From Frozen to Flower: How I Made it Through Winter to Spring

It’s spring! Thank God. I need a little sunshine in my life. OK. Yes, I live in L.A. so pretty much every day is a sunny oasis, but what my life lacked in seasonal changes on the physical plane, it definitely made up for metaphorically.

Because this past November, on the day before Thanksgiving to be exact, I was laid off from my serving job of nearly eight years. Yeah. Thanks for that corporate America. Your timing is impeccable. Despite the overwhelming amount of shadiness dealt out by my former employer at the time, I had an optimistic view of the situation. This would give me the time to finally go after what I really wanted, writing and acting.

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Then the frost set in. December 21 was the first day of winter and, right on cue, I started freaking out.

  • FACT #1: I had no job but Christmas shopping waits for no one
  • FACT #2: I had no job and could no longer vent my problems to co-workers in lieu of therapy
  • FACT #3: I HAD NO JOB! OR DIRECTION… Besides playing with my cat. I did a lot of that.

My body froze, icicles formed around my heart, and winter gales blew all my hopes and dreams down towards Shonda Rhimes’ office, who probably has like 18 hit shows by now.  I even called up a friend I used to work with and cried… about missing my serving job! I didn’t even know who I was anymore! My whole world had been frozen, and not in the funny Disney musical way.

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The thing is, I was making a lot of money at my old job. This wasn’t the Denny’s on the corner. This was a five star, five diamond property that charged $48 for a salmon salad! I was making more money than most college graduates right out of business school. I loved that financial freedom, and the first thing that entered my chilly little winter brain was, “Go get another high end serving job.”

And I could have. But that would have kept me in my same old “safe” routine. These thoughts were my ego mind trying to keep me stuck. If I got another serving job I wouldn’t be creating new beliefs that supported me deserving to make money doing what I love. This part of my winter was tough. It consisted of me challenging every belief that I have and telling it, “thank you, but I’m going to go another way.” And this way came with way less money. I had to use every ounce of strength and courage to dig deep down into that barren, snowy wasteland and keep going.

On Easter Sunday, with spring now in full bloom, I ran into a friend at church who introduced me to some new people. One woman was a self-help guru who has been practicing the “thanks, but no thanks” technique for 28 years. As a result she’s finally free of those fear and anxiety thoughts that try to run our lives. I’ve been practicing 6 years, so great, I only have 22 more to go.  She recently heard a voice during meditation telling her to move to L.A. and she did. To have that kind of faith is so inspiring to me. She had no clue what she was going to do but she trusted the path. And, after only three weeks, she already has a regular bi-monthly gig on the CBS morning show sharing her wisdom with the world.

This woman told me that each fear and doubt I have is the universe testing me. It’s asking, “Do you want to stay put? Or would you like to enter a new paradigm?” And I don’t want to lie to you, I’m scared. I like control. I like knowing what’s going to happen next. If there was a Reality Steve for my life just like for The Bachelor, I’d read it every day.

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But I do know one thing, there is a spring time flower blooming in my heart. I have rays of sunshine starting to break into my self-imposed fear dungeon. I’m writing my spec script and pilot and submitting them to fellowships. I’m moving forward into warmer times. Previously, in my winter days, I scoffed at movies like La La Land. I mean, I’ve done Black Box Theater and getting a casting director to come to your show, let alone track you down to give you a lead role in a movie is complete and utter bullshit. But this time, as that thought popped into my head, I stopped myself and said, “Thank you. But, this time, I’m going to go another way.”

And so it is.

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