19 Oct Make New Experiences A Staple Of Life

“It is easy to coast through life rather than to continually find the will to reach out into the world. To reach out is a risk. There is little grace in a life that never extends out beyond the boundaries of the self. – Anne Bogart”

When I was working as a nanny (primarily for families with infants and toddlers), I was struck by how diligent the parents were about providing their little ones with new experiences where they could explore and grow. Every day there was a new park, museum, craft, mini science experiment, etc. And it got me thinking — why don’t we try just as hard to stimulate our bodies and minds in new ways as adults? It could be as simple as taking a walk in a new neighborhood or as complex as taking a trip to a foreign land.

And isn’t that part of our job, as artists? To experience life, to continually grow, to resist stagnation? Pushing ourselves and exploring different parts of our humanity in order to fill the well of understanding from which we draw to feed our art.

My acting coach spoke recently about the cyclical nature in life. How everything, from a simple conversation to an individual on this earth, is born, grows, thrives, begins to peter out, and eventually dies. As an actor, this happens with projects. Ideas. Relationships.

On a recent trip to Olympic National Park, I was particularly struck by this concept when I was hiking in the rainforest. I kept coming across these huge, magnificent trees that had fallen to the forest floor, and without exception, every single one of them was mothering new growths. Many of them had an entire row of new trees growing out of them. They were all covered with moss, new ferns, fungi, and baby trees. You could see how grand the tree had once been, and yet its story was not yet finished.

And I realized what a perfect metaphor this was for my artistic journey in life: Everything, no matter how great, will go through its own life cycle. But when its time is up, it will provide fodder for new growths, new adventures, and novel experiences. Even if I were to book a series regular on a major television show, what could I hope for? Eight years at the MOST? But the experiences I would have, the people I would meet, and the connections I would establish would still be there when the show was over. And this, I think, is one of the BEST things about being an artist– this cyclical nature is so clear and prominent in my daily life.

I need to continually reach out and experience new things in order to facilitate the births of new ideas, projects, and relationships. I need to truly enjoy things while they are happening and work as hard as I can on the projects that really feed my soul, but then let them go when their time is up. Allow their deaths to pave the way for new projects that I couldn’t have even imagined. I need to remember how interconnected everything is.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Rather than the experience of life as a shard, art can unite and connect the strands of the universe. When you are in touch with art, borders vanish and the world opens up. Art can expand the definitions of what it means to be human. - Anne Bogart
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