Sunday, September 29, 2013

Stress Gets To Me

There are days that have more challenge in them than others.  Days when I might wake up with a headache that's debilitating or when I know I've over-booked myself.  Those days tend to be the ones I'd rather stay home in my most comfy PJ's and watch Netflix's best.  But I'm not in a position to be able to blow off life whenever I want to anymore.  I am a wife, mother, teacher, student, and tired.

So when do I get a break?  To minimize the stress, I try to get bodywork.  And, as cliche as it sounds, I need to do yoga or dance or some sort of physical release to maintain a semblance of wellness in my mind AND body.  They're one.  So when I wake up in the middle of the night because my neck hurts, chances are my life is over-full and I'm stressed about something.

What's odd is that there is a phenomenon that happens when I get stressed and I see this same pattern all over the place: when I'm stressed, I stop doing the very things that would make me feel better (like yoga).  That's an odd thing to do, but I think I do that because I want to believe I have control over my life (which is a myth anyway).  If I stop doing some things (which I can control), I will then feel better about my life.

This is the part where I just have to throw in the towel and say that nothing I'm doing in my life is under life and death circumstances.  I have things I enjoy to do, things I am responsible for doing, but life will go on whether or not I think I can control it.  Here's where I'd like to write a sunny solution for my problem, but I don't have one.  Sigh.  I just have to live through it and this too shall pass.

Copyright 2013 Heather Corwin

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Gift Giving

Well, I would love to be one of those people that somehow intuits the perfect gift for people I love, but it's not usually my strong suit.  I don't know if that lack of insight makes me a bad friend, but I do know that truth makes me uncomfortable giving gifts sometimes.

A dear friend of mine has a policy that he doesn't give gifts to people on the occasions that most people are socially pressured to give (holidays, birthdays, etc.).  When I heard that, I thought, "now that's a cool idea."  I also felt relief.  Until I thought about the reactions of my family and friends who would give me the WTF attitude for being selfish and not reciprocating.

My adult strategy around gift giving is to purchase things throughout the year to give people I love at the designated times.  These gifts were purchased during travel usually, which made the travel more expansive and enjoyable for me.  That worked until I had a child.  I wish my perception of gifts had to do with the thought more than the thing.  My family has never been humble, charming, or kind when giving or receiving gifts. The experience is more like hazing at a brutal fraternity house.  Perhaps this is my problem.

Regardless, I'm back to knowing that I have to buy gifts on demand.  I like giving gift cards.  However, I'm usually a bargain shopper so the loot I purchase is usually worth more than a gift card; that's frustrating.  I'm an Amazon prime member, so there's that.  Oh, hell.  Most the people I know already have too much stuff and don't need anymore.

What's your strategy?

Copyright 2013 Heather Corwin

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Help Others Heal

Did you know you can help someone feel better just by listening to them?  Something I've learned over the years is that I don't have all the answers and people don't necessarily value me because of what golden advice I might offer.  They come to me because I listen and try not to judge.

We all make mistakes.  Some are larger than others.  If we're lucky, we contemplate and think through the options before deciding how to proceed - which avoids mistakes.  Well, that's not always possible and sometimes thinking is what got us in trouble in the first place!

When I make a mistake, I often want to shut down or run.  Since either of those two options take me away from living and making choices that give me the results I crave, I have learned to be more forgiving of myself.  This self-compassion helps me practice compassion for others.

Which brings me to my point. I think compassion is the root of healing.  Try it on yourself and others and let me know if I'm on to something!

Copyright 2013 Heather Corwin

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

I Believe in Kissing

I believe in pink. I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner. I believe in kissing, kissing a lot. I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day and I believe in miracles.
Audrey Hepburn 
Read more at 

There are days when I just want to curl up again and start over.  Since that's not an option, cuddling up with my husband and making out can be my alternative reset button.  Nothing can be that bad when there are hot kisses in the world.  And, yes, I do look and feel wonderful after our cuddles and kisses!

Copyright 2013 Heather Corwin

Monday, September 16, 2013

Try Anyway

I'm sick to death of people who nay-say.  Isn't life hard enough without someone being discouraging?  What's wrong with following your dream because you know doing so is what will make you happy?  It's not the other person's's MINE.

When I think of all the things I have left to do in this world, I'm excited!  I know that I've set and am setting the stage to do big things.  I'm on my path.  I'm heading toward my dreams.  I'm living my dream as I get there.  Hah!  See?  Life is good.

