Warning: This article about to get real up in this place…
I read an article recently on the blog MindBodyGreen, called “Why My Husband and I Sometimes Have Sex With Other People“. I’m often fascinated by polyamory – when a couple choose to have more than one sexual and/or romantic partner. I think I’m drawn to the psychology of it. Not just the ability of a partner to put their ego aside and embrace the sharing of their partner, but also the desire to choose that relationship format in the first place… I think it takes an intimate understanding of yourself, your deepest needs and desires as well as those of your partner and the relationship itself. As an actor and artist I find it so juicy and curious – especially given that this is not a lifestyle choice my partner and I have made and knowing how much it would be a stretch for me personally.
This article talked about COMPERSION… a word that describes the joyful feeling a polyamorous person has when his/her lover or spouse has experienced a great sexual or romantic encounter with another person.
Isn’t that a novel concept? Experiencing JOY at someone else’s SUCCESS! The word “schadenfreude” has become commonly used – the word for experiencing joy at someone else’s misfortune – but do we even have a word to describe the joy we feel at someone else’s success?
All Boats Rise With The Tide
In this industry we’re taught to practice celebrating everyone’s success. And I think it’s critical to happiness and fulfillment. But if I’m completely honest, it is a practice, at least for me. For some reason I find it a lot easier to automatically experience compersion for my friends than I do my own partner. Surely there are all sorts of psychological reasons why, but that’s another essay ;). Sometimes – not always – when he, AJ, has a career success (he’s doing pretty darn well), I’ve got to fight to shut off that ego-mind, the comparing mind, the I’m-not-good-enough mind; so that I can experience that deep fulfillment of seeing the person I love most in the world achieve their dreams.
When I put my insecurities aside, I’m filled with this beautiful joy. A happy, dancing heart. It goes deeper than the happiness I experience for my friends’ achievements, and it is not pride. Oh, hello, Compersion. I truly want everyone’s dreams for success in this industry to come true – and none more so than those of my beloved. AJ, I’ve got your back and I’m rooting for you every step of the way. And then I see you perform and my heart sweeps and explodes out of my chest seeing you shine and share your immense talent with the world. We thank you.
Very few professionals experience such a lustful passion for their chosen careers the way actors do for performing. Particularly with live theater. Live theater is a Siren. A seductive and addictive mistress. With her pretty, sexy, shiny, touchy-feel good moments at every turn. Offering the high of shared experience and the deep bonding of blood sweat and tears, she fills a deep emotional desire and makes you feel alive in a way few other things do.
This weekend AJ completed a run of a musical. It was a relatively short run and rehearsal schedule, but nonetheless, “she” was a presence in our home for the last few months.
So, as I read the article about polyamory, the analogy of an acting career being a third party in a relationship rang with some truth. And I knew I wanted to be that woman… brimming with compersion at each new success as AJ’s career continues to blossom.
I’d love to hear from readers who have experience dating other actors/artists. Is jealousy/envy something you’ve experienced? How have you put your insecurities aside and embraced compersion? Or do you feel altogether differently about it all?
Sending love and truly wishing you all great career success!!
P.S. Google tells me there is a Buddhist word – MUDITA – which means the pleasure that comes from delighting in other people’s well-being. So, here’s to a life of Mudita, er’day.