Stress And The Creative Life, Part 2: The Way Out is The Way In
By the term “creative life” I don’t mean a life of taking on Martha Stewart craft projects, but rather, a life that may not have a predictable daily structure. It can be a life that offers little in the way of financial or emotional stability, but at the same time holds a wealth of possibilities.
Most artists live such a life–actors in particular. And not only do we need to use our creativity in our chosen path, we need to be creative in our daily lives, because life is unstructured. Most of us are honing our crafts, hustling acting work, as well as performing side jobs to support ourselves, because work in the former is extremely competitive and jobs are quite often few and far between.
And unlike writers, visual artists or musicians, who carve out particular times out of a day or week to work on their craft, actors need to be available to audition, sometimes with only a few hours’ notice. Any time we have made available for running errands, our kids’ soccer game, or paying bills can be suddenly thrown off when get the text that we have an audition.
So how do we handle the complexity of our daily lives as artists without going crazy? I say the way out of the potential stress is the way in. We need to reignite our passion for what we are doing on a regular basis. At the beginning of each class at Gary Spatz’s The Playground we ask students if they have any acting news. Have they auditioned or booked a job? Do they have new representation? Or did they get a part in a school play?
I also like to ask if they saw any acting work in movies or on TV that inspired them during the week, because just as a character needs to have motivation in a script or a novel, we need to have motivation to live the life we want to create.
Knowing our mission in life–the thing or things we do in life that makes us happy and where we want to keep excelling–that is what will keep us spontaneous and motivated. It is what keeps us going with the flow, happily moving through our obstacles because we know it is supporting what we love, whether it is raising children or going for that series regular. It is important that we have a conviction in whatever it is that we do.
So last week, after my disastrous audition scheduled between the two yoga classes I was teaching, even in the midst of my stress melt down episode, I knew that it was my opportunity to redetermine and reevaluate my priorities.
I wrote a nice note to the casting director and watched the last episode of “Breaking Bad” through the eyes of an actor who wants to be that bleeping good. As a result, I approached my side jobs with more buoyancy and my rehearsals for acting class with more focus. And the casting director for the audition I thought I had blown had me come in to read for another project! As for my car registration, I actually received a residual check from a commercial I did last year that covered all fees and penalties,
The world-renowned philosopher and poet, Daisaku Ikeda wrote, “Faith is another word for conviction. A person with conviction continues to move forward and is always filled with hope. A person with conviction is victorious.” To have such faith in one’s passion is certainly to lead a winning life.