Wednesday, April 23, 2014

It Is What's Keeping You Down

or Why Did EmpoweredActor Go Away?

Well, first of all, although has been dormant for quite some time, it never really went away.  In fact...sheesh, I can't believe it's been so long.  I would swear to God it has not been eight years since Empowered Actor began to take shape.  Some of it is almost like a slow-motion car wreck--well, no; that's not fair.  So much of it was good... Good lord, I take back the car wreck comment. 

But wait... This article is more about you than me, as promised in the headline.  The answer to the sub-headline can wait.  Now understand something: At this writing in the middle of April 2014 there are a whopping 14 "Members" of this so-called blog.  That fact alone threatens to prompt me to hit the X to close the browser and just go back into hibernation.

And THAT's what's been keeping you from doing what you need to do.  Make no mistake, it is Fear you allow to knock you off track.  

It can seem reassuring to wrap yourself in the cold comfort that a circumstance, situation, or another person is the cause for your place in the scheme of things (You Are Here).  I invite you to drop that wet blanket, and come with me.

It's ironic (and telling), but the last article I wrote here (...Or Will You Be Crushed?)  portends exactly the darkness I was to enter.  Damn, I thought I was headed upward.  The challenge I speak of in the article is the Challenge of Self.  "It's scary stepping up to the calling in your life," I wrote.  But you are still reading because you want to know how to get out of your own way.

Ah, well, the answer is deceptively simple.  Uh, or deceptively hard.'s difficult to say, it's... well, deceptive.  Okay, well, I suppose it's both.  Yes, it's a paradox.  It is an ongoing struggle because, again, it is the Challenge of Self.  You can only get out of your way by responding to that call within.  To ignore it or try to fight it off only invites disease.  But to respond to the call, you have to be able to hear it.  I think so many people have boarded up access to their calling long ago. 

Now...for those who can hear the call, how muffled and distorted is it?  I mean, you might think you're listening to the right voice but--oh, there's the rub: Do I hear the voice of my Higher Self, or is  Wait, huh?  Ugh...

Yes, it is difficult to tell sometimes whether you are responding to intuition, or if you've just gotten really good at fooling yourself.

But keep searching.  And learn to listen to the voice that you may learn to distinguish.  Your clarity and understanding will come in waves, along with the fog and darkness of self-deception.  Literally, I suggest you track the "suggestions" you get from within as they come, as well as whether you followed or didn't heed its advice.  This manner of tracking and reflection will rapidly boost your ability to discern.

How the hell does this tie to acting?  

Are you serious?  All right, then.
Cast as Warboys in Miss Maxwell's Spider Web, a play performed at the National Archives once upon a time, I received one of my greatest acting lessons.  I was to enter downstage right and confidently toss my hat successfully all the way to the upstage left coat rack.  Well, through rehearsals and performances I never made it.  I didn't practice enough (I was apparently afraid to) and consistently stayed firmly planted in my own way.

Until one night.

I entered as usual (doing what I believed was acting) and ran smack into myself.  I tossed the hat.  And made it.  And I was stunned.  You know, I mean, it was really effortless.  Well, the true and spontaneous delight of the audience was a reflection of the blatant honesty of my surprise.  In the magic of that oh-so-brief moment, the audience knew...everything.  They knew: 1) I was supposed to have done this every performance; 2) Until now I had never achieved this goal--in fact, they knew I had resigned myself to never making it; and 3)They had witnessed My First Time.

Yes (and remember this), all of that was conveyed in such a brief moment by the power of honesty.  

I tried to cover it up, of course--the honesty of my surprise, that is.  But it was no use, the truth had been revealed.  Unfortunately for the audience, the magic of theatre was over for the night.  I went right back to doing what I thought was acting.  (It is my cold comfort to tell you the rest of the cast did the same.)

Still not clear?  Still not sure what "It" is in this article title?

It's all they want, my friends.  It is that thing you keep turning away from.  It is you.  They have come to see you, you know.  You, not some mask of your oh-so-creative construction.  They just want to see you, honest and vibrantly alive.  For only in seeing you can they hope to catch a glimpse of themselves, which is why we go to the theatre.  And it is, of course, why you are in theatre: to find out who you are.  

So don't fool yourself that you get to be somebody else on stage.  Sure, it can be fun to dazzle everyone with glitter, smoke and mirrors--and there is nothing wrong with that.  The lights can be so beautiful, so mesmerizing.  But nothing -- Nothing -- can outshine the light of you doing what you were meant to do.

So please tell me: Why on earth would you want to be anyone else?


Copyright (c) 2014 Tom Brooks.  All Rights Reserved.