I had to take a first step to write this blog. My first step was opening my Notes app and joting down a few ideas that I would later delete and replace with this sentence. My first step was preceded by a couple days of, “Is this really something you should write about?” Then I got over it and started writing.
This fall was my first session teaching every step of the Meisner work at Green Shirt at the same time. Eight sections of students taking first steps in every class. The way we do the work is really thoughtful in that each step builds on the one before it to develop the skills needed to move on to the next and that’s really helpful but this session I noticed how scary it can be too because every time someone comes to class they must take a first step into something they’ve never done before.
Last week I watched Spider-Man Into The Spider-Verse (for the third time) and there’s a moment when Miles Morales asks Peter B. Parker how he’ll know when he’s ready to be Spider-Man and Peter replies, “You won’t. It’s a leap of faith. That’s all is is Miles, a leap of faith.” Miles then takes his leap, becomes Spider-Man, and defeats Kingpin
In doing anything, but especially in vulnerable acts of creativity like going to an audition, rehearsal, performance, sitting down to write, or taking a class there’s uncertainty. That uncertainty, often, takes us out of our active selves and puts us into our thinking selves. “Should I do this? Is this the right step for me? Am I ready for this step?” We can get stuck in this place and the time between our first impulse and the first step can lapse into days, weeks, month…maybe so long that we tell ourselves that we’ve now run out of time and should probably focus on the next thing and that can put us back into the thinking space before the first step. I found myself in this cycle for a few years in college where I had so many impulses to create but each impulse was met by too much thinking time which glossed over my impulse to create until a got a new idea, and then I got another idea, and another and I never took a first step towards any of them.
Instead of judging the quality of our work on reviews or ticket sales or compliments from friends, I think we should rate our success on this thinking time between our impulse and taking the first step. The shorter the time, the more success we’ve had today. Taking that first step gives us the possibility of the next, and the next, until we’ve done that thing we’ve always wanted to do and we become the person we’ve always wanted to be. How will you know when you’re ready?
It’s a leap of faith.