All In


Let's settle in and really go there, shall we?

Many of us were raised in homes full of emotional elusiveness and although painful it has become our greatest artistic treasure.  As artists we get to FEEL and EMBODY and be IN something deep and profound.  The absence of that in our actual lives created the craving that we now place in our art.

There is a shadow to this paradigm however.  When we learn that love or life can be elusive with us we stop trusting it.  We begin thinking we have to do it all for and with ourselves.  We begin doubting that the Universe, or our partnerships are "for" us and we learn that we must be "for" others or "for" life or it might withhold its love for us.  We become obsessed with proving our lovability and our talent and we often collapse under our own internet loneliness over time.  We feel so alone.  We don't actually know better.

When we distrust life, we cannot even trust our talent, or ourselves.  We learn that when we fully give of ourselves it may lead to hurt and so we put more energy into protecting ourselves than expressing ourselves.

We begin over time, by a thousand tiny cuts of disappointment and rejection to HOVER over our dreams rather than live them.  Perhaps we go "all in" from time to time but guaranteed once our heart feels hurt or betrayed or slighted we start to disassociate again -- hovering over our lives and our deepest desires, keeping ourselves just far enough from their reach to stay safe and just close enough to continue to feel that aching longing for them.  We live in the dynamic of this pain and wonder why it is hard to keep on going.

I had a big, game changing audition last week.  A five episode recur.  A big one.  It was not only a big audition but energetically how it came to me (through my holistic work, not my agents) felt so meant to be.  I dropped all the way in.  I worked my tail off.  I showed up hard.  I opened my heart all the way and said if you break me, it is worth it.  And it did.  I got all the way to the end.  As close as I could get without actually getting it.  And it broke me.

I had coffee a few days ago with a friend (who has had a big old career - several series and huge movies since the 80's) and she asked me how I handled it.  And I told her I just laid bed and cried.  I cried hard.  I cried for pain that had nothing do to with the job.  I cried for hope, for loss, for the little girl who just wants to play, for the adult who feels scared all the time, for the girl who just wants to believe so badly, for the one who loses her faith and finds it again, for all of it.

My friend took my hand and said, "thank you so much for telling me that.  After so many decades in this business I feel like I should be better at that part but it never feels easier."

Good.  The minute it feels easier, we are no longer IN it.  We are hovering above it pretending to "live" or even "chase" our dreams but really we are too busy protecting ourselves to actually be in relationship with anything other than our fear.

Did it hurt?  F$*ck yes.  Does it still hurt?  Yes.  Am I okay?  Better than ever...because I am brave enough to say YES, I AM STILL HERE.

Nothing can break me without my permission.

No disappointment defines me if I say it doesn't.

I get to FEEL all of it.  I get to ugly cry and hate life and lose my faith.

THEN I get to fall so in love with hope again that it is worth one more try.

And that is all I owe my dream... one more try.

But the minute I protect, or hover above and look down upon it from the safety of my little nest, it isn't mine anymore.  It isn't reachable.  It isn't the point.

Being an artist is not about execution or result.  It is the bravery to tell the stories of the messy, the flawed, the scared and the ones who strive one more day.  

If I am not living that story I have NO RIGHT telling it.

Today is a chance to free fall.

To fall so in love one more time with the opportunity and gift of being an artist.

To be brave enough to know that none of it can break you - you were born for it.


Only your bones may break.

Your heart will be forever changed.



Jen Rudolph