The afterglow of my meditation wore off all too quickly. It was like I had left my baggage at the Canadian border, and it was waiting for me when I got back. As soon as I returned, my cell phone lit up and all the sufferings, all the desires I had sluffed off glommed on me so palpably, I could literally feel them weighing down my body.  For those of you just joining us, my ex left me in September, I almost reached nirvana in Washington state, but now I had to contend with the real world again.

The need to keep occupied in order to mitigate the pain can make you very productive. Or you can party every night to establish a new circle of friends, ones that have no connection to your ex. If you’re like me, you do both. Burn the candle at both ends, become terribly exhausted, sleep about four hours, lather, rinse, repeat. No matter your reasons, you’ll find after a few weeks that this flailing in every direction has two fortunate side effects. One, you can redefine who you are, and two, you now have a bunch of different projects and have to decide what to do with them.

The Art of Asking by Amanda PalmerThis is where Amanda Palmer comes in. I recently read her book “The Art of Asking” in about three days, because, well, I had nothing else to do. Good thing too, because it’s an incredible book. It had me misty eyed about every three pages. The concept, in a nutshell, is that asking others for help serves to create communities, because people naturally enjoy giving. I liked the sound of that. Community. Just what I was missing. Also, a lot of the work I had started was beyond my ability.

Some of my favourite times have been a result of admitting my limitations. I don’t know how to work in physical theatre, and I have no money. Any idea how I could learn? Sure, my friend says, I’ll set up a workshop with an internationally acclaimed Grotowsky instructor, and she’ll show you for free. The best part of that story is that my asking led to a group of people getting together to work on their craft. So my asking led to good for others, and to someone being able to exercise her generosity.

And teaching has been the same. Whenever I’ve come in to share knowledge with my students, it feels like I have purpose. Even on my darkest days, everything is set aside so I can watch, concentrate on their work, and give what I can for them to look at their work in a brand new way. When a student tells me they like how I teach, it makes life easier.

I blame our breakup on a breakdown of communication. I needed space, I didn’t ask for it. She needed what she needed, she didn’t ask. Our relationship became ‘serious’. Who wants a ‘serious’ relationship? Not me, not her. If I’ve learned anything at all in the ensuing months it’s that if I need anything I should just ask. Worst case scenario I’ll get a no, but at least I’ll be true to myself.

Victor: Worst case scenario I’ll get a no, but at least I’ll be true to myself.