If you didn’t see Jason Sudeikis’ SNL Monologue last night, I strongly feel it’s worth a lot more than a google. The Pillars of Our Raw Material were front and center, as he specifically asked us to ‘aware’ around the Mentors and Music of Studio 8H, 30 Rockefeller Plaza. He rooted us to the collective energy that has graced each stage and filled up the room for 46 years and counting. He asked us to go deeper into that awareness and to intentionally feel its intense gravity. Earlier, he had engaged humor to touch on the delicate balance of popular ‘drugs’ that keep the cast and crew ‘nourished and fed’. He played around with the concept of ignorance as he contemplated offering advice about someone else’s future direction, acknowledging that he hadn’t been fully in control of his own path. He lit up the first four ORM Weeks with his words, but in my opinion, his inviting emotion became the star of the show (and yes, of course it’s Emotion Week!). Jason Sudeikis openly shared a vulnerable heart with his resonant tone and expression. In essence, he made me feel rooted in our collective Wholeness - he even stressed the word OUR - and I firmly believe that was part of his considered Intention for the monologue, overall.
During the opening credits, I had thoughts about Heidi Gardner and Kansas City. She went to high school a block from where I live, and I can easily connect her energy to so many other girls I’ve known who attended that same school. That open-ended thought sent me on a quick energetic tour of the each-as-cool-as-the-next family of celebrities who hail from Kansas City, and the common threads that keep those connections part of their public conversations. They each remind the world, in mostly subtle ways, how good it feels to have roots in the collective energy of Kansas City, and it encourages me to recognize my own 2 or 3 degrees of separation from each of them. I’m not sure why, but it always feels really good to do that - like we are all exchanging energetic support from deep within our souls...
Back to the show: I anticipated hearing Bowen Yang’s name as I thought about how free and ‘open-souled’ he had been the previous week. I wondered what has recently inspired him, since he appears to be glowing from the inside out! I was reminded of how I felt at the close of last season, when five beloved cast members were rumored to be leaving the show. Of course, I would miss them, but it forced me to think of each of them as distinct individuals, and be ready to welcome someone new in their place if I must. As SNL fans, we know this has been part of the process and progress since the show’s inception. We can each learn a lot about ourselves just by studying our own reactions and opinions to the multifaceted and myriad offerings SNL has delivered for 46 years and counting.
A quick tour of Wikipedia’s SNL entries highlight the format, sketches, and the musical guests for each episode, and for each season. The list of names is staggering as a single thought. Imagining them all together, connected at the roots by the energies of the stages they each stand upon, and the hallways and dressing rooms they pass through to get there, you can feel the richness of fabric that has been woven in that Studio to become a part of each of us. It doesn’t matter so much what our reactions have been to the more controversial moments, as the fact that they have moved us, emotionally. During times when we are all at odds, politically, we can find space to look at it from a humorous perspective. Sometimes humor falls flat. Sometimes the intention we desire doesn’t line up in the ideal manner we hoped for, and we have to make adjustments, apologies and/or further explanations.
Bird’s eye view-style, SNL naturally pulls us sideways from our deepest triggers and asks us to see them from a different vantage point. Perfectly landed, we feel growth as we naturally breathe with ease through painful and touchy (pun intended) subjects. If that mark is missed, our triggers - individually and collectively - immediately start to set boundaries and defend their rights to not have to feel the way they do. An array of reactions and opinions build from there, crashing in a crescendo of emotions that typically play out on social media, and occasionally spill out into the organically distorted world of News. The broad reach of important information is now funneled and channeled to each of us in ways that allow us to feel like we have some control over how it reaches us. Deep down, however, I believe most of us can acknowledge the lack of realistic perception in that statement. News produces its own brand of tangled human energy, where things become increasingly polarized, politicized, pandered, and palpably pathetic. I know that’s a lot of alliteration for one sentence, but the point of Emotion Week is to be aware of how we actually feel throughout the moments of our day, not just rely on the overall tone, which will inevitably lead us away from our concept of truth itself, which is dynamic by design.
When we drop our more transparent pretenses and become aware of our complete emotional process, we are attending to the business of keeping our bodies clear. Clarity supports the ideas that keep our passions ignited while fostering the deep joy that is gained from experience itself. Even when we are tripped up or annoyed by the head-spinning subject matter that the news must deliver, we can gain knowledge from applying curiosity to those emotionally-challenging moments. As we realize how each piece of ‘news’ affects our inner equilibrium, we become expert practitioners of rooting our personal triggers to their original wound--the initial source for our more negative feelings. It doesn’t make the feelings disappear, but it does provide the opportunity to become familiar enough with the feeling to let it run its course.
Our Ego Energies want to keep us from these types of feelings. They take the form of being our Protector in an attempt to shield us from any harmful effects, because they fail to recognize that these feelings are the necessary building block to our internal growth. The integration of both positive and negative feelings assists our ability to see ourselves in Wholeness; to feel the truth in the statement “every single moment is perfect exactly how it is…”
As Jason Sudekis walked me through the emotional minefield that the body of SNL material has produced within me since I was a little kid, my attention was frequently pulled to the emotional state of Alec Baldwin. Up until Emotion Week, 2021, his personal and professional behavior have served up the depths of Wholeness on a silver platter. The entire Baldwin family, and everything their roots have touched, are an often-public study in vastly differing views, especially when it comes to their emotional expressions. They are often at odds, propelling a ripple of side-taking, which stem from both our own personal beliefs, and our feelings about them. Even if we don’t know jack about the Baldwins or their storied history, it was hard not to feel something for Alec this week as his most recent life experience hit the headlines.
When I saw the photos of Alec Baldwin taken in the hours following the seemingly senseless tragedy on the New Mexico set of his movie Rust, I couldn't help but feel the depths of his desperation and despair. My own heart dropped to its knees and I could feel his mind scrambling for any shred of possibility to gain that moment back; to have experienced any interruption that would have kept the gun from being fired--anything that could change the tragic reality that developed in an instant, without warning. Moments like these demonstrate the reasons why we have so much fear attached to our emotions, but they can also support and strengthen our own ‘coping’ skill set. When we learn how to use emotional experiences as resources, we listen for our own lessons, and develop compassion for the emotions of others. This is often easier to do when the situation doesn’t have a direct effect on us. It offers a chance to imagine what we might feel in someone else’s position, which eventually leads to increased emotional growth.
Last night, Jason Sudeikis took us on a casual stroll through the roots of SNL’s catalog of material, asking us each to take a look at how that feels inside our own bodies, just for a moment. I challenge us to carry that perspective into our lives for the next few days, checking in on how we feel about every little thing that comes before us, and breathing deeply as we feel our own wholeness.