B is for Being, Believing, and Becoming

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Epiphanies. I know, that doesn’t start with B, but it is relevant.

The dictionary definition of epiphany (according to dictionary.com) includes:

. . . a sudden, intuitive perception of or insight into the reality or essential meaning of something, usually initiated by some simple, homely,
or commonplace occurrence or experience.

Yesterday I had several simple moments of the reality of my life right now, and those epiphanies have led me to a few decisions. Or maybe it was one long epiphany brought to clarity by simple moments.

Part One

I drove alone through the flat fields, of Kansas a gray mist washing my car with the last (we hope) of the miserable weather. I’d never been to this particular town before, or even on this particular road. I knew I had a 40 minute drive, but I wouldn’t have minded longer. I sometimes like long drives in the car alone, since it gives me time to think and be completely alone.

I chose music rather than NPR, and as usual my mind focused in on songs and phrases that connected with my heart in some way.  Often I sing along. Even more often a certain phrase or song hits me where I’m feeling, encouraging me to think about something that I have been avoiding.

I don’t even know which song did it this time, but I suddenly found myself thinking out loud (in other words, talking to myself). 😀 The conversation went something like this:

“You’ve really had some cool opportunities this year. You’ve had more theater based opportunities sent your way here than in Durango.”

“Yes, I know. I should feel lucky.”

“So, what’s the problem? Why aren’t you happy?”

I couldn’t answer. I don’t know if I simply won’t allow myself to feel at home here, or if my soul truly does not feel at home here.  Perhaps I have a dream ideal of “home” and this does not match the ideal. I wish I could explain, but I cannot put it into words.

But that wasn’t the epiphany. I kept thinking about the questions, “Why aren’t you happy?”  And it hit me, I’m still stuck in the mentality that I am a failure if I don’t have a title or a full-time job with a prestigious institution.  Yes, I’m Dr. Kramer. But I’m not DR. Kramer, Associate Professor. Or Lisa Kramer, Artistic Director, or Lisa Kramer published author. In other words, my life is not what I pictured and so somehow that seems like a failure.

But that is ridiculous? Why should a title matter? Why shouldn’t I be content just being Lisa Kramer who does pretty cool things?  Why do I equate success with large-scale recognition?

Part Two

I take notes during the workshop on Drama Therapy, feeling proud that I basically know this stuff, but am also learning some new things which will   help me create some interesting programming for a group of Adults with special needs that I am meeting for the first time next week. This workshop focused mainly on Drama Therapy with Alzheimer’s patients but much of the discussion is applicable to other needs. I sat and absorbed, but also had moments of struggle, because the Alzheimer’s focus made this personal–as the realities of my Dad’s condition came forward in living color.

I look around at this room full of about 40 or so amazing people, all who work in some capacity with the elderly or adults with special needs.  I was the only one there alone. The only one there as a theater educator rather than as someone who regularly worked with this population. I could never do their job, I thought to myself, but I can help them provide creative opportunities for the people they work with. Then it hit me, the world is full of these small opportunities; of groups who are looking for connection in ways that I, Lisa Kramer of no title, can help provide.

Part Three

When I got home, after racing back to pick up Sarah and then take us both to piano lessons. I decided to catch up on WordPress. I started by replying to the kind comments on my post yesterday. Then I started reading other posts, and I couldn’t focus. It wasn’t the posts. It was me. I didn’t have the energy to give them justice and respond fully. I felt guilty. I felt conflicted. Then I read this post at Broadside where Kaitlin (who I have been following for a while) asked “Would You Rather Be Productive or Creative?” This was the response I wrote to her:

As one of the guilty bloggers who have written recently about being overwhelmed by blogging, I am realizing that I need more creative time. Post A Day has been good for me, because it has allowed me to give myself permission to write. But, I also realize that I want to write something more. I don’t know what that is yet, but I feel it coming. I technically took yesterday off from blogging, and I’ve been busy most of today. I started trying to catch up, and I find I don’t have the energy for it. I only want to read a few that catch my eye and interest me. I always find your posts interesting, and this question intrigued me. . .  I think I lean towards wanting to be creative so that I can produce something really quality, rather than being productive and continuing to produce mediocrity.

That’s when I realized that, as much as I love this community, I need to refocus a little. If I want to create a reality where I am truly happy, I need to do three things:

  • Be where I am now to the best of my ability. That doesn’t mean I have to settle, but I need to acknowledge the good things that I am doing. If we stay here longer than I hoped, then I have to continue doing good things and enjoying the journey rather than focusing on the future.
  • Believe in myself and be open to possibility. I still have dreams even if they are unclear. I have to believe that the world provides opportunities for me to follow those dreams.
  • Become what I want to be through a balance of creativity and productivity. I cannot just keep producing with no goal, or creating with no product. I need to do both.

