To Share Or Not to Share, That is the Question

I got called out today, by a classmate. A colleague, really.

And it got me thinking about something that I don’t like thinking about.

It is about my tendency to hold on to the really personal things from my life.

I crave connection and intimacy. I love to go deep. But there are some things that I keep for myself.

Now, I am an actress. And the kind of acting that I am interested in practicing and experiencing is deeply, deeply personal and requires of me that I get deeply, deeply personal. That I bring to it all of me, the good, the bad, the ugly.

I want and need to bring myself to my art. I truly do.

And I need to take care of the part of me that needs to hold on to certain things.

So how, you may ask, do I navigate these two needs?

I am figuring that out as I go.

See, when my classmate called me out today, she was basically asking that I be more forthcoming about the details of the things I am working on in class.

It is not that I am withholding. I know that. I am generous about sharing my experience, my struggles. When asked, I will give all I can.

When asked.

The tricky part is that there seems to be something in me that doesn’t feel the need to share about it otherwise.

My colleague’s desire to know more has filled me with questions. Some are new, some I have been kicking around for decades.

The truth is, I do not seem to have the same need to talk about my personal process. In acting, in life. I like to be in it, experience it. To talk about it feels so…empty and falls so short of the experience itself.

Is this because there is a young part of me still very much alive in me who was traumatized at age 6 and who has held on to that experience with her life, as if to put it into words means to give away the one thing she was able to retain during the ripping apart, the shattering apart of her soul into a hundred pieces?

Yes, that is for sure. I have always sensed this. But it wasn’t until two years ago after years of healing layer upon layer of wounds that I finally got to almost rock bottom and found this part. I was astonished and honored when she let me in and let me know her. I was so grateful when she trusted me enough to let me share her story with a trusted healer. It became my responsibility then (at least my adult part’s) to make her number one. To make her my priority. To make her feel safe and seen and attended to. And I have.

But, I have also wanted to begin to share myself more and more with others through my work and in my personal relationships. This blog has been a big part of a series of actions towards this end. And thankfully, this young part of me has trusted me through the process so far.

And I know, as far as I have come, there is more to go. And so when my colleague called me out, I knew that the time has arrived to go further.

Even writing this feels like a bit of a betrayal, but the adult actress in me also needs my loyalty, doesn’t she?

I also come from a family lineage steeped in “keeping a stiff upper lip”. “Not letting the neighbors see” the truth. A family of secret-holders with Olympian levels of the ability to deny and to pretend.

I have had to dismantle these inheritances within my instrument in order to be present in my life, as well as my art. In order to have meaningful relationships. To become intimate with myself and others. And I have done a great deal of hard work to get where I am today.

What is my responsibility to my fellow artists in this class? I mean, it isn’t about me accounting intimate personal details. That is just story. I have always told myself that I am personal through my work. Well, perhaps I need to get even more intimate with my work, then. Perhaps that is what I need to take from my classmate’s words to me.

Or is that yet a continuance of my ability to avoid really sharing?

How do I care for that part that needs protection from exposure and get deeply personal in my work? Do I have to share my process to be a generous artist? I thought I was generous. I do share in detail when asked. As a scene partner or a director, as a blogger, a storyteller, I am willing to go to the mat, to put it all on the line.

But otherwise, it feels a bit like chit chat or gossip or something. It feels like I lesson the importance of it in the sharing of it. And for that part of me, it feels like she is in danger of losing the one thing that she could hold on to when the trauma was happening. All those soul parts flew away. What remained was the pain and the horror, and those became new pieces of my self. The adult me knows that can never be hurt like that again. Knows that I do not have to give anything away like that again. The young part? I think she feels a loss in the sharing of it.

Do I need to share if I do not need to share?

I know in twelve step programs and group therapy, we do not just share for ourselves. We never know when we share our experience how it will help another. I know this, and have given freely in those situations.

I am not sure what do to as a result of her request. Or even if there is anything I need to do, or change. I am simply asking, digging, considering, examining.

