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Relaxing the Actor’s Mind: Take 5

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PattyJeanRobinson“Take 5!”

That’s our chance to take a break on set. We’re allowed to go breathe, visit the little girl’s room, or just get the next fix of our Twitter addiction. But when you apply Take 5 to your life, what does it mean?

I’m just learning to apply this now.  It’s extremely important, I think, in whatever facet of the biz you’re in. Take 5 minutes for yourself. Does that sound weird, crazy, and impossible? It just might if you’re a human being working hard toward your goals – and that’s okay.

If you feel that you can’t take 5 minutes for yourself, then you are the one who needs to do it the most. If you feel like there’s no way you could stay still for 5 minutes, then you are the one who needs to do it the most. If you feel that I sound like a whack-job, then go sit by yourself for 5 minutes and tell me what you learned.

Why 5 minutes? Because it’s the easiest place to start. Where do you have 5 minutes in your day that you can have some solitude? It can be anywhere, any time. Why would anyone need 5 minutes of solitude? To let yourself be present, to ground yourself, to tell the many incessant voices of “I need to. I’ve got to. I should. I shouldn’t. I’m scared. I’m hurt. I’m worried,” to just pipe down.

All right, you’ve found a place and a time to be by yourself for 5 minutes, now what? Set the timer on your smartphone for 5 minutes. Sit up, (cuz if you don’t, you just might fall asleep), close your eyes, and breathe. Follow your breath. Deep inhale, deep exhale. Do it again. Let your thoughts of stress and whatever else just float by. Take another breath, how does your body feel? Exhale. What sounds are around you? Did some thought just pop up? Good. Let it go and breathe again.

You may find that 5 minutes feels like forever, or maybe it went too quick. The idea of this is to allow yourself to be present. We get that all the time in class, don’t we? It’s important to be present on stage, right? You need to be able to react to your scene partner. If you’re too busy thinking about bills, feeding your cat, and putting gas in your car, it’s hard to be able to respond truthfully to the moment. When you take 5 minutes for yourself, to meditate and calm your mind, you can actually let go of ALL THE THINGS in your head and pay attention to yourself.

Meditation is weird, I get that. Letting your thoughts go by without reacting to them is weird. Trying not to fall asleep while your eyes are shut is completely odd. However, it takes practice. That’s why I want you to start with 5 minutes. And here’s your homework assignment ladies: Take 5 minutes to meditate every day for 30 days. From now until my next article is published. I want you to tweet at me and tell me what you’re discovering. I’m gonna do it, too. ‘Cuz when I do meditate, I just feel better.  My worries are a little lighter and I feel that I can approach and handle them with a little more confidence.

I’m really curious about what I’ll feel because it’s been quite some time since I’ve challenged myself to do anything for 30 days. I must say, I’m looking forward to it. Let’s do it, ladies! Let’s treat ourselves to some peace and quiet for 5 minutes every day. We’re gonna use #MITBTakes5 and you can tweet me at @pattyjrobinson. I’ll see you on the other side!

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About Patty Jean Robinson

Actor, Massage Therapist, Pet Sitter, Social Media Consultant - Patty Jean Robinson hails from The Bay Area and moved to Los Angeles in 2005. She has studied Theater Arts at UCLA, and Massage Therapy at National Holistic Institute in Emeryville, CA. She’s an entrepreneur at heart and is constantly in a state of creation in every field that catches her attention. In between acting gigs, she works as a massage therapist, a pet-sitter, and freelances as a social media consultant. She currently is co-host alongside of Cindy Marie Jenkins on WebSeries Watch, a show which introduces new web shows and creators on a weekly basis. She and Cindy also host the weekly RUGeekie Hangouts for The Geekie Awards. She’s on a quest to connect as many people as possible through shared experiences and events in L.A., because it really is a small town. When she can, she trains at the Academy of Theatrical Combat, so she can one day be a pirate.