Actors Ask: How Do I Get Out of My Own Way More in the Work?

I get asked hundreds of questions by actors and I thought this week I’d tackle one of the most common ones posed to me – and also seems to be the one that most actors struggle with everywhere.

“When I’m in my head and trying to get present, is there something I can do physically to help drop me in my body, get out of my own way and get present?

Part of what we have available to us at all times is awareness of what is keeping us from being released. These are not hard principles to grasp. The correlations are those to life. When I get stressed out, when I get anxious, when I’m in my head in life, the most practical way to become present (and in our body) is to breathe. Mindfully breathe. We don’t do this. We reach for our phones, we breathe from our shoulders and neck, we continue to think thoughts that make us anxious and exacerbate the problem rather than simply slowing down and truly taking a deep breath from our diaphragm. Try it. Right now while you’re reading this just take a deep breath consciously. Notice how you immediately drop into your own body and relax into you (for some people this might take a few deep breaths and that’s okay too). Just this simple, beautiful act immediately changes us. That’s how efficient our own bodies are in correcting the problems we create for ourselves in our heads.

Another way is to find (and use) the emotional equivalent to what we’re thinking that is distracting us. So we pull out of the moment (and the scene), by hearing ourselves say, “Well that was stupid,” or “I sound like an idiot,” or “I can’t do this,” or “I suck.” Immediately when we engage in this kind of left-brain dialogue, we’re in our heads and out of the moment. The key is to again understand that the body has a way of solving the problem for us we’ve created in our minds.

Saying these things to ourselves also simultaneously makes us feel something. This will be different for each of us. One person might get angry, someone else sad. One person might feel frustrated, while another person may want to scream. Whatever the feeling is, use it. The expression of that feeling into the moment is what gets you back into the moment. You will immediately get out of your head and into your body by feeling what you’re really feeling and that energy will be used to fuel telling the story.

Now sometimes the actor might say, “Well, what if that isn’t what the ‘character’ is supposed to be feeling?”

Light bulb. If you are feeling it in the moment, that’s what the character is supposed to be feeling. What you are feeling is always the scene. Always. It doesn’t matter where it comes from.

Kevin Spacey talks about this truth during his experiences playing Richard III.

“I don’t start off a performance going into a corner and trying to become Richard III. I’ve trusted that if I just go out and however I am that day, whatever mood I’m in… if I’m frustrated, if I’m angry, if I’m lonely or incredibly happy, doesn’t matter what… I start there. There is a remarkable thing that happens which is just that… I let the play take me there. And it always does.”

We have ideas of what something is supposed to look like and then the true science of acting (and the moment) asks us instead to feel and act off of what we’re actually experiencing in the moment. When we start to acknowledge the moment more and feel what we’re feeling in it, we’ll get out of our heads and be gloriously expressed in our body through the feelings we each individually experience. That’s what we’re all after anyway. We’re all after these fleeting moments of emotional expression in our lives that transcend our self-dialogues and self-judgments that keep us stuck in our heads.

Now that you’ve been given a primer in how to do it more, trust it. It’s exhilarating and inspiring and reminds us of what it truly means to be alive. We each have enormous amounts of energetic potential. Start putting it somewhere that is useful. Not in our heads. Instead, in the moment that becomes an expression of you.

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The #1 Way to Get Out of Your Way? Stop Comparing-and-Despairing!

I’ve lectured on it before. Compare-and-Despair-ism.

Don’t do it. It’s a zero-sum game you can never win.

You’re comparing your dress rehearsal to everyone else’s opening night, and when you do that you’re always going to be cast as the ugly duckling.

Put down those magazines that trade in on people’s insecurities and create comparisons. Stop going to websites whose job is to make everyone else’s achievements look so glamorous.

The truth about creating and getting anything done is that it’s work. It’s not glamorous. In any business. It’s work!

Frances Anderton, the host of KCRW’s DnA recently interviewed the filmmaker, Frédéric Tcheng about his new movie, Dior and I. Mr Tcheng’s film follows Raf Simons as he becomes the new creative director at Christian Dior.

Mr. Tcheng asked the workers in the atelier what they thought of the new designer. Most of them didn’t know who he was.

“They’re not following fashion in that way,” Mr. Tcheng says. “They’re doing the work and are knowledgeable about what the craft is, but they don’t follow the celebrities of fashion and who is who and who does what . . . and it’s interesting in comparison to this image of celebrity culture we live in.”

