Learning how to fly

“Come to the edge,” he said.
“We can’t, we’re afraid!” they responded.
“Come to the edge,” he said.
“We can’t, We will fall!” they responded.
“Come to the edge,” he said.
And so they came.
And he pushed them.
And they flew.”

― Guillaume Apollinaire

I’ve taken to watching a programme on YouTube called ‘The Hollywood Reporter roundtables.’ Although it sounds trashy, it’s actually the most honest insight into the acting world I’ve ever seen. They invite actors who truly love acting, actors who see it as a craft, an art, a way to understand more of themselves and other people, to come and talk openly about their experiences. These actors talk a lot about their fear of performance, they talk about how some of the scenes they produce are less than perfect. They talk about rejection after rejection after rejection and they talk about exploring different ways to approach their work in order to surrender to uncertainty and just see what happens when the cameras role.

It’s wonderful to see these groups of ‘successful’ (whatever that means) actors talk about the difficult roller coaster journey it takes to get to a place where they can truly do their craft, truly be in their element. Hearing them makes it easier for me to understand why we all fear ‘jumping off the cliff’ so much. Because there will inevitably be times when the journey is difficult. When the people in the poem came to the edge, were pushed, and flew, they probably then travelled through a pretty turbulent period of low pressure and had to navigate strong winds. We all know that there is a big chance that we will fly in some way once we head off the cliff, but we all also know that it won’t always be plain sailing. And that’s what keeps us from stepping off. The actors knew this too, but found a way to use the turbulent times to their advantage, a lesson, I think we can all learn from.

Once you step off the cliff, in whatever form that takes for you, nobody can tell you what it’s going to feel like when things get difficult. It’s that uncertainty that we fear, that concern that some emotions might come up that we might not feel equipped to deal with. The hardest bit isn’t stepping off the cliff, the hardest bit is navigating life once you’ve said yes. But the truth is we are more resourceful than we can imagine, and the difficult bits just give us another opportunity to learn more about who we are.

I work with clients who step into their resourcefulness in between sessions as they task themselves with things that scare them. They come back having grown taller, realising that the task was merely a tool that allowed them to access more of their deep resourcefulness. My clients see that being with the emotion that difficult tasks bring up, shows them they can achieve even more. My clients are brilliantly courageous.

The successful actors in the Hollywood roundtables have probably got to where they are because of their difficult journeys. Because they have had to dig deep and find their own power they are able to now bring that to the work they do. Our greatness comes from navigating, ‘being with’ and learning from the difficulties we face on route to the dream.

No Comments

Post A Comment