Is my approach to protecting that part of myself limiting me as an artist? If so, then I really want to grow my ability to go beyond the places that are comfortable.

I sit with all of this, feeling a mix of sadness, of fear, of loss.

And, too, a feeling of gratitude for this colleague, for putting her need on the line, for taking the risk to ask more of me.

Perhaps I am ready to go beyond what I know about all of this. Maybe all the healing has brought me to a new place. Maybe the part who needs my loyalty is trusting that I will always honor the validity of her experience and keep her number one, forever, no matter what else.

Maybe this is what is known as wholeness, of integration.

I do not need to know all the answers today.

Today, I take my 6 year-old’s hand. I hold her on my lap and sing her a lullaby, and the actress/adult me writes this post and asks the Universe to show me the way through.

I breathe and I type and I sing and I listen.

#theartistsway #integration #healing #wholeness

I share my posts here.

 

 

Word for the Year Follow-Up

I did it. I finally found my word for the year.

Or, rather, it found me.

As 2018 ended, I went through my end of year review and my year ahead intention-setting. And I began to live in the questions: what did I want to be my guiding word, an anchor as I traversed the days of the year ahead?

What did I want more of in my life? What was I calling in?

I kept circling around different words. I’d try them on for a few days. I’d think I’d found it. I’d think I’d found it, but in time, something would not feel quite right about it. t was like wearing a new sweater that looked great in the store, but doesn’t really feel like me when I get it home and wear it for the first time.

And then one day, as I was driving home, just sort of trying on the sixth or seventh word, free-associating, a new word came to me. And as I repeated it to myself, I found myself deeply moved. So much so that I had to pull over.

And then I just knew. It was “the one.” It was something I was ready to live in, to aspire to, to own.

The word that I heard was “Core.” And then “Ownership.”

So 2019 is all about Core for me. And Ownership. It is about living from my core. Owning my truth. Knowing and expressing my true feelings.

Getting to intimately know my core self. My power. Living from my power. Listening to my gut. Trusting my intuition. Living from my creativity.

Trusting my own sense of reality and living as fully and freely as I can from a place of deep authenticity.

Expanding and deepening my inner strength. I have been doing Pilates for a few years, but I want to really gain mastery over the deepest, inner-most and lowest abdominal muscles. To fully know my own strength. To move from my strength, my Yoni.

It makes so much sense to me now that this is the word that found me. The work of the past few years have set me up for where I am now. From Track Yoga:

The third chakra—the manipura chakra—is the center of personal power. As you’d expect, it’s located in the core of the body, at the solar plexus. To fully be ourselves, we need a strong core. Balancing the third chakra means maximizing personal power and strength.

When energy flows through the third chakra, we feel a strong sense of purpose and self-worth. We’re able to exert power without being controlling or dominant. In other words, we take our rightful place in the world and live in peace among all beings. We are energetic and enthusiastic about the life we are meant to live.

The first and second chakras govern our sense of security and our ability to express ourselves creatively and emotionally. We need a strong sense of our own personal power to use those abilities. The third chakra, then, unleashes our creative force when we feel secure in the world.

And so here I am, 29 days in. It is my guide as I move through my day, making decisions. Am I listening to my core? Am I acting from a place of ownership?

I remind myself to breathe. To listen. To sense.

It feels so right. I cannot wait to see how the year unfolds.

What is your word for 2019, if you have one? How is it going so far?

#wordfortheyear #2019 #guidingword #intuition

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Clown School Daze

Today marks the completion of my five week clown and commedia extravaganza.

I am not the same person that I was five weeks ago. I am different in ways I don’t even comprehend yet.

I am exhausted in the best of ways having truly spent myself each day.

In clown, if you let yourself, you open up like a little flower.

I fell in love over and over again with my fellow clowns. My heart broke open daily and then expanded several sizes and is bursting from my chest.

The world is shinier. I hear music everywhere. I make up little songs.

I carry the moments of courage, of tragedy, of brilliance, of mess, of genius, of laughter, of wonder, and of the amazing live theatre we made together these weeks with me forever.

