I love this entry. A healthy dose of inspiration for the soul and mind heading into the weekend from classically trained actress, and my friend, Sara Maraffino.
The day was still in its infancy, the morning sun bright and cheerful; I radiated with a glow of gratitude and confidence, good humour and hope. And why shouldn't that have been the case? The New Year brought with it continued professional successes, breakthroughs and fruitful opportunities. I had much to look forward to: a leading role in a series of Sci-Fi films personally developed and created around me, two television shows, two pilots, films premiering in International Film Festivals both in Greece and Italy and, finally, producing a film of my own for the first time.
After years of hard work, the road was rising up to meet me. The wind was at my back. And then the news came.
My personal life, like a tsunami, came crashing onto the shore of the professional island of paradise I had built for myself, destroying it. Splintering it. The exact details are not important. Maybe for those reading this and finding resonance, to you it was a death of a loved one, or perhaps the dissolution of a vitally important and meaningful relationship - the circumstances may be unique to the individual reader's life story, but the feelings are Universal.
My heart and head reeled with a torrent of emotion: blinding rage, numbing confusion, inconsolable grief, naive optimism, incapacitating shock, unconditional love, vehement hate, crippling uncertainty, and maddening frustration. There wasn't anything that I could do to change the circumstance; it was beyond anything that I, personally, could control and it was killing me.
And it very nearly did. I was buckling under the emotional weight of it all. I looked at myself in the mirror one morning and found a stranger staring back at me. I saw a heavy and weary soul with dim and lifeless eyes. In that moment I had a choice: Give up or Get up.
"It's all too painful."
"That's wonderful. It means you feel. Get up."
"Excellent. Now you have something to conquer. Get up."
"I don't know how to do this."
"Perfect. Here's an opportunity for you to learn. Get up."
"Good. More time for you to focus on yourself. Get up."
"Everything I have known is gone."
"Great. You can start fresh. Get up."
"But I can't..."
"...keep living this way. I know. So, get up."
And with all the strength I could muster, I got up. Shaky and wobbly, but at least I was standing.
It was in that simple act of choosing that I found my greatest source of strength and well of personal power. I lived moment by moment, breath by breath, step by step, making the choice along the way.
Even now, in choosing to view this experience through the eyes of appreciation; for it has given me the precious gift of self-awareness. It has helped me to access those uncharted depths of being, and to reach a level of honesty and understanding; personal and artistic integrity; and a resoluteness of spirit and emotional availability that has imbued my art with new depth of feeling and power.
As artists, as soulful beings, we face loss, heartache and disappointment on a daily basis as we move toward our dreams - all the while doubt and fear constantly vying for our attention. The Ego (Doubt/Fear) and Soul (Truth) are locked in a Battle of Will. When faced with that, what will your choice be? Will you give up? Or will you get up?
Sara Maraffino is a 12+ year professional actress having worked on stage, television and screen. Sara began her professional career on the New York stage, landing several leading roles in numerous Off-Broadway productions, and on the Fringe Festival circuit. Disciplined in the Stanislavski based methods of Meisner and Adler and Classic Shakespearean text, she has trained at the prestigious Circle in the Square, with the award-winning Shakespeare & Company and at the international Ward Studio.
Television credits include roles on The Mentalist, Pretty Little Liars and Mistresses. Stage credits include: John Patrick Shanley's Italian American Reconciliation. Additional credits include David Mamet's Sexual Perversity in Chicago, Edward Allen Bakers' Dolores and Terence McNally's Frankie & Johnny at the Claire de Lune.
Living her life and her art by the motto "If you don't got too far, you'll never know if you've gone far enough", it's Sara 's willingness to take chances, to fall and to climb higher, to push the limit and to take it to the edge, to challenge boundaries that has made her much sought-after actress.
Sara is available for questions and remarks in the comments section below.