Just do your work.

Stop comparing yourself to other people’s work. Everyone’s work is valid. It’s like comparing a cello to a tuba. They both make beautiful music, together or separately. They’re both musical. Neither is better.

Matthew Weiner (creator of Mad Men) says that, “The greatest regret I have is that, early in my career, I showed myself such cruelty for not having accomplished anything significant. I spent so much time trying to write, but was paralyzed by how behind I felt.”

Everyone has their own process. Everyone has their own journey. To punish yourself for where you are today because other people seem to have “made it” way ahead of you is a denigration of self. And simply dishonors where you are.

Social science shows that the more we compare ourselves to others the worst our self-esteem is. And this has to do with appearance-related comparisons, success-level comparisons, how we perceive ourselves, and our own self-worth.

But all of these comparisons are illusory anyway because you don’t see the struggle in the finished product. You just see the finished product.

All the struggles, disappointments, obstacles, heartaches, challenges, setbacks, rejections, failures, bad ideas, and false starts are edited out.

You’re comparing your entire creative life continuum to a 2-hour movie, or puff-celebrity-piece interview, or TV show or some other pop-culture project that had all of the stuff that almost prevented it from getting made – edited out!

You’re not seeing that story.

You’re seeing the story that wants to be presented to the public.

So stop comparing your entire creative journey to someone else’s editorialized story.

Celebrate your life. Without the edits. Because the full story is always more fulfilling than the abbreviated one.

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Don’t Let Your ‘Arrested Development’ Rob You of Your Joy on the Job

Tony Hale is best known for his career breakthrough role on Arrested Development.

What it took him to get there, I’m sure, is what it looks like for most artists: surviving rejections, overcoming obstacles, perseverance, and commitment.

What was surprising (not really!) is what it looked like once he arrived.

Disappointment. He said, “It didn’t satisfy the way I thought it would, because of all the expectations I placed on it.”

Whatever that “big” thing is that we place far out into the future – whether it’s moving to Los Angeles, booking the “dream” job, getting the girlfriend, finally getting married, signing with the perfect agency – anything that we think our happiness is predicated upon our achieving – constantly keeps us at odds with being happy now.

Happiness isn’t in a thing. It’s in our state of being.

Happiness doesn’t come later. It abides in us now by becoming more present with who we are. Right now.

Mr. Hale said he has a friend who tells him, “You have to wake yourself up 100 times a day to where you are.”

When our expectations, plans, and ideas about how we think things should look, clash against where we are (which also includes where we aren’t) – the recipe for unhappiness is easily attained.

And this can be compounded in the entertainment business because everyone is constantly asking us, “What’s next for you?”

As if where we are isn’t enough. As if where we are shouldn’t be celebrated or fulfilling. As if we have to constantly be fast-forwarding to something else. Somewhere else.

And actors have it doubly hard because so much of our identification is quantified by how much we are (or aren’t) booking. So when someone asks us what we’re doing and we can only answer in grey areas – “I’m good,” “I’m auditioning,” “I’m still plugging away,” we get down on ourselves. We compare ourselves to other careers that have an A + B = C timeline. Other jobs seem to yield tangible results. So when we go through periods where no results are being generated we panic, thinking we’re doing something wrong.

A life in the arts doesn’t follow “normal” trajectories. (And thinking it does, can be yet another reason we postpone our happiness.)

If you don’t practice joy where you are it’s not going to happen once you get whatever (or wherever) you think you need in order to be happy.

Mr. Hale goes on to say, “We’re trained to be looking for the next thing, rather than just learning to be.”

The greatest cause of suffering is our incorrect belief that we need something that we don’t currently have in order to be happy.

So cut yourself some slack, get present to where you are right now, enjoy your journey and stop comparing your life to an expectation in your head that can never be fulfilled. Once you do, you’ll start fulfilling yourself (!) and anything that comes in addition to what you already are will just be icing on cake.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Why Do You Create?

That’s a good question to ask ourselves.

What is it we’re seeking? Why do we desire to tell stories? What’s the purpose of our being here and exploring who we are?

I heard this interviewer explain that Zayn Malik from One Direction shouldn’t be leaving the group now that, “he’s got fame and fortune and everything he could ever want.”

