One of the greatest moments in my adult life… the kind that made the world stop spinning and all of sudden you can see time… was brought to me by my mother. I was 23-24 years old and living in Los Angeles. At the time I was knee deep in High School Musical press and most of my time was spent trying to understand what this “phenomenon” was and my place in the hurricane of it all. My mother gave me a call and after I caught her up on my “business” activities she stayed quiet and asked:
“are you okay?”
I was slightly taken aback, didn’t I just tell her all of the amazing work accomplishments I was up to?
“yeah, why?” I responded.
“because you haven’t done anything extraordinary lately,” she said.
Those words hit my chest like a sledgehammer. How could she not see that I’m working… that I’m making TV shows… didn’t that matter?
To my mother, it didn’t. Not because it wasn’t an accomplishment… or a great career…but because to her I wasn’t a “movie star”. I was Olesya. The girl who fostered dogs all through high school and would drive hours with her BFF Jamie to volunteer at animal sanctuaries. The one that started a charity at 17 to help Russian orphans get winter coats for Christmas. The girl who would howl at the moon with her and give thanks for the seasons and mother nature.
You see, to my mother, being extraordinary didn’t mean I was “special” in any particular way. Or that I was “better” than the person next to me. Being extraordinary meant I was connected to life… and in that connectivity meant willing to try to go outside myself. Whether that was taking in the beauty of mother nature, giving someone a real hug, or taking the time to ask ” how is your heart” vs. “how are you”.
Willing to try… that’s the main point of it all. Are you willing to stay connected long enough to try to be a better being? Willing to try to remember who you are before you forgot and gravity made your wings heavy?
It’s not an easy task, this connectivity. It requires practice… diligence… even on the days when you just don’t care. It requires you to use the magic you were given… forces you to see and feel the polarities all around us. It’s hard. Sometimes the weight of it makes your shoulder ache and mind reel… but that is exactly when you focus the connection of your true self.
It’s the holiday season… and soon it will be New Years. I don’t really care for resolutions but I love reflections. Have I tried enough this year? Honestly, no. I haven’t stayed as connected as I want to be. I made the choice to be lazier this year… and in the process diminished my own ability to light up my life and others. This isn’t a boo hoo Olesya statement … in fact, it’s encouraging. I get to try … hell I get to try more in this very moment… and isn’t that beautiful?
Let’s all ask ourselves:
“Have I done anything extraordinary lately?