We recently potty trained our two year old twins. It was, in short, …interesting. A messy and strangely enlightening experience. It struck me how easy it is to take for granted the commitment, concentration, awareness and surrender that goes into something that most of us don’t even remember learning. And how parallel the process of learning this very basic activity is to the process we go through as actors willing to leap into the unknown.
The very first step with my kiddos was to ditch the diapers. And we did. From one day to the next the comfort zone was gone. And we never went back. We made the commitment to stay the course instead of avoiding the mess by retreating back to what was familiar and comfortable. This must be the first commitment of the actor when taking our work and our life to the next level. Allow ourselves to completely step out of our comfort zone and not go back, but stay the course no matter what kind of messes comes to pass, no matter how many loads of dirty laundry there are to tend too. The new space can be safe and still uncomfortable and present a whole new opportunity for our life and our work.
The next step, as with our two little ones, is to begin to develop a whole new awareness of our bodies and the sensations that arise. Understanding new cues and negotiating new sensations, in our body, in our feelings, in our connection to others, opens entirely new possibilities in our lives as actors. It may be awkward at first. As a matter of fact, we may be terrible at it for a while. Fumbling, baffled, and, yes, messy. But as always, the mess becomes our magic.
Along with the new practice comes a certain protocol. Pants down, pants up, hands washed. We have may have mastered hand washing long ago but now we can learn new habits of being, feeling, expressing. Sometimes we may regress but if we stay committed then the habits will take hold and eventually become effortless, become a part of us.
Which takes us to the all important SURRENDER. At some point we just keep showing up and trust that the musculature of our being will continue to respond naturally and develop to support us. The body DESIRES full expression. If we give it the opportunity and trust our support system we will flourish and expand in to our fullest potential as artists.
As always. The key is to pay attention, stay present in our body and the moment, practice compassion and humor when we figuratively poop our pants, accept help and guidance from our support system and trust our true nature to rise up and show world what we truly are. Magnificent, complicated, messy and beautiful human beings!