Transitions and Shifts

30 09 2015
Am I a new agist in hiding?

Am I a new agist in hiding?

I have been wanting to write about this for a few weeks but was unsure of how to do so without sounding like a new age convert. I am not.
I still have no idea what this blog post will end up sounding like but that hasn’t stopped me before.
Over the past few weeks, I have felt that there is a profound energy shift – not just for me but for so many people around me, also. When I refer to “energy shift”, I simply mean that when listening to what is going on with these people’s lives, it seems like they are all on the cusp of something transitioning and it even feels a bit different when being around them or speaking with them.
For those of you reading this and thinking “can I get whatever it is Marc had this weekend?”, let me explain. You know when you are around someone and their energy is just present…it affects you and may even rub off on you? It’s sort of like that.
At first, I thought it was just that feeling I sometimes get when the Fall hits and the air tastes differently and the sunlight casts different shadows than in the summer. Then I imagined it had more to do with all the many things happening simultaneously in my own life propelling me in an unknown direction. But that wasn’t it, either.
I could sense shifts in my own kids – shifts beyond the normal evolution that takes place with growing up. I spoke with friends who were coming out of intense situations or circumstances, some short and some after long periods, either for better or for worse. As I listened to each of them, it seemed more than coincidental that this feeling – a cautious but real feeling – that something was about to change; the cliche “starting a new chapter” was a common theme.
It reminded me of a book I read a long time ago called The Celestine Prophecy. I don’t remember the actual plot but do recall taking away this idea that there are no coincidences in life and that there are times when profound “shifts” occur and we can either lean into them or work against them.
I am sure if I go online I can find plenty of spiritual “evidence” to support this feeling I have. But I don’t want to simply because it doesn’t matter. I believe that there is a lot to be said for paying attention, being uncomfortable and having some faith that the journey we are on is the journey we are meant to be on – whether it feels easy or not.
In the end, though myself and others may have difficult learnings ahead of us, I actually feel very optimistic about what this shift may lead to – for each of us. The idea that there could be some sort of cosmic shift occurring, spiritual or otherwise, and that it is not coincidental nor unique to our own experience is a very hopeful idea for me. It makes me feel like there really is a connectivity to others. That is never a bad thing.
Do you feel like there is any fundamental shift happening around you?
Until next time,
Marc
Thanks again for reading. I appreciate it. If you haven’t already, please consider enrolling to get my blog posts delivered straight to your inbox through this site, email me at marckaye91@gmail.com or follow me on Twitter @marckaye1. (Better yet, how about all 3?) Also, through October 15, for every new follower I get, I will be donating $1 to Nechama, a disaster relief agency, in honor of my daughter who is raising money and awareness for this great organization for her Bat Mitzvah project! https://www.razoo.com/story/Robyn-Kerachsky/

Thanks again, Marc





Forgiveness

22 09 2015

Tomorrow night starts Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement, when we ask for forgiveness.

It’s a particularly reflective day in that we are supposed to look over the past year and hope that we are “sealed in the book of life” for another year.

This concept of forgiveness is a tough one for me. I wish it weren’t so, but it is. Especially as of late. I am trying hard to  separate feelings from facts and reactions from responses, particularly when it comes to those who I feel have wronged me or ones I love in some way.

Divorce may be the ultimate playground for toying with forgiveness. I really do say “I’m sorry” when I have done something wrong and try to fess up to my fallacies, of which there are many. There is no way to say “I am sorry” when you are in the middle of a divorce- at least not mine. It’s hard to apologize when it feels as if every turn you are on the receiving end of a whole pile of ugliness. 

That being said, you’ll never hear me say that I was the perfect husband. Far from it and as hard as I tried, it wasn’t enough and there are certainly things I could and should have done better – communicating while trying to save a marriage being at the top of the list.

I’m not ready to apologize anymore than I did during the marriage. I may never be. The hurt is too deep and the burn too strong still. Maybe one day. However, I am not willing to step close to the shoreline of resentment and sink into a sea of bitterness, either. 

My sole focus has been on focusing on my kids. Thankfully, they are doing amazing. They are not without their struggles, as I suspect most of us are, but are truly resilient. As I write this, they are throwing a ball around in my bedroom razzing each other and continuing to solidify a bond that no one but the two of them will ever really be able to understand.

