Stability by the Second
Standing in the subway at Columbus Circle waiting for the A train, I can hear a blues singer, wailing away about love lost. Upstairs, on the 1 train platform, another soulful songbird entones her version of “Hallelujah.” When exiting above ground, a woman in her red Daily News cap hands me an ad for the new Century 21, opening today in the location of my once favorite bookstore, the Barnes and Noble in Lincoln Square. Completing this accidental tour of loss, change, and instability of this last day of Summer, I pass by the now ad-obscured and hidden storefront where once operated the Borders Books and Music at the Time Warner Center.
As New Yorkers, we talk about the changes at our rehearsal for the next round of concerts with the New York Philharmonic. Yet somehow, despite our admitted disdain for the loss of value in physical bookstores, we venture into Century 21 anyway. My friend shops there now as I type. I ride the subway with the free Century 21 canvas bag handed to me upon exiting the store, not filled with any purchases from them but advertising the change nonetheless. Tomorrow arrives, and we move on. That’s what New Yorkers do, right?
All of these changes remind me of a moment in time shared by Eckhart Tolle in his book, “A New Earth.” When he and a friend journeyed into an historic site, complete with crumbling echoes of a past era, they stumbled upon a sign that read, “Caution. All structures are unstable.” Together they paused, contemplating the truth of that statement in all aspects of life.
Two hundred posts ago, I created Skydiving for Pearls to both reach out to my community and help myself recognize and embrace the stability of instability. For several months, those of you who followed watched me do something scary, unusual, or uncomfortable every day. Although I don’t literally take this daily challenge anymore, I do take it very seriously as a way to live each moment. This year, when I decided to embark upon the journeys of singing nude in Sarah Small’s Tableau Vivant, going skydiving, and donating my eggs for example, I didn’t try to do things that would shock people. Rather, I opened my mind up to new possibilities that have changed my perspective on life in the most beautiful way I can imagine.
Starting a new leaf in my career towards acting in film and commercials scares me enough to have avoided actually taking the “quantum leap” (as Dallas Travers recommends) for thirty-three years and no longer counting. Living with fear of change only paralyzed me and prevented me from evolving. As I complete this post on now the first day of Autumn, I invite you to join me, breathe, and find the stability found only in each unstable second. Enjoy this moment. As seasons pass, we all have our time to protest the closing of stores we love, the opening of new institutions that frighten us; once the pages have turned, let us embrace life as it is and not as we would have pictured it once upon a time. My recommendation? Celebrate by sitting in your local bookstore still surviving or by catching the photo exhibit at the Park51 Islamic Center – you know, the “Ground Zero Mosque” we thought might never make it.
Happy Autumn, my friends.