Breathe

30 04 2015

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I had to travel to Milwaukee last night. I had to drop my kids off with a good friend for the night since I would be away and made sure I packed everything needed from an air mattress through Fruit Loops and my daughter’s retainer.

I dropped them off, chatted for a few minute and then headed to the airport, squeezing in every mile on I95 just fast enough to keep up with the fastest traffic to get there on time. Things seemed to be working in my favor, even avoiding traffic to the point where I could grab a quick drink to relax me before the flight.

That is, until, I realized that I packed all the kids’ stuff and neglected to pack my suitcase. That’s right – me on the last flight out with no toiletries, underwear, socks, clothes etc and a 6:40 pick up time at my hotel for an all day meeting.

Normally, this is where I would break into a cold sweat. (Make sure I tell you about being stuck in Mumbai on a Friday night in Mumbai or losing my license at the airport in Cleveland). When I arrived at the airport, parked and quickly realized I was SOL, I stook in the lot still and time stood still for a minute. I responded instead of reacted and quickly realized that I had no choice but to get on that plane.

I even went to a far away terminal to try and buy clothes but with Brooks Brothers being the only option, there was no way I was going to pay $125 for a pair of pants – just couldn’t do it.

I breathed and thought about the options. I realized that Walmart is everywhere and despite my antibodies to that store, a couple of calls identified one in WI that was open 24 hours.

Basically, I think that months of leaning into the anxiety instead of fighting it (thanks to meditation), provided me with a pre-set to manage through this little (and it was little in the grand scheme of thing) ordeal. It gave me a pretty good story to work into a possible future comedy set, too – not too bad.

So, all in all everything worked out except for the fact that I feel a little guilty about making fun of Walmart in my comedy routine – but not that bad.

Remember next time you have that “oh crap” moment – a deep breath goes a long way.

Until next time,
Marc

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My name is Marc and I’m here to make you uncomfortable

27 04 2015

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Disclaimer – this entire post may be a subconsious decision to post a picture of one of my favorite actors, Christopher Walken.

My comedy ‘career’ has really felt more real this past year than ever; not in a way that I think I have “made it” or am even close but in a way where I don’t feel like I don’t belong in the room anymore. I have spent a lot of time writing and listening to people I trust – other comics who have told me to take risks and be true to who I am and what I am going through.

It was only this past November that I even started talking about divorce in my routine. This is incredibly uncomfortable – for me and the audience. Every time I bring it up, I can feel the energy in the room stiffen up (or maybe that is just me). I have spoken about being awkward, a fat kid, struggling with Judaism, parenting, my height, my looks and even a couple of embarrassing health issues but talking about going through a divorce has been a whole different ball game.

For all the apparent acceptance of different types of relationships in this country and even divorce, it still feels, at least to me, like a difficult thing to introduce into a comedy routine. Once I do, I have some jokes, most at my expense, that explain what it feels like to be in this weird place in my life and I am able to get laughs. Getting there, though, is so painful.

It has been interesting for me because there are two schools of thought that seem to keep surfacing about comedy. The first is that when you have an audience, you have an obligation to entertain and make them laugh. That’s the metric by which you are judged and deemed worthy or not. On the other hand, there is the school of thought that says it is ok and even more responsible to be true to who you are and if the audience is uncomfortable and does not laugh, then you are doing exactly what you should be doing as an artist – pushing the envelope.

I am not interested in pushing the envelope in a “Miley Cyrus twerking” type of way but I do subscribe to the school of thought that mixes both of those two together – entertain with respect but do not cheapen out the art form by going for hacky laughs and not really showing them who you are.

For me, I am still going through it and when any type of “tragedy” occurs, the general rule of thumb is to not talk about it until it is well over. However, selfishly, it has been a great coping mechanism for me – to come out and admit that I am going through a divorce and not hide from it and to also try to find the humor in an otherwise unfortunate circumstance.

I have a ton of insecurities and probably always will. The difference this time is that I really do care more about what I think about myself than what others think of me. That sound very noble but when you’re actually in it, it can get really uncomfortable.

Until next time,

Marc

Thanks for reading my blog – I really appreciate it. Please sign-up for more posts and follow me on “the Twitter” @MarcKaye1 or email me at marckaye91@gmail.com. Marc





The EXPERIENCE of Money for Free

26 04 2015

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My parents were very practical folks. They had decent middle-class jobs – my mom was a teacher and my dad a salesman and the goal was never to climb a corporate ladder, but rather to provide a good decent lifestyle. We did not have lavish experiences in terms of vacations, camps, restaurants or any of that and I didn’t really know any better. When exposed to those who had lots of nice cars, vacations and material goods, I would remember my father joking that “money is no object, it’s a noun.”

I thought it was funny but not sure why and the more I think about it, the more it makes sense. It is not money that brings happiness but the things that money may provide in terms of experiences, not things. In this way, money is not really an object of desire. Money, as a noun, is the thing that may help to bring that which one desires. But here’s the good news – you do not need money to get those experiences. Let me explain.

I am intrigued by the question “what would you do if money were not an issue?” I have asked the question, googled it, etc. and the answers are overwhelmingly about experiences. It’s not about buying the Ferrari though there are plenty of acquisition type of answers. More than not, the answers are around running a business or charity, traveling, becoming some type of artist, poet, musician, actor or some other type of experience.