Sorry, it’s not everything we want. When will people get this? That’s not why we create.

Look, those things are fine. But they’re not sustainable. The external end results of doing something are transitory. We don’t create to get things. We create for creating’s sake.

Matthew Weiner, the creator of “Mad Men” says, “We have a desire to make something out of the feelings we have.”

That’s it. Whether it’s writing poetry or singing a song or acting a scene or painting on a canvas, we’re imbuing the moments of our creation with our own self. That self is a feeling self. From a deeply profound level of self-expression, that’s it—that’s why we’re doing it.

It gets tricky because we constantly use monetary value as the yardstick of whether or not our creating matters. So, one person’s creating is better if it makes millions of dollars, or he’s rich and famous. Another person’s creating is better if it gets millions of “likes” and a franchise. So we equate creating with leading to bigger things and everyone taking notice.

Mark Duplass, in his recent SXSW speech, talks about our belief in getting “somewhere” and how everything’s supposed to change once you’ve created something that everyone says matters. So we work to get to a new level in our lives and then we think, “This time the cavalry is f*&king beating down your door.” And then you realize, “How is it possible that the cavalry is not coming?”

And that can be disappointing to any artist because of our relationship with what we think creating leads to.

But, as Duplass says, “Here’s the good news: Who gives a fuck about the cavalry? You are the cavalry… No one can stop you from doing exactly what you want to do. If you can accept that the cavalry won’t come, and if you can be the cavalry, it gives you a chance to be happy.”

You don’t need a corporation to acknowledge you anymore. You can self-create. You can put something up that draws people to you. You can green light yourself. You don’t need validation or support or admiration or, God forbid…approval from anyone else to tell you how or what to create.

You also don’t need those things to dictate your happiness.

So it’s OK to want our art to be received and appreciated. It’s OK to have goals and to work toward meeting them. It’s OK to have dreams and watch them unfold as we had hoped.

And what happens is we stop waiting for someone’s permission before we create, and we realize that whether or not they do come, we have a lot more power in creating than we ever realized.

And that then becomes yet another real reason why we create.

(And good for Zayn Malik, by the way.)

*First published on Backstage.com*

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What the NCAA Basketball Finals can Teach us About Acting, Fearlessness (and Life)

One of the things I found most inspiring about the recent NCAA Men’s College Basketball Championship Finals was that the sports announcers kept using the word “fearless” to describe the Duke players – especially the freshmen players – who just drove the ball in amazingly aggressive, wild and yes, fearless ways.

Grayson Allen, Justise Winslow, Tyus Jones, Jahlil Okafor.

Sometimes it didn’t work. But that’s also what was thrilling about their taking the risk.

And that’s why those freshmen showed us all, really, how to play ball in life.

We are all naturally fearless – especially when we’re young – because our memory bank hasn’t yet been fully loaded with the repercussions of what’s to come from risk taking; meaning the setbacks, rejections and challenges we will inevitably face.

I’m not saying there aren’t challenges in our youth – but because our brains are still developing and we’re still open to trying so many different things – we generally bounce back quicker and are less likely to personalize everything.

So we continue to participate in things regardless of the consequences. And we don’t yet ascribe personal meaning to our setbacks. In other words, when we fail at trying something, we don’t shame ourselves by calling ourselves, “Stupid,” or telling ourselves, “We’re never going to make it.”

At one level that’s inspiring because we’re creative risk takers and innocent and wild.

At another level it’s also scary because we’re creative risk takers and innocent and wild.

(This is why car rental companies won’t rent vehicles to people under the age of 25! Their reptilian brains are still developing. i.e., they’re risk takers, innocent and wild!)

As adults, we need to try to get back to that way of creating. Taking the risks. Going for stuff. Being fearless. Knowing that you’ll fail but taking the leap anyway. We need to stop ascribing meaning to every action we take that doesn’t work out the way we thought it would and stop punishing ourselves for attempting it in the first place.

We have to give up being risk-averse to being more like our freshmen selves.

We’ll make more errors driving to the basket, perhaps, and some of the risks won’t pan out. But with no attempt there is no success.

And that’s how you end up winning an NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship.

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The (Almost) Impossible 7-Day Challenge

For every problem the mind creates in our lives, there is also a simultaneous solution created by the mind. Good to know! (This is also an important distinction. The problems that we most often face on a daily basis exist nowhere but from the fertile breeding ground of the mind generating them.)

