Staying In Character

Written by Teresa Phelps Martin

On April 17, 2017

A lifetime ago I used to work in the film industry coordinating art departments, being a location scout or just being a production assistant. It all sounds glamorous but it was a lot of work. Fun mind you but work. The opportunity to be a set PA fresh out of college was pretty cool. A made for TV movie with some famous people in it. I am not one for famous people so the one famous person I didn't know I was quickly told that I needed to understand he was a legend in his own way. So working with this person was quite the opportunity. Well he took a liking to me. He preferred that I was the one who got him when it was time to go be on set and every day he was on set he invited me to eat with him. Needless to say when this leading actor takes a liking to a PA everybody else took a liking to me and this inspired me to do a really good job. Anyhow what he taught me was a couple of things actually a lot of things. But one thing that still sticks with me is he always stayed in character throughout the production and he shared that one of the greatest skills in acting is using your eyes, really speaking through your eyes. He would go on and on about how this is they way to engage those around you.

Life comes at us fast or slow. How we show up is one thing and how we see the world is incredibly powerful. There is a theoretical orientation in counseling that recognizes the inner workings or system of every individual. That you play many parts but there is always the core essence (my words) that can observe and operate objectively while still being true to your grace/light/beauty/bad ass self. However we usually are not taught how to be in touch and the different parts get tangled and well we are still in our professional role even when we are done filming… As a yoga teacher I have been exposed to teach to the highest. To always teach to the highest version of the people in front of me. This also happens to be a gift of mine is that I can always see the highest, even in the people I'm not really fond of. It can make people uncomfortable only because that is who I speak to, your amazing being that so wants to come out and play. When  on our mat we are aligning to this higher frequency, energy, soul, tuning in to the Holy Spirit, revealing grace, however you want to call it. Tapping into the wellspring of wellbeing that is readily available that reminds us again and again that All will be well. So what if we were able to stay in character with this highest expression of our core self. That being in character actually means keeping our true self at the center and allowing them to direct and produce our life?

When this particular production had ended filming my job was over. When I turned in all the walkie-talkies, I had one more responsibility and that was to drive this famous person, my actor friend to the wrap party. Anyone for familiar with the film industry knows actors are driven by Teamsters. However he asked for me. When I went to go pick him up he was no longer in character. This southern gentleman that I had gotten to know because I had no idea who this person was before, was himself. I barely recognized him. It's still sits with me that this person was so talented in staying in character that I couldn't even see his true self. I was only 21 at the time but I was caught so off guard when he was done pretending and was back to who he really was…I kind of liked the character better than the person. But it was fun watching how many other people enjoyed the return to his true self.

It's a story that makes me wonder how many of us are so good at staying in character that we've gotten distanced from our own truth. That we've created such a gap between how we express ourself to the world and who we are on the inside that we don't even know how to tap into and call on our own sacred essence and integrate them into all the things we do. What would it be like to have a sacred relationship with our essential nature that's eternal, loving, gracious. Or I like to say beautiful, brilliant, and badass. That when we take on different task different roles, different relationships, our true self always leads the way. We know when we have to put on the hat to be the professional, the friend, family member, the stranger, member of society, neighbor, all the different roles we engage with but we know how to show up with our sacred truth and the forefront.  Investing in the intimacy of our highest self may make you feel a little squirmy. The greatest gift you can offer to those in your life is to be true to yourself rather than pretending to be someone else.  Aligning to a version of you that honors the highest then allows you to inspire joy and the highest all around you. You will still hit bumps and challenges in life, there is no way out of that, but life will be more enjoyable, feel supported and directed on the path of life with clarity and confidence. My friend on set had such confidence in his acting, that his true nature still showed up as he expressed his character through his eyes. Your eyes are an amazing transmission of the light within.

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