On any typical Friday night, you could find me chilling at home with my son and husband, probably watching a movie after rocking him to sleep. However, this past week my Friday evening ended up looking very different. I took a risk and attended an Emotional Workout session at Art’s Sake Studios in Winter Park, Florida. If someone had walked in at any given moment, they may have heard wolf-like howling, screams of frustration, wails of sadness or cackling laughter. Those are only a few examples of the range of emotions which took place. You may be thinking, “Wow, what a weirdo. I didn’t know she was one of those artsy free-for-all types…” but hear me out.
The idea behind the madness is to become more aware of your feelings; how they affect your everyday life—as well as the craft of acting—and how you can perform simple exercises to improve, thereby diving into each emotion more fully. Why would I want to do that? At this point in life, I am not afraid of “going there”. I desire to face my fears head on as well as embrace the “good” and “bad” emotions which I used to keep buried inside. I have learned that burying only prolongs and deepens concerns. As Julia Cameron said in her book, The Right to Write, we must “resist the resistance”, as much as we do not want to face it. That is the only true way to learn and grow in this life.
That night, I surprised myself with a willing vulnerability, curiosity, drive and gratefulness for even being there. Until that evening, I had not put much thought to some of the underlying emotions which seem to strangle me slowly many days. I believe working out emotions should be as important as physical exercise, especially if you are an artist. Artists of any kind possess a certain truth inside them; a truth that is meant to give to others, and to God, as a gift. So, are you in touch with your underlying feelings? If not, then why?
I am so thankful for Friday night and the truths which God spoke to me while meandering around a group of performers. Looking back, I opened up my inmost emotions to a roomful of people that I had never met before—what an amazing gift. It helped me look at them and other people I meet in a whole new way. I must be honest though. Upon entering the room and taking my seat that night, I had judged and typecast at least five people, and the number was growing by the minute, until the program began. I don’t know why I do that so easily. Yet, by the end of the night, I could honestly look around the room and see everyone more as how I think we should—as beautiful, vulnerable, fragile and unique human beings—desperate to find their place and purpose. I am one of them.