17 Feb 2015

My Brighton Fringe Diary #8 When you actually become the character you are researching #MyBrightonFringe2015 #MadeinCumbriashow #spiritjunkie

People have been asking what I have been doing to keep positive and happy. I tell them about the healthy eating, yoga class, meditation and general positive affirmations. I have also become a, ‘Spirit Junkie’ through the guidance of Gabrielle Bernstein’s video, books and website. I am making an intention each day to be the best version of myself I can be and have a fun day.  My friends joke that I have become a hippy. I let them joke. The truth is that I started researching this stuff for a comedy character. A few months ago I was not the happiest girl on Earth. I wanted to tell those affirmation photos to f-off. Then I started researching.

Looking back, I have always been interested in meditation, Buddhism and self-help books. I am not religious, but was brought attending a Church of England school. I thought as a child one day I might be visited by an Angel and everything would make sense in the world. That didn’t happen. I have had to figure it out for myself. Still figuring that out. As a teenager, I was also drawn to a more spiritual way of life of lighting candles, incense and manifesting situations. I say manifesting situations, I was doing love spells that were printed in ‘Just Seventeen’ magazine. (Side note: Who remembers Just Seventeen?) 

I was also obsessed by India and more exotic places in the world from a very young age. I wanted (still really want) to go to India and have an ‘experience’ that would change the way I see the world. Then life got in the way and my spiritual path got muddy.

I have meditated on and off for years.  I love Pema Chodron and Tara Brach. I often pass on these names to friends who are interested in finding a bit of inner peace and trying to understand the world. I have also being practising mindfulness here and there...and now*. (*Mindfullness joke there)

My Christmas research was to find a positive life coach role model who I could use for inspiration for a character. If I am honest, I was looking to mock these types of people. Especially the ‘over the top’ American ones.*cough* Oprah *cough* (Sorry my American friends) I just didn’t understand these people. How could someone possibly seem to be happy all the time? How could someone get up first thing in the morning and be so chirpy? All of this was alien to me.

On my own personal quest for some self-help after a relationship breakdown I had come across the work of Gabrielle Bernstein. When I was researching my character I found her name again. I started to watch her videos, then I bought her audiobook and within a week I was a self-proclaimed, ‘Spirit Junkie’. What happened? I am not 100% sure. All I know is that my life became a better place when I practiced what she preached. As I mentioned in one of my previous blog posts, those affirmation pics started to resonate and I started to like them. I now love them.

I have come to the conclusion that if something works, and it’s not causing you physical or mental harm, then do it. I would rather be called a hippy then feel crap all the time. I will even confess I have a meditation altar with crystals and objects that mean personal things to me. Again, how did this happen? Not sure. My meditation area is now a relaxing space in my room where I can sit and get my shit together. Last weekend I wrote my new character Kirsty Bird in this space after asking the universe for some guidance.

I still see the comedy value in this way of life, but it’s not from the angle of taking the piss. I mean seriously, I have a meditation altar in my room. An altar! With crystals! However, I know this lifestyle works and work well. The original character I was thinking about has now changed. I have to put a mirror up to my life and I can see the funny bits. These bits I will use in a character.

As very actor knows, every character you write or play you become a bit of them and they are a bit of you. It does make me smile to think of how I became the type of person who I would take the piss out of a few months ago. I should really hate myself right now. I don’t.

To be honest with you, I am just glad I am not researching serial killers. Who knows what dark path that might have taken me down. Actually, that’s a really good idea for a comedy character.

*Googles ‘serial killers’...

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