by Rainee Denham
I’m readying myself for a trip to Israel, and to see one of the seven wonders of the world, Petra. It’s a 5th century archeological site in Jordan. It’s a historical, sacred site, but I sort of squealed when I realized it was a back drop the Indiana Jones movie, “The Last Crusade.”
Allow me to indulge that I was a big fan of that movie franchise. I adored Indiana Jones’ passion, and charming lack of cool. In the first film, when he slipped that golden idol into his leather sack with that cocky grin he had one moment of victory before a chaotic series of booby traps attacked him, culminating in that big stone ball rolling out of control towards him.
I relate to that imagery as I felt my ambition was chasing me like that formidable Indiana Jones ball. It was like this force outside of myself was pushing me.
In the last three years, I’ve been hyper focused on career. I’ve studied and invested in my skills, I started an ensemble theatre company, I won roles in TV, movies, voiceovers, I was part of a tour, and I added more than a dozen theater credits to my resume. I was a driven woman, but what’s the big hurry? As soon as I contemplated this question, a mysterious series of events attacked me.
I started feeling like I had something constantly lodged in my throat. It became hard to swallow.
Then, part of my face became frozen, and expression was paralyzed.
Finally, I started having trouble with my sight-enormous pressure and things were not in focus. Literally.
All of these medical conditions created chaos. All I could discern was these were signs, or warnings to stay home, slow down, and focus on one thing, healing. Then the chaos created clarity. Here’s what I learned:
I need silence. I get overstimulated and overwhelmed in this noisy world. I not only desire stillness, it’s clearly mandatory for my health. I created a special place to connect to my inner peace at home. I sit on a yoga mat that my son gave me, face a wooden trunk with Buddha and Ganesha icons resting on top. I light incense. It’s my daily designated place of quiet, daydreaming, or meditation.
I protect my time. Time is costly; it’s our most precious resource. In the past, I gave my time to everyone and everything. I felt enormous pressure to ‘give 110%’. But the imminent burn out threw me into a deep negativity. I now set boundaries to protect my time, which keeps me grounded and safe from stress.
I have nothing to prove. With silence and time, I’ve become less competitive. I’ve often been in my own secret race with others to find validation. I’ve held an invisible score card. I don’t like admitting this, but it’s been true. And turning life into a competition is exhausting. So I let that go.
I don’t make things happen. The compulsion to control everything came from fear. But as a creative person in a creative field, I know there is a chaos that comes from creating. But I don’t have to be chaotic. I trust that things will unfold for me as they will and I hold faith that since I have my best friend with me at all times, I’ll be OK.
I’m excited to celebrate this month of thanksgiving by remembering the journey that got me to a calmer and wiser place. Growth comes from the generosity of people I love, and people that were difficult, who were the best teachers.
And think about this, in Indiana Jones, the ball would never have been rolling so fast if it’s wasn’t going downhill.