#SuchStuff S8 E2: Being vulnerable
Michelle Terry is joined by Director Sarah Bedi and drama therapist Annemarie Gaillard as they share their experiences of working with wellbeing and mental health in vulnerable spaces
SEASON 8 EPISODE 2
In this next episode in our series on the connection between the arts and wellbeing, we dig a little deeper into expression and vulnerability. Whilst watching or engaging in the arts and creativity can offer an incredible release, the process can also be very exposing. After a year of isolation with limited outward expression, how do we move back into the world and what lessons might we learn from the arts and artistic practices in making this transition?
Director Sarah Bedi and drama therapist Annemarie Gaillard share their experiences of working in rehearsal rooms, and especially with young actors, to facilitate nourishing creative experiences. We’ll be asking, what are the benefits but also anxieties of being vulnerable? How can we build safe spaces in the arts? And how can all of us learn from creative practices to reach out after this period of isolation, to find expression through the arts, whilst also taking proper care of ourselves?
This episode does contain discussion of mental health issues and anxiety.
SUPPORT FROM MIND
I find, creativity is wellbeing. Often, you’re drawn to creative acts, because they make you feel better or they’re an expression of yourself, where someone talks about a feeling that you recognize and therefore you see yourself or you feel seen. But then, where is creativity vulnerable, anxiety inducing?
— Michelle Terry
You can download the episode transcript or read it below.
Imogen Greenberg: Hello, and welcome to another episode of Such Stuff, the podcast from Shakespeare’s Globe. Today, we’re continuing with our series on the relationship between the arts and wellbeing. Throughout the series, we’ll be exploring the ways the arts can enrich our lives, help us tackle mental health issues and help us find expression and connection again, after a year of isolation.
Last week, we chatted to psychotherapist, Rachel Williams, who spoke extraordinarily about the importance of the arts for expression and empathy to help us to look after our brains. In this episode, we wanted to dig a bit deeper into this idea of expression and vulnerability. Whilst the arts and creativity can help us to find release for our feelings, that can also be very exposing, especially after a year when we’ve been very used to staying in and not expressing ourselves. How can we take care of ourselves as we head out of lockdown and back into the world? What can lessons from the arts teach all of us and how might the arts help us make some of these transitions?
This week, Artistic Director, Michelle Terry, is joined by Director, Sarah Bedi and Drama Therapist, Annemarie Gaillard. For a number of years, Sarah and Annemarie have been working together, including here at the Globe, to make sure that wellbeing and mental health practices are part of rehearsal rooms and theater making processes. For theater companies, they have a brief six week window when they must access a lot of feeling, emotion, psychological depth and then share that with the world in a moment of acute vulnerability.
How do actors take care of themselves through that process? How can we build safe spaces in the arts and more broadly, what can we learn from Sarah and Annemarie’s experience? How can all of us learn to reach out after this period of isolation to find expression through the arts, but also to make sure we take care of ourselves in the process? This episode does contain discussion of mental health issues and anxiety. Here’s Michelle, Sarah and Annemarie.
Michelle Terry: In a culture that doesn’t really vocalize where arts and wellbeing sit alongside each other, whether we’re conscious of it or not, we’re dealing with, more often than not, characters, stories, that come from the human psyche, that come from the human. So, inevitably in there, there is an exploration of what it means to be alive. And I suppose, for you, Annemarie, and for Sarah, that are so conscious of that, that this isn’t an unconscious practice around wellbeing.
That, since I’ve known you, this has been very much a part of your process. I wondered as people, the artists that are literate around wellbeing, where you are on that spectrum at the moment? And even people whose practice is about knowing how uncertain the world is and sort of, often when it works well, relishing the unknown and sitting in the unknown, how have you found this time where your practice and wellbeing have met and intersected? How are you, as someone who practices wellbeing and talks about wellbeing, where are you at and how are you coping, I suppose?
Sarah Bedi: Well, as we were just talking about, I had a baby at the start of lockdown. It has also been an added dimension of my identity changing and becoming a parent and the kind of very real requirements on your body and mind that takes. I think where that’s intersected with my work has maybe been in the last six months since I’ve started to imagine myself going back to work, even though there’s not necessarily been work to go back to, but starting to engage with theater and my practice again and my colleagues and ideas.
