i had a rough night. First I couldn’t fall asleep and when I did it was fitful, I woke about every two hours. I put in my earbuds and listened to a few guided meditations but I was too distracted, my mind was racing. I counted breaths but kept forgetting where I was.
I read the news—things are starting to get real—New York and LA are closing all clubs, bars, theaters, restaurants except for take out and delivery.
Sometime around 1am, one of my best friends out in LA and I got texting—she’s having a hard time, there’s no food at the market around the corner from her. It’s messing with her food issues. It’s really important to get the food we need, especially if you’re sensitive to food and eating, as I am. Anyway, this person is incredible, she’d a doer, a strong, focused, accomplished and successful person. The irony is that I think this time of being asked to stay in and do less is going to be hard for people like her.
Another friend wrote to say she’s having trouble keeping track of time. When our days become unmoored, the numbers start to get all floaty. And then we start to get all floaty, too. We drift around the house wondering what we were just going to do. We’re a legion of Mary Tyrones, each in our private production of Long Days Journey Into Night.
I encourage people to start a project, decide to make something and commit to working on it everyday. A garden, a collage, a letter to a friend, a painting, that book you’ve been wanting to write.
Another friend, someone I met through the theater and who took my writing workshop a couple of years ago, was sharing on facebook that he felt his book, which he’s been working on for years and has become his life’s work, will cease to have meaning now that we’re in this new age. What does it matter, one book, when the world is on the brink of collapse?
It’s ironic: in times like these, the thing humans hunger for most is the work of artists—books, movies, plays, poetry, dance, etc—all of the ways we express what it is to be alive, the experiences of our days and years. We want to see our experience outside of ourselves and art does that for us. And yet, at times like these, we often feel incapable of saying anything of value, we feel too insignificant when facing the magnitude of a moment such as this, too small to express anything worthwhile. And yet, we do—and you will—and we must create. We make a record of the times in which we live, in whatever ways we can. You aren’t just writing some dumb book, you’re contributing to the history of our times. You’re not just making a collage, you’re ordering a minute part of the universe. You aren’t just making dinner, you’re focusing your attention and energy on a creative act, which always strengthens us. Both the act and the outcome matter.
For building large structures, it is recommended that one necessary to begin with a deep foundation. A shallow foundation will not sustain us—and so we must bore down into the ground.
I see each of us, all of you, as a person boring down into the ground, with each project, each garden, each meal, each book written, each intentional act of creation, we are building a foundation.
The largest wind farms in the world are in the north sea. They are built on massive pilings that bore 25-45 meters into the ocean floor. The raging winds of the North Sea lash and whip but the structures stay firm.
Another definition of the word foundation is: that on which anything stands and by which it is supported or confirmed.
For the last six months or so The Secret City was struggling. The way we had been built was not sound. We were having to restructure and change the ways we had operated. It was a difficult time…I felt the wind had left my sails, if I may mix my metaphors…
These daily meetings are giving my life structure, they are grounding my days in making something to share, having something to say and showing up to be here with all of you.
Here’s something I have a hard time believing but I like to think is true—let’s just say it’s aspirational for me: it doesn’t matter what you’ve done, it doesn’t matter what you did yesterday or this morning, if you feel you’ve wasted time or taking the wrong path…it doesn’t matter if you feel your whole life is built on a foundation of lies and illusion—ha! Not to say I have ever felt any of those things—what matters is the present moment, and starting. Start over. Start now. Make something new. Begin the foundation of a new structure, start digging, deep into the earth. It will hold you when the winds come.