Stop and smell the roses. We have all heard it said before.
Easier said than done.
In reality, we spend the majority of our time worrying about the future and grieving the past. The result—we neglect the present and rob ourselves of the gold in the here and now.
Rule No. 1: Be present
When I started acting training we were told that we would have to learn to live in the moment. Sounds simple right? What I soon discovered is that this is a whole lot more difficult than it sounds. Acting is all about the present, living moment to moment.
A good scene will disintegrate if the actors within it step out of the moment and become side-tracked by planning for what comes next in the scene, or thinking about what just happened.
Stepping out of the moment, the actor risks instantaneously losing contact with their scene partner, losing their true motivation for what they are doing and missing the sub-text of the actions within the scene.
The stakes are high. The story rests on the ability of the actor to remain present, or the story will be lost and consequently unheard.
Acting is therefore the art of being fully immersed in the here and now of the imaginary circumstances of the character. The actor must practice being fully immersed in the here and now—experiencing each moment through their senses, developing an awareness of what each moment really means to them and discovering the natural impulse of what it demands from them.
Life is a series of moments flowing together. If we let them slip by without paying attention it is like watching a film being played in fast-forward or rewind. You can hear the sounds and see the pictures but they don't really compute below surface level, and the essence of the story is lost in the blur.
Instead, if we watch the film at the pace intended we discover a story with rich dimensions, and an unforgettable journey: we laugh, we cry, we are held in suspense.
A leaf out of the actors' handbook
Our society has robbed us of the present. We are conditioned to forever chase after career, wealth, health, and success, and yet find ourselves simultaneously bogged down in guilt and grief over our past and what we have or have not done.
God didn't intend for us to live in fast-forward or rewind, fixated on the future or the past. Of course we have been given a brain allowing us to exercise wisdom, plan for the future and reflect on the past with the gift of hindsight, but He also gave us the present.
Just as an actor is more connected if they are present in a scene, I am certain that if we venture to live in the present we will find ourselves more connected to those around us, ourselves, the things we do, and ultimately, more connected to God.
If we really learn to experience the moments as they pass I am convinced that we will find ourselves endlessly thankful for the moments that we are blessed with and awestruck as we encounter the ever presence of God in our day to day.
As residents of our fast-paced world, we can certainly take a leaf out of the actors' handbook and reclaim the gold in the here and now.
'Yesterday's the past, tomorrow's the future, but today is a gift. That's why it's called the present'.
- Bil Keane
'Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough troubles of its own'.
- Matthew chapter 6, verse 24
Charlotte occasionally steps into the imaginary shoes of fictitious characters to bring them to life, training and working as an actress. 'Like' her page on Facebook: Charlotte Goiris to receive regular updates.
Charley Goiris' previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/charley-goiris.html