I found out some very important things along the way.

I am too tired to try to articulate them today. I know they will be revealed in my future work.

I am sated, for the moment, and I celebrate these weeks.

My appetite will return.

But for today, I am sated.

And grateful.

Unexpected Turns

I just discovered that I love directing!

This is after a lifelong love of acting.

I had never even considered directing. Always thought I didn’t have the brain for it.

(And who knows, maybe I don’t.)

But a fellow actress recently asked me to direct her in a one woman monologue play, and though I hesitated at first, something in me wanted to.

That part was almost drowned out by the voices that said what was I thinking? Who am I? I’ve no formal experience directing.

(Never mind decades of being directed, studying theatre and acting. Never mind helping fellow actors countless times stage and work on their auditions over those decades.)

But somewhere in the midst of the cacophony of negative voices, I felt a curiosity, an interest in the play, an interest in the actress who asked.

And so I said yes.

And it turns out, I am loving it.

Now, I have no intention of stopping acting.

But.

I want to continue exploring this new perspective within acting alongside my acting pursuits.

I want to do more directing!

Who knew?

(I’m so glad I listened to that quiet little voice.)

Morning Glories

As I wrote the other day, I am currently in a five week-long physical theatre intensive, including clown and commedia.

One week in, and I am joyfully astonished (and exhausted.) My face and sides ache from laughing. My mind has been blown repeatedly by the beauty of the other souls that daily become more and more alive as the class progresses. My heart has expanded and feels raw and tender and open in new ways. Many tears have fallen, from joy and wonder, from deep wells of sadness that come as old rusty parts of my soul are freed from their societal binds.

You see, clown is about exploring the four year-old inside. The little one you were before socialization caused you to “grow up” and be serious.

Before the body forgets to play and becomes blocked by The Block of Cool (as in, gotta be cool, man — gotta suppress this or that to be one of the cool kids.) The Block of Nice (Gotta be a good girl/boy if you want anyone to like you.) The Block of Polite (Gotta be polite to fit in and be a part of society.) The Block of Being Appropriate (Gotta do what everyone else is doing no matter what or you’ll stand out and the bullies will see you or you will be humiliated.)

So as we’ve been playing this week, we’ve been getting up underneath our adult skin suits and back into the wonder, the joy, the big, messy fun of acting with enthusiasm, leading with our hope, and the desire to have fun and make others laugh with us, at us.

It is an honor – a gift – to see someone’s unadulterated humanness. To really see who each person is underneath all the tricks we’ve learned to protect ourselves.

I am blown away by the exquisite beauty and brilliance of each person in the class.

Down the street, one of the buildings has some flowers blooming on part of it’s front wall. There’s a beautiful cascade of what looks like lilac that I was drawn to the first day during lunch break. What I did not notice then is that alongside the lilac are morning glories. (They were not blooming that first day.)

But the second day of class, I walked by the storefront again, and there they were, in all their, well, glory!

I was floored and just stopped and stared in wonder.

Then the next day, they were gone! (Upon closer inspection, they were there, but had withdrawn back into their tightly wrapped buds.)

The next day, half were out again, the others were in different states of the bloom process.

The flowers’ journey seems to mirror our class. We are all at our own different states of “bloom” in our work of rediscovering our unsocialized selves. We all have started the class in different places, and we will end in different places. But along the way, we are all blooming at different times. And sometimes, we are each beginning to show ourselves out in full bloom. It is astonishing to witness.

I cannot wait to see what will bloom next week.

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Places!

she stands still

listening to the audience

beyond the curtain

seated out past the stage

there’s a drone, a buzz

there’s a fish swimming in her belly

heart pounding

blood feeling electric in her veins

the adrenaline rush of excitement

that familiar moment of panic

will the words be there

will her body remember the moves

then comes the moment of hush

as the lights dim to black

the exquisite agony of the few seconds before

the curtain rises

then she glides out

enters into the sacred

and the ride begins

Inspired by The Daily Post Daily Word Prompt: swallow