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Daya Vaidya: Relentless And Compassionate

Daya Vaidya: Relentless And Compassionate

We can continuously direct our unwavering attention toward being present in becoming fuller selves. Expansion occurs when we send a vibrational request for new answers to be born so that we can experience them. This eternal energetic question-answer dance propels the life force expressed by every human being on the planet. To see life through the eyes of compassion is to recognize our own and others’ full potential. There is nothing to give up in that state except to experience our innate wholeness.

Artist Daya Vaidya is currently starring as supervillain Onomatopoeia in season three of the CW’s hit superhero drama series, Superman & Lois. She says, “My essence is relentless and compassionate. I don’t ever give up. I have a drive in me that I can’t even explain. To be in the entertainment business requires almost a level of obsessiveness. That’s how I go into life; whatever it is, I go full-on 150% and give everything I have. I love to live fully.”

If there is anything to compare momentarily, it is the energetic distance between us and our desired experience, the vibrational measurement between our internal and external selves. Frequency determines the speed at which energy crystallizes into the physical realm. Recognizing the frequency at which we are currently vibrating means being aware of what we are experiencing at the time. We can tell by how we feel. Looking within begins the process of shifting in the desired direction. All external approval conditions us to pretend that we want to believe what others believe. All internal responses lead us to embrace our autonomy in conscious choices and our true desires. Knowing that we have the reins over our lives is the ultimate state of empowerment.

“I’m a highly competitive person by nature. But I have to be careful not to be driven by seeking outward approval and validation. It’s about the journey. I must remember to stay on the journey and be present about my best self and highest option instead of wanting to be better than or competing with somebody on social media or in an audition. I am getting closer to ‘my path is my path,’ which doesn’t take away from anybody else. Their path won’t take away from me. I want to be around everyone winning. I want to be around everyone doing amazing. I’m the biggest cheerleader for myself and others. I’ve always been nice when I was younger, but more driven by comparison and competition. With age, it got so much more enjoyable. It’s a lot more fun. It’s less stressful. Even when the highs and the lows, I can handle it better. Now, some external thing is not driving me anymore. It feels peaceful. So even when things aren’t going perfectly, they are going well. I am aware that this is part of the process. I’m good. I’m going to roll with this. It feels like a lot of happiness,” says Daya.

Variety is at the core of everything that exists. Sameness and equality are two different perspectives. From our physical perspective, we are all unique, therefore, diverse in our life’s expression. From our non-physical perspective, we all are equally created, therefore, one in essence. Celebrating our unique vantage point does not mean being separate but united by adding our uniqueness to all that is through our blended physical and non-physical selves. By observing variety, we are motivated to ask new questions. Without diversity, there would be nothing to ask; hence no inspiration to create anything new. Variety is a synonym for expansion, and without expansion, we would cease to exist.

Daya expresses, “Diversity, to me, is what our life and this world are all about. What’s crazy to me is when people fight diversity and the insanity of the people threatened by it. We would not be alive as a species without diversity; it’s what we are made of as human beings. That is how we survive. Diversity is our strength. It makes us better, bringing in new ideas, new people coming together, absolutely improving any situation. The more inclusive and heightened, the stronger we are. That’s not lip service; we are stronger when we come together. I am not a separatist in any way. I want everybody at the party. Come in, and let’s talk; let’s hash it out. I come from a multiracial, multicultural family and have lived in many different worlds.”

Photography // Maya Iman

We often wait for others to accept us, which is an overwhelming feeling, because we can’t assert ourselves on others. We go into fight or flight mode when we need someone else to accept us. Although wanting others to accept us is a preference, it does not prevent us from unconditionally accepting ourselves first. How can we ask someone to include us if we are not including ourselves?

“The only way to be inclusive is if you become that yourself. You’re not alienating people or hating or blaming them, but it is for you to love yourself and then pull people in. That’s not to say I don’t believe we must stand up and show up. I do. There’s a difference between fighting and standing up: being vocal and using your voice. That’s all very important. I’m not passive. But the way you do it is by accepting yourself and then going in and reaching through understanding and trying to connect with people. Then you can make changes, and you can shift things,” says Daya.

About Onomatopoeia, the character Daya portrays in the CW’s superhero series Superman & Lois, the artist shares, “I’ve said this before; it can sound dramatic. But I’ve been acting for a long time, and this role changed me 100%. I was a different person going to Canada, Vancouver, and shooting it than when I returned. It was the freedom the creators gave me to play and my cancer connection with the character. I’m a cancer survivor, and all those components made it a crazy experience. Fellow artists who are reading this will understand that when you deep dive into your work, it shifts you and changes you. I’m still feeling the effects of it now. Onomatopoeia is a fierce woman. And I got into the fact that I feel like I can use some of this in my own life, without the killing (smiling). But her strength, for sure, is empowering.”

It’s our natural response to defend the victim and fight the aggressor. However, there is always a vibrational match between both and something else in common: the desire to express the love they are. But the greatest villain is the one who requires the most love. It hurts to hate because it is the polar opposite of who we are, which is love. And perhaps, if we could be in an unconditional state of being, directing our love equally to the hero and the villain, they could sense it. Because when we are in love, we can only emit love.

