Still-breeding Thoughts

May 25, 2013 / by Raphael Massie


"I have been studying of late how I may compare

This prison where I live unto the world;

And for because the world is populous,

And here is not a creature but myself,

I cannot do it; yet I’ll hammer it out.

My brain I’ll prove the female to my soul,

My soul the father, and these two beget

A generation of still-breeding thoughts;

And these some thoughts people this little world,

In humors like the people of this world…” -Richard II

At times I find it easier to communicate using Shakespeare’s words rather than my own. Although Richard is discussing his literal environment, and while I don’t necessarily feel as if my mind is a prison, I have recently felt trapped by my own thoughts when trying to express myself regarding the events of my life over the past year or so. It gives me a new understanding of Shakespeare’s heightened language, because right now, ‘overwhelmed’ and ‘can’t even process’ just don’t cut it.

In the past several months, I have completed an MFA in Staging Shakespeare abroad, directed two productions at institutions that I myself attended, and been accepted into an unbelievably supportive (both professionally and personally) organization, complete with a first-class complement of diverse, passionate, and talented young directors. I was humbled as I listened to them and had various conversations during professionals’ week. I could write a separate blog on each individual and what made them so impressive, but suffice to say that I feel about them the way Rhino felt about Bolt. All this and I still have the prospect of my placement (and beyond) to look forward to.

As impossible as it sounds, I am struggling with my own feelings of accomplishment. I have spent my entire adult life trying to get myself pointed in the right direction, and now that I have reached an acceptable (first) plateau, the feeling is foreign to me. For the first time, my career is proceeding exactly how I want it to, and the feeling is foreign to me.

I think my difficulty stems from trying to absorb everything thing all at once, including that which I have yet to experience. It finally manifested itself in actual anxiety over this, my first ever, blog. In addition to being a generally private person, revealing my thoughts to cyberspace was troublesome because I couldn’t fully decipher them myself. The solution came by way of a Butoh instructor that I met this week. In the world of Butoh, ‘pierre presence precieuse’ translates to ‘stone cold presence’, and has to do with being absolutely present in any given moment. My mantra going forward is to embrace each experience as I encounter it, rather than trying to negotiate the overall evolution of my life as a whole. Every decision I have made up until now has led me to this point, and I deserve to be in this amazing situation with these amazing people. That is the moment that I am in.