So what does this mean? It means, dear blogging friends, that I need to get organized. I need to spend less time in the blogosphere, and more time creating and producing. It means that, while I will still follow you and interact, and will still post, I may do it a little less frequently. It means that I am going to try to start following the advice from Pet the Dog from a while back, about organizing my time better and staying focused on one task at a time.

I hope you will all understand if I am a little less active, but I promise I’m always here if you need me. I feel very close to many of you in this strange community of ours, and I’m not going to let that go.

So here’s a toast to Being, Believing and Becoming! May we all find meaning and happiness in our journeys.

31 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Taochild
    Apr 02, 2011 @ 08:38:54

    Bravo big sis (well technically little sis, but I wanted the b). Bout time! Better thinking on your part! Be what you are, not what you think you ought to be!

    Reply

  2. vixter2010
    Apr 02, 2011 @ 08:47:51

    Do what brings you happiness! Good luck and enjoy the journey 🙂

    Reply

  3. CMSmith
    Apr 02, 2011 @ 08:59:13

    Don’t worry. When you post, I get e-mails that I click on and read. It’s very simple. I won’t forget you. I’ll be reading when you write.

    Reply

    • Lisa
      Apr 02, 2011 @ 14:10:27

      Thank you. I’m going to change my subscriptions to get e-mails from some folks so that I’m not on here as often checking for people’s posts.

      Reply

  4. petthedog
    Apr 02, 2011 @ 09:15:40

    Well done! (And thanks for the pingback!) As someone pursuing a “title” in a PhD but with no plans to use it for another title (i.e. professor), I get idea of needing to drop the feeling of not having achieved much when every single day there are opportunities to better ourselves and other people.

    This post was a joy to read. Thank you and good luck!

    Reply

    • Lisa
      Apr 02, 2011 @ 14:09:38

      Shall I share with you my definitions of my degrees? I think I shall, and I worked hard for each one of these, both with the true academic meanings and my new definitions. BA =Bad Attitude, MFA=M F*!%&ing Attitude Ph.D=Piled higher and deeper. 😀 This, of course, reflects on some of the other people who have gotten the degrees, not myself. 😉

      Reply

  5. Mrs. H.
    Apr 02, 2011 @ 09:49:51

    Yep, just like CMSmith says–I’ll be reading when you write, too. 🙂 Also, I’m currently working on my feelings toward not having a specific “title” associated with my name. After my lunch with my directing professor, I realized that she really has this idea about who I will be and what I will do. What I have to negotiate now is wanting to please her but also wanting to be happy. You’re inspiring me, Lisa! It is not only OKAY to embrace a future without a specific title, but it is sometimes exactly RIGHT.

    Reply

    • Lisa
      Apr 02, 2011 @ 14:06:16

      I know you understand my feelings. The head of my committee doesn’t really talk to me anymore because I haven’t followed the path he expected me to take. I’m glad I am inspiring you, but I’m scaring myself. Well, not scared exactly . . . more confused. I truly appreciate yours and V’s support, though, as I know that you really understand where I’m at.

      Reply

  6. TheIdiotSpeaketh
    Apr 02, 2011 @ 10:47:39

    (Raises Glass) You do whatever you need to…for yourself Lisa. Your friends will still be here for you. 🙂

    Reply

  7. aarongraham
    Apr 02, 2011 @ 11:13:01

    Hey Lisa, I’m new to following you, but you have read enough of me by now to know that 9 times out of 10, my blogs and comments are jokes, witty puns, or a verbal sparing that I enjoy.

    I mean this with all sincerity, and all joking aside, I totally hear you! I rarely do this, but I called my wife over and read her your entire post because in so many ways you are describing how we both have felt for some time.

    I graduated from college filled with dreams and aspirations for the future. To date, most of those remain unfulfilled. Life becomes complicated and things crowd our time, shoving those dreams to the side to make room for other pressing demands, or those incidental time wasters that can so easily fill our day. Before we know it, weeks pass. Then years, and our long term goals and dreams remain taunting reminders of all we have failed to accomplish.

    You put me in a very pensive mood today, which is a good thing. I just may blog about this later on when I get home, or it may just be good food for thought later on.

    The point is that in either case, I’d love to dialogue with you further. This post meant a lot to me

    Thank you.

    Reply

    • Lisa
      Apr 02, 2011 @ 13:58:16

      Thanks Aaron, and I hope the conversation will continue. I hope the pensive mood leads to good things.

      Lisa

      Reply

  8. Piglet in Portugal
    Apr 02, 2011 @ 13:09:30

    Good on yer!