“Superman and Onomatopoeia have a lot in common; they have a connection because both have a power that is so vast that they almost can’t be in people’s presence. They both are aliens in their own world, yet they have this complex thing of wanting to do good, but they hurt people. Superman is more than just a simple, good character. And Tyler Hoechlin, who portrays Superman, and I talked a lot about it on set. He looks at Superman and plays this role in a multi-dimensional way. We both talked about how he is not just a hero, and I’m a villain. It’s cyclical. Sometimes he has to be a villain too. Sometimes I have to be a hero. Superman flies over South Metropolis, the suicide slums, and Chad L. Coleman, who portrays Bruno Mannheim, says, ‘What about our people? You keep flying over us?’ At that moment, Superman is challenged to question himself about being an iconic hero. There are a lot of layers to it. What’s remarkable about the upcoming episodes is that the audience will see more of this, where Superman and Onomatopoeia see each other from a different perspective, which gets flushed out. Whoever watches the show will discover that the relationship between Superman and Onomatopoeia gets closer and closer,” reveals Daya.

The most challenging times in our lives are when we grow the most. It doesn’t mean we intentionally put ourselves in trouble, but with curiosity and wonder, becoming ‘professional troublemakers’ can help us grow. Reliving those moments from the challenge allows us to see if anything else has been swept under the rug. It indicates whether we are ready to let go of the resistance that keeps us feeling we are in the challenge rather than observing it from a distance and appreciating what that experience has given us.

Daya candidly shares about reliving her experience with cancer on set: “There were a lot of those moments where it felt empowering. And there were also moments when I was processing it. When you’ve been through something major in your life, it’s almost like you put it in a box for a bit because it was too much to deal with. Then, over time, it comes up, and you process it. It was kind of like that. It brought back to the forefront some things I probably hadn’t dealt with or faced. There were all these crazy sense memories happening when we’d be on set. And there were the chemo scenes where I was wearing a gown at the hospital. I would say, ‘Whoa, this is freaking me out.’ It would be like a sense memory, like a smell. At times, I felt like I got transported back to when I was going through that same scene. It was super weird. There were moments when I would stop and have to be professional, as obviously, I was shooting a TV show. But I had to keep it together and deal with what was coming up. An acting coach told me long ago, ‘You never leave yourself at the door. Ever, in any character.’ He always used the words, ‘It’s all in.’ The second I stepped on stage in front of a camera, it was all in. The way I looked at it, I would remind myself that I got well as soon as those memory sensations started coming up. That’s not me. That’s now Onomatopoeia. That’s now her life, so all of that goes in, and none of it gets rejected. When you do that, you’re working out your life stuff and infusing the character with all kinds of things that come up. And that’s the play. That’s what’s fun. It was a ride. It was wild. I loved it all,” says Daya, before continuing, “You go into the space of not doing it for validation, but being true to yourself about what you’re in at that moment. It grounds you to say, ‘I don’t care what people think because this is real.’ Then you ask yourself, ‘Are you doing this to get attention? Are you doing it for the truth? Are you doing it to uplift? Are you doing it for the ego? Or are you doing something to make something better?’ These questions become super clear when it’s life or death. Truth becomes more important than your ego. You must stand up and be real and honest with yourself first, and then you show up authentically.”

What superpower can be more unshakable than becoming aware that we are creators continually in the process of creating? The superhero lives inside us and reveals itself when we are ready to lead by example, which is our most significant influence on others. The most inspiring thing we can do for ourselves and others is to become and show up in life as the change we want to see. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of someone’s party who feels whole in their expression? It is also valuable for those who choose not to participate because it demonstrates our free will.

“If you’re going through life and you feel hampered by whatever it may be, whatever your own personal issue is, and we all have them, there’s something about watching a superhero story, and these people who do extraordinary things in extraordinary circumstances that give the audience hope. At least, that’s how I felt it. No matter what’s happening, it lets you believe you can accomplish anything. It allows you to escape your thoughts and go on this wild ride. And I think it relieves stress and anxiety. It unleashes a part of your own little inner superhero. I would like everybody to take away from watching the show whatever they need for themselves, in terms of making them be their best self or even more than that. I feel Onomatopoeia makes you feel like you can overcome anything. I’m hoping that the audience sees her not just as a villain. I want people to question her alliances and their motivations. I want people to think because it’s not simple. I want people to go inward. The more we grapple, the better. Maybe the audience can take a minute to realize they like her. To see her beyond a villain who kills people. I want people to notice the contradiction that often lies in all of us. Maybe it can help somebody feeling down on themselves to wake up and realize, ‘I don’t hate myself. I’m okay,” says Daya.

Receiving and giving have equal value. We would have nothing to give if we did not receive. We can become depleted if we only give. We can become conditioned to others if we only take. We must live the most fulfilling life when we give and receive without attachment, and we will continue to experience more of that.

“I’m working on accepting compliments. Someone complimented me the other night. I got shy instead of taking that in. It’s hard for me to talk about myself or to receive compliments. It feels weird. But I can tell you what I love about other people all day. I love other people’s integrity and kindness. I love people who show up and are authentically honest. People sometimes lie a lot. And I consider myself an honest and real person.”

Usually, what we truly love to see in others is what we love the most within ourselves.

Like Daya, are you unceasingly intense about living life to the fullest? Are you enjoying becoming more of yourself and leading by example?

Photography // Maya Iman | Words // Armand Alvarez 

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