January 18, 2010 § 1 Comment
Ah… one of the few positives of living in a state of cloudless sunshine all year round is that when it does rain, it seems so exotic.
I’m sitting in my living room listening to the pouring rain battling its way through the trees. On days like this one can sleep forever. I’m one of the lucky ones, however. I have a girlfriend who decided to get up early and leave me with coffee and a perfectly repaired kitchen, left dirty last night after our Golden Globes soiree.
Moments like the one I experienced when I stumbled into the kitchen to discover my loved one’s work leave me feeling like I’ve made it. Hit the jackpot. Lucky.
Awards shows always seem to be benchmarks for me on where I’m at with issues of success and where I’m at with being in Los Angeles, pursuing my career in this crazy business. The phrase that came up for me last night was ‘making it’.
Most people come to LA with a paradigm around making it. Hitting the jackpot. What does that term represent for most people? I’d guess fame and fortune. Certainly that was true for me and I didn’t even know it. I was driven by an egoic need for large-scale approval and adulation that was guaranteed to cause me suffering. I lived my life out here judging every single moment as either bringing me closer to ‘making it’ or taking me further away. In that state, people become commodities, objects that have a ‘how much can this person help me?’ rating. That is a phenomenon one sees constantly out here.
After a period of despair, I woke up one morning and asked myself how I’d feel if my goal was attained- infinite riches, unlimited movie offers pouring in, ten Oscar awards sitting on my mantlepiece. The answer that came was: you’d be happy for a little while, and then you’d feel exactly the same as you do now. That response that came from deep within shocked me but I knew it was true. None of those things, given to me in an instant, would change who I was, and who I was up until that point was someone who looked outside himself for gratifying objects.
Were these objects the reason I started to be creative at a young age? Were they why I so enjoyed being on film sets and acting as a child? Of course not. Somewhere along the way I’d gone a different route, one that seemed to cause more fear and suffering than joy and fulfillment.
That moment was a turning point. Since then I’ve sought to live a life built on firmer foundations, a way of living that is sustainable and can produce fulfillment and joy on a day-to-day basis.
Let me tell you what making it is for me now. Coffee made and a clean kitchen for one. Loving my girlfriend and family and friends. Embracing all the aspects of creating every day. Being grateful for the fruits that drop from the tree, whatever shape they may take. Understanding that whatever comes to us is a byproduct of how we live our lives.
That’s ‘making it’. Would I be thrilled to be at the Golden Globes, downing red wine with Meryl and George? Of course! My ambition and desire for commercial success have not dimmed. But at no point am I going to be deluded into thinking a seat at a table means I’ve ‘made it’.
The rain’s still falling. Drink it up, LA, and sunshine be damned.