In an earlier blog post, I mentioned Kristin Linklater’s awesome quote on how holding your breath makes part of you absent. I think that observation is one of the intimidating things about activities that make you take deep breaths and truly be present- acting, yoga, birth, prayer, rest (not just sleeping but sabbath day take a break or a vacation conscious rest…). All of these activities make me recognize my own humanity, my frailty, my imperfections.
And you can’t fake a deep breath. If you try you sound ridiculous and you look a little crazy. And it’s hard to fake what’s really going on with you emotionally, physically, and spiritually when you are engaged in deep breathing. And in an age where it’s easier than ever to fake our lives and feelings and where being genuine is experiencing a shortage of supply and a growing demand- those moments and those activities are incredibly valuable.
I have a lot of friends that joke that theatre is their religion. And while some are just being flip when they say it, others seem to mean it and on some level, while it’s not enough for me, I get it. The honesty I have to have with myself when working on a piece of theatre is akin to the honesty I feel confronted with when I receive the eucharist. The idea that we are naked in the presence of God, nothing can be hidden- this is it and this is enough. I wrote earlier this year about how one of my lenten goals was to confront my perfectionism that was going like a yo-yo of being a problem and feeling like something that I’d overcome since becoming a parent. I still have to approach it the way I approach any of the problems I’ve struggled with chronically- every day I have to make the choice not to give into it.
Some days I do better than others. I have to give myself grace for the bad days and keep pushing on and trying again. I struggled a ton during Lent, but the seeds that were planted during that time have come to a fruition now that I’m getting back into a physical fitness routine that involves a focus on breathing as well as getting back into a steady stream of theatrical work this summer. I am in awe of the strength we have when we quit trying to be perfect. It’s ok with me these days that my favorite moments are being grossly sweaty from a workout or covered in drool from my seemingly perm-teething son. It’s more than OK. These moments are precious and the more I breathe and let myself be present, the more I feel connected to my faith and family and friends.
Which brings me to next month’s focus word: BUILD. I am interested in building connections and relationships. I will be building a set and costumes for the camp we are about to direct (well, helping to build..) I want to take opportunities to build strength and stamina too. I also want to think about building blocks for the future. And finally, this theme was inspired by one of my favorite verses: