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Bonnieby Bonnie Katz, MA

Manifesting a Brilliant New Year

Each New Year brings an opportunity to make a fresh start and begin again. Actors get busy setting goals, tackling bad habits and figuring out new and improved ways to succeed. Procrastinators are nudged to get fresh headshots, find a new agent, and enroll in a great acting class that will push them out of their comfort zone and into success. It’s also the perfect time to reevaluate strategies and see if your dream is still intact, especially if circumstances may have shifted over the past year. Unforeseen experiences could have swayed you off course a bit and instead of signing up for that great improv class, you paid off your credit card bills. Maybe you feel disappointed that you aren’t where you thought you’d be when you set out on this journey. Obstacles thrown on your path are a normal part of life, they force you to continuously recalculate your route just like a GPS gets you to your destination when you’ve made a wrong turn. When the road is filled with wrong turns, ups and downs and setbacks, remember that all worthwhile destinations come with a cost. View the difficulties as labor pains; a necessary part of the creative process.

Your passion and love for your craft can act as your guide no matter where you end up. Is your heart and mind with you as you set out on your career path towards joy and happiness? That was the attitude Glenn Close had when she set out to make the film, “Albert Nobbs.” In Deborah Vankin’s L.A. Times article, about Close’s Obie award winning passion project, Vankin stated: “She co-produced it and co-wrote the screenplay, penned the lyrics of the movie’s theme song (Nominated for a Golden Globe), invested “quite a bit” of her own money in the movie and after tapping every possible financial resource in Hollywood, she took to out-of-the-box fundraising and traveled to Dallas in 2010 and after an evening of Close singing the tunes from Sunset Boulevard and South Pacific, received a million dollars from an investor.“ This woman’s got moxie!! “Even after the money was in place and Rodrigo Garcia was hired to direct, the 34 -day Dublin shoot was riddled with problems. Chief among them: a vicious winter storm that had the actors clutching hot water bottles between takes and which resulted in Close’s getting pneumonia during filming.” ‘It was nerve-racking to the bitter end,’ “Garcia said,” ‘There were many times where we thought, ‘This movie is not gonna get made.’ But I’d jumped on a bandwagon that was already fiercely committed – Glenn’s bandwagon.’ “Garcia said,” ‘ that her focused fervor was contagious and helped the production land actors like Pauline Collins and Jonathan Rhys Meyers for smaller roles. So many people wanted to do it, at any cost, just because it was Glenn’s passionate dream.’”
In this case, not only did Close’s passion and devotion help her over the hurdles thrown on her path, but they attracted formidable artists who desired to be a part of her vision. Close’s dedication to “‘Albert Nobbs,’” became the wind beneath her wings, enabling her to weather each storm and create an honorable and touching work of art. Without her relentless determination this project would have never happened. Twyla Tharp’s balanced view of discipline and passion is eloquently stated when she says that: ”Without passion, all the skill in the world won’t lift you above craft. Without skill, all the passion in the world will leave you eager but floundering. Combining the two is the essence of the creative life.”

The fuel necessary to sustain your dreams is devotion, discipline, courage, creativity and strength. Along with developing a strategy of success for the New Year, don’t forget to nurture these elements also. They are needed to help you stay focused, especially when the going gets tough. They are just as important to your success as a great agent and talented acting teacher. Here are some thoughts on how to make this happen.

A Simple guide to help you start to manifest a brilliant New Year:

  1. Quiet your mind so that your true passion can emerge. The need to be liked, attain fame and fortune or get attention will not build the strength and character you need for your dreams to manifest. Selfless love and devotion, satisfaction in accomplishment and discipline, a wish to express yourself and touch other people’s lives, and to be part of an ensemble that tells a worthy story are noble goals that can help fuel your passion and drive.
  2. Develop your discipline. Find mentors who inspire when you need a boost. Work at developing discipline through creating healthy habits. Karate, meditation, yoga, tai chi are ways of developing body and mind discipline. Discipline creates the strength needed for endurance. The payoff is self-respect and confidence when you look in the mirror. “When creativity has become your habit; when you’ve learned to manage time, resources, expectations, and the demands of others; when you understand the value and place of validation, continuity, and purity of purpose, then you’re on the way to an artist’s ultimate goal; the achievement of mastery” – Twyla Tharp
  3. Know the difference between excellence and perfection. Excellence is being the best that you can be, giving it all you’ve got. It’s something that is attainable and in the present moment. Perfection is an idea that can make people miserable because it is a standard that doesn’t exist. Perfectionism is about never being happy with yourself until you’ve reached this ideal of where you think you should be. Excellence is about appreciating where you are but also knowing that you would like to challenge yourself further. Excellence is inclusive and perfection is exclusive.
  4. Clear out the clutter in your mind so that your life becomes simpler. If you’ve got wounds that need healing, anger that needs understanding, fear and anxiety that belongs in the past or relationships that need to be understood so that you can move on, get the help you need to do it. The present moment presents itself with enough challenges, you don’t need to dredge up old messages from your past and carry them on your back too. Open up that bag with a professional and look at each experience so that you can understand it and set it free.
  5. Love your challenges. When things happen to you, don’t say why me, instead say, what am I supposed to learn from this? Be thankful for everything in your life. Instead of seeing scarcity,- find the abundance. The secret to creating your own luck is developing a generous spirit through gratitude. Graciousness is attractive, people who’ve got it are blissfully enjoyable to be around.

Make 2012 the year in which you shine from the inside out. Come from a place of self-knowledge and strength. Be centered in who you are and what you have to offer the world. Enjoy the whole journey, know how to ride the ups and downs evenly, holding on tightly to your passion and joy. If your journey is about growth and you are true to yourself, you will find the wisdom and power you need within you. Best wishes for a healthy, happy and wise New Year. — Bonnie

Bonnie Katz is a licensed psychotherapist in private practice. One of her specialties is working with artists in the Entertainment Industry. Her skills and training as a psychotherapist and mindful meditator enable her to work with clients in an atmosphere of warmth and understanding. For more information on Bonnie’s psychotherapy practice, visit her website.Follow her on Twitter and Facebook

Conscious Actor articles are not a substitution for professional psychotherapy.