Last night, I could not sleep. I lay awake for hours reading news on my phone. I read a story about Kate Winslet, who did not thank Harvey Weinstein when she won the Oscar for ‘The Reader’. She thanked 19 people, but Harvey Weinstein was not thanked, though his company produced the film. "That was deliberate. That was absolutely deliberate," she said.
While not a victim of outright sexual abuse like so many brave women who are coming forward right now, Kate was a victim of Harvey’s tyrannical bullying, as was the entire production of the film. She described Harvey as "very very very very very unpleasant to deal with. Very." Mr. Weinstein shut down production on the film with four days of critical scenes still on the schedule.
I thought of Kate walking up to the podium to accept her award. All that goes into such a day—the choice of gown, the makeup, the hair, the travel away from family for the event. The poise, the interviews. I thought of her working on the film with a bullying power tool of a producer, holding true to the character she was playing while still a member of a group that was suffering under the weight of mistreatment by Mr. Weinstein. I thought of Darren Aronofsky who said, on a Tim Ferriss podcast, that close-ups changed film production because they give the filmgoer the visceral emotional experience of the character. Close-ups require that actors really be IN that character. How would it feel to have a camera recording my expressions that intimately when I was having to pull it together in such a challenging environment? It would be really hard. I wear my emotions on my face.
Here, Kate exemplified the height of professionalism under pressure. And at the end of that journey she got the award, she held her ground, and she never worked with Harvey Weinstein again. She was extraordinary.
Pressure is what our world is under at this time. In our personal lives and in the global landscape. Extraordinary pressure. Extraordinary times call for extraordinary skills.
Of course you are. We all are.
And if you need to bury yourself in Halloween candy, red wine, and Netflix binges once in a while, that’s okay. But don’t stay under that rock. Do not stay. We must birth new selves that are stronger than our old selves. You’re not the same person you were a year or two ago. Every cell in your body has changed. Your mind needs to change too. It needs to evolve.
If you are weighed down by thinking patterns that are familiar, yet are not serving you, it’s time to change them. To up your efforts to get rid of fears and negativity that you don’t need. Anxiety is epidemic in our society in part because we're tackling it with old tools. As challenges get bigger, so must we. It is essential to get stronger right now, under pressure. Not later when things chill out. Now.
We already have the issues in our regular lives, which are big, and now we barely get a breath and it’s a new upheaval in the world. It feels impossible, awful. A tsunami of challenge. Someone said to me today, "I didn’t realize how much I relied on our leader to set the tone for how I felt about world events or disasters. But I would turn to the news after each event and take comfort in his words." Now we have no talisman. It’s like when your parents die. The day my dad died I felt so untethered. So unnecessary. We create meaning in life through our relationships and our brains like to rely on what was to figure out what’s now. We feel at sea.
It is very much possible to feel safe, and to feel happy. And to still be involved and active. These times call for more discipline, better tools, and a commitment to a growth mindset. Anxiety and fear need not rule you, you can vanquish them, whether what is hurting you is what is happening in your cul de sac, your bedroom, Napa, or North Korea. Here's how:
Let yourself be loved, supported, and entertained. Reach out to make sure you are having these experiences. People want to give love. Reaching out for it gives them the opportunity to feel valuable.
Manage what you listen to, and who you talk to, and when, and why. Be thoughtful and deliberate about this.
Get support if you are stuck in your head. We all need to be witnessed, coached and kicked in the ass. We ALL need it.
Take care of yourself. Exercise, take breaks from digital devices. Opt outside.
Meditate. Every day.
Happiness is a choice—practice it. Consistent practice of it cultivates joy. Stay awake, alive and full of love.
Love is the balm that will heal this world. Smart Love. This is what Harvey Weinstein does not have or feel. He sickly confused ‘power over’ for it, and his story is a microcosm for what we are seeing in the world. As we are all seeing, his power is collapsing and the more that people speak out, the more the healing thread is strengthened.
Love heals. Get strong enough to be extraordinary. And be it.