Day 6 Topic 2
There is nothing more beautiful and captivating than a person who has chosen to be vulnerable. There is no greater honor than the trust given by someone choosing to be vulnerable with you. If I look at the type of moments in real life that I want to recreate for an audience on stage they usually are not moments of extreme action or spectacle. I love spectacle and action but what I think about for weeks afterward and can remember with clarity for years afterward are not the moments of spectacle and action but connection and shared vulnerability.
Think of a conversation where you connected with someone on a deep level. Think of a relationship where you were safe to be who you were at that moment. What were you doing that made you feel connected? What was the other person doing that made you feel connected? Most likely you weren’t doing much that was exciting other than engaging in active communication. Were you bored? If you weren’t bored what was keeping your attention and focus over what might have been hours at a time? How clear is it in your memory still?
The temptation is to think that to keep the audience engaged we have to be doing a lot of really interesting exciting action. Novelty and spectacle do have their place in entertainment but to move and engage your audience it will take connection and vulnerability. Your audience won’t be vulnerable until you are.
Read These Quotes:
He held back nothing of himself in his effort to please his audience― Peter Carey, War Crimes
We cultivate love when we allow our most vulnerable and powerful selves to be deeply seen and known, and when we honor the spiritual connection that grows from that offering with trust, respect, kindness and affection.
Love is not something we give or get; it is something that we nurture and grow, a connection that can only be cultivated between two people when it exists within each one of them – we can only love others as much as we love ourselves.
Shame, blame, disrespect, betrayal, and the withholding of affection damage the roots from which love grows. Love can only survive these injuries if they are acknowledged, healed and rare.― Brené Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection
Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness.― Brené Brown, Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead
What do I do with this?
Make it a life goal. Put a reminder somewhere so it doesn’t fall off your mental radar. Be deliberate about making the change. Make sure you are making it a SMART goal.
Identify or look for people that make it safe for you to be vulnerable. Spend time with those people. Minimize the amount of time you spend in toxic relationships or situations.
Push out of your comfort zone at least once a day. If doesn’t feel a bit uncomfortable then you are still in your comfort zone. It gets easier with practice.
Awareness is the first step! Learn about connection and vulnerability. Choose to be curious!
Eliminate negative self talk. The toxic person in your life might be yourself. Pay attention to how you talk and what you say to yourself.
Find your happy place. Close your eyes. Take 10 deep breaths where you breathe in to the count of 4 through your nose and breath out to the count of three audibly through your mouth like you are blowing out a candle. Now try to picture the safest, most comfortable, and peaceful place possible. It can be real or imagined. It might take time for you to discover what this place would be like for yourself. After you discover it, realize you can always come back to this in your mind at any point during the day if you need to recenter yourself. Also, this can be a great reference point that can guide how you create the environment around yourself in other moments or spaces around you.
Because he could not afford to fail, he could not afford to trust.― Joseph Ellis, His Excellency: George Washington
Start with yourself
Real dishes break. That’s how you know they’re real.― Marty Rubin
If you can’t be vulnerable as yourself then you won’t know the process one has to take to be vulnerable. You will struggle to find vulnerability as your character. That said, don’t wait to make progress with your character. Any work you do towards allowing yourself to be vulnerable will help.
In the middle of a battlefield is not the place to be vulnerable. There is a reason why we learn to not be vulnerable. Defense mechanisms and walls serve important functions. Choose a safe situation to start experimenting. It might be by yourself. You might already have people that make you feel comfortable and safe where you can explore how to become even more authentic and vulnerable as yourself. Seek out those situations and people.
One of the first places to start with connection and vulnerability is by creating a safe mental space for yourself. Pay attention to your negative self-talk. Is your mind a safe place for you to be? If not, start by setting aside 5 or 10 minutes where negative self-talk is not permitted. If negative thoughts intrude during this time acknowledge them and excuse them to leave.
Fame is longing. Not yours, but the audience’s. A star is nothing more, nothing less, than the public face of private desire.― Frances de Pontes Peebles, The Air You Breathe
Apply the same technique to yourself as your character.
Your audience is one single reader. I have found that sometimes it helps to pick out one person-a real person you know, or an imagined person-and write to that one.― John Steinbeck
The goal to be vulnerable and authentic as our character on stage needs to be something you are actively working towards. Try following the same process you are working with as yourself when you are whatever character you are playing on stage. Finding a safe place physically, mentally, and emotionally to experiment with vulnerability as this character is just as important as when you are working on it yourself.
Audiences will admire your character’s strength but connect with them through their weakness.― Don Roff