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Rolling with the Punches


BrittaniNoel-THP-9956_ppMan, oh man. Sometimes life really forces you to move.

Without going into too much detail, I just found out that my “survival job” will no longer be there for me in 2015 as the company is closing. Happy Holidays to me! I have no idea what my consistent income source will be in the new year. For someone like me who tends to worry (a lot) and obsess over decision-making, this news is setting my anxiety ablaze. I’m feeling overwhelmed and all I want to do is call for a time out and pause all my other commitments so that I can focus all my energy on figuring this out.

…But I’m not gonna do that.

One of my biggest hang-ups recently has been centered around speed-of-reaction. I’ve been called out a number of times in practicing Capoeira for “freezing up” when an unexpected move is thrown my way. I kind of panic and my brain gets clouded so that I can’t access what I know and end up getting frozen in the game. I’m actively focusing on ways to stay calm in my mind so that I can adjust to what is thrown at me. I want to respond immediately with a counter-attack or escape by transforming out of the situation so that the game can keep moving with fluidity. This has been an on-going lesson that I’m trying to learn and implement in my life.

An acting coach once shared the quote that to be an artist, “you must have the skin of a rhino and the insides of a rose.” I think perhaps I’ve got the rose part down- I’m quite the emotional beast. But I’ve got to toughen up that skin so that I get better at shaking off the blows that come at me and bouncing back quicker. The blows are just part of the game, and who knows, maybe if I remain calm enough, a creative move will come to me in reaction and the game might shift to become better or more exciting!

…And that’s exactly what I’m hoping happens with my job situation.

What always astonishes me when watching seasoned Capoeiristas is how they don’t get phased by takedowns or crazy aerial movements flying their way. The game is often fast-moving, so they have to stay present and respond without much time for thinking. And respond they do. And how beautifully the game flows as a result… And isn’t that exactly the experience we want out of life? To feel a sense of ease and flowing?

SO, as counter-intuitive as it feels, I’m going to make time to calm my mind and not make time for obsessing. Going to take some deep breaths. Meditate. Take a bath. Light a candle. GO to Capoeira even though I want desperately to postpone. I’m not going to be paralyzed. I’m going to move because I have to. It doesn’t matter if I move left or right, or up or down, as long as I don’t get kicked in the face.

A life kick was thrown at me from a direction I didn’t see coming, so I’m going to challenge myself to stay calm in my mind and to think less and act more. We must react quickly to the blows (and in the entertainment biz, the blows be many) and not allow them to keep us down.


What are your favorite ways to calm your mind? Are you guilty of getting stuck in fear or over-analyzing? What do you do to keep your game moving forward? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Brittani Noel

About Brittani Noel

(Actress/Producer/Capoeirista) Shortly after graduating from USC Brittani produced/starred in her own award-nominated indie webseries Stockholm, written/directed by Emmy & Streamy Nominee Scott Brown. On a mission to give her acting resume a kick in the butt, Brittani began training in the Brazilian martial art, Capoeira. Little did she know how dramatically that decision would transform her entire life. Since starting her training in the fall of 2011, Brittani has co-produced the multi-award winning musical webseries Destroy the Alpha Gammas, is Associate Producer on upcoming webseries gRIDLOCKed, appearing along with Andrew Keegan (10 Things I Hate About You) and Richard Riehle (Office Space, Bridesmaids), and guest-stars in upcoming comedy Disillusioned from Director Shilpi Roy (Hipsterhood). While continuing to take on interesting acting roles, Brittani is currently co-producing Brown’s short film The Other Side and recently moved up a cord level in Capoeira.