Talented Friends!

I am surrounded by talented people. Not just actor friends but writers, musicians, artists, photographers, storytellers, creators of things intriguing and/or beautiful, and problem solvers. This enriches my life and inspires me and I consider myself extraordinarily lucky.

I feel compelled to share with you some of this bounty and in turn you can share with others.

1503399_654394427949933_1681198025_nFirst of all, my sister Lucy Hagan wrote a gloriously haunting and beautiful Christmas song. CHRISTMAS HEAR THE BELLS. It is only available as an MP3. So download and enjoy immediately! Lots of places to get this: iTunes, CD Baby, Google Play, and Amazon.

51vv4OLzUALLynn Cohen has just recently published her book A TERRIBLE CASE OF BEAUTY. This novel drew me in and never let me go. I was deeply affected by this book. Naomi Shihab Nye who is a poet and novelist wrote about the book, “Lynn Cohen manages what politicians seem to find it so impossibly difficult to do – she imagines the experience of “the other.” Skillfully, tenderly she renders the infinitely perplexing and sorrowful occupation, the complicated struggle for justice in Palestine/Israel into particular human size and scale… Through chapters rich with intricate, careful details, haunting encounters, and a wide range of compelling conversations, Cohen shapes new possibilities for consideration and understanding.” Lynn’s book is available in print and as an eBook through Amazon. A Terrible Case of Beauty

My friend Andy Blackford wrote a collection of short stories called BUDDHA AND THE BOMB. These funny and charming stories follow Jayashinti an improbable British Buddhist Monk. This is a thoroughly entertaining read. And the appendixes are filled with REAL down to earth info on Mindulness Meditation. You can get this eBook through Amazon. With a Kindle® App you can start enjoying immediately. Buddha and the Bomb71Tw-Oau95L._SL1500_

Charlie Chessler has a romantic relationship with his beloved New York City. He shares his passion through his photographs. Whether he is photographing some of the city’s smallest denizens like the Tufted Titmouse to the largest landscapes of Central Park you will enjoy. Please visit his site to see these extraordinary photos CharlesChesslerPhotography

I am always bragging about my friend Lana Von Haught! There is nothing she can’t do. She IS all of the above, Musician, photographer, artist, blah blah blah;) Currently her passion is photography and videography. Visit her site to enjoy her wide range of subjects and services LanaVonHaught

48-Belle-Coco-long-270x270My dear friend Sasha Stone makes the most delicious and nourishing oil for body and hair BELLE COCO. I say delicious because it smells so good you want to eat it. It is 100% natural and made in small batches. You can buy it on her web site or at Liberation Yoga. BeOpenYoga

Thank you for letting me share just a small sampling of my friends’ work and Happy Holidays to you and yours.



The Power of Rejection

In December of 2012, after being in the business for 30 years, my agent of 15 years dropped me. It was a devastating blow. But had it not happened, I never would have made the changes I needed for my happiness, health and finances.

It had already been a terrible day. My agent’s call was the icing on the cake. As gently as she could, she said they no longer had any enthusiasm for me. It was a hard phone call for her to make, it was a hard phone call to hear. Upon hanging up I fell to my knees and sobbed… Keened actually. I gave myself 24 hours to wallow and wonder.

Then it occurred to me, how could my agency have any enthusiasm for me when I had none for myself? I would have dropped me if I had been my agent. In retrospect, I can’t believe they represented me for the past 3 years.

In the last 3 years, I began to doubt my ability to make a living as an actor. I began to doubt my talent as an actor. I had never had those doubts before. But now I believed jobs for women of my age were becoming few and far between and what little there was, I wasn’t going to book them anyway. I was living in a world of fear and paucity.

So I decided to pursue my second love… Yoga. I had already been teaching for 10 years, opening a Yoga studio seemed like the next logical, financially secure step.

Sounded good, sounded authentic. But it was neither. I opened the studio not out of love but out of fear. Fear is not an emotion from which to make a business plan.

I opened up my studio in the worst financial downturn in recent history. I then proceeded to reschedule countless auditions. I even canceled auditions. For all intents and purposes, I had abandoned my acting career. I had abandoned the one thing I had loved, brought me happiness and had always sustained me financially and spiritually.

Over the course of next few years, the Universe kept sending me little signs to let me know this whole situation wasn’t working. But I wouldn’t listen. Come hell or high water, I was gonna make the studio work. I taught too many hours for my body to recover. I spent too many hours scheming and marketing for my mind to recover. I was zapped and the studio still didn’t prosper. And my money maker, acting, kept limping along even though I gave it no thought, energy or attention.

I had one foot in the acting world and one foot in the yoga world. Both suffered because of it.

And then finally, my agent dropped me. Now for some that may have seemed like a sign to give up acting. But instead, I used that rejection as a wake up call. I had to look within and see what I really wanted. I first looked deep into my heart. And then looked into my finances. They both were telling me the same thing. I had to give up the studio. I had to take a long and maybe permanent hiatus from teaching in order to get my business back on track, the business of acting.

I rallied. Immediately, with the help of my manager, I got another agent. I got myself back into an acting class. The universe blessed me with granting me a gig out of the blue for which I had not even auditioned. And now, as I begin the process of closing the studio, the jobs keep coming.

Sure I maybe middle aged woman, but there ARE roles out there! Instead of focusing on the lack of roles, I now believe I am going to get those roles. I have never operated out of fear in my life. But I have operated out of rejection. I love a good battle. I love proving people wrong. Rejection was what propelled me into this business and at 51 it is motivating me again.

I cannot thank my former agency enough. They worked really hard for me when I was with them. I got some wonderful gigs through them. But the greatest gift they gave me, was dumping me. It reignited my passion and my competitive spirit. And you need both if you want to act.

Rejection? Use it as a tool!

For more thoughts on rejection check out Risa Bramon’s article

“…there may be a temptation to assume that learning on your own is enough.” – Sasha Stone

Stuart Rogers Studio aka Theatre TribeI always continued to study Yoga because I knew my spirit, mind and body were always evolving.  It made sense to me.  But in terms of acting?  I took about a 20 year hiatus from studying.  At the time I quit, I had been studying a total of 12 years (with University and a good school in LA).  I was burned out and abused.  So I thought I would continue to learn on my own.  Eventually, I stagnated, stopped growing, and developed some BAD habits.  I am thrilled to be back in class!  I am studying with Stuart Rogers.  I had been starving for his information and I didn’t even know it.

The article below, written by Sasha Stone, deeply resonated with me as an artist. You are never too old to learn, to grow or to have your inspiration reignited.  To me it is the definition of being alive.

Sasha is a wonderful Yoga teacher and writer.  Enjoy reading and be inspired.

“Being teachable applies on so many levels and kicks up your vibration in a major way.  From moment to moment, being teachable keeps you open, compassionate, and receptive.  More specifically, being teachable in your creative passion, career or otherwise, keeps you growing, inspired, and thriving.  Allow me to explain…” read on at the blog