Monday, May 2, 2016

How am I doing today?


Grounded closed yesterday, its initial run anyway. We got home after a 4-hour strike, I put the flight suit and boots away, shirt and socks into the laundry. I slept very, very soundly last night, which hasn’t been the case for the last two weeks. This morning I got up, and went through my full morning routine.

Read a chapter of Zen in the Art of Archery. Since the new year, I have started my day each day by reading 15 - 20 minutes of eastern philosophy, which has been incredibly calming and strength-building.

I spend a few minutes seeing off my husband and daughter as they head to work and school. 6 minutes of balance exercises. This six minutes every day is a great opportunity for me to check in with my body and my mind. How am I doing today? Am I steady? Am I grounded? I unroll my yoga mat, and stretch for 10 - 12 minutes. Breathe into those muscles, those joints, those hard-working tendons that need breath. Today was a return to planking in the morning. How am I doing? Do I feel strength and can I balance the tension and find relaxation?

I roll up my yoga mat, and bring up a guided vocal warm-up on my i-phone. I have been doing this vocal warm-up for almost six years now. In 2010, my husband pushed me to go to an actor training program. He researched summer programs and sent me the information on the Atlantic Acting School and said, “this is the one you need to go to.” He was right. I come back to the vocal work I learned there almost every day. I spend 10 minutes, 20 minutes or more if I have the time, breathing and generating sound. How I am doing today? Where am I feeling vibration? The warm up is different every day because I am different every day. Sometimes I spend my vocal time in the morning focused only on the breath, with very little sound. I am grateful for this time to breathe and nourish this very basic starting point for everything.

Make sure the water is heating up for my cup of tea.

I turn to another practice: speech. Working the muscles of my mouth. Tuning in to vibration and sound waking up the full range of my voice. Articulation, clear pronunciation, strength and freedom of movement to shape breath and sound to clearly communicate. How am I doing today? Am I here in this moment or just going through the motions? I spend about 16 or 17 minutes on this speech practice.

Brew a cup of green tea and let it steep.

Meditate 10 - 12 minutes. Breathe. How am I doing today? Am I here in this moment? Am I grounded?

Drink my green tea. Eat breakfast, face the day. Carry the work from the morning into the day.

I was terrified when theatre KAPOW chose to put Grounded into the season. There was a time I said, “Find someone else to do it. I won’t be able to do it.” 100 minutes on stage, just me. Lean into the uncomfortable, face the fear. I know that the only way I was able to do it was because of those daily practices. My voice did not give out, my body did not give out. Voice, speech, and most importantly breath.

I am grateful for those practices. I am grateful.

~Carey Cahoon

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