Tomorrow, I take my first step at focusing on myself a little bit in a new direction. I am going to try and start to forgive myself and shed myself of the guilt, shame, anger and fear that can stir the soul and cloud the inner engine that propels us forward. 

Every day, at some point, I realize that it could be the last and for all the turmoil and pain, there are more examples of incredible gratitude – my kids, my friends, the warmth of the sun on my face during a baseball game, the piano and for me, comedy. I have to forgive myself lest I lose possession of all one by one.

What do you need to forgive yourself for?

Until next time,

Marc

Thanks again for reading. I appreciate it. If you haven’t already, please consider enrolling to get my blog posts delivered straight to your inbox through this site, email me at marckaye91@gmail.com or follow me on Twitter @marckaye1. (Better yet, how about all 3). Also, through October 15, for every new follower I get, I will be donating $1 to Nechama, a disaster relief agency, in honor of my daughter who is raising money and awareness for this great organization for her Bat Mitzvah project! Thanks again, Marc





Matt Damon, Race and the Anal Probe

19 09 2015
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 04: Actor Matt Damon attends

The Devil is in the Damon.

There was an apology followed by an enormous cadre of tweets.

That seems to be how it goes these days – if it can’t be said, redacted and commented on in 140 characters of less, you’re SOL.

Except, I come from a long line of talkers – real talkers. We can’t say hello in 140 characters. That’s where this blog post comes in.

For those of you who may not have seen the story – it pretty much goes like this: Project Greenlight, an HBO film project led by Damon, himself, and fellow bromancer, Ben Affleck, was the culprit this time. Damon apparently was caught “whitesplaining” (no, I am not making that up) the concept of diversity to a successful black woman producer (as if her success should have anything to do with it).

The guy apologized. I don’t know Matt Damon and I could be wrong, but he seems like the kind of dude I’d like to hang out with – not Affleck or Clooney, who also seem to make up his posse, but definitely Damon.

Here is where things get sticky for me, personally. 

In comedy, no one seems to care what race you are – they really don’t. Basically, it’s about being funny and even aside from that, being an “outsider”. I am so far from Hollywood that I can’t even think of a metaphor to describe it but what if, hypothetically speaking, you would like to have more friends or understanding of a community you are not part of? It’s not that easy. Take my word for it.

We have lots of discussions about race and I think I’m pretty much as open-minded and liberal as they get. That being said, I know that it is hard to establish deep ties with communities that you are not part of. It’s just the truth. 

Damon apologized and said he was grateful that it opened up a greater dialogue about diversity, blah, blah, blah. To me, the point is – are we looking for examples of exclusion or opportunities for inclusion? This is what I love about the comedy community. I have never, ever experienced that sort or inclusion, regardless of race, sex or creed anywhere else – not college, not work and certainly not in suburbia. 

It is a black thing -I can’t understand. Just like it’s a divorce thing, or a Jewish thing etc. But maybe we could all understand more if we didn’t allow this narrative of diversity to miss the point. We won’t be able to eradicate racism, sexism, or any “ism” if we automatically assume mal-intent. In other words, can we give somebody the benefit of the doubt? Ignorance is curable, if the participant is willing. 

I do a joke about being divorced and if you are not, it’s sort of like getting kidnapped by aliens and getting the anal probe. It sounds bad – really bad. It’s scary. But unless you’ve actually experienced it, well, you get the point.

In our conversation about racism, can we all get to the point where we move beyond assuming people can’t understand to the point where maybe they can at least empathize? Empathy goes a long way and sometimes I think we don’t take a long, hard look at what we are doing to keep others out – conservatives, liberals, socialists and others, alike.

I’m not sure this post makes sense or not. I guess what I am saying is that if you really are “open-minded” and want a community based on ideas, beliefs and positivity, then a good starting point would be to start to walk others into understanding what you have declared is not possible simply because they happen not to be born or raised in a particular way.

Makes sense to me. Though, truth be told, I think it’s a comic thing – you wouldn’t understand.

