Reflections on the lake
One of my treasured actors shared this third-hand memo with me. As recorded by the anonymous actor’s coach, there are times when we find our heart and our head are sharing a language that we can finally understand. How we process that can be a wonderful journey of exploration, discovery and change. The journey itself, often begins with simply writing down the thoughts and feelings of where we currently are.
The following is from an anonymous actor studying under a Canadian coach -
“It’s funny that you can go around and call yourself something, but not truly understand what it means until you see others display it in themselves. You look in the mirror and see someone staring back at you…a star possibly? An actor? A great human being? It doesn’t matter…I realized that what should be staring back at me is emptiness…a blank canvas…no judgments, no perceptions of what I feel I have to live up to, no right or wrong. Just me. And the stories I have and the pain I’ve lived…the happiness I’ve thrived on as well, there in my paint kit ready to generously share if need be. Otherwise…I want to look in the mirror and see nothing…I don’t want anything to fill this moment with noise, or falsities.
I am humbled. I sit here today feeling more grounded than I have in a long time…I feel a sense of focus. I feel like I am in love. But I am also sad. An aching in my heart to do the work. I fight to be present at this exact moment as I type…it’s not about yesterday or tomorrow..It’s about right now….and right now, I have a yearning to connect with other artists who I can learn from. My body sighs knowing I am so lucky that I can live my life everyday as an artist… a true person. I don’t need to make excuses, or lists of all I’ve done, or how I’m working because frankly, all I want to do is embrace my character and myself and walk slowly through these next 50 years of my life, breathing in every moment, every connection, every opportunity to play…. or maybe it’s my bigger responsibility to teach myself this… practice this myself….teach by doing….sharing.
My dream feels like it has changed this morning. I don’t see 10 years down the road at this moment. It’s like my brain won’t go there…..I only see right now. And my dream is to be the person who laughs like a crazed donkey when I feel like it, who cries when I feel it without judging it…. a person who can love wholeheartedly, without reservation, knowing that ultimately, it’s not only about how I can affect others with my story…it’s how I allow them to affect me in return. Wow.
In previous classes with Michele and Claudia, I was not an artist. I know this now. If I was, I would remember them more…would have been more present…. would not have shut down and collapsed under notes…while trying to defend myself…. My artist is the part of me today that feels completely grateful that someone gave me notes…. ones that revealed my lack of integrity and grace. It’s such a strange thing to feel like I don’t remember the good notes… I am just focused on the stuff that I need to address to be a better actor….. “Ok, if I am doing this, I must fight like hell to not do this……” I am grateful. If I truly strive for honesty and integrity as an artist, then how can I expect to do this without knowledge?
I want to be open. Right now I don’t feel like smiling and I’m not. I feel like crying and it’s messed up…. but now I am laughing because I just don’t care what I feel… I’m just so lucky to feel at all.
I know this may change and I may feel differently as I struggle through this… but right now, this is my truth.”
Anonymous Acting Student
Ahhhh yes. . . the connection of artist with “pen”. Whenever actors become “present” and are able to measure their feelings and emotions, they do in fact realize that every moment is NEW. The trick of it is that we DO need to be able to keep track of the long range goal and keep it in perspective with that of our presence.
Now THAT can open a BIG can of conversation!
Being able to “be present” and of the most “effective simplicity”, has a lot to do with preparation, discovery and trust. Once we get there, semantics are often the only blocks standing in the way of how one expresses HOW they got there or WHEN or with WHOM.
I can imagine that there are far more words and expressions this actor could have found to define why she/he could not “see 10 years down the road”. Not just that his/her brain would not allow her/him to go there, but as with all action-intention and emotion, we make moment – to – moment CHOICES.
The Anonymous actor’s writing was an obvious stream of conscience that we have probably all at one time or another felt. I am grateful they put it down in print.
Let me hear from you!