Monday, February 22, 2010

My Last Improv Class.

"Empathy is the most revolutionary emotion."
-- Gloria Steinem.

Hello my cyber-blades... I write to you tonight after a very very very very full day... Wow. My last Improv class was today frankly, it was the best because we got to get up in front of the class and work a lot of improv out.

It was a blast. I LOVED getting up in front of the class and I streeeeeeeeeeeetched my skills, which felt like a little sliver of heaven.

And so, I volunteer in the morning and I am sleeeepy now...

So, tonight will be brief.

I was thinking of what to write about -- I did have my last class, and I did speak with my SNIFF editor, and I did communicate with a fellow Wolverine actor about emailing SAG and standing up for ourselves -- we NEED TO GET PAID.

But... what I take away from this day most of all is this. What Gloria Steinem said. 

1. I, Thou. Through all of this year -- these 365 days of becoming a movie star, a best-selling author, and a millionaire -- empathy is indeed the most revolutionary emotion. Through all of my growing success -- the book deal, the movie meetings, the manager meetings and impending signing, the new pictures, the new, golden relationships with great directors and actors and playwrights and screenwriters -- I am reminding myself to empathize. 

Aristotle said there were two kinds of people:
"I thou." And "I it." 

And "I thou" is seeing me in you and thus coming from love. "I thou" is love. Quite simply. "I it" is fear. You are not me and I am not you and so, I do not care what happens to you. And invariably, I do not care what happens to me.

Empathy is "I thou." Jury duty was and the diversity of my Improv classmates was and even talking to SAG about my Wolverine money due is. Meeting with managers -- connecting with a great manager on a profound level is -- I am you. I get you. We can do this. Listen to me. Look at me. See me in you. Because invariably we are the same.

And it's not a point of needing someone -- rather it is a point of seeing that we are linked and that success comes from seeing ourselves in everyone and this is how we create characters -- witness Meryl Streep who never condescends to her characters. It is the key to great writing -- we write as and with our characters, not in judgement of them.

2. The 4 Agreements. Always I am reminding myself of Aristotle's words and also of Don Miguel Ruiz's brilliance that is The 4 Agreements: "Don't take anything personally - Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to opinions and actions of others, you won't be victim of needless suffering."

Empathy is revolutionary. And recognizing that each of us operates from our own lighthouse in this wilding world and that their perspective has little to do with ours -- saves us A LOT of heart break.

Two lessons for living a happier life.

3. Honesty. Tonight I found myself disappointed by a situation and when I first learned of it, I wrote back my friend and did the old "no worries" sort of fluffball response. But then, when I stopped and breathed, I realized I had more to say.

And it wasn't angry or hurtful or mean. It was honest. And I felt SO much better. And she responded beautifully. And though we haven't done anything yet about the situation -- I already feel better. And I have a great idea of what we can do.

And so, my little blades... I thou, The 4 agreements, and honesty. Give them a try.

The world will be a better place for it. And success will be that much sweeter.

loooooove.... always.



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