Hacking life. That is what we are all trying to do in a way. My girlfriends and I are smart, busy women that need and do get things done. I find myself running around this city; sprinting from meetings, to workouts to cocktails. The ladies over at ADAY get my 24-hour schedule. They designed a great line of technical clothing for everyday life that moves with you. The product is chic, moves well, is durable and is my new go to for my active life.
It’s 8:30 AM and I am gulping down and cup of coffee and inhaling a granola bar while pulling on my new ADAY threads. I appreciate how comfortable they feel when I sprint out the door for a 9:30 AM Soul Cycle Class knowing that I am about to face the onslaught of morning Soho foot traffic (playing Mario Cart comes to mind).
I’ve made it. I am now sitting, or should I say mounting my bike in the dark, candle lit room that is already uncomfortably hot about to get man handled by a bike. One of my favorite instructors is teaching, his name is Sam Y. Five minutes into class and I am already dripping sweat. I accept I’m about to get my ass handed to me instead of fighting it and push on with determination. I get weird in my Soul Cycle classes, just like I do at my candlelit Y7 Yoga classes. There is something about the dark, candlelit room, the loud music, the intensity that gets me. Some may call it preachy, church like, a money scam but it works for me. At some point during the class I experience a total emotional release, which still weirds me out. But hey if I can find meditation and release through my workout classes, great. I don’t know what liquids drip down my face, whether sweat or tears. It all mixes into one sweaty hot mess and I find myself smiling. My mind focused and quiet yet determined among all the chaos.
Forty-Five minutes later I am walking out the door just absurdly sweaty, giving zero fucks at anyone who looks at me with disapproval as I walk through Soho stripped down to my sports bra and dripping sweat. I feel elated. The earlier morning madness of rushing out the apartment door has melted away and now the day seems less daunting, more achievable.
Lately I’ve been trying to take time to work on manifesting, clearing negative or useless, non-serving thoughts and bring some form of meditation into my life. My mom is great at this ritual. She meditates and journals daily. Every morning she wakes up early and before venturing from home she meditates and then takes a hot bath. I, on the other hand, do not. In fact I’ve gotten so far away from a daily routine that my only habitual sense of normalcy is a general lack of daily consistency.
Many creatives and freelancers operate this way. Of course, there are things I try to accomplish each day to make me feel sane. Working out is an absolute for me and, in many ways, is my personal form of meditation. I actually catch myself in the middle of spin class or yoga reciting my manifestations “I am a working actor.” You don’t all need to know my personal manifestations, but you get the point. I love that my job allows me to live a lifestyle that is different and challenging every day. It keeps me on my toes, it keeps me engaged but it can also be exhausting.
As a freelancer, and my own boss, I am accountable for my own motivation. Naturally, this pressure can lead one to crave some routine in life. I’ve decided to start simple with small things I can do everyday to set a routine. Im going to start getting up at the same time everyday regardless if I have to be on set or have meetings. Im going to hold time and space for meditation. I am going to start practicing all these ideas I’ve read about and have come to understand.
I’ve been taking acting class at The Actors Green Room for just over two years now. Recently they started a holistic side for actors, offering yoga and workshops called The Create Series. During these Create sessions their is usually a guided meditation, followed by a lecture which actors participate in and some mental exercises. It is a safe place devoid of judgment and filled with compassionate community.
The industry I work in, can be really hard to find sustainability and support in. Often the stakes feel so high, it becomes very personal. Actors, deal with daily rejection and it can become a really abusive relationship. So you find ways to practice positive Psychology.
I’ve been reading a lot of Osho lately, he talks about how the more we try to control fear the more it actually controls us. An interesting idea was discussed at last weeks Create workshop. One concept that hit close to home is that often with relationships, whether it be with colleagues, a casting director, friends, family or lovers we tend to project our own fears into these people. There is a huge difference between what is being said and what is being heard. This type of communication can mean that we’re never actually in communication with anybody. Instead we are all just talking through our own personal filters. This probably makes zero sense and I may be rambling and am certainly not talking about this as eloquently as Natalie Roy one of the Create leaders was but this is important stuff and it has me thinking.
I am a pretty honest person, I am direct. I don’t believe in telling my girlfriend she looks good in a dress when she asks my opinion if its isn’t actually a good look on her. I don’t believe in asking a question if you aren’t ready for an honest answer rather than the answer you want to hear. You better damn well be prepared for the answer you don’t want. Ouch… or why the fell are you asking the question in the first place? There is fine line though, between being polite versus honest and an asshole. I am working on it. We can all work on it.
People tend to misinterpret direct energy, we often don’t know what to do with it. New Yorkers tend to handle directness better but they also cross that line into just being a dick a lot more often as well. I think at one point or another we all have to learn that being direct has nothing to do with you, it’s just simply a +B = C. That, is simply the fastest way to C. I don’t have a problem using directness and honesty, I know my intentions are pure and that is what truly matters. I will always love and appreciate the people that can be honest with me.
Life is messy. Perfect is boring. As an actor we get to explore all of this messiness and it can get fucking weird and surreal but paradoxically oh so humane too. One of the reasons I love it. The vulnerability, the messiness, the imperfect moments, the living and learning. It is the stuff that makes us interesting. It is what makes us light up and turn on. Out little passions that grow when like minded people believe in us and fuel us. Characters in scripts are usually written messy and always in conflict, because that is what makes it interesting to watch and relate to. That is what makes us human and humane. We all have shades and layers. We aren’t ever just one thing. I can’t remember who said it during the Create session, if it was Natalie the teacher or another student or a quote read from a book but someone at some point said “listening means being changed by the other person” and yet so often we aren’t. We, as a society have become such inactive listeners. That quote really resonated within me, being present in the moment. Loving the exploration of the interaction.
I don’t really know what I am trying to impart on you here. This may just be one of the posts where I ramble about a personal journey or whatever you want to call it. What I can share is the importance of being honest, accepting honesty, even if it isn’t what you wanted or hope to hear. Being present with right now, actively listen, ask questions and be ready and open to the exchange and if you don’t like or understand what the information is that is being offered, try not to be afraid, ask more questions. When you can do this and accept life’s messiness and offerings, when you can yield and shift in the storm you will be dancing in the storm. You will be dancing with yourself instead of trying to always stand rigid and strong. That is when you will be knocked down by the storm.