While sitting in acting class today watching a couple of my fellow students perform an exercise; I had one of those little epiphanies that pop up from time to time that really put me at ease and gave me comfort. Up to that point, in my mind I had felt like I had a certain destination or level that I needed to reach to be successful with acting. Did that mean a part in a movie or TV show? Possibly; but the end result was a bit less concrete than that for me. I followed my intuition into acting. One of the reasons that I am so drawn to acting is because it feels very cathartic to me; it feels healing. Those moments of getting out of my head and into my heart are priceless. And since I have been a driven, results oriented, thought processing kind of person, acting class has proven to be a refuge for me and allowed me to explore parts of myself that I either didn’t know existed or were buried deep down inside me most likely never to see the light. It feels good to shine light on all aspects of myself. It brings truth to the forefront and when I can stand in truth I am no longer held back by my fears and the incorrect stories I tell about myself because I can better understand them by putting them into words or released feelings.
Being that results oriented, driven person has at times served me very well. It’s helped me accomplish a lot of things that I am very proud of. And when I began this particular acting class, in some ways I looked at it as another goal to accomplish. Don’t get me wrong I desperately wanted it to feed my spirit while I was learning, but I also looked at it as another way to help me reach that “destination,” whatever and wherever it was. This way of thinking put a tremendous amount of pressure on me. Instead of relaxing into this class and letting it touch me and teach me in the ways that it was supposed to, I was thinking ahead and figuring how long it would take me to be promoted to the next level. You see my class structure is set up with a beginning, intermediate and advanced hierarchy for this particular method that we are learning and our instructors promote us when they feel we are ready. I felt like I had a huge mountain to climb.
It suddenly hit me with that way of thinking, I had totally forgotten why I enjoyed acting; which was to ultimately find that sweet spot in each exercise or scene where I would totally leave myself vulnerable, honest and open as a means of self-discovery. To rest in that gap where I could be totally true to myself and allow myself to just be. I then realized that my reward wasn’t something down the road like a role in a movie or part in a play, but to find that sweet spot in every single exercise and scene going forward. That is where true joy is; being present in the moment while being authentic and true to my feelings in the moment.
Life is no different as I try to be present and rest in between those seductive moments of living in the past and thinking about the future. Roadblocks that hold me back from enjoying that sweet spot and magical moment of being present for myself and truly listening to others; another example of art imitating life.
Copyright G. Brian Benson 2013