Today, I'm grabbing life by the scruff of the neck and hanging on!  No one can stop me now!  Wanna' come along?

Copyright 2013 Heather Corwin

Sunday, September 15, 2013

What is Emotional Intelligence?

Not that long ago, people started to notice that intellect and high grades did not always add up to success in life, people skills do. These people skills are also known as emotional intelligence (EI).

According to Mayer and Salovey who pioneered EI way before the theory became main-stream, EI can be broken down into a four components:

  1. perception of emotions
  2. awareness/application of emotions
  3. understanding of emotions
  4. ability to regulate or manage emotions.

Interestingly, studies have shown that younger siblings have the ability to perceive emotions or mental states (referred to as Theory of Mind in psychology).  In other words, though you may not be the first born, if you are second or third and live in the same house as your older brother(s) or sister(s), you will benefit by being able to read other people more than those who do not.

Plus, happiness is often linked to the abilities of EI.  This makes sense to me because people who are able ot understand the motivations of others may have more compassion, empathy, and can therefor connect more profoundly with people.  This connection can build trust which could lead to employment, friendship, and loyalty.

As you walk around in your world today, ask yourself, "am I more aware of what my own feelings are or am I able to take in the feelings of others?"  This thought may be the start of addressing your own EI and how you operate in the world.

Copyright 2013 Heather Corwin

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Growing up Fast

Do you have memories of yourself as a little person?  My most profound memories include people, in two usual places: home or at the summer cottage my grandfather built.  Do you remember what those places and people inspired you to think about?

When I think of what I used to dream about as a little girl, most of my thoughts were about the man I would love, what amazing job I would have, and how I would treat my children.  I remember life seeming unfair because even if my mom or dad asked me my opinion about some things, I still had to do what they wanted.  Now that I'm a mom, I get it.

A dear friend of mine and I were talking about raising children and she said she continually asks her children, "what's mommy's number one job?"  Their answer is "to keep me safe."  That's a mantra that I've shared with my little girl to help her ease through the endless "why?!?'s" of a two-year-old.  Sometimes life just isn't fair. However, I know my little girl is soothed by the fact that my job is to keep her safe.

We grow up and our parents aren't able to control us anymore.  Sometimes they might make the foolish attempt to try, but the fact is we are our own protectors now.  We each have the ability to determine if we are safe or not.  Similarly, we each have the ability to be happy or not.  If you can think with your inner child's voice and listen to what makes you happy and what you WANT to do, DO IT.  Understand that risks to pursue careers are separate from keeping yourself safe.  Know your limits and ride the edge of your comfort zone!

Happy surfing!

2013 Copyright Heather Corwin

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Being an ACTOR may be Dysfunctional

The relationship of a person to their job is one that can be confusing.  For example, a persom by define herself by what she does, her job is who she is.  If an actor does that, she risks her soul being trampled into the dust of rejection continually, because actors are continually looking for the next job.  The stats used to be 100 auditions to get 1 job.  Frustratingly, getting the next job can often be more of a job than doing the acting work.

So what do you do when your line of work is one that can be abusive, continually abandon you, and rejection is normal/ever present?  Well, the first thing a healthy person has to do is separate who they are from what they do.  If you define your success as a person with your list of credits, you're doomed.  You're doomed even if you have the career of Tyne Daly.
Tyne Daly

The doom centers around the fact that all careers ebb and flow.  All relationships have cycles.  There are going to be up times and there are going to be down times.  In the midst of those cycles life happens.   We will have losses: our parents pass, we divorce, we move, we have second careers that pay the bills, etc.  We will have gains:  we fall in love, we have children, we marry, we find other talents that we enjoy pursuing, we celebrate accomplishments with friends, etc.  Those happenings make us better people and clearer artists.

So when you're sitting at home alone and looking in the mirror wondering if you're good enough to keep going in your acting career, know that your ability to get a job does not define or limit your skills within the profession.  Feed your need with an acting class (with a teacher you admire and who supports you in your skills).  Find your love of doing with artists.  WHEN the jobs do come along, appreciate them and find your joy in them.  Celebrate them!  And always, always come back to your love of doing the craft of acting.  If you don't, take a break from acting.

An abusive relationship should never last.  Make sure you create this relationship on YOUR TERMS.

Copyright 2013 Heather Corwin

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Worth the Wait

As I'm climbing this hill - er - rugged mountain of life, I'm constantly reminded that there are other people in my world who can help be become a better person.  Conversely, there are those the instinctively know how to find my weaknesses.  This past week I've been reminded that I ache to be a full-time tenure track professor again.

