Fearless Compassion?

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Is that what I said my New Year’s Resolution would be … or my “motto”?  Well, spank my ass and call me a loser, because I have been failing miserably.  Fearless?  Hardly.  Lot’s of fear this year and I’m not just writing that because it rhymes.  Fear of where I am at, where I am going, where I’ve been and “what the fuck am I doing,” seems at times to overtake my mind.  There is a swirling vortex of doubt where my brain should be and it seems to grow louder the more I listen to it.

“It seems to grow louder”?!?  Of course it gets louder when I listen to it – the attention drives it, feeds it, helping it get stronger, until it threatens to overtake.  Everything.

Over-dramatize much?

The beauty of all this is that I know this is what I do, it’s one of the reasons I started learning about Buddhism.  To notice the thought, to recognize the fear, and to give it no more attention than that.  And yet here I am, complaining about the very battle I chose to engage in.  If one decides to climb over over a wall rather than go around it, blast through it or merely stay behind it, does it make sense to complain about the climb’s difficulty?  Shall I insult the wall for being there?  For being solid?  For daring to be in my way?  If so, I might as well cast aspersions upon the sun for exposing the wall, malign the Earth for giving it ground or defame gravity for preventing my flight.

It’s unprofitable in the very least and yet it’s a practice I fall into so much so as to earn the title of “habit.”  I find a sort of comfort in the discomfort of fear and doubt.  I wrap them around me like a blight binky, a doubt duvet, an uncomfortable comforter.

[I had a blankey as a child; it was soft and blue and reassuring and perfect.  To the extent I identified myself with anything, I identified myself with it.  It was something I had before I knew what it was to have – there are photos of me as an infant wrapped with that same blankey.  I can’t recall what percentage of cotton or rayon it was composed of, but there was a regal silken fringe that began to fray and separate from the rest with time, as if it’s coming apart was commensurate with my growing up and away from it.  I don’t know where it ended up, I think it may have become part of the whelping box we created for Channel, our shaggy, sweet and loyal Briard when she gave birth to her litter of 13.  I’d like to think that’s where it went, I know that my other childhood touchstone – my Winnie The Pooh (prounounced “Winnie -a – Pooh”) – became the constant, comforting companion to her beau (appropriately named Beau); while the Mrs. was down in the basement getting on with the doggie birthing making him a proud papa.]

Why do I do it, do I revel in this discomfort?   I’d like to think this fear festival is more a cerebral self defense mechanism than any personal desire I have to revel in victim-hood (or as my sister is wont to say: “throwing a poor, pitiful, Pearl, party”).  Though I can’t say that the victim card is not in my deck.  But this self defense mechanism idea is one I’d like to run with … my brain’s self defense mechanism.  The way I see it, if I am working to train my mind to be present and engage in “right thinking” – my nagging, doubting, and untamed mind will take any opportunity to break through the defenses and come back stronger.  When I stop my meditation practice (yes, yes, I know how “hippy” and “eye-roll inducing” that may sound), when I stop noticing and seeing and start judging and worrying, the vortex comes back, strong.  I think that makes sense, doesn’t it?  Of course I am now questioning the logic of my own thought processes and opining on what I think about the answers I am coming up with for those questions … creating, it would seem, another swirling vortex of thoughts in an already overcrowded cranium.  With all these thought tornadoes one would think there was a trailer park in my brain.

So what is there to do?  I could continue to analyze, to criticize to even sympathize with myself in this struggle.  But that won’t help.  What I must do is be compassionate enough with myself – notice the struggle, move on and know that I can be as free from it as I choose to be.  I can also bitch about it in writing a blog that no-one will read.  But why would I want to do that?

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11 thoughts on “Fearless Compassion?

    • Hector

      Nah, wasn’t me…my bank account wishes it was though.
      Things are good. Back in Los Angeles. I’ve seen that you’re in NYC. You doing any other writing…stand-up? That sort of thing?

      • Hey Hector … that guy in the spot is clearly your doppelganger.
        Haven’t done stand up in a while, but considering it – just starting to get back into the writing, we will see where that takes me. Why don’t you come out to NY and we can put up a production of CHOICE WORDS

  1. Toddy Randolph

    “failing miserably” no, no, no, not so… fearless compassion (i think) doesn’t mean we’re not supposed to feel the fear – it means we don’t allow the fear we feel to stop us from acting out of our compassion – it’s action that determines what becomes manifest – feelings are part of our sensory apparatus, but not necessarily markers of reality – you are succeeding brilliantly my friend.

  2. Leia Espericueta

    Great read, great thoughts. I connect with this post on so many levels, for obvious reasons, as you know I’m an actor too. So much doubt has filled my head these last few months and I have so much bad energy and negativity towards what I’m doing with my life these days. If you would have told me a decade ago that I would be in my situation, I wouldn’t have believed you. I can say without a doubt that I thought every single aspect of my life would have been different than what it is now. But if NOW is not the time to follow your dreams, then when?

    That’s cool that you’re looking into Buddhism. What keeps me afloat is my amazing family, my broom frate Lili, her 9-month-old son, and God. When talking with my father about the struggles I’ve been having with both my profession and personal life, who is by far the wisest person I know, he said, “God never promised us a rose garden; He said He’d be with us and never leave us.” I take comfort in that. Solace. An ease comes over me thinking He’s with me every step of the way, that I’m not alone. Non-Christian’s call this a crutch. And I’m okay with that. I’m crippled without Him. I’ll be the first to admit it.

    On another note, with this play I’m auditioning for at Steppenwolf tomorrow, there’s this wonderful reveal of this guy who’s been keeping a list of blessings in his life. By the time we meet him, he’s up to nearly eight thousand and some odd blessings that he jots down throughout his day when he thinks of something. The woman (who I’m auditioning for) asks him what drove him to keep such a list. And he said when he was twelve, he got a fortune cookie that said to “count your blessings” and he’d been counting them ever since. Ha. I melted. So there in that little notebook, we find out, are all the things he’s been thankful for since before he was a teenager, chronologically, as simple as #3,971 “Turkey Jerkey” and as moving as #7,906 “Ilana Andrews kissed me. Ilana Andrews kissed me. Ilana Andrews kissed me.” I’ve been dwelling on this idea. Counting my blessings. And I count you as one of them. Without hesitation.

  3. Hector

    I like the sound of that! I might just have to come do it.
    And to Leia…I don’t know you, but wanted to say your comment was moving. Hope you get that role…

    • Leia Espericueta

      Oh, thank you Hector. That’s very sweet. Audition yesterday was canceled due to extreme INSANE weather here in Chicago… but another is happening tomorrow, with an additional scene to look over. I’m perfect for the role, but about ten or fifteen years too young… so. We’ll see. Maybe I can convince them to go in a different direction. Or they could age me. Straighten my hair and remove my freckles. Haha.

      PS: I knew of a Hector once. He turned out to be a stalker where a restraining order was needed. You’re not him, are you? :o)

      • Hector

        Rats, you found me out, leia. And here I was thinking my plan of befriending Tom 8 years ago so that I’d be able to continue my stalking of you via his blog was foolproof.
        Guess I’ll have to step up my stalking skills…

  4. Leia Espericueta

    Hmmm.. 8 years ago, you say? Did you meet my dear Tom in California? Cause that’s where I’m from, and where the stalker Hector stalked me around 8 years ago… stalker Hector is the type to know that Tom and I would meet 8 years from then across the states in a little town called Lenox in Massachusetts in the summer of ’10. I’m on to your shenanigans stalker Hector. I’ve got my eye on you! 😉

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