of Little Monsters crouching in the dark and let them go. As if on cue, Remi brought in the mail and waiting for me is a big envelope from the Yale School of Drama. It is most likely the annual directory that lists which of my fellow actors are working, where they have gone. Now usually this is the quickest route imaginable towards reducing me to a sobbing Marlon Brando in the back of a taxi cab. The whiplash of "could haves". But instead I will remember, actively remember, that all of those past choices lead me to exactly where I am today: sitting at my antique desk in front of a 19th century window open on to a rose-streaked Provençal sky with my sweet dog sleeping on my feet and the man that I love in the next room.

Own your life, no matter what it is.

I know that at times I sound like a broken record and actually it is the essence of good acting, "being in the moment" but to know these things in our heads and in our hearts are not always the same, are they?

Wishing you all a lovely weekend.

20 comments:

helen tilston said...

How interesting that a simple message is so meaningful when our ears are ready to receive it.You are so right that many would envy the wonderful place you are at, both physically and mentally.
To a great weekend
Helenxx

Lost in Provence said...

Thank you Helen, hoping that you have inspiration to paint another something gorgeous this weekend. I'll think about your fine compliment. Merci.

Elizabeth Eiffel said...

Wise words from someone so young ........well not over 40. Old thinking patterns are so hard to break. I'm still trying to tackle some of mine and I'm 50+! And if you were acting, we would not have the wonderful pleasure of reading "Lost in Arles".

Dan Sebastian said...

I know the exact feeling you speak of; quite well in fact. Having lived in New York during the same time period as you, also in my twenties and having no doubt where I thought the path of life was leading; I have at random moments been afflicted with a case of the "what could have been's?" which I always find interesting because I am happy with life and consider myself to be a happy person. It is easy to romanticize "what could have been's?" because when we look back in time we often see ourselves not how we actually were, but how we idealized ourselves to be. To the same degree the ideal self varies from the actual self, the pain, however manifest, will be that much greater;
the melancholy comes from a sense of loss felt all the more deeply, because it is tied not only to that which we consciously see as the "what could have been", but unconsciously mixed with the longing of that which never was.

Life has a strange way of unfolding; the pictures on Facebook only tell a small sliver of the story. As you know we had our first baby in April, what you may not know is that my wife developed a bad case of Postpartum Depression. What made things particularly difficult is that she is not only my wife, but also my business partner. Suddenly I had a new baby and all the stress that comes from being a new parent, compounded by the loss of my wife and the need to carry the load of both our jobs. To say this was a difficult period is simply an understatement. It was only in the last month that she has been feeling herself again. She is only able to help parttime with the business, which even that has been a huge relief.) I was just starting to feel like we were getting into a groove when we were hit with another bombshell: she was diagnosed with MS two weeks ago!! We are trying to remain positive and have made a conscious decision not to focus on the negatives. The reality is that even if things may get more difficult in the future, we still have today!!! And you know what? Today she was able to hold her baby. And she drop herself to the market and was able to buy groceries. And we are thankful for that. Because at any moment and one of us could find ourselves injured and be unable to walk. You could walk in the street and be hit by a car. But today she can walk and today we choose to celebrate that.
My apologies for the delay in getting back in touch with you on FB. I am rarely on it these days, but when I went to it today, and tried to respond to our conversation thread, it said your account had been closed or something. I am glad you gave me enough information to find you here. You were a good friend who I just refound after all these years and I would be disappointed to lose touch with you. I hope you are well. (Sorry to your other readers if this was too personal, but this is my life and the only way I knew to get in touch with you.)

robin said...

Great blog post, sister! A few thoughts:
1. you are not "definitely" into your 40's; you're barely into your 40's.
2. keep in mind that not every one of your Yale classmates are probably still acting! And couldn't you send an update about yourself, traveling the world and with a blog about life in Provence?
3. I heard a great thing recently: if you have anger/resentment, you are living in the past, and if you have worry/fear, you are living in the future. It's so hard to just live in the moment, but reading all of your moments reminds us to stop and appreciate the beauty all around us!

Acquired Objects said...

Wonderful post and no you can’t let your past define you but make it work for you instead. You can’t have a future if you’re living in the past and I’m a big believe in letting things go. This really was a beautiful and thoughtful post.

P.S. You wrote some very kind words to Brooke on her post. I know about everything Brooke and Steve do and no they don’t need to put it out there for people who are basically jealous. I hope Mary Ann takes a good look at what she’s missing in her life so she can be happy for others.

Enjoy your weekend!
Debra

Francine Gardner said...

Own your own life...how i strive to do so.
So glad you were the winner of the Jose basket lamp. Where should i send it to?

Virginia said...

A lovely post. I think Steve Jobs left us all with something similar to "Own your life." Very good advice. I'm a lot older and it's still hard for me to achieve. I look forward to your writing and your photographs. I've never been far from Paris on my trips, but if I could, I"d find my way to your special place in France.
Bon weekend,
V

Greet said...