In other words, the problems “out there” already have myriad solutions. You get a flat tire, you can fix it. Your flight’s cancelled, you can book a new one. Problems in the world are different than problems in the mind. And one could also argue that it’s the mind in the first place that’s creating the problems in your world.

It’s not mind over matter. It’s mind into matter.

So when we create a problem in our mind and start freaking out, a light bulb also comes to you to show you how to fix the problem. Always. 

The No. 1 way to fix any problem is to act (not on stage, in your own life).

But generally we default back into the rumination of our mind that got us stuck in the first place. So unless we make the effort, we stay in the problem.

Why?

Andrew Newberg, a leading neuroscientist, has a new book on brain science that talks about why we resist change. From a neurological perspective, “After spending decades building a somewhat stable personality to handle life’s tribulations,” he says, “the brain is hesitant to alter its underlying beliefs. Even if the behavior is dysfunctional, it has helped you to survive.”

Ouch. So from a neurological perspective it’s as if we’d almost prefer to stay in our own suffering than make a change.

What? How can that be? Say it isn’t so!

To move from our problems into what we want forces us to confront our limited self-dialogues that have neurologically defined us for decades and we’ve spent a long time re-enforcing by the way we think, act, and engage with the world.

So you’ve been dumped by your agent, but haven’t done anything to get a new one, and you feel unhappy and stuck. Or, you want to leave your boyfriend but are too scared to take the leap even though you’re miserable.

The problems present the solution.

But to meet yourself at a new level of where an “a-ha” is coming from is a scary proposition because it’s going to ask you to work against your ingrained beliefs and then act on the clarity that comes to you.

So how? How do we step into what we want more of in our lives? More work, better relationships, more fulfillment, better roles, more exciting projects, representation, a movie role, the lead on a series?

You have to make a conscious commitment to make different choices.

So here’s the first way (others will come in the following weeks):

We all complain a lot. Complaining is just speaking over and over about that which you think you don’t have the power to change and you do. So we complain about something so we can stay stuck. Bam! Most things we complain about we can change at a causal level. (Think about it. The things we most often bitch about we have the power to actually change.)

And those circumstances we can’t physically alter, we can learn to accept and therefore stop complaining about them. What’s the serenity prayer? “Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.”

So either taking action or practicing acceptance actually leads to the same thing. You can change 100 percent of the things you bitch about. 

This week, take the 7-day challenge. Try not to complain about anything. Watch what it will do to your outlook on life, your mood, your energy. Every time you do complain, however, you have to go back to Day 1 and start over. So a 7-day challenge might turn into a 21-day challenge. It’s up to you.

But isn’t that better than no change at all?

*First published on Backstage

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We’re All the Same, Which is What Makes You Simultaneously Different

We’re all the same. And that’s what makes us simultaneously different.

Confused? Seems counterintuitive?

It’s not.

As artists, the raw material from which we pull to create (it doesn’t matter if you’re a writer or actor or musician) is your own life. All expressions (even if they are expressions of someone else’s writing or lyrics or words) are still being channeled through you.

So you’re getting up and telling someone’s story, per se, but that story is being told through your own life.

Your pain, your love, your terror, your desires, your revenge fantasies, your dreams, your anger, your hate, your heartbreaks; and on and on it goes with everything you’ve survived and overcome in life. Everything you’ve celebrated or achieved. Everything you’ve been disappointed by or victoriously vanquished.

Life indeed is the canvas. But you are the painter and your autobiography – your personal history – is the paint.

And that’s why we’re all the same. Everyone on this planet – everyone – has the same hope for their own lives. We all want love. Connection. We all desire joy and freedom. We all want to be heard and acknowledged. Yes, some people want to be actors. Other people want to be doctors or lawyers. Some people are artisans or professional athletes.

So the manifestation of our dream-stuff is different and specific for each of us. But the core molding clay from where it comes – our passions, pursuits, desires, our need to self-express through some form – is all the same. It’s the same stuff that’s been propelling humanity forward since time began. It’s the same core stuff that created the cosmos. And it’s the same for all of us. You could also call it spirit or energy or flow or ideas or the blueprint or the quantum. It’s in our DNA. We’re imbued with it.

Speaking of DNA, here’s a little science to prove how we’re all the same.

