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Who is Lesley Ewen?

I‘ve had extensive experience in film, television, theater and radio, including writing, directing and producing. I hosted a national radio show ('92 - '94) on CBC Radio/Stereo. I interviewed masses of rock stars, including Tragically Hip, Tina Turner, Tony Bennett, T Bone Burnett (love him!) Boukman Experience, Bob Geldof, Bon Jovi, Sarah MacLaughlin, Tom Jones, Wonderstuff, RadioHead, Chris Isaac and Vic Chesnutt.

I've written a solo show that charts the process of the synthesis of my ethnic identity, titled An Understanding of Brown.

I'm currently writing a new play, Camera Obscura (Love. Murder.), a ritual for release about two artists, one of whom is trodding toward a successful suicide. It's inspired by true events, and in April I workshoppped it at Factory Theatre in Toronto.

I don't really have any career goals, even less so now than earlier. But I do have a specific criterion by which to proceed: that my work be interesting and give me a sweet feeling in my belly. I live from "a willingness to see what wants to appear." I will have that tattooed on my skin someday. Or engraved on the urn that will hold my ashes. Or scratched in the sand for the ocean to wash away.

I have always been a "spiritual seeker" and intensely interested in understanding the Nature of Being. My Grandmother was a Christian Scientist and believed very practically in mind over matter. My biological father, a chemist, had his own "Mowatt Institute of Success," a place for the study of positive thinking and mental mastery, so I guess I come by it naturally. How I became an artist rather than a scientist, I'll never know.

I found Ken's work in '96, starting with A Brief History of Everything. I dove into his writing because I was thirsting for language to explain and communicate the inner world that I had natural feeling for, and this process of growth that seemed to have a motivation of its own. I wanted to arm myself against the rational naysayers who dismissed things I unquestionably knew to be so. I was also having the usual late 30's existential crisis.

Sometimes I wondered if I was reading Ken‘s books because he was so aesthetically pleasing to look at, but after reading all of Spectrum I decided it was actually his work. His writing and theories have deeply shaped and informed every aspect of my entire life.

My spiritual work is the foundation of my life; the reason for being. Everything else rests on it. The everything else includes playwrighting, videography and editing, photography, acting, producing theatre, clowning and my work with the Leaky Heaven Circus (www.leakyheaven.com), and playing bass (I'm a beginner and play it backwards and upside down like Jimi Hendrix).

I study, very casually and loosely, Sanskrit and meditation with my teacher, Padma. I do yoga, although my practice has thinned a bit lately. I've very interested in Andrew Cohen's idea of conscious evolution and definitely want to do my bit there! I've never done any long meditation retreats or meditated for longer than about forty minutes. But I've been consistently attentive over the past 10 years, dipping the cloth in the dye for a little time every day. Somebody slightly psychic said I was in a meditative state all the time. Who knew?!

In 2003, after a 20 year career, I stopped doing American film and television. I acknowledged in myself how obscene I found it on so many fronts, how diametrically opposed to everything I believed in. How, as a "journeyman" actor, it wrecks havoc with one's life in so many dimensions. It had become a game of diminishing returns.

That decision freed me in so many ways. I began creating art, not to try to change the world, but as my response to the world. I feel the past couple of years have been a process of the freighter making a wide turn in its course. I really feel I have to be in top shape in all ways for the wondrousness that the next 40 years holds. I'm very excited!

Jack Lemmon told me I was a really good actor. Tina Turner really liked my hair. Most of the time I really don't have any big regrets. Except not kissing Jean Paul in Chicago.


Lesley has appeared on Integral Naked:

To Touch Love with Love: Service and Beauty through Yoga9/5/2005

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