Truth, Changing Tides and Reading the Signs

legba1

The picture I’ve included above is a Haitian veve. It is drawn on the ground in Haitian vodou ceremonies to call each deity. This one is Papa Legba. I’ve loved and been drawn to these beautiful veves since I began writing The Repass for reasons I don’t know. They are an integral part of the story and a cornerstone of Haitian vodou culture, but lately they have come to mean more to me, a symbol of my journey and a sign of what is to come.

Many years ago, I used to live in a beautiful apartment below LA’s Miracle Mile area. It was a charming Spanish building with a courtyard, a garage and a parking space. It had lovely french windows, 2 entrances, stone tile and wood floors. When I was working full time, I could pay the rent-if not easily, at least with the comfort of knowing there was always another paycheck around the corner. But when I left my full-time job to pursue The Repass full-time, weird things started happening. An ant infestation began one summer out of the blue when in previous summers everything was great. I started developing a hives reaction to something in the apartment which I couldn’t find. I couldn’t wear a bunch of my clothes because something in them made me itch atrociously so I started throwing them away after washing them an infinite number of times. Then I started discovering strange spider-like bites on my body. And I couldn’t pay my rent so I struggled for several months before finally throwing the towel in and moving to a more affordable place.

I had forgotten about this time until I went to see my friend who had decided to move back to New York City. It was a sudden move but when I saw her, she told me some similarly challenging stories. She also loved her apartment and loved LA, but certain annoyances had started appearing and staying was just becoming too hard.  But she told that she knew it was time to go and she was prepared to do it even though she was going to leave behind friends and family she dearly cared about, even though she didn’t actually have the money to move. And even though she had no place to go. But it all worked out for her, as it had worked out for me. What this taught me is that the universe speaks to us all the time, urging us, pushing us, leaving us little signs along the way of where our next journey should take us. All we have to do is listen.

What this taught me is that the universe speaks to us all the time, urging us, pushing us, leaving us little signs along the way of where our next journey should take us.

This is a time when again I feel that the signs are reappearing and I hope I am getting better at seeing them and listening to what they have to say. Artists I believe are more susceptible to this sight, and people who are spiritual. However most of us are drones going through our day to day monotony. The monotony can lead us to blindness and the blindness is how we lose ourselves and lose the ability to become the person we are truly meant to be.

Ayizan

So why are we blind? We are blind for many different reasons. We can become blind because we only want to see one thing and don’t allow ourselves to see anything else. Other times we are blind because we don’t want to believe that we are a part of a living, breathing planet and we are all connected—we don’t accept that a happening is not arbitrary and is always related to everything else. Then sometimes we are blind because we are afraid to accept the truth that is before us. Sometimes we don’t want to see the things that are just too painful to accept. Yet in any endeavor, this is a part of life. Choosing to be blind or choosing to see. We are free to make our choices, but sometimes we can make our choices harder than they need to be.

We are free to make our choices, but sometimes we can make our choices harder than they need to be.

We are months away from the time I want to be in production. It is nearing and I am starting to feel new things happening around me. The air feels different. My actions and insights are uncommon. I sense that even I am different. I wonder if I am consciously and unconsciously preparing for a new era in my life because of these things that are happening around me.

ogoun

The first thing that I am noticing is my yearning to lead as a director. I have been producing so much that directing has seemed so far away. And yet there is still more producing to do, more meetings to set up, more funding to be acquired, more marketing pieces to be primed. There is more, more, more. Yet I am finding myself drawn more to the directing aspects… and not only talking about them but doing them. Working on my look book or the script or the shots and storyboards with a feverish propensity. I honestly cannot explain it, I can only see that it’s what I am being pushed or led to do. It is the path that the universe is laying out for me right now and I am excited to traverse it even though I don’t yet have a signed contract to say I’ll be directing within the next few months. But something greater than me is telling me I will in a very small and simple way. This is the moment when we have to concede to not understanding and embrace intuition and other worldly things. When our path is presented we have to allow ourselves to take it—whether it makes practical sense, whether we seem capable or strong enough, whether its right or wrong really. It’s the path we need to go through to grow. And if we skip it one time, guess what—it just comes back again.