Until next time,

Marc

Thanks again for reading. I appreciate it. If you haven’t already, please consider enrolling to get my blog posts delivered straight to your inbox through this site, email me at marckaye91@gmail.com or follow me on Twitter @marckaye1. (Better yet, how about all 3). Also, through October 15, for every new follower I get, I will be donating $1 to Nechama, a disaster relief agency, in honor of my daughter who is raising money and awareness for this great organization for her Bat Mitzvah project! Thanks again, Marc





Rosh Hashanah, Natasha Bedingfield and the Art of Getting Off Your Ass

16 09 2015

Natasha - not a Jew but her words could be.

Natasha – not a Jew but her words could be.

(It’s a catchy title, I know.)

Tonight ends the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah. It is the year 5776 and if I could go back to year 1, I am pretty sure there would be a hieroglyphically-written blog post about the strange mix of apples, honey, indigestion and families having multiple conversations (all at increasing volumes) at the same time. There would also be something about “being inscribed in the book of life for another year.” 

On this holiday, Jews pray all over the world that God will see to it they are written and included in the “book of life” to see another year. Always on the verge of some sort of destruction, it doesn’t hurt to try to turn that frown upside down, I guess, even on what should be a celebration – a New Year. 

As a kid, I really did believe in this version of religion – that we had to hope and pray that we would live for another year, as would those we cared about. I understand the importance of believing in something higher than ourselves but the idea of some sort of Jewish Santa Claus making a list of who will get the gift of life versus those who will get eternal coal is a bit too much for me, not to mention, a bit too passive.

On the ride home from my parents’ house, the kids and I were in the car and my son assumed his usual role of “DJ of the car.” After stomaching several rap songs, all of which were not of the good “Beastie Boy/Run DMC” flavor, my daughter and I convinced him that he had to choose things we all could listen to, or at least take turns.

Half way through our ride, “Unwritten” by Natasha Bedingfield, made it to the line-up. It’s a catchy enough tune. I could deal with it. This time, however, as part of my practice of trying to be more “in the moment”, I really paid attention to the lyrics. As it turns out, it’s not about tasting rain, which is all I ever really got subliminally out of that song. It talks about really embracing life on your terms. And in the lyrics? “Today is where your book begins. The rest is still unwritten.”

The immediacy of hearing about beginning a new book yet to be unwritten on the Jewish New Year was not entirely lost on me. If anything, I may have (and continue) to make a connection where none exists for anyone but me. But, hey, as you know from reading other blog posts, that’s sort of my thing.

I like Natasha’s version a bit better than the Old Testament one, to be honest. In the former, it feels like we have not much say as to whether we are going to be inscribed for a good year or not, other than the judgement of our actions from the past year. In the latter, it feels like we are given the chance to reflect and start anew and it is up to us to “get off our ass” (see where that fits in now?) and actually not wait for someone or something to help us.

This fits in nicely with a more recent blog post I wrote about a passage I had read from Pema Chodron. (See “The Positive Side of Hopelessness – May 4, 2015). To reiterate, she writes: “Theism is a deeply seated conviction that there’s some hand to hold: if we just do the right things, someone will appreciate us and take care of us. It means thinking there’s always going to be a babysitter available when we need one. We all are inclined to abdicate our responsibilities and delegate our authority to something outside ourselves.”

I like the idea that we should not just wait and hope but start writing our own story. It is unsettling to have your book just begin and unwritten. For me, at least, it’s more unsettling to be a character in a story you had no part in at all. 

To all, whether it’s a New Year for you or not, here’s to starting your story. What will your first chapter be and when?

Until next time,

Marc

Thanks again for reading. I appreciate it. If you haven’t already, please consider enrolling to get my blog posts delivered straight to your inbox through this site, email me at marckaye91@gmail.com or follow me on Twitter @marckaye1. (Better yet, how about all 3). Also, through October 15, for every new follower I get, I will be donating $1 to Nechama, a disaster relief agency, in honor of my daughter who is raising money and awareness for this great organization for her Bat Mitzvah project! Thanks again, Marc





The Continuing Tragedy of 9-11

11 09 2015

We have wasted a terrible tragedy.

We have wasted a terrible tragedy.