I’ve learnt so much about myself in the last year and realized that I’m not the person that I thought I was. I think I thought I was a person that needed that control and needed certainty. I needed a lot of stability, I felt, and actually, we lost our home, we had to move in with my mom, everything changed for me in this year and I realized how much actually I’m a person that needs people and family and support. Coming back to my work, it’s been coming back as a different person. I guess it’s been about discovering myself and learning what I need and maybe everything’s changed, I’m a different person, or maybe it’s things I needed before, I didn’t realize. But yeah, for me, it’s been about understanding myself better.
Annemarie Gaillard: I think it has really highlighted, as a therapist, how important it is for me to look after myself in order to then be there and hold others. And I think that is something that gets talked about quite a lot when you’re training, you explore that quite a lot with supervisors in your individual therapy and so on. I think it has become very real over this period of time. I’m really starting to see why and why that is so important. But how do you really put that into practice? We hear these words, self-care a lot, don’t we? What does that really mean? What does that really mean when you think about it and what does it mean for every person individually, because we’re all so different?
I guess, as therapists, we also do, in many ways, sit with uncertainty quite a lot. We sit with unknowns, we sit with uncertainty. When we meet a person, they come into the room, they come in where they’re at and we have to meet them where they’re at and I suppose in terms of what’s happened in the world at the moment, I see it almost as our work will really begin on the other side of this, coming out of this sort of crisis mode. Although it’s, I think, valued now, I think coming out the other side, what will the impact have been on everybody? On the collective, what will it have been? What will the impact of this been? We’ve never been through this before.
MT: Yes, and how do you have collective care as well as self-care? You have to know yourself to know how to care for yourself. And I remember when we were doing some work on the ensemble a couple of years ago, and I very naively made this bold statement to people, “Tell us what you need and we’ll see if we can serve the need or support the need.” Of course, how would you know what you need? So rarely do you ask yourself what you need, so rarely do you get asked what you need.
Maybe because we’ve had such an absence of live storytelling, that collective care, what happens when you come together and gather around a story or why do we even have that primal thing? And, I think, it’s been owned as sort of something for the elite as opposed to something that’s actually primal in all of us, that we need stories. And what you were saying, Annemarie, about parameters. There’s something around the form of a story that gives the illusion of certainty, because there’s a beginning and a middle and an end. That the project you both embarked on, talk about that a little bit.
AG: We’ll go from the very beginning. So, I was training on the Drama Movement Therapy Course at Central. It was very intense, 18 months training. It’s experiential as well, so you’re sort of learning and doing, there’s a lot of writing, you have your individual therapy every week, you have your group therapy. You have to attend these therapy sessions. You have to get a certain number of hours to then be registered with the Health and Care Professions Council. And yeah, it’s very, very intense and during that period of time, through exploring drama therapy itself, because like I said, it was experiential, explorative, it kind of dawned on me that I was reconnecting to the side of drama or theater practice that actually felt really nourishing and not punishing.
Because I was an actor before and this felt really nourishing and not punishing. Yeah, it felt explorative, it felt freeing. I felt as if I could play again. I was discovering things about myself through that work. And I thought, “I wish I had engaged in something, not necessarily drama therapy, but something like this that felt safe to do so, whilst I was an actor.” So, I then did a little bit of work for Sarah that summer when I graduated and Sarah and I had a train journey together from Leeds and then we just got chatting about all of this and realized that we were thinking very similarly, a lot of similar thoughts, generally about wellbeing in this whole practice, this whole industry. What was helpful, what possibly is not helpful, how these rehearsal rooms are, what happens in these rooms, what doesn’t happen in these rooms? Yeah, and we realized we had a lot of similar thoughts. We were having a lot of similar thoughts around that time.
SB: Yeah, at the time I was working a lot with students in drama school and I, like Annemarie, had trained as an actor and had been through an actor’s training myself. And particularly for me, third year had been full of wellbeing, mental health challenges, because I think it’s the moment where the contradiction for an actor that requires an openness and freedom in a rehearsal room and a skin of leather in the industry meet, right? And I was noticing in the students that I was working with, just a huge amount of panic attacks happening in the room, huge amount of people talking about anxiety, people talking about fear, people were talking about vulnerability.
