Today I got to chat about guided meditation for actors with the illustrious flame-haired lady, Meriel Rosenkranz of Still Point Space. Where have she left Guildenstern, you ask? Yup, she has heard that one before. Like Ariel? Yeah sort of, but Disney screwed that one up…long story.
Aaany way, Hello. I am an actress/massage therapist/meditation teacher/event manager/figure model/producer…and now a blogger.
Like many of you, I fell in love with the stage when I was very young. End of year dance recitals were my first official introduction. Now, I was by no means a natural dancer, I had little musical timing and only slowly picked up choreography, but by God I gave it my all. Herr Kiesel, my teacher – and spitting image of a tanned Gene Kelly – took me aside one day and said,
You know Meriel, perfect technique isn’t everything, it’s about showmanship. You keep that smile going and no one will ever look at your feet.
Well, I smiled alright, and ended up being the solo dancer of my school. Having a mentor recognise and nurture my joy of performance at such an early age, gave my dreams extra large wings. The stage became the most exciting place to be. A safe place even. I feel at home on stage, slipping into costume and character. Ironically I feel more ME up there. Things make sense here. Even when the rest of my life makes no sense at all.
17 years on and I am still here, the wings are a bit ruffled, the smile a little tired and I seem to have acquired a number of side hustles. An intricate act of juggling: skill, availability, cash flow and sanity. I am sure many of you have a collection of bill-paying opportunities that would rival the selections at a pick and mix counter. Hey, if you have a few fizzy cola bottles in your bag, you, my friend are a winner.
Someone out their coined the term ‘The Slash Generation’, millennials with multifaceted career paths. But to us creatives, this is not a new concept.
Actor/barista/promo queen/photographer. Survivors. Surthrivers.
Working as a meditation teacher and massage therapist, helping freelance creatives cope with the noisy confusion of life, is the fizzy cola bottle of my ‘slashes’.
Meditation provided me with the comfort and focus that I needed to get through drama school. Every week I would go to a class, trying to deal with the pain and confusion of being a young woman on an uncertain path. It helped me tap into my own strength and tackle those cans of worms, that drama schools like to serve.
Practicing meditation continues to keep me centred. The benefits are subtle but powerful. When I open my eyes after a session, I feel like I have been finely re-tuned. Re-adjusted by just a few millimetres. But those few millimetres let me see myself and the world with fresh eyes. Being allowed to witness this in others, when I am leading a class is one of my favourite things. In a way meditation has offered me a new safe space
If the challenges of this industry and lifestyle are dimming your smile, then guided meditation might be something you want to give a try.
How to get started with meditating:
Posture: sit in a chair, with a straight spine and both feet flat on the ground. Unless you have done yoga for years and are comfortable sitting cross legged for an extended time, I would not recommend it. The pins and needles may distract you. Similarly, lying down may be so comfortable that you lose all alertness and drift into sleep.
Be patient: It is unlikely that you will lift 70 kgs on your first gym visit or fold into standing splits in your first month of yoga classes (or in my case ever), so be patient with yourself in your meditation practice too. Show up, breathe and be present.
Buddy Up: If you are finding it hard to commit, invite your partner, friend or parent to join you. Or find a class. Even though meditation is a deeply personal journey, the company adds an element of focus and nurture.
Dedicate it: It is a nice touch, to dedicate your practice to someone. Before you get up and jump back into action, hold a person in your mind’s eye and send them love, light or peace; whatever you feel they may need.
Maybe cooking is your version of meditation, or sinking into a really good book. What allows you to find that moment of stillness within yourself?
About Still Point Space
If you want some of the comfort and focus needed to get through drama school or to navigate the uncertainty of life as an actor, you can join Meriel for a class in the following locations.
West End Meditation – dedicated meditation class for people in the arts industry.
Every Tuesday 11-12.30 at Buddha On A Bicycle, 27 Endell Street, Covent Garden
£10 if you book in advance, £12 for drop-in
One off classes:
Morning Meditation – start the weekend with a peaceful guided meditation on Saturday March 2nd at 8.30-10.00 at Crabtree and Evelyn Islington Townhouse, 294 Upper Street £12
Southpaw Sunday – prepare your headspace for the coming week with a guided meditation on March 3rd at 18.00-19.30 at Southpaw Coffee, 2 Roman Way £12