The Human Genome Project shows that we share the same DNA amongst all human beings. We’re 99.9% the same.

So we think we’re different when we judge people who feel so far removed from ourselves. Whether from a different country, or different religion; different sexual preference or different career choice. But everyone’s stuff we have judgments about are just projections of our own qualities we are grappling with.

So maybe the goal is to just keep letting everyone be. Allow yourself to be, working through your stuff as best you can. Giving people the benefit of the doubt. Forgiving more. Letting go. Seeing more clearly that we’re all in this together. Because truly (and scientifically), we are all together – 99.9 % of us.

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If You’re Not Having Fun, You’re Done

If it’s not fun, why are we doing it?

The art of acting is based in play. And the science of play is quantifiable. When you start to play more, that which you want (in your life and your work) starts to show up. You get freed up to the moment. There is no attachment to end results. There is little self-criticism or self-sabotage. You are fully expressed. Science calls it “the flow.” You follow your instincts. Stop overthinking things and live more moment-to-moment.

I was babysitting my 6-year niece this weekend and I took her to Chipotle and watched (partly in terror) how much fun kids have. It was also demoralizing to see just how far we “adults” have migrated from our own centers of childlike enthusiasm, curiosity, and wonder. What happened?

I need a drink!

There’s not a lot of editing going on in a child’s creative experience. In fact, it’s the parents who are constantly jumping in and curbing their behavior. There was a report on NPR recently about how helicopter parenting is unhealthy because kids need unstructured, un-parented play for their emotional and cognitive development.

Now of course I’m not advocating that you let your kids run rampant at Chipotle, but I’m using this as an example of, Why do we get so serious about…well, everything?

Dr. Seuss said, “Adults are obsolete children.” We simply lose our connection to our own childlike play. Just because we’ve become adults doesn’t mean that this creative childlike essence isn’t still alive within us. It’s just buried under years of doubt and cynicism and becoming practical.

A life in the arts isn’t “practical.” (One could argue that life itself isn’t either.)

Acting isn’t serious (nor is it really that hard). Kids do it every day and they don’t seem to strain themselves in the attempt to play.

Creating isn’t doom and gloom unless you’ve been taught to believe it is.

All feeling of expression comes from the baseline feeling of the joy of actually being alive. Even working on material that’s scary or intense,  the spirit of how it needs to be offered to optimally create is in joy.

Nothing is keeping us from being happy but our stubborn refusal to choose happiness and stop focusing on what isn’t working in our lives. It’s a choice. Always. We can choose to look at life through the lens of lack, scarcity, and what hasn’t happened yet, or we can choose to see things from the truth of how they actually are.

And that is, the mere fact that we’re alive here right now is a blessing.

We get stuck because we are influenced—and brainwashed—by the should’s. We compare ourselves to these mythical pictures perpetuated by the media of what we’re told our lives will look life when we get all the things that our society tells us we need in order to be happy. So we compare ourselves to illusions and standards of success that actually are not only unreal, but not happiness-sustainable. Sure, they can make us feel good or gratified, but long-term happiness comes not from things but from a state of being that involves choice.

You can’t negotiate around the should’s. They will always win—and also keep you unhappy.

“I should be further along in my career.”
“I should have booked a pilot.”
“I should have an agent.”
“I should be married by now.”

If you should have, you would have. Let go of those constructs that rob us of playing with what we have now and instead simply just try to have more fun with where you are now.

The reward? More fun itself.

*First published on Backstage*

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5 New Ways to Think About Creating

I think the most important thing to remember about creating—and life itself—is that you have to be out in the world. Creating occurs with people, through people; sharing and being of service. If you’re constantly in your head thinking creativity looks a certain way or you have to get to some magical “place” before you can create, you’ll keep missing the mark. Life is constantly giving us opportunities. The question is: Do we shut down to them or participate?

1. You can’t go it alone. We need each other. Sometimes creativity occurs not the way you think it will. What seems, at first, to be a total disaster can reveal wonderful insights about moving beyond our egos and staying connected. Remember that the things we make a big drama of, often have a way of working themselves out. And if you stay open, you’ll see that other people want to help you in ways you generally assume they don’t.

