And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain: When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about. – Haruki Murakami
Recently in a yoga class, at a certain point, I started to feel uncomfortable. I’m not talking physical pain, but a deep existential discomfort. Normally I would just look at someone gorgeous enough to distract myself, but this time I choose to see what would happen if I stayed present in my body. It became so uncomfortable that I had to lay down. Awful sensations of pain subsided, and I was able to get up and move through rest of class. Afterwards I felt uplifted and energized as if I had been to a spa.
Later, I went to see the iconic Jane Fonda speak, and they showed clips of her astonishing work, and I realized that in most of the scenes she (the character) was under great duress – especially the comedies!
As humans in the 21st century, we have a multitude of ways to distract ourselves – alcohol, drugs, sex, eating, TV, facebook, looking at the cute guy/gal in yoga… As actors, our characters have to sit in the pain and discomfort of intimacy. If we, as actors, can’t sit through these feelings, then how are we going to have the courage to do so under imaginary circumstances?
Whenever I move through the uncomfortable feelings – I have more space inside. In the breakup of relationships– we bitch and moan and scream and complain – then finally feel the feelings and move through.
Emotion becomes much easier to access when you don’t attach the feeling s to events, but rather feel them in their purest state.
Actors try to feel pain, humans try to alleviate it. So feel the pure feeling and then cover it. Neurotic behavior comes from the actor avoiding pain.