Very wise words!! I will think about it!! You are so right! And I do envy you living in such a wonderful place on earth!
Happy weekend to you all there!
xx
Greet

Judith Ross said...

"Own your own life." Indeed and very wise for someone I gather is 'barely' into their forties.

As a newcomer to your blog, I look forward to more!

And as someone in her mid-fifties, I can tell you that having the man you love in the next room and a good dog sleeping at your feet are true reasons to rejoice!

Lost in Provence said...

My goodness, there is so much here to respond to, it is overwhelming and I am very touched by that.

First things first, Dan, my heart goes out to you and your wife both for her past suffering and the challenges that lie ahead. And my apologies for not letting you know that I have left FB. Would you send me an email at robinsonheather@yahoo.com so that I can more properly respond? I agree, too much time has passed to lose sight again.

Elizabeth, I agree that old patterns are hard to break, but it is never too late to try, right? :)

Sister, that quote is awesome! I love you!

Debra, I wanted to write more to Brooke but it was so long already. I know that they are genuinely good eggs, the real deal and what Mary Ann wrote made me sad, finally. I meditated to send both her and Brooke good energy today.

Virginia, please come down to the South! Provence is just so beautiful. And sans doute, Steve Jobs passing made me stop and think this week. He was just too young.

Greet--you have nothing to envy! Bisous to you and your beautiful
family. I am hoping that it is not too cold or rainy for you already!

Judith, welcome! And I hear ya, sometimes it is simple as that, happiness.

Francine, thank you for the visit--I can't wait to hear about your trip and am delighted in deed to have been so fortunate--what a generous gesture. I will send an email to Interieurs with my address (and confirm that on your blog).

Again, wishing everyone a wonderful weekend! So grateful for you all.

Miss Pink said...

Sebastian: lovely post. And good for you for talking about Postpartum Depression. It's a wicked, wicked thing and can really grab you 'round the throat. I wasn't "depressed" per se, but omg, the anxiety. Crazy times, but once you get the right treatment, great to be rid of it too.

Robin: hi!

Heather: seriously, what are you, 41.5? If that. I totally agree with Judith -- the man you love and a dog at your feet are really all you need. I think the neat thing about the past is that you can draw on it for strength. "Okay, that guy waved a gun at me in taxi on the Brooklyn Bridge and I survived that ... so surely I can manage this most recent hurdle." That sort of thing.

penelopebianchi said...

I totally agree with everything you say! Here's what I think! We all need to practice being like a dog. They truly do live "in the moment"! They don't even remember you stepped on their paw when you apologize; ever know a dog to bear a grudge? And when you have been gone an hour or a week, they are just so happy to see you!!

They aren't jealous of other dogs and their puppies!
They don't try to hurt each other (unless they have been trained to by some sick human!)

In the Bronx Zoo (It think that zoo) there is a sign that says: The only animal that kills others of its species for sport. And there is a mirror!

I am practicing thinking like a dog!

Lost in Provence said...

Miss Pink, ahem, you reeeeally brought up a great point and you know darn well that I have my Hell's Kitchen stories to draw on when I need the courage. Wow, well said and how happy am I to have another long time friend back!

Penelope, you really win the award of Most Amazing Woman of the Day in my book and I do hope that you know why--for telling it like it is! My goodness. And yes, I write a bit about my dog Ben showing me how to live! They really don't make it so complicated!

Blue Fruit said...

You really are in a good place right now, and having thoughts like that just proves it further (on top of the driving lessons}!

It always perplexes me that we think wisdom only comes with age. Oh yes, some older people have lived long and hard and are wise, but some young children, and certainly some dogs, often have more wisdom than a group of old fogies put together in one room. So the answer, I think, is that age has very little to do with wisdom. It is more down to one's personality, and happy point in life, where one is able to stand back, smell the roses, and observe life as it plays out before us in the most dramatic play possible: one's own life. Virginia xx

Lost in Provence said...

Oh Virginia, will you write my blog as well as your own? :) I love the way that you express yourself. And I definitely afgree. It seems that life gives different people a different set of experiences--none of us have cookie cutter lives and our knowledge (wisdom is too big a word for me) garnered from those experiences makes us who we are. And let's face it, some folks are just old souls--even when they are young!

Hope you had a lovely Spring week-end.

quintessence said...

So true and so good to revisit and remember. We all have our little monsters and regrets but moving forward, using yet not living in our pasts, is the only way to enjoy the present and future. It seems to me that you actually do this rather well.

Lost in Provence said...

Q! We were typing at the exact same moment--how I love that! A connection across the world. And thank you for the compliment, I am trying--I definitely know that it is something that you do well!

Genie -- Paris and Beyond said...

I would say that you are making the most of your life and sharing it in a way that enriches ours. I will be making my way to southern France in April to get another dose of the colors, the smells, the ambiance, and the patrimoine that is exclusively Provence.

Bises,
Genie

Lost in Provence said...

Hello Genie! As I mentioned before, I'd be all too happy to make suggestions for your trip if you want! Just let me know. Isn't it crazy to think but April will be here before you know it--and perfect timing to see the almond trees in blossom!