Friday, November 6, 2009


“Hey that thing that’s happening around you,” shouts Viewpoints instructor Alexandra Billings, “is your life!

“When you’re on stage,” she adds with wry enthusiasm, “that’s really you!”

After what simultaneously feels like 20 hours and a fleeting instant of doing a Viewpoints session, she tells us what she saw – “And I see everything,” she says with a smirk.

Shit, I wonder what she’s going to say about me – as sweat drips from every pore.

“Honey, I need you to breathe,” as she looks intently deep into my eyes. “Whatever it is that is holding onto your breath just let it go and breathe sweetie pie.”

The sensation of tears comes, but only fleeting. Yes, I’ve always had trouble breathing; with taking in breath – or, inspiration as it were. And although I’ve been aware of this for quite some time, I’ve yet to achieve full inspiration.

Then she says, “Go after what you want! You tend to go towards something and then step back from it. Just go after it, don’t hold back.”

Wow, she really does see everything. I love/hate that. More importantly, I need that. Pure honesty. Knowing something about yourself and having it bluntly said to your face are two very different things.

There is unquestionably a connection between my breath (or lack there of) and (my timidity in) going after what I want. But, what is it that I want?

I’ve always considered myself an observer. I see what happens around me without actively participating in it – perhaps a consequence of being an only child and growing up essentially alone. I have deep and complex thoughts and opinions but struggle to get them out, to express them. As if my mind is separate from what’s happening around me.

But it’s not. That thing that’s happening around me is my life. I can’t just observe it and contemplate its existence. I must be present in my own life. I have to take action. And that is what I want: to actively engage in the world around me. To investigate, instead of ponder; to grasp, instead of reach. That’s what acting has always been for me – a way to be active, rather than passive.

So what’s keeping me from going after what I want? Growing up, I couldn’t wait for “life” to start. I thought it would start after I graduated from college and entered the world of adulthood. Well, I feel more inert and nonspecific than ever before. I know I planned on taking a year off before going to grad school, but good grief.

It’s time to stop waiting for inspiration to hit me. It’s time I started breathing and stopped dreaming. Dreams can only take you so far.

So, take a deep breath.