Can't tell you the name of the new video yet, but can promise you that it will be verrrrry funny. ;-)
Check back right here for the link in January.
News from our uber-hilarious friends at Back of the Class is that the music video we shot last year will be released online in January. Back of the Class is the great team behind Hollywood Asst. video. The Hollywood Asst. video landed them a contract with Ashton Kutcher's company Katalyst HQ.
Can't tell you the name of the new video yet, but can promise you that it will be verrrrry funny. ;-)
Check back right here for the link in January.
Today's Life Aspect: FAMILY (your birth family) and COMMUNITY
Life Aspect number 3.
This Life Aspect addresses your family of origin and the influences
that affected and continue to affect you today. They might be
imperfect, but as you grow, you can also create a new sense of
family that comes from your community.
We were raised in a very idealistic family setting.
Let me re-phrase that -- As idealistic as it can be with 9 children, 2 parents, an extra set of grandparents, aunts, uncles and the ocassional dog, rabbit, fish, or bird that happened to survive being along
for the ride. Both of my parents came from small families and
they thought a big family would be fun. After 30 years of they described it differently... hard work.
My mother was born in Kansas. She had been an opera singer in Europe before she married and settled stateside and she loved music, but
the thing she wanted most was "a beautiful family". For my parents 25th wedding anniversary when we were having a professional family photo taken, the photographer stopped for a moment as he was setting up a shot. He was visibly "stopped in his tracks". He said to my mother, "You have a beautiful family." And I remember thinking, "Ah! She got exactly what she wanted!"
When I studied theater I received a window into other people's families. Tennessee Williams, Chekhov, Sam Shepard -- ummm... very different than my world. When I left home and began to experience the stories of the family lives of my friends, I was surprised to learn (and quickly educated) that "beautiful family" was not the case for many of my own friends. It wasn't until I was a full grown adult that I learned that even my mother's birth family was full of conflict and uncertainty and this was why creating a strong family was her top priority.
And so I can bring both perspectives to this aspect in the Life Aspects chart. What I've learned is that family is important -- but if your own family of origin was too painful, then the structure of your "family" must come from the family you create or the community that you build around yourself as an adult. People to laugh intimately with, or cry with when that's what's up, and who can help you understand and reflect upon the things that are happening in your life. To find and create love in that community is what will sustain you. Will it pay off? Most times.
Will you get hurt? Sometimes. Can you forgive when it's
not perfect? I hope so.
No one's family is "Leave it to Beaver" perfect, but you can create what is mostly perfect for you. Here are a few questions to get you started:
Have you found a way to appreciate both the light and the dark sides
of your family's story?
What is your strength that you bring to your family story?
Have you ever looked at your family tree?
Do you have a written family health history for more than one generation?
Are you content with the quality of your relationship with your siblings, parents?
What will you recognize as contentment in this aspect of your life?
Who do you appreciate in your "chosen" family community?
Learning about the historical generations of your family is a great way to open communication with your parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc. They are the ones with the oral history.
A few resources if you'd like additional assistance:
More research on your ancestors: http://www.ancestry.com/
If you'd like to see your immigrant family's arrival to the US, try this free service: http://www.ellisisland.org/
We found my Italian grandparent's "ship manifest" and when I saw it, I gained a new appreciation for my grandfather & grandmother -- and their ability to get on the right boat. (Unlike other family members who ended up in South America.)
Give these sites a try and see what happens in your own family. ;-)
Wishing you the peace of the season!
Life Aspects Area #2 - Love, Partnership, Marriage
(with a little help from #8)
Is love on your list for 2010?
Best lesson I ever had about love was from my mother.
All she would ever really say about choosing a spouse
was, "If it feels like freedom, do it." Marrying my father felt
like freedom to her. She felt if she married him she would get to do all the things she wanted to do with her life. So that was her perspective.
My second best lesson was from one of my acting teachers
in college. As a young actress, I didn't know that
real love didn't have to be an uber-dramatic drama. Ha! It
still makes me laugh. After watching the senior's production
of "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" my acting teacher Dr. Daubenas said to the class, "All of this drama, these extreme characters...they are GREAT to play, aren't they?" We all agreed. "But, " he continued, "you don't want to be one of these people in real life." I remember very clearly thinking, "Really? Oh!" Prior to that I'd thought creating that drama in life was the point. Lucky I learned to save the drama for the stage and seek happy relationships. Thank you again, Dr. Daubenas. ;-)
My own story of long-lasting love came with some
feng shui assistance. It's a funny story, but very true.
When I got serious about finding love, I placed a
HUGE silk tree in the relationship corner of my apartment.