I'm reminded that my patience is waning, as if I had much to begin with! Thankfully, I was validated by a faculty search that included me in the top two final candidates recently.  This was a school I'm confident I would have loved working with people who were terrific.  But it wasn't a match for my family.  Life gets complicated.

So I wait.  If you are waiting for that thing that you've been dedicating your life to finding, you are NOT alone.  I take comfort in the fact that I WILL get what I'm working toward.  If I didn't believe, what would all this hard work be for?  I know all I'm doing is making me a better person, so there's that benefit.

Here's my hope for the day: May everyone who  is working toward a goal have some validation and hope that the goal will come to pass.  Soon!  Have a great day!

Copyright 2013 Heather Corwin

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Life Grows Time

So often when I was young, I felt it would take forever to become an adult.  Now that I am an adult with all the bells and whistles of being a parent, I find time is on an odd continuum for me.  I don't think this is just a result of being a parent, though I do think parenting accentuates this experience.

A great example of what I'm talking about is daylight savings time.  When I was a kid, I just thought people were weird for changing time to have more sun time in the day.  Now that I'm an adult, I still think it's odd, but an additional layer of torture seems to be mixed in now when I miss sleep in Spring.  Who wants to miss sleep?

Well, daylight savings, every fall when I loose an hour you kick my butt.  Now, you're also kicking my daughter's butt and that's just not cool.

Though time after time I hear time is relative. It is.  So I'll treat it like a relative by trying to be adaptable and forgiving of flaws.  Well...and there's nothing I can do to stop time, so I better invite it in!

Copyright 2013 Heather Corwin

Monday, April 8, 2013

Selfish of Self Care

To do anything for the self means we are selfish - or this is what some people believe.  This isn't always so.  Sometimes, acting on impulses that we know will make us feel good can be self care.  How do you tell the difference?

Selfish is pursuing actions when the cost of these actions might be someone else's. Selfless is actions completed for other people's benefit.  Self care is taking action to feel safe, good, and nurtured.

Now, I'm not saying a person has to be selfless like Mother Theresa.  I am saying that a person can't be happy if she ignores her inner voice who is telling her what she needs in her life.  Being happy isn't selfish.

So next time your little voice offers some insight to your happiness,  take a listen and DO it!

Copyright 2013 Heather Corwin

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Relationships are Compromise

Since we were born, our existence depended on the ability of our parents to help us eat when we were hungry, change us when we were wet, and nurture us when we needed love.  Well, all those demands were on our little infant schedule and may not have always been convenient for the parents.  Enter compromise.

It's not just the familial relationships that will test your adaptation and negotiation skills, though they are the core of your ability to do so.  Every single relationship, if it is going to have any chance of success, will require you to compromise.  Ideally, the sacrifices you make will make the relationship more satisfying and enjoyable.  Sometimes that's just not how it works.

For example, my husband did not enjoy taking care of our little girl as an infant.  She had many needs and babies don't compromise.   She didn't have words.  She cried often.  She liked motion and singing so whoever was caring for her often needed to pace the house (sitting/rocking wasn't enough) and sing, which she loved.  That's work, my friends.  Now, at the demanding age of 2, our little girl is learning to compromise.  I think this is the foundation of the terrible twos: no one WANTS to compromise. 

For the first time since my daughter was born, my husband and little girl are gone for the weekend and I am alone in my quiet house left to my own devices.  I marvel at the vast amount of time I have to fix little things around the house (clean the air filters including the fan in the bathroom, fix the leaky hoses outside, etc.).  I've also had time to watch some much loved television, a decadent delight!  AND go to stores to price out some items we're hoping to replace in the upcoming months.  I feel I've lived a month in two days.  Seriously.

Which brings me to my point.  Before I was married and a mom, I had copious amounts of time to do whatever I wanted.  Some of that time was spent fantasizing about the love I would enjoy in my own marriage/family.  Now that I am enjoying a loving husband and spunky child, there are times that I just want to be alone to revel in my introverted and singular ways.  Now that I've found this gem of time, there's no going back.  Our familial solution is to have each adult take one weekend off a quarter to travel and rest elsewhere.  We're working on a semi-annual get-a-way for the married couple to have at least ONE night together alone on an overnight  hotel stay.  We already practice a weekly date night, which I highly recommend.

At the core of why we choose to be in relationships is the fact that we genuinely LIKE the people we spend time with.  My husband makes me laugh, and I want to remember that joy the next time I have to compromise.