 When our path is presented we have to allow ourselves to take it.

BaronSamedi

The second thing is that I’m starting to recognize the people who are dead weights in my life and in the film. You know these people—they say they are going to do stuff to help and they do a lot of busy work, they make a lot of excuses or they talk about a lot of obstacles, but they are not really doing anything. These people weigh you down either intentionally or unintentionally. They weigh you down with their own madness or laziness or fears and you find yourself carrying them without even realizing it. My waking moment was discovering this frustration that I have experienced many other times of my life but I’m not really able to figure out why I feel this way—then it hits me. Nothing is happening and it is because the people who said they were going to do things (and sometimes this person does happen to me) have done nothing. The frustration I feel is about not moving forward when all the systems are screaming go. When this happens, you have to quickly or slowly, however you need to do it, remove these people from your life. That can be a very difficult thing especially when you can’t articulate why but somehow know it needs to be done. But just know, you won’t get anywhere until you start doing this because you don’t remove the dead weight, there’s no room from the new growth in ideas, relationships, opportunities to grow.

You know these people—they say they are going to do stuff to help and they do a lot of busy work, they make a lot of excuses or they talk about a lot of obstacles, but they are not really doing anything.

Erzulie Dantor

The third thing is that I am hearing my body talking to me. Your body is the best truth teller about what is happening in your life. I’m starting to realize how certain people make me feel and how certain activities make me feel. When do I feel energized, when do I feel valued, when do I feel put upon, when do I feel like I don’t really belong. These things are happening all the time in incremental ways but we don’t always give them credit. People who are not your friends will tell you its all in your head. Your real friends will listen to you. When you become sensitive and thoughtful enough to recognize this, you become very powerful. You are self aware and self awareness makes possible real change and growth. In one way, this last item seems easy right—shouldn’t we all know our bodies? But it’s really not that easy if that burning sensation in your stomach has followed you your entire life. It feels a part of you. But it’s when you can notice the times when there’s no burning that you start to comprehend that the burning is associated with people or things or places; it’s not natural and it’s not normal. Then you have to make the step to change.

Your body is the best truth teller about what is happening in your life. 

The fourth thing is that a lot of old comforts are presenting themselves. This is where things get interesting. When you are on a threshold of something magnificent and new, all of a sudden old comforts appear. Things that you can do and do well but are not your true calling. They may be old boyfriends, old jobs, old places to live, old traditions. This is your test. Your true calling tests you to see if you’re worth it by bringing all these old things that you used to do and do well. You have lived with these old comforts and you have succeeded with them. They are safe. I also have a suspicion that these people and places have the feeling too that you are about to explode into a new era and they foresee that you may leave and they want you to stay for their own reasons. This is very tempting and seductive. Every artist and creative deals with this moment. To be real, to be true without a net is terrifying. Walking that tightrope, risking everything without the comfort of a net. It’s the last bridge you have to cross. It’s usually the hardest part and I feel that is here for me now. I am asking myself about this commitment everyday. Am I ready? Because great achievement only comes with great risk. That risk can turn into faith and faith is one of the most powerful energies in the world, perhaps only second to love. With faith you can do anything. But it can’t faked or you will fall; it has to be real.

When you are on a threshold of something magnificent and new, all of sudden old comforts appear.

Damballah

In writing The Repass I have always been drawn to Damballah–that is the heroine’s met tet. But after I took one of these silly Facebook tests, I was told that my deity is likely Elegua or in vodou Legba. I have come to learn that Papa Legba means many things–Papa Legba is the gatekeeper to the spirit world, remover of obstacles, and provider of opportunities. These things I am describing in my life are all about removing obstacles, moving through that gate, embracing my spirits and opportunity. Perhaps it was not only coincidence. Perhaps this is another sign I needed to witness and bring into my stable of spiritual weapons. And perhaps there is no real perhaps, and this is where I am exactly supposed to be.

This is the precipice that I am currently at and it is a strangely electrifying place to be. It’s funny because I keep thinking that I am at precipice and then here comes another one! It’s because I am getting closer and I am thrilled to be exactly where I am supposed to be.

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