By: Erik Mueller
What a rush! I just completed my first C.R.E.A.T.E. workshop with Tony Award nominated director Kristin Hanggi and actress and yoga instructor Natalie Roy at The Actor's Green Room in New York.
Last Wednesday, I needed a pick-me-up, so I logged into the AGR webinar on “Embracing Your Imperfections” featuring actor and acting coach Clyde Baldo. I had heard him speak in a previous webinar and loved his approach to life and acting. During the webinar, Jeff Mitchell, VP of AGR Los Angeles ran a poll to find out where the participants were. Usually, most are in New York or Los Angeles, but this night 22 percent listed themselves as "Other." "Where are you?" Jen Rudolph, owner of AGR, asked. I and several others typed "Washington, DC." She said, "I'm going to do something crazy. Who in DC is free on Saturday?" I typed that I was free. And she said, "Alright Erik, it's you. You're coming up to New York, and I'm going to pay for your bus and hotel.” Awesome!
Saturday evening, a bunch of happy, expectant actors flowed into AGR. There must have been fifty of us. About half were at C.R.E.A.T.E. for the first time. Kristin and Natalie welcomed us. The theme for the night was "dreams." The first activity was to write down the answers to three questions: (1) What is your goal for the night? (2) What do you want to happen tonight? (3) What great thing has happened to you in the last week? For (1), I wrote “To soak it up. This is the dream being here with these like-minded actors, all here to support one another.” For (2), I wrote “I want to get to know some of the people here. To discover my future direction. To be excited to make it happen.” For (3), I put, of course, “Being invited to attend C.R.E.A.T.E. all expenses paid.”
Kristin presented the main messages for the night: Life wants to give us our dreams. All we need to do is take actions toward them, however scary those actions may be. Things will happen. We can’t predict exactly what they’ll be, but they’ll be good. We’ll experience challenges and clunkiness, but we have the means to push through these difficulties and achieve our dreams. Kristin also told us, “The world is in bad shape. It desperately needs artists to help it heal. Do your acting for the world!”
Natalie told us not to be too focused on the results, like winning an Oscar. Only focus on what you have to do right now. Small steps are the only way to big results. In response to a question about the difficulty of changing one’s habits, she said, “The only way to make change is to do it and do it and do it and do it and do it and do it.” Kristin added, “Show up every day and say yes.”
Natalie led a guided meditation. I closed my eyes, and she created the most amazing white cloud cover, as if it were “neither day nor night.” I climbed up a tree and stepped onto the surface of the cloud. I bounced around on it. I walked toward a moon in the distance until I was in front of it. There was a door on the moon. I opened it, walked in, and saw a beautiful state-of-the-art soundstage. I walked into my office adjoining the large and colorful set of the TV show I’m going to create. People were buzzing around me, so happy to be collaborating on our wonderful show. Natalie asked us to identify the most important object in the room. I saw a script.
At the end of the workshop, we formed a large circle. One by one, each of us went into the middle of the circle to say our name and our “power statement.” I loved watching the spontaneity and variety of the participants. When I went in and said, “Hi everyone!” the response physically knocked me off my feet. They echoed back, “Hi everyone!” Then I said, “My name is Erik Mueller!” “Your name is Erik Mueller!” “My dream is!” “Your dream is!” “To write and act the truth!” “To write and act the truth!”
Kristin closed with the message, “Don’t keep your dream at a distance. Believe in yourself. Your dream is right in front of you.” Totally! I’m ready to get to work on those small steps toward big results!
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