Love takes a person places that they can't go otherwise, I'm finding. It's like a passport of sorts. Without it, the soul doesn't have access to distant emotional lands. Let me explain.
The other night at rehearsal, I was involved in a bit of drama. It involved fight choreography going bad -- specifically, an uncontrolled fall backward and an inadvertent kick to the face -- and some loud "discussion." Fortunately, this is a mature enough group that feelings were assuaged and communication was restored by the time we started our preview.
I woke up the next morning, however, consumed by the events. Having the analytical mind that I do, I spent much of the day pondering my "lessons." What had gone wrong? Had anything really gone wrong? What could I possibly do to prevent another occurrence in the future? After a couple of cogent and enlightening discussions with friends, I felt better -- better about myself, the people involved and the whole darn process.
Looming on the horizon, however, was a meeting with one of the company members who is not involved in the production. I knew that said actor would ask me how rehearsals were going. What would I say? I wanted to be able to have an honest discussion without being cagey. Upon reflection, however, I realized that my emotional approach to the whole situation had been different than in conflicts past. I was breathing deeper and releasing faster than ever before. That's when my answer occurred to me.
I would respond that theater is making me better person.
You see, I care about my work in a wholly new way. My heart is fully engaged, and consequently, open. I now approach work with a softness, and wouldn't you know it, vulnerability transforms everything. I used to have an ever-present shield around me, tossing off annoying colleagues and perceived incompetence with an eye roll or verbal barb. (Dear Reader, please remember that the hospital adjoins Death, and therefore is rife with defense mechanisms. So, don't judge me too harshly.) If an incident arose, I could think my way out of remorse.
But now, my inner landscape has shifted to a new clime. I care more. More of me is present, and my heart feels settled, ready to set roots. As a result, I'm capable of taking it all in -- the rain, the sun, the mud, the fruit. No need to duck and hide. No need to act unperturbed. I can be perturbed here, and it's ok. I'm in my heart, and there are no costumes here. Just a blanket of love -- for myself, for my mistakes, for my embarrassments and my victories. And most importantly, for all of you, as well.