My cousins are Buddhist, a philosophy I find very attractive, but then I love things about lots of faiths. They are some of the most compassionate, accepting women I've ever met, and I feel so lucky to have them in my actual family! During various rough patches in my life, A. has often exhorted me to "keep my life condition high," which is a phrase I had never used, but have come to feel that it probably means something like: Keep your chin up, focus on the positive, keep working for what is good.
I was getting pretty down on myself here recently over a couple of passages in my upcoming show that I was having some trouble singing the way I wanted to sing them. It was a rough ten days, with way too much packed into them, and very little time to rest. Lo and behold, give a girl a day off (and by that I actually mean just an evening off) and she can suddenly sing everything nearly as fabulously as she had hoped. In other words, a lot of the times that we hate ourselves and think we suck, it's probably just because we're tired and our voices are tired. Take an evening off, think about something else, rest your voice (that means no phone talking too, I've discovered), and suddenly, the world looks like a better place.
There is a lot of chaotic energy swirling this time of year, if you are anywhere near academia, and rightly so. But it can be really hard to keep your life condition high when you're just basically dodging bullets all day long.
That's when I try to take a few seconds (if only I had the presence of mind to do this ALL the time) and just remind myself that I do not have to absorb the energy of others. I can float along in my own bubble of energy and relate and understand, but not absorb. Maybe this is one of the reasons that taking trips can be stressful, if you are on a bus or a train or a plane. There is so much energy, coming at you, and your consciousness just doesn't know how to react, so you spend a lot of mental energy self-soothing, which tires you out, and causes you to eat cheeseburgers and fries (or maybe that's just me). I think that is what happens to me on audition trips to NYC. But tomorrow, when I go again, I will be trying to practice my non-absorption skills.