Along the journey of writing my memoir this past year and a half, I’ve walked through many doors. Excitement at finally being in a place to convey my life story and message, fear that it might be met with anger and criticism, and anticipation of the day it would actually be available to the public often kept me awake at night.
Never before had my spiritual practice been put to such a test. There had been moments in my past when I had to call upon the teachings I’d received to help stabilize my life and meet the various challenges that arose, but this event took it all to a new level, and I found that I had to dig even deeper to navigate through the chaos. I needed to become a beginner once more and although I had support and love from friends and family, as well as from my publishing house and editor, in essence, I knew I would have to stand alone. There would be no hand-holding.
My book speaks about courage and is a testament to the faith I have as a practitioner. Knowing that this memoir was written from a place of purpose and responsibility, I had to trust that those who read it from cover to cover would hear my message. At times it was very challenging to sit across from unfamiliar interviewers. Even scary. But through grounded breath and recalling I did summon the reserve to gracefully move through any and all lines of questioning and to get through the press tour in one piece. Even better, I was able to recall the path of service and find the gratitude to be in the place that I was. I moved back into the basics of the foundational practices that had earlier sustained me. Again I was a beginner.
Life is groundless. It is always filled with uncertainty. However, there are moments when we are more convinced of this than others. Moments that seem so much worse because we are out of our comfort zone, out of more predictable circumstances. The unknown is mighty. The unforeseen can invoke anxiety. And remembering to simply be in the moment and rest in the uncertainty calmed me down and enabled me to do that… to truly be with what arose. I had no idea of the outcome, of what the reaction would be once my book was published. I could only wonder and anticipate. We all have different ways of centering ourselves and mine was to return to the teachings of Tibetan Buddhism. Breath practice, mindfulness, sometimes standing on my head on a yoga mat in the middle of a hotel in midtown Manhattan. Basically, I had to pull all the old tricks out of my hat to endure the emotions I was encountering.
When I traveled to New York City for talk show appearances and interviews about my book, I surrendered myself to the process. I had to let go of want or agenda. Things weren’t always going to go my way. Everyone had something to say. They asked hard questions. My book’s content is full of truths and uncomfortable subject matter. To say it ruffled feathers would be an understatement.
I had to let go of ego and understand that it was not my job to make everyone love me or what I had to say. I had enough of a foundation to stand on, enabling me to talk wholeheartedly and unabashedly about subjects that most people choose to shy away from, including eating disorders, self-loathing, issues within the modeling industry, domestic violence and sexual dysfunction. Having a family and daughters and perspective helped me to see that it was actually my responsibility to muster the courage to share my past.
During such conversations it is easier to focus on the WHO rather than the act. But the ACTS live on to this day. A gazillion different perpetrators. A million different crimes to myself and a million other women. It was a challenge to move the conversation back to the ACT, when so many people wanted to banter more about the WHO. Staying in the moment during the interviews ensured that I stayed on message and dealt with the more important issue–the ACTS. What happens, how it registers, the imprint it leaves on one and then how we deal with it.
It took a steady mind and a lot of calm deep breaths to sit with interviewers and redirect this energy back to the points and messages in my work. But my years of practice had a profound effect on me during the tour and in the work and conversations I am still continuing today. I am reminded that although we might stand apart, none of us really stand alone. And I will continue to know that my practice supports me every step of the way.
Carré Otis has long been one of the most recognizable faces in modeling, headlining in campaigns for Guess, Donna Karan, Calvin Klein, and Revlon. As a supermodel, Carré has appeared on the covers of Vogue, Elle, Harper’s Bazaar, Glamour, and Cosmopolitan, and has worked with many of the world’s greatest fashion photographers, including Richard Avedon, Herb Ritts, Helmut Newton, Peter Lindbergh, Patrick Demarchelier, David Bailey, and Guy Bourdin. While married to actor Mickey Rourke, Carré took an extended hiatus from modeling. When she returned, she also became an advocate for young women in and out of the industry. Carré has appeared on nationally televised programs, offering her unique insight into the business of beauty and the high price it demands. Carré lives in Colorado with her husband and two daughters. Online: http://www.beautydisrupted.com/ http://www.carrelife.com
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