Monday, February 16, 2015


Over the last month, I've been dealing with a lot of things, speaking to a lot of people, writing a lot, reading a lot and restarting my search for balance.


I keep being told things like, "As always, slow down" or "chill out". "This is your life; it's a marathon, not a sprint to the finish."At first, I was getting rather frustrated with this advice, I felt like everyone was asking me to squelch my drive, to become less ambitious. Turns out, it was just the opposite.

A mentor of mine used this metaphor with me the other night, "You're like a Lamborghini, who's stuck in traffic, in a 30 zone. You're a well oiled, well made machine; ready to take off, but there's no clear passage for you. Rev all you want, until the road's clear, you simply have to be patient and go at the pace being dictated by the surrounding vehicles." It's a frustrating idea to accept, but he's right; There's absolutely nothing I can do, but develop my capacity for patience. Then, when an opening appears, I can show what I was built for.

This idea of "chilling out", or "relaxing into where I am, right now" doesn't mean sleep all day and become unmotivated. It means, for me, to stop muscling through my life and be present. It's like working out, if all I do is lift weights, never dedicating any time to flexibility or stamina, I might be able to lift a few heavy things but I will have no sustainability.

In my "muscling it" mind-frame, I've been trying to get involved with as much as possible in an attempt to find a community, to keep busy, to prove that I'm not simply resting on my "laurels" (NTS, Olympus). All this is doing is making me look like a frustrated gardener running around planting seeds. Instead of taking the time to water, nurture and watch each of them grow, I keep planting more and more and more for fear of losing the farm; never giving any of them the time they deserve.

This is the reason I never played FarmVille.

I'm aware that my impatience comes out of fear; of falling to the waste side, of losing touch with people who inspire me, of being a flash in a pan and a whole list of other things. The only way to deal with these fears is to nullify their effect, by having patience with myself. Working at my own pace, rather than the pace I think I need to be at, or what the manual says.


I'm reaching a point of independence I've never experienced before. Although I've been living on my own for six years, I've always had deadlines, graduations; end dates. And it's only been in the last few weeks that I've really started to accept that this is my life. There are no more people looking over my shoulder, holding me accountable for my actions. There are no more assignments, or projects that have to be completed within a certain time limit, there is simply my desires and how I deal with the results of those desires.

I have to become my own life coach. It's really easy to motivate someone else, but how do I do that for myself?  Hold myself accountable. I think the answer for me, right now, is: experiencing. I've been muscling for so long that I've skipped past, potentially, incredible experiences. Now that I'm in this wide open pasture, (not to be confused with the Lamborghini metaphor), I'm free to act and do anything I want, it's through this trial and error that I'll discover what I don't like. Once I eliminate those things, it will be easier to focus on the positive.

I've reached a point where I'm tired of listening to people's advice, I've just heard so much of it and I really want to just lay it all out on the floor and look at it, rather than accumulate more. I want to stop trying to be the perfect student of life. I want to mess up and make mistakes, live and learn, because that's what will make me better. If I continue to move through life monitoring every single situation and dwelling on how I could have done it better, personally or artistically, then I'll burn myself out. I want to receive pleasure from living, not just have a perfect score card at the end of my life.

As time goes on, I realize that no one actually has it all figured out, they've simply spent more time with these thoughts and, potentially, have a clearer idea what it means for them.


I felt a lot of this during the summer. At the time, my life felt like a dream and so being grateful for even the smallest thing, was easy. Being back in Toronto, going on 4 months with nothing prospective on the horizon, except debt, I find myself sinking into bouts of negativity and angst. These negative feelings only build into my feeling of want, rather than focusing on what I have, which is a lot. It doesn't matter how many goals I set and accomplish, how many projects, or groups, I get involved in, if I can't step back and see what I've done then I'll inevitably become jaded and pessimistic because nothing is filling "the void".

Comparison truly is the thief of joy. And gratitude is the antidote to misery.

Noticing how entitled and privileged I'd started to become, I've begun volunteering at a hospice, performing respite care, as a way to give back and be of service to humanity, to re-develop compassion and remind me of my blessings.

During a training session recently, a woman spoke about how her and her husband dealt with him being diagnosed with ALS. He was once a handsome, young, fit landscaper and one day, while he was lifting wights he suddenly lost his strength, dropping the weight. Over the next few months he started to become completely immobile. Here was this man, who, at one time, a successful landscaper, lifting weights regularly, and the picture of health, diagnosed with this life altering disease, losing his mobility entirely. Yet, despite all this, he maintained a smile, completed his masters degree in Horticulture, raised two kids and was extremely upbeat and positive until the day he passed away.

Listening to their story, watching the video they made, showing how much assistance he needed daily, humbled and reminded me of how petty my issues really are. Honestly, if the biggest problems in my life are getting a joe job, and developing some patience, then I'm doing alright. Watching this man, the love he and his wife had for one another, inspired me. Although he needed constant assistance, he found ways of maintaining his independence and continuing to live the fullest life he could; it was remarkable.

It made me think about how limitations are only what we make them. There are certain things we inevitably have no control over, but that doesn't mean we can't find a way around them, or at the very least, occupy ourselves until the traffic breaks up.

Slow and steady wins the race.

Like the age old story of the Tortoise and the Hare, I have to take my time, enjoy what's around me, and be grateful for simply being part of the race. Only when I find my rhythm, discover how to capitalize on my strengths and FREAKIN' have fun, will I come out on top. I've tried so hard to make things stay on a certain level; how it felt in the best of times. When realistically, everyday my energy is sitting in a new place, I have to assess how I feel that day, that moment, and be the best I can be.

While I continue to contemplate balance, here is photo of me in a chicken suit.


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Johan said...

You never plaeyd FarmVille? For shame!

I too get upset with myself when I see real pain in the world and feel ashamed that I complain on having shitty work that pays little. There are alot of people who have it far worse then me.

I hope you will find your dream roles and reach all of your goals!

wayneburns said...

Thanks so much :) We are very lucky here in the western world. Sometimes we just need to be reminded.


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