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Mindful : December 2018
Nana begins each day at her “centering space,” designed to support contemplation and meditation. As a performer, understanding the power of being mindful and being able to play with the sympathetic and parasympathetic ner vous systems is just a huge toolbox to have available. But also, in terms of the business, to understand that pain is inevitable but suffering is optional is so powerful. You can make yourself miserable in this business, or you can look at peo- ple who say rude and horrible things or do strange things and say, “That’s interesting....” And also, now that I understand what meditation can do, I find that it’s a low-flow state. It balances me so that I don’t have this desperate need to perform. Of course, any desper- ate need leads to things that aren’t healthy or just the frustration of going, “I don’t know how to feel OK in my body.” So, I’m now in that place of “I’m cool,” and if I get to act in a base- ment, or onstage or in an indie film, it doesn’t matter. I don’t have this driv- ing need to succeed in a business that has nothing to do with fairness. Which is life. Which is life! It sounds like mindfulness could benefit others in the profession... Without a doubt it would. I would love to teach young actors because there’s so much abuse that happens. Part of it is being told “yes” for everything, but another part of it is dealing with unbelievable stress with no help what- soever. They have nothing to fall back on. And it becomes very unhealthy. The other thing is a strong belief among young actors that they need to be in a highly stressed state. Unfor- tunately, if you’re in a highly stressed state, you start to not care, you start to not attach yourself to outcomes. But you work better. I remember being that way. If I was breaking up and everything was a mess in my life but → amazing. I’ve found that mindfulness has really changed my life. What does your practice look like today? I start every day by going before my centering space, which is set up above my fireplace. On it is a statue of a ram that serves as a symbol of my true self—calm, clear, creative, and com- passionate. There are also flowers and a glass singing bowl. I light incense, bow, and spend some time using the singing bowl. Then I settle into medi- tation, usually for 20-40 minutes. How would you say that mindfulness has influenced your work? December 2018 mindful 57 the mindful interview