Today, on Facebook and all forms of media outlets, people will commemorate those horrific events that changed people forever on September 11, 2001. It is not difficult to believe that 14 years have passed as much as it is to believe that, for the most part, we are a less unified and, in my opinion, a more shallow nation than prior to that fateful date.

I remember reading an article not long after that day that had basically said that we, as Americans, had enjoyed unparalleled peace and nothing was more indicative of this than the “feel good” and “newsworthy” stories that infiltrated the nightly news and the covers of Time and Newsweek. That all changed, of course. However, what did not stick was the sense of patriotism and connectedness that was fostered in the next few months to follow.

It gets tiring to hear about the “lessons” learned from September 11th because, for the most part, they are used for negative, not positive, means such as to promote xenophobia and help boost electoral polling. No doubt, a big lesson is to not be asleep at the wheel. We have to be awake to the very real threats that surround us, our nation and as such, our futures. However, that is often used to create division, not unity.

What about the lessons about the importance of shutting out all the background noise that is not only distracting but also reflective of the worst parts of who we are? For all the issues that plague our country, we continue to soak in the Kardashians, Trump and jerks who refuse to issue marriage licenses to gay couples.

I know this sounds preachy but if we had as many outraged posts on Facebook about what we are doing to ourselves as a nation (reduced commitment to education, the disgusting impasse that we can not seem to overcome regarding gun safety and mental health, the inability or apathy associated with holding our leaders accountable to facts and not soundbites, etc), we would rise as a much stronger and proud nation. 

You may have heard the saying “don’t let a good tragedy go to waste”. I don’t know what a “good” tragedy is but I do know that is hard to think of one that has impacted so many people and will for the rest of their lives – and rocked an entire nation -like that of 9-11. We owe it to every single person lost that day and as a result thereafter, to not waste the sacrifices that were made. We owe it to do better than posting angry rants and looking to blame people who are different from us so that we can feel better about having a direct enemy. It just is not that simple.

We owe it to them to face our fears of having less than our parents and creating a next “greatest generation” that holds the future of our nation as more of a priority than the present. It makes me sad that we have devolved more into a nation of shallowness and second rate priorities. Maybe it is just me but this is a continuing tragedy – not only because of the events of September 11 but also due to the opportunities that we have seemed to overlook to come together and do the hard work.

Until next time,

Marc

Thanks again for reading. I appreciate it. If you haven’t already, please consider enrolling to get my blog posts delivered straight to your inbox through this site, email me at marckaye91@gmail.com or follow me on Twitter @marckaye1. (Better yet, how about all 3). Also, through October 15, for every new follower I get, I will be donating $1 to Nechama, a disaster relief agency, in honor of my daughter who is raising money and awareness for this great organization for her Bat Mitzvah project! Thanks again, Marc





Just Landed

10 09 2015
...just landed...

…just landed…

I don’t know exactly why, but nothing hits me more that I am no longer a married person than when I’m traveling and the plane touches down. I grab my cell phone and instinctively feel like sending that text I sent over and over again: “just landed”.

When I was married, it didn’t matter if I left the house uneventfully, joyfully or after a stressful conversation, I always texted when that plane landed – regardless of the time.

It’s strange. I can’t text anyone else that I landed now. It’s not that anyone doesn’t care. I just can’t do it.

I think that is one of the things I miss most about being married – texting someone that I landed safely. I know it sounds sort of stupid. 

Some people postulate that I miss being married. I don’t. 

Or that I will get married again one day. I won’t. 

Or that it’s not having that special someone to share any of the hundreds of travel mishaps that I experience along the way. It’s not.

On a subliminal level, it’s knowing that the one person who has the most vested interest in my not dying in a plane crash and sticking around is the one person with whom I am raising children. For me, it’s really that simple. It’s the text that writes “just landed” but really says “I’m still around…plan is still to be back Friday. I know about the game and you taking off a couple of days and if something happens, I’m here and oh, I get that I’m part of something bigger than myself.”

Though not my main reason, getting married had a lot to do with starting a family of my own. When the marital bond disintegrated, so did the ties that connect the only two people who share that experience of raising children, good and bad, and figuring it all out. I looked forward to being old and laughing at the bad times. That’s what you’re supposed to do. I was always ok with recreating some of the more difficult moments for the sake of prosperity. If nothing else, it provides great fodder for my kids to tell to their children.