It was a little shorter than what I wanted, (so I placed it
on a box to raise it) In the tree I placed two love birds right
next to each other and a big crystal above them all.
Nothing fancy. Simple, typical feng shui cures.
As disappointment and differing priorities were emerging
in "fabulous, exotic relationship" one night the huge tree came tumbling down. I was in another room when I heard the
"crash" and I thought -- "No way." But there it was.
The tree was on the floor and one of the love birds
had flown across the room. One bird was still sitting
very firmly in the tree. The box the tree was sitting on
had collapsed as it was only made of cardboard. I
had intended to put a wooden or ceramic holder there eventually,
but had forgotten about it. Well, that's symbolic, I thought.
Next morning, 7am, I'm on my way to the hardware store
for CEMENT BLOCKS to create a new base for the silk tree.
I know the real feng shui remedy is ceramic, but I wanted cement!
Silk trees don't weigh that much, but my intent was a love that LASTS.
Sure enough "exotic boyfriend" exits stage left and 8 months later,
I'm pretty sure the new boyfriend is "the one". Yep. Thats how it happened.
In today's version of the 9 Life Aspects chart you'll see
aspects #2 and #8 are colored. There's a reason.
Ever notice how when you focus on something too much it
sort of disintegrates? Love can be like that.
Opposite corners on the feng shui chart are the aspects of life
that feed each other. So if you're looking for love, my recommendation
is that you focus a little bit on the Love Aspect (#2) and a whole lot more on the Learning, Spirituality, Knowledge Aspect of your life.
Enhancing your learning about all of the topics that fascinate you and
light you up will take you to new places. And you'll be meeting
new people. And that is how your life changes... how you educate
yourself and the people you meet.
If you're a spiritual person, let your spirituality lead your way for
a while and see what happens.
Does it work? Well, I gave this recommendation to a friend and
since nothing else worked she decided to give it a try. Six
months later she had met Mr. Right and now is married and has
two beautiful bouncing baby boys. She said, "I couldn't believe
focusing on my spirituality would bring me love, but it did."
Another friend had always wanted to make a film, so I sent
her off to a film class in Hollywood. Kinda weird, but that's where
she met her now husband. They were only friends at first,
but after several months, the love emerged and they're doing great.
So yeah, it works.
If you're really ready for a new love in your life, here are a few things
you can do. Be careful though, they really, really work:
- Place plants in the romance corner of your home. (South West corner OR as you stand at your front door, looking into your home - the far right corner is your Love & Partnership corner.)
- Create a little altar to love in that corner. Two candles, Two love birds,
two of other things that say "love" to you. Maybe a photo of an inspiring
couple that you know. Pink is the color for this area, so make your candles pink if you want.
- Make a list of everything you've always wanted to learn about. Then
prioritize that list and find learning opportunities for your top 2 or 3.
- Behave "as if". "As if" is a game that actors play to put themselves
in another's shoes and feel what it is like to be another person. It's also how we prepare before a scene begins, we play "as if" something just happened.
For you, prepare your home "as if" that special person is already in
your life. Sleep on your side of the bed. Be sure your soon-to-be love's side of the bed has a night stand, it's own clock and box of tissues as if
someone was already using it. Two towels in the bathroom and use
only yours. Two places set at dinner even when you're the only one home.
Important to remember: The items you're using in preparing your space do not have any power in and of themselves. The power is YOU becoming clear about what you want and preparing to receive. The items, the talisman's are simply physical reminders of the desires of your heart.
If love is your goal for 2010, give a few of these and let me know if they work for you. I wish you much success.
See you next time!
"Put your ear down close to your soul and listen hard." ~Anne Sexton
(thanks Laura Lewis)
I do a full Life Aspects Summary (see chart on #2) on every one of my characters. It drives the facts of their lives deeper into my consciousness. We spend a lot of time searching for the souls of our characters, making distinctions between what they are aware of and what they are not aware of. I know if it can work for imaginary characters, it can certainly work for real people, too.
In a play, a film or any story if the majority of a character's time is spent doing something they are not suited for, it creates pressures in their bodies, pressures in their lives in general and then they'll act out those pressures in appropriate and often in appropriate ways. Each discovery is a great adventure and sometimes it's messy. And so it is in real life, too.
Yesterday was HEALTH.
Today we go back to #1.
Self Actualization and Career
This is a touchy subject in the middle of the highest
unemployment rate since the Great Depression.
I realize that. Self Actualization comes way after survival
on Maslow's hierarchy of needs.