And talking to other staff members thinking, “Oh my God, it’s me. Am I bringing something into the room? Am I working in a way that is damaging students?” And there being a dialogue with staff, “Oh no, this is just happening all the time. This is where the students are at. This is what’s going on.” And thinking, “I don’t think I’m okay with just accepting that. I believe that we can create a safer space in the room. I believe that we can support each other better.” And so, we had this fateful journey back from Leeds, so we just talked all the way back. And from that, embarked on our pilot project, I think we called it, where Annemarie worked with the next class of students that I was directing. So, we actually had you in the room and I was not there. I was very separate and that was our exploration in creating a safe haven for the actors that wanted to join.
People didn’t have to come. Some students chose not to, some chose to come, but it was a space for them that was not about making work, it was not about doing anything that was going to be on stage in front of agents and people. It was not about story, it was about them and either a place for them to process what the play was bringing up for them, what the process was bringing up for them, or just what their life was bringing up for them. And personally, I found as a director, that opened up for those students, a freedom when they were with me to explore fully knowing that they had a place where they could then go and release anything that it was bringing up for them.
I think I very naively at the time went, “Well, we’ve nailed it. That’s it. We’ve got there. We’ve got the magic formula that will solve all the mental health problems for everyone in the arts.” And then replicated that model a few times over different projects and found it had different results with different groups of people at different contexts. Different people engage with this work in different ways. But, I think, what that first project gave us was a realization of the possibility that this work could do. All these questions, asking these questions and, I guess, not settling for, “Oh, well, that’s just the way it is. That’s what it’s like.”
And I found, personally, that I felt weller in those processes as a director. I felt safer. I felt I could hold more in the room. I felt I perceived the actors. They certainly articulated that they felt safer and I found the work far more exciting to be involved in. So, we continued working at this, haven’t we, Annemarie? We’ve continued to work together for, I’d say, I think this is our fourth year now and we keep changing the format, don’t we? Keep trying different setups, exploring, so it’s very much a creative inquiry into how might Annemarie’s skills and my skills and the questions that we’re asking, how might they affect and support the people that we’re working with and support the work that we’re making? Do you want to talk a bit, Annemarie, about the different forms that we’ve explored?
AG: Yeah, I suppose we’ll just briefly go back to drama schools. I think they’re such wonderful places, but at the same time, there’s always another side to everything, isn’t there? And for some, students come in, the majority at a very young age, late teens, at a very vulnerable time and I think that the training, just by its nature, asks them a lot. It’s a demanding training, it asks them to open up and be vulnerable, perhaps at an age that maybe it doesn’t feel safe to open up and be vulnerable. It asks them to explore all of that and to lay that out for the work, but yet, batten down the hatches and seal all of that in and market yourself for business. There’s a lot of paradoxes, I think, which can be, again, really unsettling.
All these paradoxes and all of the things that perhaps might occur in drama school, you go out then into an industry that is then just an amplified version potentially of that as well, with more uncertainty, more rejection, more unknowns, more asking to be vulnerable, but also have absolute resilience. It’s a demanding career and yet it’s a hugely needed profession as well. Sarah and I were talking about this earlier, for example, in this pandemic, where have people turned? They’ve turned quite a lot to the arts, putting on Netflix or putting on a streaming service and watching programs, watching actors, watching movies, listening to music, they’ve turned to artists. But there’s a big responsibility then, in a way, as well, isn’t there, with that? But, I guess, in terms of Sarah and I’s work, it’s an ongoing, as Sarah said, ongoing inquiry and we don’t have any answers. We’re just very curious about it all.
And, I think, some of the things that are coming out of this that are really starting to emerge, we’ve been doing a series of interviews, Michelle, where we’ve been interviewing creative practitioners. It’s not for public use, it’s data collecting, practitioners can remain completely anonymous as we interview them. Or maybe they can allow us to use their name in the future, but not anything they’ve talked about, that’s fine. It’s sort of around creativity, vulnerability and wellbeing and it’s so interesting how these conversations are going. They’re incredible, hearing other people’s thoughts in all of this is so interesting. We start the interviews generally with just asking people to explore what they think is creativity or what does it mean to them? What is vulnerability? What is wellbeing? Just hearing everyone’s thoughts on this is so interesting.
