Colleen's thoughts on writing, directing and coaching, and her unique take on life itself!

Saturday, October 07, 2006


I'm always intrigued by people who share their priorities with me when their behavior doesn't reflect what they describe.

Their lives appear not to reflect those priorities - or perhaps what they want their priorities to be.

Are your priorities really what you believe they are?

I remember Oprah Winfrey describing an interaction she had with an acting coach many years ago. Oprah told her she (desperately) wanted to be an actress. After working with Winfrey over a period of time, the coach told her that she did not want to be an actress - she wanted to be a star.

A term that today would translate to "celebrity."

Big difference.

Actors devote themselves to the study of all the things it takes to become a great actor.

Celebrities just want to be famous. Oprah asked why she would say such a thing. The coach told her: "Your priorities."

Fortunately, Winfrey took that celebrity and has worked hard to become the most positive, influential and wealthy personality in the history of television. Her priorities changed.

Three elements in our lives broadcast what our priorities are: time, resources and attention (emotions/thoughts).

In fact, these fundamental life tools reflect who we are.

What do you spend your time on? With whom? How do you spend your resources? Money? Labor? And you pay attention to ... ? What do you think about most of the time? What do you get passionate or emotional about - excitement, anger, proud, pleased, sad, regretful - whatever feeling dominates.

Perhaps most importantly - what are you *aware* of thinking, feeling, spending material goods and time on?

It's amazing how many people go through their days checking off "to do" lists without really being aware of what they're actually doing with their lives. I call it the "letting the world pass by" syndrome. Rushing from place to place without understanding or being aware what they're doing and why.

This is the most important question: do you enjoy what you are doing or find a reason to appreciate your life and how you are spending your - fundamentally short - life.

I'm crazy about my pets - so I don't mind cleaning up after them if they're sick, putting in extra hours of work so I can pay for an unexpected vet bill. I also enjoy looking after and taking care of my friends.

Hospital visits, taking care of them when they are sick or low. I actually do not mind holding the pail if someone has to hurl. I'm grateful for my friends, and that is my way of saying "I love you," and "I care for you," and don't consider it a big deal to be there for them when they need someone.

My caring karma came back to me when I had cancer. Friends from all over the world sent hats, cards, gifts, DVD's, CD's, tasty morsels indigenous of their country, and my online community that has been built over the past several years (we call ourselves "chalupas" from the old Taco Bell commercial with the little chihuahua. He said, "Drop the chalupa," which we took to mean, "Drop the pretense," "Drop the BS." Get real.) even sent me a check for $3,500.00 to cover some bills since I couldn't work as I normally did.

One member in particular, "ZW," who lives in Chicago, even came to be with me when I was dangerously ill during that trying time. As delusional as I was from having a screaming fever (one of those hats was stuffed with ice to try to cool me down) and being so ill, I still managed to be *insulted* when she told me she had to tell them she was my *daughter* in order to see me!

Exsqueeeeeeze me?


Did I have her when I was 10? Couldn't she have said she was my, oh, cousin? Younger sister?

Interestingly, you can see how completely pale white I am ... and she's completely Chinese.

When I complained to her, she swore the nurse told her only immediate family could see me - like my *daughter.* Wink. So ZW was all like, "Yeah, that's the ticket. I'm her 'daughter.'" and the nurse let her in.

I told her I was delirious when I complained because I was actually so happy to see her! There's a lot to be said about holding hands when we're sick. Turns out right in the middle of chemotherapy I also had massive appendicitis.

By that I mean the normal appendix is like half an inch long. Mine was seven inches. I got written up in medical journals. I don't mind telling you that I was upset when I found out my appendix and three-hour operation got a lot of publicity in the medical community but they never used my name! ;-)

Oh - and another Chalupa, a sensational doctor with a national reputation, called the hospital and consulted with the doctors who were treating me.

Amazing, this internet - how it can be used to so positively help one another.

But I have to confess -- there have been too many times that I've spent too much time on that fabulous communications tool rather than on those things I consider my "real" priorities!

When I am aware of what my genuine priorities are? Less time on the 'puter, and for me? Less time watching TV unless it's quality time with someone special.


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