Art and Spirituality

 

 

 

 

 

 

From Broadway Actress to Quan Yin Practitioner - the Colorful Journey of Marian Hailey-Moss

By the Florida News Group (Originally in English)

Acclaimed actress, writer and humanitarian Marian Hailey-Moss began her career in the early 1960s as a stage actress at Shakespearean festivals in the US. By the mid-sixties she had settled in New York, where she immersed herself in that city’s innovative theater scene, performing in six Broadway plays, numerous avant-garde productions and four major motion pictures. Of her signature film role as Brenda, an idealistic spiritual seeker in 1970’s Lovers and Strangers, the New York Times wrote, “the wacky, Khalil Gibran-quoting [character Brenda] succeeds because [she is] so engagingly portrayed.” The movie won an Oscar for the music of Fred Karlin, who later composed music for Supreme Master Ching Hai’s oratorio The Peace Seeker.

Ms. Hailey-Moss was married to the legendary Jeff Moss, head writer and composer for Sesame Street, which has been called the most respected show in the history of television. For twelve years, Marian and Jeff lived in a glamorous apartment at Central Park West in New York City. Marian, meanwhile, felt a growing urge to pursue a more spiritual lifestyle and serve humanity, and in the high-stress New York environment she felt the best way to do so would be to work as a psychotherapist.

Apart from serving people’s psychological needs, Marian also felt great compassion for the wild animals that struggled to survive in the City. So she began spending much of her time rehabilitating injured birds, many of whom had flown into the windows of skyscrapers. In 1993, Marian’s spiritual search culminated when she received initiation from Supreme Master Ching Hai. She currently lives, works, and practices the Quan Yin Method in Manhattan with her dog Ruffy, and birds Winkin, Blinkin, Nod and Spiffy.

Besides her humanitarian efforts, Marian has written a novel about her life’s journey and those of her animal friends along with a number of short stories, some of which have been published in magazines or presented in public readings. Holistic writing teacher Fred Poole, who has coached Ms. Hailey-Moss in writing workshops, describes her as follows on his website: “The wildly creative, accomplished and multifaceted Marian Hailey-Moss has gone deep inside herself in her lives as a Broadway actress and psychotherapist, and now, as seen in these searing and brilliant stories, her life as an author.” Some of these short stories are available on Ms. Hailey-Moss’ website www.marianhaileymoss.net.

The following is a recent interview with Ms. Hailey-Moss, in which she discusses her extraordinary career and long spiritual quest.

Q: What was it like to be in the movies?

Hailey-Moss: Very dramatic, a lot of ups and downs. You have to have courage to put yourself on the line, and stamina, stamina, stamina.

Q: Was it difficult to pursue spirituality amid all the glamour of Broadway?

HM: I was pursuing something. I didn’t know it was spirituality. I prayed to God only before opening night and before auditions. What I was consciously seeking was success in the business, but during every show I was in I became uncomfortably aware that show biz might not be it.

Q: One of your most famous roles was Brenda in Lovers and Strangers. Was this a role you identified with at the time?

HM: I identified with every character I played. Otherwise it doesn’t come from the heart. People who knew me said with Brenda I was just playing myself.

Q: You played an incredible variety of roles, from classic Shakespearean heroines to spokeswomen in more than fifty TV commercials. What part stands out most in your mind?

HM: The best Shakespeare I did was Juliet in ‘63 [at the] Ashland, Oregon [Shakespeare Festival]. I felt Juliet was my story too. My folks forbade me to see a wild kind of young man who was my first romance and in desperation I started dancing and acting.

As an actor you learn to adapt to any script you’re given. I remember doing Harvey, a traditional comedy, on Broadway and in the afternoons going down to a workshop at an avant-garde theater where we actors wore leotards and expressed ourselves with moans and groans.

Q: How did you find out about Supreme Master Ching Hai?

HM: My friend, an initiate, invited me and a few people over one night to watch a video of Master addressing the United Nations. From that night on I was vegetarian and determined to become initiated. My private life was such that there was nowhere to go except to seek a spiritual way of living, and there She was!

Q: How did you go from acting to psychotherapy?

HM: It sort of happened naturally. I feel it’s similar to acting only you and the client/patient write the script. As in acting you try to find the truth. It seemed not to require such a dramatic lifestyle as being a performer. Meditation allows me to just be there with the person. That’s base line. Before I was always worried if I was saying the right thing, helping in the right way. Now I feel that with Master everything is OK and I can relax. Master will take care. My clients seem to behave as if they think so, too.

Q: What inspired you to start writing?

HM: I feel it’s a direct gift from Quan Yin. I have to meditate in order to write. Sometimes I feel I’m channeling the ideas from another source, maybe the Second Level, I don’t know.

Q: How did you start rescuing birds in New York?

HM: Finding a wounded chicken was my introduction to the “911” for birds. I also found a bird rehabilitator in my neighborhood who is highly skilled and trustworthy. Oftentimes she treats the birds I take home to recover. I’ve met many wonderful people helping the birds that grace New York City.

One special time this past summer I released a hummingbird at the Shakespeare garden. It was a living poem to do so. I don’t think the needs of birds in NYC are different than anywhere else. There’re just more of them in such a dense urban environment. We need an educational system that includes “Kindness 101” so that people can become more sensitive to how precious the animal kingdom is.

Q: If you had one thing to ask Master Ching Hai, what would it be?

HM: Now I know what it’s been all about - to meet Master! I am thankful from the bottom of my heart and soul. There are no questions because Master is the answer.

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