I guess, from that and from all of our previous work, there’s certain things that are really emerging. Thinking about the rehearsal room and thinking about all of the unconscious dynamics that happen, the judgment, the projections, the inner critic being very present. What happens when things get named or not named? We are all individuals who come into that room with all of our own early experiences, backstories, relationships with parents, siblings, friends, and we come in and we form a new group and we bring all of that in with us, quite rightly. It’s very normal, but what happens in those relationships, especially when we’re being asked to then explore material that is really pulling on things within us? And how is that contained beyond even the rehearsal room and the rehearsal finishes?
What different roles people take on within that as well, people almost naturally take on certain roles within that group, but also, the role of the director in these rooms as well. What is the role of the director? What is the responsibility of the director? And many parallels between the director and the therapist, we’ve been drawing up a lot of parallels between the director and the therapist, where those two roles are very similar and where they’re completely different and where they should be different.
MT: That’s right, because that’s the thing that I find, creativity is wellbeing. Often you’re drawn to creative acts, because they make you feel better or they’re an expression of yourself where someone talks about a feeling that you recognize and therefore you see yourself or you feel seen. And then, where is creativity vulnerable, anxiety inducing and it just made me think about what you were saying, Sarah, about giving birth, which is one of the greatest acts of creation. It also hurts. You also go through a transformation. You also come out entirely different, deeply vulnerable, deeply anxious on a good day. There’s a midwife guiding you through your creative process.
Each director will see themselves as different as well, don’t they? We’ve created this very eclectic industry that allows for, I was going to say a spectrum, I think it tips one end more than the other, but where you see yourself as midwife director, to allow this creative process, collective creators’ process to happen, or where you see yourself as the flip side as dictator or whatever that is. But you were saying, Annemarie, as an actor, you don’t really know which one you’re going to get and that’s anxiety inducing as well.
So, your vulnerability will either be conscious and named and cared for, or your vulnerability will be unconscious and then you will internalize it, you’ll have anxiety or have panic attacks. And I don’t think we, for lots of reasons, for expediency, partly because I don’t think we’re very literate or versed in knowing how to hold feelings or host feelings, and yet that is what the craft is. It is only feeling, emoting. It’s kind of amazing how illiterate we are in a rehearsal room in a way.
SB: And I wonder how much of that comes down to the structures in our industry. We come together for four weeks, five weeks, six weeks, seven weeks, make a piece and we’re gone. That’s not enough time to know that you can be truly vulnerable with the people that you’re with. That’s not enough time to establish a dynamic, often. Not always, but often it’s not enough time to establish a dynamic, particularly where we can be with each other in those really open states, particularly when we’ve also got to create a product that’s got to make money and it’s got to sell and we’ve got to get audiences in and we know we’re going to be judged and all those layers on top of that.
And then, I also think back to the idea of professionalism and training and how I was told that you’ve got to arrive and you be whatever they want you to be and you deliver and you know your lines and you stand where you’re told. And there was no part of my training that was about this stuff, that was about actually, how do you be free and vulnerable? And it’s interesting, when I say the word vulnerability, I feel tension in myself whenever I say it in the moment, because something that’s emerging at the moment, we’re right in the middle of this, in the dialogues that we’re having with practitioners is how these words have multiple meanings, right? And even the word vulnerability, we use it to refer to someone who is at risk and we’ve used it to refer to really open creative states, right? And again, this goes back to the way we use language in the rehearsal room and the clarity around what we mean.
So, for me, that led to often as in my early career, I was an actor before I moved into directing, playing the role of being an actor. I knew vulnerability was required of me, but I wasn’t able to be vulnerable in that place, because there was too much fear and there was too much uncertainty and I didn’t know if I could hold myself where I’d be held in that space. So, that led to performing the role of vulnerability, performing the role of the actor and this is something that’s beginning to emerge for us, isn’t it? This, when are we, I say pretending without judgment, but performing being a director and when are we actually directing? When are we performing being an actor, and when I say performing, I mean, doing the things that we think the people in the room want us to do.