    Reply

  9. Lyn
    Apr 02, 2011 @ 14:28:28

    Sounds like an excellent plan. I’ll get updates when you write and look forward to reading when you’re ready. Have a wonderful time creating 🙂

    Reply

  10. Heather Henry
    Apr 02, 2011 @ 16:32:01

    Wow, Lisa!! Everything you said really hits home.
    Some really awesome insight. It’s a relief when you realize that it’s okay to be where you are and to make the absolute most of it. Enjoying the opportunities and experiences along the way, as you head toward your goal.
    I’m glad you’re here for the time being! 🙂

    Reply

  11. D...
    Apr 02, 2011 @ 16:43:57

    Lisa, I think this post touched a lot of us. So many of us have these expectations of what should be, and feel so dissatisfied when they aren’t. We miss the point that life is what it needs to be, our paths take us where are needed and even if it is not what we expected it turned out right. Title, status and roles are an illusion. In perspective it’s just society assigning us a value, one that carries weight only in this society, go to another society and the value is erased. Case in point, my friend went to Japan and within one week she told me, I have a bachelor’s degree and in this country I am illiterate. I then began to reassess my way of thinking.

    I hope your refocusing goes well. I know that I am doing some of that myself. Thanks so much for posting this.

    D 🙂

    Reply

  12. Kathryn McCullough
    Apr 02, 2011 @ 19:40:57

    Good for you, Lisa! You need to take care of yourself first–give yourself what you need. Of course, we’ll miss you when you’re away, but then when you do stop by, it will be even more special. Sometimes it’s the people we see less often that we love and appreciate the most! I support you whole-heartedly in taking care of Lisa!

    Want also to mention that before I headed back to academia in 2007, I spent a year as an artist-in-residence for an organization in Lexington called Latitude Artist Community, where i pretty much fascilitated creative opportunities for disabled adults here in Lexington. It was an amazing experience! I would imagaine there are lots of opportunites like this out there–somewhere, surely in Kansas, also. (How lovely it would have been to have you move to Lexinington!)

    Kathy

    Reply

    • Lisa
      Apr 02, 2011 @ 20:08:42

      Oh Kathy, were you sent into my life on purpose? Next Thursday I am starting a project with Class, Ltd. an organization that works with people with developmental disabilities. They’ve asked me to develop some drama programming for adults . . . starting small but potentially growing into a full-fledged production of some sort. They have grant money to provide opportunities for interaction with the community. I’m a little nervous about this because I haven’t worked with this population since high school. If you have any advice or suggestions, I would truly welcome an e-mail from you.

      Lisa

      Reply

  13. athursdayschild has a long way to go and much to be thankful for.
    Apr 02, 2011 @ 20:00:12

    Just follow your heart. As for success, I think making people and your own self feel good is success. What else is there?

    Reply

  14. nrhatch
    Apr 02, 2011 @ 23:04:33

    Good for you!

    When we listen to our hearts . . . we end up where we need to be when we need to be there.

    Reply

  15. Holly Jahangiri
    Apr 02, 2011 @ 23:19:53

    What an excellent and thought-provoking post. I think I realized, a long time ago, that the trappings of success really can be traps, and that real success in life is doing what makes YOU feel fulfilled and happy. This is the only life guaranteed to us, and it’s too short to spend it being miserable.

    Holly Jahangiri
    It’s All a Matter of Perspective
    This year, it’s personal – I’m now a “survivor.” Please give to Relay for Life.

    Reply

  16. thepetalpusher
    Apr 03, 2011 @ 16:16:12

    Thank you for Part Three post–well said. I, too, need to get some priorities straight instead of sitting on the sofa trying to respond to comments. I realize that I am spending many, many man hours a week to the Postaday. I am not painting any longer–my easel has been staring at me since August 2010 when I first came aboard. I think I shall make up a schedule.I enjoy reading your words and all my other friends, but I need a breather too. Just know that I will pop in once in a while. Geez, this Postaday would make for an interesting behavioral psych study.

    Reply

  17. Tori Nelson
    Apr 03, 2011 @ 16:23:49

    A big step in the right direction! Proud of you for doing what is best for you, Miss Thang 🙂

    Reply

  18. brownpaperbaggirl
    Apr 03, 2011 @ 19:08:33

    Here’s to being, believing, and becoming and the life long journey that it is! 🙂

    Reply

  19. gracefulglider
    Apr 04, 2011 @ 00:46:56

    Wow, Lisa. i guess we all come to that point and I wish you the very best Dr. Kramer!!!(wow) I want to do my masters in Arts and knowing that you and others like you have these opportunities, spurs me on. Thank you for the literary connection. I will definitely be waiting for your posts.

    Much Love and Light your way.
    Wanjiku.
    xx

    Reply

  20. Trackback: Would You Rather Be Productive Or Creative? (via Broadside) « Laura Barbosa's Heart of Art Blog
  21. lifeintheboomerlane
    Apr 07, 2011 @ 17:09:31

    Great insight, great vision. As my eyes came to the end of the piece and stayed focused on the words, my peripheral vision registered a vague, joyful female form with arms/wings spread wide. I looked fully at it and it was the clinking champagne glasses. But the first image remains.

    Reply

  22. Trackback: Oh What a Wacky Wild Year « Woman Wielding Words

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