2. Be nice. Seems obvious, but why is it we often aren’t? I think sometimes this business rewards bad behavior and people get a free pass even when they’re acting like 2-year-olds. But science has proven that we’re our most creative when we work from a place of generosity, open-heartedness, fun and joy. You get more done. You’re more hard-wired to insights and “Ah-ha’s”. And you’re just simply creating more optimally. So exchange the fear for forgiveness and freedom and get playing.

3. You’re not at your most creative constantly thinking you have “something” to work on. This is an old acting-class narrative from the 1980s we have to change. It’s a myth. Sure, we have things we need to improve. Sure, we have to develop parts of ourselves and learn. But the simple process of showing up to life is enough. We don’t have to add to that by constantly beating ourselves up with self-defeating dialogues that perpetuate this myth that we’re lacking or flawed or messed up to such a degree that our work isn’t perfect. Perfection doesn’t exist, and that’s the real disease that needs to be eradicated. The assumption that if we’re not picking apart our work at the minutest detail, then we aren’t working hard is not only a lie, it fosters neurosis. Life will give you plenty of stuff to look at. Don’t worry. That’s the nature of living. But if it’s not broken why do we assume it must be fixed? It doesn’t. So stop doing that.

4. Do. The. Work. Why is auditioning constantly processed through this blender of nerves and inadequacy and fear and dread? Why can’t we just change the paradigm? Isn’t it actually, in fact, just you coming into a room and showing someone how you choose to create? It’s not right or wrong. It’s just you showing us you. There’s nothing to fear, because there’s nothing wrong with you. They may like it or they may not. But if you just focus on your work, the experience changes from “What do I need to show them?” to “What can I experience?” That’s a paradigm shift right there.

5. The real work happens right now. In this moment, what’s one thing you can change that’s holding you back? If you don’t want to fess up to what you know you could be doing differently, call your best friend and ask him/her the same question. You won’t like what they tell you, but if you listen to them they’ll show you how you keep getting in your own way. But roadblocks can be removed. So thank your friend and now do it.

*First published on Backstage*

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What a 3-Time U.S. Figure Skating Champion Can Teach Us About Acting

Just before the start of her performance at the 2015 United States Figure Skating Championships, the leader going into the short program, Ashley Wagner, said to her coach, “I’m terrified!”

Watershed moment. (I actually screamed at the TV!)

Here’s a world-class athlete at the top of her game, admitting to a nationally televised audience (and a sports arena of thousands of fans), that she too feels things that we often think (erroneously) that we singularly feel. And then we often shame ourselves for feeling them.

Our self-dialogue goes something like this, “There’s something wrong with me if I don’t have it all together. The ‘greats’ don’t have the same fears I do. I’m a failure if I can’t show the world how strong I am. Why is it that it’s only me who gets scared? I’m a loser.”

I loved Wagner’s confession because it was so liberatingly honest. On national television no less. And the commentators had a field day: “This is a two-time U.S. champion, this is an Olympian, this is a skater who’s been on this scene at this level for many years and you hear her say, ‘I’m terrified.’ What do you make of that?”

I’ll tell you what you make of it. Every experience is new. Every moment is fraught with the possibility of experiencing abject terror and failure. Things can fall apart. Everything is unknown at some level. Even those things we do all the time. Pretending that it isn’t doesn’t mean it isn’t so.

As fate would have it, I met Wagner at a party recently and of course I made a beeline to her. “Oh my God. Are you Ashley Wagner?” And then I proceeded to fanboy her, telling her she was the inspiration for my upcoming v-log. I asked her about that defining (televised) moment and she said, “Acknowledging the feeling is a way of diffusing the feeling.”

Eureka.

Once we become aware of something, we actually have the power to turn that thing into an expression that can really benefit us. To deny something we’re feeling distorts truth and fuels the energy into something that may work against us. Destructively. We block our access to other energy resources because so much of our energy is being served up to resistance or denial or avoidance. We feel that we shouldn’t feel something unwanted so then we do everything we can to not feel it. But to say, “Yes, I’m scared,” gives us the permission to move through what we’re feeling. Energy transforms. Feelings becomes fluid. We get un-stuck. Breakthroughs occur.

As Gestalt Therapy founder, Fritz Perls said, “Fear is excitement without the breath.”

So you acknowledge. You breathe. You accept yourself for where you are. You stop making yourself less human because you actually feel real feelings that are normal to feel. And you move through them by transforming them.

And just like Wagner, you too might end up winning a national championship.

*First published on Backstage

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