The only thing I can share is that for
many people I know, even though this recession isn't pretty, this
is giving them the chance to look deeper inside themselves
to re-create their careers. It's slow and it's challenging, and
the results will be worth it.
If you are in basic survival mode right now, please know
it is only temporary.
Here is a question for this area of your life:
Are you getting to use all of your talents and skills in
your work? If "yes" good for you! If not, now is the
time to consider how you might be able to create that.
Here are a few more questions to get you started.
Do you feel you are doing what you were born to do?
If not, what do you feel you were born to do?
Do you notice when you are happiest?
Are you in a transition stage for your career?
If so, what would you like the next stage of your career to be?
What are your technical gifts and skills?
What are your emotional gifts and skills?
Who are you most inspired by?
I've met countless people who have added their additional,
joyful skills to their work and are happier because of it.
I've also met numerous people who have transitioned their
careers at age 40 and up. It's not easy, but they do report
feeling deeply rewarded. If they can do it, you can do it.
Being an actress and producer at this point and time in history is
perfect for me. The technological tools available now to actors and
producers are better than ever. The opportunities to learn from countless
numbers of experts from all over the world with just a few keystrokes
is like a dream come true for me.
The fact that Social Media gives me an opportunity to flex
my sales and marketing skills and apply them to my film, television
and new media projects is a ton-o-fun for me. So both halves of
my brain are finally happy.
Transitions are easier when you have someone to assist you.
These are some of my favorite Career / Self Actualization links:
Fired Up Careers: http://www.firedupcareers.com/index.html
Career Counseling: http://www.marinoandassociates.com/wordpress
C.G. Jung Institute of Los Angeles: http://www.junginla.org/
(there is a Jungian Instititute in almost every major city in the world.)
Transition Coaches: http://thetransitioncoach.com/transition.html
Feng Shui -- "It ain't about ya house," is what I like to say. It's about your life.
Organizing and preparing for the new year with principles borrowed
from Feng Shui, we learn that Feng Shui organizes life into 9 basic life aspects.
This is the numerical order and to your right is the 9 aspects in a square chart format.
1) Career/Self Actualization
(2) Love and Partnership
(3) Family of Origin (the one you were born into)
(6) Helpful People
(7) Children/Creative Projects
(8) Spirituality and New Learning
I rate myself on a scale of 1 to 10 as to how content I am with each area of my life. Then I add up the points. Hey wait -- how do we get to 100%? I'm glad you asked. You get 10 extra random points just for playing along. See? Look at you, all fancy and headed for 100%.
Then I like to make notes of goals, desires, intentions for each area.
Although you can address them in numerical order, if you want to follow
along with me, I'm starting in the middle.
As you can see HEALTH is right in the middle radiating out to every other aspect of life. Every time I make time for an early workout, a dance-off or a stretch session, my life improves. Seriously.
So, for 2009, I rate my health at a "7" (bit of a dip from last year) and as we head into 2010 I am adding a 5th day to my fitness schedule. Instead of just 4 days a week, I'll be "at it" 5 days a week and I'll be looking for ways to make it a lot more fun. For me this means more variety, more fun and more ways to integrate fitness naturally into my daily life. More bike rides, more walking -- less car.
My Master's Degreed Nutritionist sister says health is 25% genetic and 75% choice. Yowsa!
What I've noticed as I've done my own informal studying of health and fitness over the last 10 years is there is no replacement for
a healthy diet and regular exercise. None. Every article and book I read
comes down to the healthy eating and regular exercise factor. Want your best bet at preventing cancer? Eat healthy & Exercise. Want to lose weight? Eat healthy & Exercise. Want to feel better? Eat healthy & Exercise. Everything. I got it, I got it...
There is no replacement for continual learning about fitness and health, learning what works for you and then implementing. If you've never consulted with a professional in nutrition and diet, I highly recommend that. My four sessions 6 years ago made a major impact in my health knowledge. Here I share my favorite free resources with you:
My first stop for free health and fitness information?
My friend and lifestyle / health expert Laura Lewis has gathered dozens of articles to lead the way: http://www.lauralewis.com/articles.htm
Favorite fun workouts for me?
S Factor The Che Way and Trapeze
Consistently Great? Discovery Channel's FitTV - -- Every possible form of fitness you can imagine. High quality, high fun. You can try a different teacher every day. Their website includes assessment tools, recipes...so many tools to make you strong and knowledgeable.
Where to keep track of it all? http://www.mypyramidtracker.gov/
Easy, free way to track what you're eating and how you are doing on your exercise and fitness.
Wishing you a healthy 2010. See you soon with 2010 Preparation #3.