By no means is the richness of relationships or even raising kids exclusive nor more acute for those two people who have signed the contract and created a family. I get that. There are examples upon examples of blended families, non-traditional relationships etc. that provide the same if not more intense positive environments for children. For me, it happened to be husband and wife. 

My point is simply with respect to that growing storyline that those two people are developing – together. There is an understanding and thread that is carried from the very beginning that makes sense. It’s the glimpse that two people share when one of your kids does that thing again or that funny moment you have to remember to tell your partner at the end of the day. Those things count no matter how difficult things may have been. At least they do for me.

Imagine building something over a period of time and seeing it morph and suddenly your co-creator is not there to celebrate what happens to that creation. It’s a transition.

Surely, you will bring new people into your life to look at your creation, marvel at it’s worth and even help it evolve. It’s just the start of a new ritual. For me, it’s not texting “just landed” anymore. Maybe it’ll be “taking off” so I can focus more on where I’m going than where I came from.

Until next time,

Marc

Thanks again for reading. I appreciate it. If you haven’t already, please consider enrolling to get my blog posts delivered straight to your inbox through this site, email me at marckaye91@gmail.com or follow me on Twitter @marckaye1. (Better yet, how about all 3). Also, through October 15, for every new follower I get, I will be donating $1 to Nechama, a disaster relief agency, in honor of my daughter who is raising money and awareness for this great organization for her Bat Mitzvah project! Thanks again, Marc





The Labor of Labor Day

8 09 2015
It's time to get to work - real work.

It’s time to get to work – real work.

Labor Day is supposed to honor the work and achievements of workers in our country. Take a moment to think of all the things we take for granted that are built on the backs of the American worker…not people trading money on the stock exchange nor filing litigation or even presenting well structured PowerPoint slides (yours truly) but those that are making a difference.

Don’t get me wrong – white collar and blue collar workers alike make differences every day. I just feel that we lose sight of the ethic of work – the tangible activity that produces something to be lauded, held or referenced for decades to come.

This has been of particular consequence to me in two capacities as of late.

Firstly, I have been trying to “network” more in terms of comedy and writing. As much as I write on an almost daily basis, I have inhibited my own progress by not asking others to help me find opportunities to collaborate, perform and get better. The focus here is squarely on the networking part. The actual “work” taking a backseat somewhat. It feels necessary but shallow.

The second example has to do with a very difficult meeting I was in for my job on Friday. I am fortunate to work with a few colleagues over the past couple of years who are completely dedicated to a healthcare endeavor that I know, in my gut, could be truly transformational. We have taken risks associated with our careers to be on this project with the assurance that it would not negatively impact us and Friday was a big day for this program. The reception that we got from a senior leader was disappointing, to say the least. This was not due to the feedback, per se, but more because of the disconnect between the vision we had heard so much about and the reality of work – churning out things that are more short-term focused versus strategic. In this case, the focus was squarely on more near-term work as opposed to long-term big transformational impact.

What is my point in all of this? Labor Day is a tradition mired not in picnics and sunshine, (though that is my favorite part), but as a way of recognizing the value of work with meaning, purpose and high impact. Whether it is the contextual spin that comedy provides and changes the way issues may be discussed or the risky, long-term and evolving work of driving toward something that can provide impact over the next 2 decades, as opposed to the next 2 years, it is that value that is to be celebrated in work. After all, it is the naive parent who applauds their efforts after only 2 years of raising their kids. Show me the well-adjusted 30 year old and I’ll show you someone who deserves more than just a picnic and a little sunshine once a year.

Until next time,

Marc

Thanks again for reading. I appreciate it. If you haven’t already, please consider enrolling to get my blog posts delivered straight to your inbox through this site, email me at marckaye91@gmail.com or follow me on Twitter @marckaye91. (Better yet, how about all 3). Also, through October 15, for every new follower I get, I will be donating $1 to Nechama, a disaster relief agency, in honor of my daughter who is raising money and awareness for this great organization for her Bat Mitzvah project! https://www.razoo.com/story/Robyn-Kerachsky/

Thanks again, Marc








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