I know Thanh Ta from our shared time at the University of California, San Diego. Before moving to New York, I had very little contact with Thanh save for the occasional facebook like on a photo or a status. But we had paths that were similar at our time at UCSD, from both of our loves for theatre and for literature and writing. We saw each other at auditions. We worked on shows in the same theatres. We had writing classes together. Our lives stepped in sync with one another, two people interested in the Humanities, on separate but intertwined paths.
I'm sure we all have people like this in our lives. People we weren't exactly close to, but close enough to know one another, develop respect for one another, see one another's work and gifts and talents. What was interesting about being with Thanh for our shoot was the amount of reflection I did during our time together. We talked about where some of the other people in our lives then are now and we talked about what we are both up to here, now, in New York city. While I still do theatre occasionally, it is something that has stepped to the back burner for me, my soul favoring instead the work of education. My love for the art form has not decreased, though, and I still find myself in theaters constantly, watching theater, breathing theatre, attending theatre as if it was a form of church. Listening to Thanh talk about her time here in New York, particularly her time in conservatory was enlightening.
She mentioned how selfless her conservatory peers and mentors were during her time acting and learning with them. It was beautiful to hear her speak about this, and when we ran into a friend of hers from conservatory, it was easy to see how loving and supportive they were of one another and of one another's work and I could only begin to imagine what an entire collective of people with similar vibes would look and feel like.
In an almost backwards way, reflectively thinking about selflessness makes me feel almost selfish, because my thoughts have turned inwards and I'm now thinking: How am I selfless? What are the selfless things that I've done recently? How can I be selfless today? I, I, I, I, I, into a spiral downwards that could only lead to some mirrored world of narcissism. It makes me think about a Louis C.K bit I saw once where he talked about how happiness and sadness are two sides of the same coin and perhaps most of life is like this and what we really need to talk about is raising consciousness of all of the worlds that exist within us so that we can do a better job of choosing the side of good.
In this project, I am exploring two sides of something too--giving and taking. Gifting and receiving. And doing both with grace, and compassion and generosity and love.
What can you create?
NOTE: Thanh will be trading me with a painting before I leave for San Diego on August 9th! I will post a photo of it in this blog as soon as I receive it.
Enjoy the photos of Thanh below!
"The opposite of war isn't peace. It's creation." ~Rent