For a long time, I fell into the bucket of “if you can’t do something full-on, it’s not worth doing at all” which is nothing more than a cop-out. That is a very alpha-male, Wall Street way of looking at the world. My personal pace is more slow and steady. I am not sure where you may fall on the spectrum.

It’s also easy to say “hey, it’s not even money. I just have no time.” Here’s my take on that. For me, yes, there was a time when I literally could not squeeze any more time out of my life – family, small kids, graduate school at night, working a full time job, mowing the lawn, grocery shopping…on and on and on. The good news is that there does get to be a time when something, even one thing frees up and you get to choose how you fill it, whether it is TV, gaming, sleep or a new experience. That’s the ticket.

All those experiences you would have if money were not an issue are attainable, given you have even a modicum of time.

Travel? Sure, the Tuscany trip would be amazing. Ask yourself why? Fantastic food, meeting new people, taking in beautiful nature. You can have all of those things is smaller bite size chunks right here. There are thousands of MeetUps, amazing restaurants and fantastic hiking trails. Is it the beautiful countryside of Tuscany? No, but the experience of surrounding yourself with things that bring you gratification may not feel all that different (and cost you a lot less).

Want to start a charity or open a business? Get in line. Don’t have that “full-on Wall Street” mindset aforementioned. There are so many little things you can do to get started. Like anything – diet, exercise, learning an instrument – you have to just get started.

So basically, all I am saying is that we are living in an amazing time when we can surround ourselves by rich experiences at only the small price of a little momentum. Yesterday, I featured at a comedy show for a headliner that travels all over the country and a host that has been on the same journey as me since I started. It all started because I got tired of not having the experience I wanted. It wasn’t that I had to be on Last Comic Standing. I just wanted to have the feeling of having a comedic voice. You never know what it may lead to. I promise you, you will feel so much better.

What are you going to do tomorrow? Listen to the Dalai Lama and don’t die never having really lived!

Until next time,

Marc





fear. fear. FEAR!

24 04 2015

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It is sort of ironic. You know the familiar quote by Franklin D. Roosevelt – “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.” It’s a great quote but truthfully, I’m not sure it really applies to me as i have a long list of things to fear.

However, it is a quote by his wife, Eleanor Roosevelt that does resonate with me: “We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face… we must do that which we think we cannot. Without question, this has been much more true to my experience.

I had a great conversation recently about fear. You all know the deal – it can be debilitating, irrational and lead to missing out. But it is as real as the skin on your face (or for most of us, at least).

When I decided to try stand-up comedy for the first time, it was because I had realized earlier that part of what was depressing me was not living the life that I wanted. I don’t mean  as if I should quit my job and pursue something in an unrealistic fashion. Rather, it was just simply about trying something new. Experiences, like music, really fuel me. The Red Hot Chili Peppers sing “I like pleasure mixed with pain and music is my aeroplane” and I get it. I really, really get it. But more about that at a later, more alcohol-inspired blog post!

I am in the midst of a divorce and, at the same time, what I feel to be great uncertainty with my job. Yet, I am oddly at peace with both – more than I ever would have imagined. It is not that my anxieties don’t get the better of me from time to time but facing different fears, getting comfortable with the uncomfortable and working from a place of “yes”, rather than “no” has been an amazing elixer to remedy those anxiety fueled moments.

As a side effect, as I work through the uncertainties associated with the end of a marriage and what might be a pivotal career moment – both leading me to wonder “what is next”, it is the byproduct of those new experiences that I decided to face while putting fear aside that have helped me as I journey through all of this – friends, connections, and opportunities.

I have learned through mindfulness (as I continue to explore meditation), that it is not just about giving up control, nor about just being “present in the moment”. It is a powerful coping experience because it simply causes me to pay attention and identify what I am feeling rather than just feel it. This is why I gravitate to writing and playing piano so much – particularly when stressed out. It is funnel by which I can “tune it” to what I am writing or playing, think about it – even lose myself momentarily. It is about trust – which, after all, is really the exact opposite of fear.

I will always have my struggles. I will grapple with the evolution of trying to “figure it all out”. I will do all of this knowing, however, that it is not about having the answers but more about listening. I think this is where instinct really comes in.

i had never put it all together in this fashion before. I suck at pretty much everything, yet, I feel i have a fairly good instinct about people (even in the midst of now separating from the one person that mattered most). (Or maybe I just tell myself that). In any event, I think the gut instinct is really a test of whether you can trust yourself over your fears. Can we choose to make those decisions that are hard for us and for others in lieu of the fear of what it may lead to?

I had a conversation with my daughter recently about trying new things and not being afraid of failure – that failure is actually a good thing – a difficult proposition for anyone, let alone an 11 year-old. I do think it’s time that I take my own advice and the more I do it, the more rewarding it is. After all, the things that end up waking us up in a cold sweat in the middle of the night are rarely the things we have been fearing in the first place.

So, in summary – find your aeroplane, face one fear and go for it. With the exception of things like skydiving, if you fail, you’ll still be around to reap the rewards of having tried something new.

Until next time,

Marc

i hope you enjoyed this blog post and am grateful for your reading it and passing it along.

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Thank you.








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