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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Am I "Whole"? - Susan Sullivan's Wise Words

Sharing the stage with Emme in Love Loss, and What I wore has been a joy.  She is courageous, open hearted, and believes in herself.  So when she asked me to write a blog on how to become ‘whole’, I was intrigued.  A blog –– I’ve never written one and ‘whole’ –– that sounded daunting.  Her request made me think.  And wonder.  Am I ‘whole’?  I’m not sure.  Maybe you can tell me.  All I can tell you is a little of my story.

First of all, I think of ‘whole’ more as a direction than an actual destination –– like an ever-receding target I make small gains on if I work really hard.  I’m assuming that ‘whole’ means a gathering together of all the disparate parts of myself, a sort of mishmash of the good and the bad.  The good takes care of itself.  The bad is what catches me up short.  Maybe ‘up short’ is the phrase that’s been at the center of my struggle.  I think I live in a dichotomous universe –– perfect or imperfect.  To me perfect is like ‘whole’ –– it sounds great but I don’t know how to get there.  You see, I’m imperfect.  Very imperfect.  There, I’ve said it.  So forget ‘whole’ –– I’m just trying to learn to live with being imperfect.  You know, now that I think about it, it’s the perfect that gets in the way.  It makes me anxious just writing the word.  You see, I’m an anxious person.  Always have been.  I’m so anxious that I have mess up the magazines on the coffee table if I’m having a guest over so as not to look the anal person I am.  Look, here’s the thing –– I have modest goals.  I know that for me to gain an inch or two toward wholeness requires me to be uncomfortable.  And I hate discomfort.  But every time I avoid being uncomfortable, I lose a few inches and my imperfections grow.  So I have a choice –– shrink my world by avoiding this or that or expose myself and tolerate the discomfort.  As I’ve said, I’m an anxious person and I hope I have the courage to continue to be one –– to put myself out there flaws and all.

I don’t know if that adds up to being ‘whole’ or not.  But I do know that I am alive, warts and all.  And that’s exciting. 

         Two time Emmy and Golden Globe nominee Susan is well known to television audiences for her starring roles in the long running hits Falcon Crest and Dharma and Greg.  She also starred in the series It’s A Living,  Rich Man, Poor Man,  Julie Farr M.D.,  The George Carlin Show,  and The Monroes. Susan can currently be seen in ABC’s new hour drama Castle.
         Born in New York, Susan attended Hofstra University on a drama scholarship.  On Broadway, she starred in Jimmy Shine opposite Dustin Hoffman and in The Beauty Part. Off Broadway, she played the leads in The Fourth Wall and Buffalo Gal.  She toured with the L.A. Theatre Works production of The Pentagon Papers.  Her extensive list of regional theater credits includes Fifth Of July  at the Mark Taper Forum, the National Touring Company’s production of Uncle Vanya  as well as The Three Sisters.  She also appeared in Twelfth Night,  Macbeth, and The Winter’s Tale  for PBS. She is a member of both the Matrix and Antaeus Theatre companies in Los Angeles.
         In addition to her series roles, Susan has starred in numerous feature and made for television movies including The Incredible Hulk, Midway, and My Best Friends Wedding.
         Susan is a founding member of the Celebrity Action Council at the Los Angeles Mission. She has served on the Board of the Felice Foundation and has been a spokesperson for the National Hospice Foundation and Save The Children. She is currently on the board of The Screen Actors Guild Foundation.
         Susan is bi-coastal, and shares her life with noted psychologist and author Dr. Connell Cowan and a couple of finicky feline friends.

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