Sunday, December 27, 2009

Time is On My Side

“Suppose time is a circle, bending back on itself. The world repeats itself precisely, endlessly. ... In the world in which time is a circle, every handshake, every kiss, every birth, every word, will be repeated precisely. ... And just as all things will be repeated in the future, all things now happening happened a million times before. ...”

    This is a theory presented by Alan Lightman in his book Einstein’s Dreams. I have yet to read it from cover to cover, but I am certainly tempted (note to self: New Year’s Resolution - read more books). As each new year passes it just becomes more and more evident that, if you don’t consciously make some changes, life does repeat itself.

    This became utterly clear to me when an agent called with an offer to send me to an audition in Coburg. Déjà vu! The job being offered is basically the one left vacant by me almost two years ago. I had a similar offer to audition in another small town at another small theater for roles too small for my growing voice and maturing stagecraft. Sure, I could do it - I could do it blindfolded and bound. But what’s in it for me? Should I live my life in a circle, moving to some small town every 2-4 years to do more or less the same work, and only advance myself to a certain level and never further? Should I be a cog in the wheel (ha ha, get it? wheel? circle? Oh, I’m good) of the operatic machine? 

    Lightman goes on to write, “In the world in which time is a circle, every handshake, every kiss, every birth, every word, will be repeated precisely. So too every moment that two friends stop becoming friends, every time that a family is broken because of money, every vicious remark in an argument between spouses, every opportunity denied because of a superior’s jealousy, every promise not kept.”

    Not every cycle has to be vicious. Take the many circles of a kaleidoscope, for example, reflecting on themselves and revealing only the beauty, no matter how muddled the situation may be. Indeed, some aspects of history repeating itself are appealing. When I manage to make it back to Flagstaff and meet up with old choir cronies, we seem to pick up where we left off. When I up and moved to a new town with no particular plan and even foggier prospects, I wasn’t afraid because I’d done it all before. Around and around like a pleasant ferris wheel ride.

    I’ve already caught myself reliving, recycling and reusing old negative patterns, too, having the same arguments over and over again to no avail, so I am especially proud of myself for saying no to those two auditions - no thanks, that is - making room for positive progress and challenging projects like Rigoletto and Miss Donnithorne’s Maggot.

    I’ve just moved into a new apartment, hoping to make it more or less my permanent home, or “home base,” like I’ve always dreamed of having. Flipping my perspective around, I plan to do everything possible to stay in this beautiful yet quirky Altbau dwelling, building my career around my life instead of trying fit my life into a career, making a Möbius strip out of my previous life cycle. The fact that this is all coming to fruition near New Year’s Day is just the sign I needed to feel that I’m headed in the right direction. I even flattened and recycled all my moving boxes, just to give the Universe the firm impression that I don’t plan on moving anytime soon.

    In the words of our 21st century Einstein, Apple Inc. CEO Steve Jobs, “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

    Am I worried about relying on my own intuition - the very same intuition which has let me chase my own tail for all these years? Yes. Won’t I have difficulties finding a job if I turn offers down? That’s debatable. But in the words of the Rolling (get it? rolling? wheel? circle?? This is fun!) Stones:
    “‘Cause I got the real love, the kind that you need. You’ll come running back to me. Time is on my side.”

Thanks for tuning in to the Grahamophone. Happy New Year!

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