Earlier this year I shot a funny scene with British comedian
Marc Wootton for a television series. At the time they weren't releasing any information about it, all "hush-hush" and now the details are revealed. The series is titled "LA LA Land" and premieres on Showtime on January 25. Promos have started to air. You can read more about the series here: http://bit.ly/6SaBZO And see a few photos of Marc from the set here: http://bit.ly/5oKaj0
Directed by Misha Manson Smith, I play another "tough lady behind the counter" this time as an immigration officer checking his passport at point of entry to the United States. She was fun to play. I would call her jaded and working in a stupor of dullness.
Must have done a convincing job because Marc took my facial expressions seriously and asked if was annoyed because a Brit was coming to America taking American jobs. Ha, ha... Not in the least! We are a generous and abundant country. I adore British humor and the British perspective. I even flew all the way to London for one of my film classes a few years ago so that I could have that additional perspective in my experience.
If you find the promo online, Tweet me a link, ok? Thanks!
End of the year for actors is like end of the year for many people. Review goals, appreciate friends, appreciate clients you have worked with, appreciate colleagues and the time they have given to you this year, address holiday cards, New Year cards, attend parties, plan parties, clean off that desk (!) etc.
Essentially, organize and prepare for the new year.
In addition to my theatrical training, I have three years of study of the ancient art and science of Feng Shui in my education and repertoire. I like to organize my desires and dreams for the new year using the ancient principles and guidance that Feng Shui provides.
I'll share my process with you this year.
First and foremost, whenever possible, I set intentions for the new year right around the Winter Solstice. (This year it's December 21) If you think about how nature helps you along with the process it becomes much easier. When the days are shorter and the nights are longer, it's a very natural time to stay close to your soul and listen to what it has to tell you this year. I always set aside time to review the Nine Aspects of my life and give some thought and reflect on how each aspect is coming along and what are the new desires, what more do I have to share with the world and how to actually make it all a reality.
As the days get longer and more light enters our worlds, it is a natural time to let more of your own personal light shine. ;-)) Stay tuned. If you want, you can participate in the process with me and prepare for your new year. For this first step, just consider if you want to walk along with me through the process, decide and then I'll see you back here tomorrow. ;-)) Peace to you my friends.
Saw the film"An Education" last night. I think I must be last in my group of friends who saw it. Exquisite production. Really brilliant directing. And to think the story came not from a novel, but a memoir article by journalist Lynne Barber recounting her own tale of a being a teen seduced by a playboy more than twice her age. A perfectly told story.
Danish director Lone Sherfig is responsible for remarkable emotional subtleties that we so rarely get to see anymore. You can feel the depth of attention that went into every little detail. So she's on my list of people to work with. There may have been a bit of a "fudge" on the dates for the Hepburn hair-do, but really, the film is so great, it's forgiveable.
Spoiler alert: I have to admit I was slightly worried as the film progressed. Darling, beautiful girl is drawn into romance with older man and she forgoes her education and independence. I was worried it would work out for her and she would have a "perfect" life without having finished high school and having given up college. I worried that what would follow would be thousands of young women looking for an unsuitable mate instead of educating themselves. I need not have worried. The moral of the story is still believe in your talents, your gifts, educate yourself, and for heaven's sake, don't believe everything a man tells you.
The "take away" for the evening for me? Director Lone Sherfig says that working with Alfred Molina is like getting to work with all 3 tenors at once. Whoa. That's quite a statement.
"The Big Show" (Young Storytellers Found.) at New Roads Elementary School was a big success. Amazing stories by great kids.
Read a couple of the titles:
Math Berries - about a girl who can do math better when she eats strawberries -- so cute.
The Almost True Story of Chillli Joe & The Shark People - a story of how ocean pollution creates Shark People. You can guess the moral of that story.
Yes, I got to be one of the Shark People.
They haven't posted pictures yet, so will post as soon as they post. Peace.
I'll be performing today in another "Big Show" for The Young Storyteller's Foundation mentees at New Roads Elementary School. The actors show up, are cast in scripts written by the children and perform on the spot. It's hilarious, touching, amazing and uber "in the moment" creative. The children's stories have been written over a 6 week period of time under the guidance of a mentor provided by The Young Storyteller's Foundation. You can't believe some of the stories these kids come up with. The stories tend to be (1) wildly imaginative/fantasy stories or (2) somewhat influenced by real events/people in their lives combined with handy magical powers. I love them. Watch for pictures tomorrow here and on Facebook fan page. ;-))
Melinda Augustina is an actress and producer. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and his wine collection. If you'd like more musings from her universe, you can follow her on Twitter as @PowerHungryFilm
or become a fan on her Facebook Fan Page