25 February 2008

Inseparable


It has been my intention on this here 'blog to keep the details of my personal life out of it. I go back and forth on this policy, largely due to my feeling that my personal life unavoidably affects my artistic life. Should I be content to tell a partial story? Invariably, however, I return to my policy. Many people love 'blogs for the ultra-personal peek they afford into a given person's inner life. I've got nothing against that, in general. As an actor, however, I'm spending a lot of my time making very specific choices about what of me I'm showing. In my little world, there's something vaguely pornographic about indiscriminately baring everything about myself and my life for the world at large, not to mention recorded human history. Perhaps it's hypocritical of me. After all, actors who are really "in the moment" probably don't really have all that much conscious choice about what they're revealing of themselves. Nevertheless, I choose to make the distinction where I can.

This particular entry is a choice as well, and I choose it as an exception that proves the rule; hypocrisy be damned. In acting, we are taught to choose our moments as well as what we do with them. One tries to earn a dramatic pause through the pace and emotional incidents of moments leading up to it. One often tries to balance a bombastic or tyrannical character with the occasional moment of quiet expression, or vulnerability. I'm going to try to express something very personal, very significant to me, and just hope that a year's worth of holding to my own rule has earned me that luxury.

The only trouble is, someone beat me to the punch and expressed it, in my opinion, much better than I ever could.

When I first discovered Taoism, and was most ravenous for information about it, I was especially drawn to the concept of each person's life having a "way," a given direction one could sense. This resolved a lot of mixed feelings I had about concepts such as fate and destiny, which seemed too fixed and divinely bequeathed to me. Taoism seemed to be saying that yes, there was a path that was most right for one's life, but no omniscient force or forces were forcing the individual down that path. When you feel balanced, when less wasted force and effort is required, you are closer to your way. When it's otherwise, you're straying. Maybe you're careening into the jaws of misery or, more likely, you're doing a little exploring. (The Taoists are great about the value of mistakes and youthful error.) I step on and off my path for different periods of time, and I'll tell you this for nothing: It is a whole lot easier to feel when I've stepped back on to the path than when I've taken a step off of it.

Personally, I don't think one's way should ever serve as an excuse. ("I had to kill them hobos. It was part of my Way.") We just aren't aware enough of its nature moment-to-moment to load it with blame. Besides, how can we ever know whether we've left the path or been thrown off it, just to teach us a lesson? Just occasionally, however, I believe the path deserves some acclaim.

Last week I asked a woman I love if she'd let me spend the rest of my life with her, and she told me yes. (I have to take her at her word.) All the experiences leading up to my proposal, and the moment of proposing itself, showed me what all those infuriating married people meant when they would answer me, over and over again, "You just know." It's true, and there's not much else to say to describe it. I've had literally years of experience feeling, "Yes, now, this must be it. Right? Right?" That asking was always there, though, at the end. And now somehow, certainty -- of the for-better-or-worse variety -- lit on my heart and shot electrified emails to my body and mind. Surprisingly enough, that sense of certainty grew even stronger when I actually bent my knee(s).

What else can I say? I'm on my Way.

2 comments:

Patrick said...

I'm glad you shared this one, Pal, and I didn't say it 'better' I just told my side of things.

Stepping back on the Way is more noticeable than off, isn't it! I'd never thought of that before... glad you're there again, and know it.

Jeff Wills said...

Yeah, isn't that funny? It's enough to make one paranoid. (Well, it's enough to make one like ME paranoid.) Then again, I suppose the answer to walking the right path for you is making sure you always feel as though you're honing in on it, more and more.