How to start to establish a community theatre company based in Newport, Shropshire whilst managing the demands of being a new parent and maintaining an income?
On the 19th June, I met with Maggie Love, Artistic Director of Shrewsbury Youth Theatre (who is mentoring me alongside Mike) in Shrewsbury. It’s still been difficult finding the way forward to be honest, but I do feel it’s happening. My emotions go up and down like a yo-yo. I tend to find Monday’s a tough day, then the rest of the week gets better. I’m incredibly grateful for the supporters I have around me, but still it comes down to me facing fears, working through them, and getting up again and again, over and over. And gradually the unfamiliar can become familiar and a whole new world will have been birthed.
I see Moonstruck Astronaut as my second child to Barnaby – born 16 months after him. That’s how deeply I connect with the theatre company, and I guess, like bringing up a child, it’s hugely worthwhile and important to you whilst really really stretching and testing you, in so many ways! A sense of humour is imperative. I’m doing my best to reach for the lighter side, and just laugh at myself – it’s helping more and more.
The key nuggets I took from meeting with Maggie while slurping a green smoothie in the café of Shrewsbury Museum were to ‘park the future and nurture the seed’, that it’s really word of mouth that will be the strongest ambassador for recruiting drama students (and this takes time), and to take one step at a time, staying in the moment. As I’m in such unfamiliar territory of setting up a business, marketing, so many things (!), my mind goes racing off attempting to ‘problem-solve’ or running down the road where I just can’t see very clearly and getting myself worked up. Mags called it ‘my intellect’ which is a sweet way of labelling that part of me.
‘Parking the future’ is a wise phrase in the same sense that you can only eat an elephant one mouthful at a time. I have no idea how my big dreams are to manifest. I have limited time anyway with looking after my son (now it’s the start of the 6-week summer hols which can only emphasise this point!), and it’s a case of doing the best with the knowledge you have, and taking daily / weekly action that you’re called to do, one step at a time. Links with the famous moon analogy of ‘one giant step for mankind’ but it was just one step in the end preceded by probably a million small steps that went unnoticed but the dreamers continued, pulled along by an undeniable sense of purpose they just had to honour resulting in putting a man on the moon.
There must have been years preceding that moment filled with daily petite actions, like replying to an email and overcoming their ‘inner critic chatterbox’ by resolutely working on their positive mindset. And also, so much that didn’t get done but still the big picture worked out. I know the website needs updating, and other stuff that ‘needs’ doing theoretically but I just have to say stop and only do the priority, or rather just ‘do something’… and sometimes the best thing to do is to do NOTHING and re-centre in meditating / deep breathing / just rest. I am only one person; ‘there’s only so much Hannah to go around’ is a phrase my awesome boss at Concord College once said to help me fathom when to stop. My ‘intellect’ does have a tendency to take over and be a slave driver of sorts, unaware of the rest of me.
I’ve picked up a book again – which I’ve had for a good while. ‘Row, Row, Row Your Boat: a Guide for Living Life in the Divine Flow’ by Steven Lane Taylor. It’s beautiful and a real relief to read. Doing my best to avoid pushing and trust. It’s a challenge as we’re all taught to ‘push’ I feel when we want something. It’s finding that deep trust that it’s all working out no matter what and to fully release the outcome. That takes real faith and guts. And re-finding a place of love, peace and divine connection over and over and over and over again. And also in those moments/ days when you just can’t find that place of peace whatsoever (!), still believing it exists (much like we know the blue sky does still exist behind the clouds even though we can’t see it in our reality some days).
It’s just turned 6am, and my timer has gone off. Woke early and thought good to get this done while my family are sleeping. It’s been nagging at me for a while to write this fourth blog.
To conclude, the last thing Maggie told me was that we had had a snail at our table. She picked up a snail when we first arrived at the table (I didn’t see as went back to ask for a wipe as it was when we had all that rain and the table was outside) and gave it to a child she knew on another table. I’d just shared with her the quote ‘good travels at a snail’s pace’ which I’ve picked up from somewhere and just makes sense (just googled that it’s Mahatma Gandhi). She shared about the snail that had blessed our table. The synchronicity was reassuring.