21 July 2011

A Mind Space

My writer muscles are loose and sluggish.

The process of writing has always provided a cool-breeze clear view into my heart and mind. So that's what I think and feel about that!

The process of blogging almost always provokes questions, mostly around the voyeuristic and exhibitionist nature of the medium. So here's my heart and mind....and YOU are watching... What are we doing?

Over the last two months, I have embraced the ideas set forth by Eckhart Tolle. The concept of "the watcher": being present in the moment with the awareness of an observer, watching my thoughts. Without judgment. Without feeling. Breathing and watching. Tolle calls it "the power of Now".

It is a space and orientation that is always available. For weeks now, I am either leaning into that space, or inhabiting it, or sensing it from one of the various frantic, far-flung exiles my egoic mind creates. There is no going back now; no forgetting how it feels to detach from identification with my thoughts.

Breath holds the key. Noticing breath and then following it and then merging...as though breath was breathing me.
Thoughts disappear. Without thoughts, there are no words. Without words, there is no writing.

Tolle points to using the mind -- rather than being used by the mind. This part of the practice does not come as easily for me. It is, of course, just another desperate trick of ego. Some sinister delusion that casts me out, alone, isolated and undeserving; what Tolle calls "pain body."

I resist using my mind because I have doubts and judgments and fears about the worthiness of its product. Actually, doubts, judgments and fears about the worthiness of my self.

Typical ego madness.

Today I'm blaming it on California. I get this way when I'm in California. I feel a familiar loneliness, remembered from when I lived here in the late 90's. It's like an old coat.

I have been cast in this year's production of Tandy Beal's "Here After Here". Most of the cast performed in the show's premiere. There are a few new dancers and, as one of four actors, I am the new member. After three rehearsals, my fellow actors' vague memories of blocking and lines are becoming remembered stagecraft.

I am the new kid on the block. It is fun. And strange.

In rehearsals, I multi-task: making notes on a printed script, experimenting with delivery, listening to Tandy's direction, memorizing blocking, learning names.

Tandy's most frequent "note" for me has been that my voice is faint and feathery too often. I've responded to that feedback with increasing insecurity about speaking; my voice and diction sound odd to me. I feel awkward in my body.

I have listened and obeyed Tandy's direction without comment so far, believing that she and everyone else in the room know the show better than I.

And they do.

And I am a performing artist. An actor in this case. And the actor brings something.

Last night I sat with the script and spoke the lines aloud, varying speed and color and pace. I began to see the outline of my character. I'm feeling it.

It feels like waking up. Like using my mind.

I want to be 80% off book by this Sunday's rehearsal. It will be fun to move around the stage with hands free and full of curiosity about the art we are making together.

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