MT: Yeah, but that’s so interesting when you said about the idea that the multiple definitions of vulnerability, but one of them is someone at risk. You’re also describing someone who feels at risk if they dare to express, they dare to say how they feel. That’s where persona comes in, isn’t it? I mean, it’s something about this time where certainly, I don’t know if you’ve felt it, where even when you watch, like you were saying, you go to watch your programs and you feel safe watching those programs, because you know that the risk has been taken away for you. The director’s edited it out. You’re watching something complete and perfect in the product. And then you watch live television and gradually over this time we’ve watched those reporters just lose the persona and it’s a really risky place to be.
But actually, and I’ve watched it through work, where you’ve got your Zoom face and you’ve got your Zoom chat and then something around the fatigue, the accumulation of it, blurred between what’s your personal persona, your professional life, there’s just no boundaries anymore. And everyone feels like they’re at varying degrees of risk, because the armor is gone. The definition of vulnerability is feeling at risk and how often we don’t want to go anywhere near those feelings, because it’s too risky, because what if people won’t understand them? What if people can’t listen to them? Or like now, what if everyone’s so full of feeling, everyone’s been put at risk by this virus, whether it’s the risk of anxiety, depression, the risk of losing your home, the risk of losing your job, the risk of catching the virus, they feel so much vulnerability or being at risk around at the moment. Has that come up at all?
SB: Yeah, loads. There have having discussions already around the precarious place that people in the arts find themselves in, particularly freelancers. The lack of work and how that, pre pandemic, played into dynamics in the room, played into wellbeing, played into people’s ability to be creative or sense of their own creativity and connection to that. And particularly now, that feels like the pandemic has heightened or escalated.
I don’t know if those things are new necessarily for people in the arts, but it’s increased what was there already. The fear, the need to get another job, the need to add enough money to keep your house or to feed yourself and how that links into the dynamics in the room when you are in a job. That job is not just a thing you are making now, but it’s a gateway to another job. It’s a gateway to your rent this month. What I’ve been noticing in the conversations is that pandemic has escalated or heightened quite profound feelings that were already around and maybe people are thinking more consciously about them and people are more aware of them now.
AG: Well, think about the pandemic or being back in a rehearsal room and that sense of vulnerability, I guess, where’s the parameters in that as well as a group of artists exploring that, because these are quite natural defenses and they’re there for a reason. They’re there to protect oneself against feelings of shame and fear and disgust and past experiences and where can we go as a group with that and where can we not? Where do we know each other’s boundaries in a room, where we can go and where we can’t go and how does that affect the work? I think pandemic wise, as you said, Michelle, there is a point, I think, fatigue with things as well, where you cannot keep up. I mean, in the beginning we were all on Zoom, weren’t we, where it was all… The first lockdown was very different to the second one. Or it was actually lockdown three maybe, but this recent one, very different.
I’ve noticed hugely different, not just in my practice as a therapist, but just in social groups, in family relationships, there’s a fatigue and a real sense of overwhelm and I think people will quite rightly want to protect themselves from that or people might feel that they’re so exhausted that they can’t put on a certain face anymore, or this is where they’re at and this is what they can offer. But, I think, in terms of early experiences in general, I think with any kind of art work or creative arts or music, drama, art, creative arts, it’s always an interesting thing to come back to as an adult if this hasn’t been your career as well. It’s always an interesting thing as an adult, because what all of those things meant as a child, a lot of adults will say, and we hear it a lot, I hear it in my work, I hear it, again, in friendship groups, in social groups and family groups, “I’m not very good at that. I’m not good at drawing. I can’t sing. Don’t ask me to sing, I can’t do it.” Or, “I’m definitely not doing drama.”
And again, quite natural defenses from probably when you were pulled up on stage as a kid and you were shamed in front of the class, but how can it be, because as we’ve just talked about, as you said, Michelle, it can be just so nourishing and how can we find that for ourselves as adults? What safe place can we go to, to connect with that in some way, even if it’s something really simple, where can we find that for ourselves? Where can we find that pleasure? I had a long chat with a friend of mine, she’s a therapist as well, and we were talking about what do we do as children for hours on end that was just really creative and felt really good and you could idle away at all the hours in the day doing it.
