Green Shirt Studio

Presence is the Gateway to Authenticity

Presence is the Gateway to  Authenticity

Exploring deeply personal pieces of ourselves and honestly sharing who we truly are on stage is uncomfortable because it calls for a level of vulnerability we typically don’t operate at in everyday life. When you go to work you’ve gotta go to work. If you started to dig into the fabric of your most important thoughts or desires with customers, coworkers, or clients they’d likely tiptoe away and call whoever’s in charge to let them know they’ve got an issue on their hands.

We often don’t share those deeply meaningful parts of ourselves with the people we’re supposed to be closest to either, because it’s easier that way. We keep it together at Thanksgiving dinner, we don’t “poke the bear” and share political beliefs with that uncle we only have to see once a year. We don’t want to rock the boat, take up that space, or go through the trouble of staking our claim because tomorrow’s another day and we barley ever have to see this uncle anyway and we’d rather focus on how delicious this dinner is because Mom’s onion dip only comes around once a year.

Revealing the face behind the everyday mask also often kicks up the idea of personal safety. Will I feel safe showing that side of myself to the rest of the world? Will others feel safe seeing that side of me? Will I negatively impact my mental or emotional health by experimenting and diving into the deepest webs that make up who I am for the sake of my creative pursuits?

And yet, these impulses to lean away from discomfort, to take the easy route, and to fear for our personal safety, are ultimately obstacles to authentically relating to one another in our life and work. In studying and teaching the Meisner technique, I’ve learned that the way through these obstacles is presence. With the ability to stay present we follow thoughts and feelings down the rabbit hole of our deepest selves and step out the other end not only unscathed but emboldened and energized. When we are being present, we don’t hold onto anything that’s happened in the moment before because we’re in a new moment. So even if it is a terrifying moment that feels uncomfortable and unsafe, the next moment is about to happen and who knows what that moment will bring.

If we’re present we can truly fall madly in love with our scene partner in one moment, hate them the next, and go out for a friendly drink after class to chat about what this process is teaching us about love and hate. Presence allows us to play pretend, leading with our truest selves.