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  • Ben Lundy

Keep It Positive

Well, it's been a minute. A long minute, but I'm back. March and April were an adventurous time (lots of traveling and thankful to have some of my fam jam visit me), but now we are back to the grind time prime time!


Alright, so last time I discussed my last first semester in "The Power of Perspective." That's obviously super important, but today, I will be examining my final semester of undergrad. As I mentioned in "The Power of Perspective," one of our assignments in dance class was to keep a journal for the semester. I have to say that I was much better at doing that Spring 2018. Let's just say I kept up with that journal more than I kept up with the Kardashians (sry Kim!). This reflection was originally entitled "A Positive Tactic On a Negative Line."


Okurr! So in Acting 101, you talk about objective, obstacle, and tactic/action. In short, your character has something he/she wants (the objective), but something is blocking you from achieving what you want so you use different tactics and take different actions to get the thing you desire. This methodology is no surprise because that's how human beings work. We want something. We pursue it. However, for some reason, when we get on the stage, sometimes we lose our fire and drive (that makes dreams come alive, a SMASH ref; you’re welc). Our quest for our objective becomes a little lack-luster, and at UAB, we referred to this as "one note." There's no journey. There's no arch. There's no color. There's no dynamic...yada, yada.


This "one noting" phenomenon frequently occurs when you are performing "sad" material such as a mourning soliloquy or a dramatic ballad. We get stuck in the negative emotion of the situation that we don't fight. We lose sight of our objective, and we throw a boring pity party for ourselves. As my professors often said, nobody wants to watch that.


Towards the end of my final semester at UAB, we were visited by Tony-award, side-splitting comedic sensation, Annaleigh Ashford. During her master class, she played the positive/negative game in which she would randomly shout "positive" and "negative," encouraging students to think through their song or monologue in a positive/negative way. As a result, the audience sees the character thinking, feeling, and processing through the moments. At the end of the class, she told us that the best way to prevent "one noting" is by playing the opposite, "Choose the positive over the negative...it's always more interesting."


When she said this, I immediately thought of my voice and movement teacher who often reminded us that we were "playing the problem" rather than acting against it. As actors, we sometimes are overcome and swallowed in a general wash and mood of emotion. We lose sight of our objective and tactics needed to achieve that objective.


After my humbled perspective semester, I began my new year (2018) with goals: one of which was "to write like you're running out of time"(...thanks, Lin!) In addition to journaling, I wanted to read the Bible each day, begin a more disciplined routine of working out (still figuring this one out), and be more communicative each day...gotta love a vague resolution.


Having these new objectives really improved my quality of life. By journaling each day, I was carefully and critically exploring my own thoughts, which as you might have noticed tend to spin me into the ether. Through journaling and connecting with God's word, I began to better understand who I am and what God wants as I journey beyond college and into the professional world.


It was that semester that I realized that I needed to improve my communication skills. I love people, but I don't always respond immediately or with love.


In my first entry of the new year, I wrote, "You may be outside in the bleak, cold weather pumping gas with the wind cutting through you, but relax your shoulders. Remember that you are a light and be the islander you know you are." Though this doesn't necessarily relate, I believe in that moment I realized that in order to have love for others I needed to have love, compassion, and an ability to summon warmth for myself.


"Sending love" proved to be a difficult venture. It is so hard not to be reactive when people and the world fail you, and let me tell you this world will fail you every time. (I guess that's a rather negative comment, but I think it's really a compliment to what lies above and beyond because His love never fails, never gives up, and never runs out.) That being said, in that chapter of my life, I realized that my problems with other people and the world was not really the world or other people. I had problems with myself: insecurities, internal conflicts, fear of the future, fear of the unknown.


12/31/19

As Paulette says, “I’m not sure where this metaphor’s goin’. I just feel like it had to be said.”

I wrote this essentially a year ago. It was in my drafts collecting internet dust and consuming that all too precious Cloud storage, and I felt that there was some content in there that needed to be read. I decided I'd post it today. As Hillary Duff would say, "Why not?" (Also, did you see her wedding pictures?! Stunning!) Back to the post, I learned something from it, and I hope you can too.


I know that the post was supposed to end with something about Legally Blonde...how Elle decides that all her "trashy carrying on" is the reason Warner's gone. Then, she goes to a salon, meets Paulette, and the rest is cinematic history.

In Legally Blonde the Musical, Elle says, "Being blonde and being hot That got me exactly squat. Gotta show him I've got more to give. No, I'm positive!" I would argue that we gotta show the world that we got more to give with our "happy attitude." The world's gonna throw us negative lines, but it's all about how we respond to them. I encourage myself and others to find positive tactics on those negative lines. Let us not fight fire with fire or sit back and watch the fire rage. What can we do that will positively change and encourage others or our situation?


Negative lines exist everywhere, and we succumb to them everyday. "I don't wanna. I'm not enough. I can't do that." As always, the first step is awareness. Then, let's exchange this fear for fight...not a mean cat fight or physical combat but a fight for growth, expansion, development, understanding, empathy (ya know, those good, positive words.)


Like a wise person probably said, it’s not struggle that defines us but how we handle that struggle.


I'm not sure if any of that makes sense, but I hope that you catch my drift.


With all of that said, I am wishing you a happy new year's eve and positivity, prosperity, and lots of purpose in your 2020. I may write another blog post before the new year, or maybe not. Who knows?


Awaken and empower what's within.


Be a Light,


Ben

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