I've recently embarked on the journey of becoming a certified Kaizen-Muse Creativity Coach. As part of the training we're given the opportunity to choose and work on our own creative project. I was tempted to pick something that's related to this blog or my YouTube channel, since that's where a big part of my creative focus lies right now. But when I tuned in and listened to my intuition, I realized that something else was asking for my attention. My creativity is flowing beautifully in those areas, so why not focus on something that needs a little more love and care? The truth is, I've allowed acting, one of my other creative passions, to fall to the wayside for the past year, causing quite of a bit of creative turmoil for me.
So I decided that this was going to be the focus for my creativity project.
One of the fundamental tenets of the Kaizen-Muse approach is the importance of taking small steps. If we take small steps with our creative projects (or any projects for that matter), we bypass the fear and resistance that might normally lead us to a creative shut-down.
With this in mind, I decided that not only was I going to take tiny steps to work through my creative project, but I was also going to choose a project that was sufficiently small and non-threatening to begin with. I felt that right now, going on an audition, or even taking an acting class would feel too overwhelming. So I decided to go back to the very basics and work on a monologue.
This seems like a simple project, but it still held its challenges for me. In the past, whenever I set the intention to work on a new monologue, I found that I became overwhelmed simply by the idea of having to find one. You'd be surprised, finding a play or a script that resonates can be an unexpectedly challenging task. And once you've finally located one, it may not even contain a piece of text that works as a monologue. So yeah, I've always struggled with the whole "having several monologues in your back pocket" thing that you're "supposed to have" as an actor.
Since I knew that I usually get stuck at this stage in the process, I gave myself a very small, non-threatening first step to work on:
Simply spending five minutes looking at the plays that are already in my bookshelf.
What unfolded once I carried out this intention was a surprisingly emotion-filled, profound moment for me. Even though it only lasted a few minutes. After I experienced it, I took out my notebook and "stream of consciousness" style wrote out the experience. I feel compelled to share it with all of you, so here it is:
I was home alone and I had just finished dinner. It was dark outside. Piles of dishes were waiting for me in the kitchen, but something else was calling my attention. Something about this moment felt sacred. So I brought out my favorite reading lamp, placed it by my bookshelf, and rolled out my yoga mat. I also put on this enchanted song that I'd recently discovered*. I let my eyes wonder over my beloved plays. My eyes started to well up with tears as I realized that I already had so many treasures, right here. Some things don't require so much effort, sometimes what we need is right in front of us. I allowed my eyes to continue their wandering until they stopped on "Anna in the Tropics", by Nilo Cruz. I gingerly pulled it out. I first came across this play when I used it for a directing class in college. I've always loved it. At this point, the five minutes had already slipped by. But I was already lost in the lure of my creative momentum. So I decided to sneak in another five minutes. I started combing through the play. Just reading the characters' words started to kindle up a spark within me. The tears from before were now rolling down my cheeks. I invited them in. But I also decided that it was time to step away. Small steps. Baby steps that keep the fear at bay.
I'm not sure what the theme of today's post is. But I felt compelled to share some of the struggles and challenges I'm facing in my creative work. Just because I've become absorbed in the topic of creativity doesn't mean that everything is rainbows and butterflies and I live in a creative happy place all of the time. And that's ok. That's part of being a human being that's been gifted with the ability to create; an ability that each and every one of us shares.
I'm also happy to share that I'm slowly and steadily creating a daily habit out of working on my monologue. Just fifteen minutes a day. But fifteen minutes that are giving me a lot. Most importantly, they're allowing me to tend to that part of me that has been yearning to act. And that's important. It's important to listen to that part within us asking for creative expression.
much love to each & every one of you,
* Spiritual by Pat Metheny