A red airplane no bigger than my shoe dangles from the sky, miraculously appearing to float in midair. Its propellor spins rapidly. I stop and stare at the seemingly magical airplane, wondering how it possibly stays perfectly positioned above the center of the road below.
“You never know what you’re going to see when you look up,” says the woman on the sidewalk a few feet to my right. I suppose she noticed my amazement and wonder at the curious dangling airplane and chimed in with hers as well, equally perplexed and entertained. I ask her if she knew how it was hanging there, and together we take a closer look to discover a near invisible thread creeping out an apartment window above, snaking its way down to support the suspended airplane. I knowit sounds simple, but it was one of the coolest things I’d seen in a while. I wanted to take a picture, but my phone was dead. It’s probably for the best, though. I think it’s fitting that this moment be preserved only in my memory. As I walked away and took one last look up at the mysterious airplane, I ruminated some more on this brief interaction and what she had said. I started to wonder about all the things I miss when I fail to look up. The idea of looking up took on a deeper meaning and I see it now to mean present moment awareness. In this city of strangers, I made a connection, brief but meaningful, that made me think about how much I’ve been missing.
I spend so much time focused on myself. I’m beginning to realize that the root of suffering may be this separated consciousness that distances us from one another. At the risk of going down a spiritual rabbit hole here, I am realizing the power of ONE that exists in all of us. We are one, and when I approach life through that state of mind by cultivating present moment awareness, nature and the universe flow through me with an encouraging brush. The same one that spins the propellor. I am overwhelmed with regret the minute I begin to think of all the wasted moments and opportunities I’ve spent buried in a self-absorbed state. That suffering ends, though, the moment I realize that those moments no longer exist, and all I have is my fingers typing away on these keys. In this is all that ever was, and all that ever will be.
So, how does this relate to acting? The ability to be present onstage is essential. Sure, even the best actors lose focus while performing, but their ability to refocus attention to the circumstances of the play and the present moment is what sets them apart. They listen and respond to their partner(s) in an organic, natural, truthful manner. This skill allows a long-running show to feel fresh and new each time the curtain is drawn. These moments occur for the first time every night! A subtle shift in my scene partner’s eyes that was not there yesterday might inspire me to take a different approach on my next line and give our scene an entirely different flavor. These are skillsI’m still working to hone but they are some of the most important in our craft. How can I expect to turn on present moment awareness onstage if I’m not practicing it in my regular day to day interactions?
With The Broadway WarmUp 30/30/30 Challenge quickly approaching, I plan to focus on cultivating present moment awareness. I will keep daily journal entries to document my progress. I will continue my recently implemented daily meditation practice. In addition, I will minimize phone and social media use, allotting only a certain window of time everyday. The amount of time I spend refreshing my email, meaninglessly scrolling through my social media is laughable. This month, I will cut back on these distractions and see if they lead to a more focused, intentional life. My plan is to allow phone/social media use in the morning hours from 6-10AM, and again in the evening hours 8-11PM. I will still have plenty of time to do my work online, but my hope is that this time will be productive rather than a means for distraction and instant gratification as it’s so often been in my journey thus far. Who knows what I’ll see when I look up? Join me for The Broadway WarmUp 30/30/30 Challenge to jumpstart your journey to your inner greatness.
Sign up here: BWU 30/30/30 CHALLENGE