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We’re back posting on our blog again.  We have a two new members, Audrey and Amy, who will be helping us write our blog posts.  Hope you enjoy them.  Here’s a little something from my dear friend Audrey.  To see more of her other posts, visit our site: http://www.givingartfully.com/category/audreys-ramblings/.

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So, I thought I’d follow up from my thoughts in the first part of my last blog post.  The idea of really living IN the moment.  It’s hard-the days are full of them, and most of us are so busy, it’s hard to not be thinking ahead to the next thing on your list. I’m super guilty of that.  And when I’m not busy, I’m guilty of killing time wastefully, not using that precious free time to focus on one of those things I’m always regretting that I don’t have time for!

As an actor, one of the tenets of my training is to be “present.”  That means that when you are on stage, whether you are alone or sharing that stage with other actors, you are available and listening, allowing yourself to be affected by the action, letting that action affect you, and then reacting truthfully.  It’s what we do in life, really, without thinking about it.  Well, most of the time. With the onset of so much technology, in some ways being so “connected” has actually disconnected us.  How many times have you been in conversation with some one, face to face, who is simultaneously holding a conversation via text with someone else?  Though they are there with you physically, they are not necessarily “present.”  Connected, not connected.  We are a society of multi-taskers, and that makes it hard sometimes to really be in the moment.  Sometimes a day will fly by and at the end of it, I’ll look back and find it to be a blur of memory, no distinct moment sticking out from the rest.  This is not to say that every action or minute in my day should be memorable, but I worry that I’m letting it simply pass me by, without stopping to really be present in the action.

So I’m going to try something.  It’s not groundbreaking.  It’s not even that original.  It’s just a reminder to myself.  I’m going to stop and take a breath.  That’s it.  I’m going to remember to breathe.

Now, you’re probably thinking:  What?

One of the things that happens to me as an actor (and to many others) is that when the adrenaline starts going, I forget to breathe.  I mean, I’m BREATHING, but I might hold my breath for a minute, in anticipation of a coming line, or I’m so nervous that my breath is shallow (only adding to my nerves, unfortunately).  But if I can just stop for a second and remember to breathe, I mean really take in a good breath, and release those nerves a little on the exhale, it focuses me.  (To those yoga and pilates people out there, this principle probably sounds familiar.) With each real breath, and as I allow my breathing to normalize, I am more present and available to my partner or to the play’s action.

I think this is applicable in life.  It’s good to stop and take a breath.  Maybe it’s when you step up to order your morning coffee, after waiting in line and all you want to do is get your order in, pick it up and go – stop to take a breath.  LOOK at the person behind the register, say good morning and order.  It’s a small moment, but who knows where it might lead.  Your smile, your AVAILABILITY, might ease that counterperson’s stress a little ( the morning rush is crazy, and exhausting, trust me), and maybe your day will have a little more pep in it too.  It is important to connect, and to be present.  Or, put your cell phone in your purse with the ringer off when you are at lunch with a friend. Or, if you’re having a bad day, or a day when you can’t seem to get ahead of any one thing, stop for 30 seconds and take a good breath.  Refocus.  Maybe it won’t work.

But maybe it will.

I’m going to try it.  And maybe then, in the evening of one of those super-busy-multi-tasky days, as I do my mental rundown of events, or when my husband (Nick) asks me how my day was, I’ll see those events more clearly, because I was really IN them.  Or maybe, I’ll have one really distinct and unexpected moment to share that sprung from this breathing experiment.  As I get older, the days go faster and faster – I’m hoping this might help slow things down a bit.  I want to remember the little things in addition to the big things. Plus, oxygen is good for the brain, so taking a good breath is going to be beneficial one way or another!

So.  Go ahead.

Inhale.

Exhale.

Have an awesome and present day.

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