Plugging In

31 12 2018

I started this process because I knew I couldn’t continue as I had been. I had fallen into a habit of being consistently disappointed by people, and my career. I found myself consistently asking the question “why?” about everything – why was I having such a bad dry spell as an actor, why couldn’t I make my children’s clothing line work, why why why.

I started reading Marianne Williamson’s book TRIUMPH TO TEARS after reading an article about it.

The book talks about separating your suffering self from your spiritual or essential self. The essential self remains untouched even in the midst of massive suffering. This applies in so many ways and in so many areas of life… and, of course, since acting is my life work, I apply it there too.

When the work goes dry for a period of time, there is a tendency to identify with the actor who is not getting work. And to assign blame. Often, the people in place to help us attain work will help us on the journey to assigning this blame. Because no one wants to think that perhaps it just IS for now. Because then, how can we be doing our jobs? There MUST be a solution, it MUST be something we are doing wrong, there MUST be something or someone to blame.

When we suffer, and it truly is suffering if you love and are fulfilled by the work you do, we start to separate from the inner true artist we are… and all kinds of doubts, fueled by our egos, start to creep up.

Suddenly I must have lost all talent I have. It’s gone. It was all a fluke. Everything I have done up until now was meaningless. Suddenly I am an actor that never trained, and not just in school, in life – continually refining and observing and collecting – no I am back to square one. It is as if I never set foot on a stage or in front of a camera before.

I start to identify with statements like, “it’s the audition tape quality”* (see below for a little bit of insight into this), “it’s your size”, “it’s your look”, “it’s your age”, “you are too well known/not well known enough”, “you don’t have the connections you need to make this happen.” And suddenly I am separated from the Source. The Source that created me to be this, gave me this passion for what I do. Suddenly, I identify with this other self… the not good enough self. And it is as if all the lights in the world shut off all at once.

I am attached. Attached to outcomes and opinions and the ego-feeding glory that comes with this profession. And I am detached from that which is unchangeable: the artist soul that I was created to be for a specific purpose: to bring more love into the world.

So, I am plugging into the light again. Distancing that self who has suffered recently from lack of work, and looking at her as something separate from the untouchable soul of an artist that cannot be made greater by work or recognition and therefore cannot be made less by lack of recognition or work. The admission of this, in and of itself is a risk if I buy into the dark world-view that the only desirable actress is one who is too busy, too out of reach. I cringe in writing this and sharing it but it TOO is part of my attachment to that suffering self, and all the doubt that comes with her.

This is applicable to all aspects of my life right now. The soul that exists independent of and unaffected by suffering. It doesn’t mean that I don’t cry, or get angry, or get frustrated… it just means that I plug back into the light to gain perspective and remember that my soul remains strong and untouchable. This applies to the soul of the artist who works, who trains, who always seeks to grow as well.

I recently had the chance to flex my Acting muscles on camera in a way that hasn’t been afforded to me so far in my film and tv life. It was awesome and exhausting and exhilarating and devastating, and I found myself repeating “thank you Lord” over and over. But as soon as i wrapped, that ugly fear set in again. “Will this year be as tough? Will I ever get to do this again? When will I be trusted on this level on a regular basis?”

The answer is – maybe always, maybe sometimes, maybe never… but the artistic soul remains untouched regardless of the answer.

So now the journey is…. how do I continue to plug into the light that allows peace within despite what suffering may occur?

Praying. Meditation. Reading. Any time I can plug into the Source and detach from outcomes and ego… I can withstand anything.

To that end, I am going to start a practice of praying for my fellow actresses out there. I have always prayed for friends and family when in need, or just because. But, I think I must remember that we are all part of that great ocean out there… and we can indeed have one another’s backs in more than just word and deed… but in prayer. We are all seeking the same thing.

*Quick note about the quality of audition tapes. I am in no way suggesting that doing an audition tape where you cannot be seen or heard or there are distracting backgrounds is a good idea. However, I AM saying that I have booked jobs from spectacularly technically beautiful audition tapes, and tapes where I was out of town and had to prop up a cellphone on pill bottles and aim a shitty reading light at my face. (The latter being a Steven Soderburgh film – and he cast me himself from that shitty quality tape.).

Of course, as often as possible, you want your audition tape to be easy on the eyes and ears, but that is not always possible given life circumstances or crazy time restraints. And sometimes you DO want to gamble. I have gambled by using an actual door in a scene where the door figured prominently in the scene. I figured I should be cast for my ability to act the part, not my ability to qualify for the “MIME OF THE YEAR” competition. I booked that one.

I have gambled by bringing a boom box with a choreographed number (merely mentioned in the script, not asked for in the audition) into the room for a live audition. I booked that one. See: BIG MOMMA’S HOUSE 2.

I have gambled and lost – but of course you don’t hear about those. And you don’t hear if you gambled and lost because of a bold choice or environmental choice or prop choice.

I don’t know that there are hard and fast rules about this, except to be heard and be seen. Now that I am doing a lot of Los Angeles taping there seems to be a taste for super slickly produced audition tapes there. But…. how do you know if your tape will actually stand out if it isn’t like all the others or not? You don’t.

Do your best work. Be seen. Be heard. Take risks.