Daily Archives: September 9, 2009

How Laurie Got Her Groove back…

Dear Oprah,
Do you ever feel, after you've taken a break from the show, that you sometimes forget how it works, even after all these years?
So, I'm back, in LA.
I thought I'd move gently back into the schedule, but alas, what better way do I know than to hustle?
I've been trying to bring my life closer to Santa Monica for a year now and it feels like re-establishing my career all over again.
I'm taking yoga classes galore, introducing myself to teachers and asking if they need substitutes. That's how it rolls.
Substituting is a very humbling experience, especially for someone who has been teaching as long as I have. But it's tough to fill someone's bare feet, someone's class that has been built for months if not years and expecting that students will respond well to the newness of, well someone they are not familiar with.
And I know, not everyone is gonna like me. I'm sure you know what that's like right? I'm sure there are people that don't like you, right?

Personally, I love that shit.

I love exploring a different part of the room, a different teacher. I love mixing it up. I love the opportunity to fill in, like an understudy in a big Broadway show. Playing the part of...will be... and there I am, with the expectation, judgement, fear, nerves and excitement it brings along. You can't help but know that people expect something from you and then you are left giving only all you can give and hope they like that too.

There is a super popular teacher here in the land that I love. I asked if she needed a sub ever, to consider me. She said she would. But I didn't think I'd here from her. She probably has her peeps. I have my peeps and I don't really look for more than just them to fill my bare feet when I need. But, she called me the next day to fill in for her on Labor Day.
I haven't played music in my class in a long time because I record my classes live to post on iTunes. Conflict of interest. You get it.
I also haven't taught in over a month, the longest I've ever gone without teaching before I ever taught.
I have also never taught in this particular space, with this many people, ever.
But, I prepared. I'm ready.
Then this teacher called me the day of and asked me to fill in for her earlier class...two hours notice, different vibe altogether.
Um, of course!
She's a tough act to follow. Her sequencing is the same most classes, her music brilliant and her anecdotes, appropriate and inspiring.
I'm...a goof, stern in my alignment and sequencing but inspired to change per the people in the room and always cracking jokes while adding philosophy and anecdotes between holding postures and adjustments. That's just how I roll.
I'm...different and yet, I've always felt really connected in the strength of her style, that I would be an appropriate sub in her absence.
You don't want just anyone. Even for me, I hand pick people to take over my classes. The teachers I chose are different from me and fantastic.
When I came into class, it was packed, not like the way her class is normally packed.
I instantly introduced myself and said that if anyone was expecting her, that I'd turn my back and if they wanted to leave they could...I wouldn't take it personally.
No one left.
I began to teach.
Two people left in the middle of the class.
We're different, but not THAT different!
But, it bothered me for the same second it took for me to realize that I couldn't TRY to be anything other than who I am as a teacher.
I'm not her.
Sooooo....the jokes came out. I scatted like there was no tomorrow. I taught my class and threw out the plan I had for what it was going to be.
So often the case when planning most classes anyway.
Once they left I thought, this is the class. This is my class. I am teaching and they want to be here. This is the right combination, the right people in the room.
They are informing me and supporting me as I lead them back to the peaceful place they already have within them...
And there it was. A light went on and Stella got her groove back. I mean, Laurie.
I finished class and taught her other class immediately after. Good response from the students is always good. Not necessary but in this area of town, you never know. I might be too Hollywood for these Santa Monica folk.
I didn't feel the judgement, I just felt the goodness I feel when I teach, the vibe that I feel that is yoga...the connection to the teachings I've spent years studying and honing, coming through my veins, blending with my tone of voice and providing a class to people that I feel is good.
I love this work.

The next day, I didn't have to drive anywhere. It was my day in Santa Monica to recoop from a long day of teaching the day before, Labor Day. No holidays for Yoga teachers!!!

I get a call from the studio that I take classes at for acting, reminding me of a workshop I had signed up for before my dad had passed. I had no idea. I remember everything and this, this slipped my mind and my calendar.
Oh, acting, yes, I do this too. Where have I been?
I had an hour to be pretty and get to the valley to meet a casting director for a show that I've always wanted to be on.
I thought, oh my goodness, to drive to the valley now when I have so much driving tomorrow?
But I did it. I showered, hustled, braved three freeways and delivered a scene that anyone would be crazy not to hire me from.
I did good.
I know my dad was with me both days, giving me the energy to get through all of this new, same, strangeness.
It's all the same from before, but different now.
I'm older now.
Dad's not around now.
My perspective is different now.
My goals are different now, because of all of these shifts.
I don't know what to surmise from all of it.
Of all my blogs, I feel like this one is more of a work in progress. I actually don't know what message I'm trying to say in it.
I guess, I'm saying that, well, I feel really good. And, I think that feels strange, because I think it's been a long time. And maybe I feel like I'm not supposed to feel good yet?
I think when my dad died, I forgot how to breathe.
I feel like I forgot how everything worked. I wrote about that in another blog.
I literally forgot, how to put makeup on or how to run the coffee maker.
This new normal is the same but no longer has my dad in it.
My dad was never really part of my 'everyday' life in LA, but still, you never know how much someone is really IN your life till they are gone.
He was such a fiber in my life that I never realized. Like the thread that is hanging off your favorite shirt and you don't notice till you take off at the end of the day.
He was just part of it all even though I didn't talk to him everyday.
Knowing he was there, coming home from work, driving the FDR, sleeping, reading, going to chemo. He was always there and I knew it. Now he is here in a way that is like the thread hanging off a shirt, a light that goes out, a butterfly that scutters by my head on the way out the door to the gym, a song on the radio, the coffee I drink in the morning, ok, everything...more than when he was here...a legend.

I expected the plan. What I got was spontaneous. I thought I would ease, and yet it I got carried in the flow of what was before me. What was out of my control. Life. Always, no matter how much you try to keep in order.
That's ok. It was a little startling. I thought I would die under the pressure of it, but...I'm the same.
I'm the same and maybe a little better.
I feel like I have more life and more energy. Maybe it's him.
Maybe it's me. Maybe it's us.
Don't know.
All I know is that I'm back and loving it. The plans and the stuff that messes the plans up to make it more exciting.
I'm sure, dear Oprah, if you read this you would understand and mire in the mess of it all. Life.
It's never what you plan, ever.
It's in the unplanned that we learn our greatest lessons.
So, I guess I do have a point.
And yes, it took me a while to get here.
But we're all older now.