And I had a good think about it and I was thinking, “I think for me, that was coloring in.” I used to love coloring in. And then I started coloring in again in this last lockdown and it’s just really enjoyable. I know that coloring got very popular a few years back, anyhow, didn’t it? But I started coloring in recently and I thought, “This is great. It just feels really simple, really enjoyable.”
MT: Because I’m watching my little girl do it at the moment, so she’s four now, so she’s really starting to figure out where does she find pleasure and where actually she’s just not really interested, but the hours she’ll take in the absence of parameters, because the truth is, there aren’t any, I think, what this time has exposed is it’s all up for grabs and where do we look for parameters? And you can see what’s happening in parliament now, in the legal system like, “Put parameters around protests, put parameters around here.”
And there’s something around coloring in, that just goes, “What if the parameter is just a really lovely butterfly and you can color it in, in whatever color you want.” Somehow that you have autonomy for a moment and where’s the baba at, Bedi, are they imitating you at the moment, are you getting lots of… we’re natural imitators, we learn through imitation, don’t we?
SB: Yeah, and play. It’s amazing watching how play is not something different to just living for him. It’s not a thing that he does and then a thing he doesn’t do. And you realize, actually, that we’re all creative, right? His humanity is his creativity and his playfulness and his presence and all these words that I apply to creativity in my work, you realize that’s just being a person.
We are all that, all of us. You used the word elitism earlier, it’s not that we have creative people and people, people, I think, the more that we can connect with that idea, the more we can take the fear around, “Okay, now I’m being paid to be creative and I’ve got to go and do good creativity in a room and I’ve got to be worth the money that I’m being paid and then people are going to pay to see this.” And actually, it’s all about just reconnecting to ourselves and doing that for audiences to help or to hold a space where they can imaginatively connect to your story and therefore their creativity as well.
AG: I keep thinking, “My goodness, at least we have technology. At least we are able to still connect.” I know for some people, I mean, I’m personally not on social media anymore at the minute, that’s a personal thing, but for some people it’s really useful, social media, it’s incredibly useful to stay connected, to connect with other people who they resonate with and are feeling like them and the internet and Zoom and all these platforms is really important. How do we stay connected through all of this?
SB: And that physical connection, I think, that we’ve talked about for a year now, I feel, we’re all very aware of the absence of that. And in some ways, awful things… Personally, it’s been difficult, but personally, also stuff that I would never have done, I would never have thought, “Okay, I have a new baby and move back in with my mom. That’s going to be my life.” But, I’m so privileged that I’ve had the opportunity actually, because of that village and that ecosystem, that sense of support, that in a time when we couldn’t see many people, to be so close to so many more people. But I’m very aware of my friends who have had children in this pandemic who have been on their own. And they’re all just people who’ve lived on their own and have not had that connection.
And, I think, because our art form is collaborative and we go back to the idea of creativity being a human thing, not an artist thing, same is true of connection, right? Same is true of all of these things. And again, if we’re talking about how this pandemic is affecting wellbeing and mental health, that desperate need for connection, emotional connection, physical connection, face-to-face contact, we’re all super aware of the lack of it. This is something that we’re very conscious of, but how do we, as we emerge from this pandemic, how do we truly reconnect?
MT: And talk about connection, there’s something you said, it always amazes me how you can feel connected to someone that you don’t know through a poem or through a play or through a story, that someone articulate something so you feel like you have been, even though it’s a piece of paper or a play or whatever it is, you feel a connection. And I feel keenly that responsibility of continuing to articulate what has a place in the unconscious, but to keep making conscious those things that have been unconscious, because we just don’t articulate enough the value of what that connection is.
There was a program on last night where someone was talking about the double okay. Like you ask, “Are you okay?” And then you ask again, “Are you okay?” And just the simple act of repeating the question you go, “Oh, you really want to connect.” You’re not just saying, “How are you? Are you okay?” You genuinely want to connect with me and you feel that in the second ask. Is there anything that you want to add or say that you feel like you want to say or haven’t said?
AG: I guess, just thinking about how we can really nourish ourselves or check in with ourselves or look after ourselves coming out of this. And this isn’t necessarily advice as what you should do, but it’s almost saying it out loud to myself as well and it’s just another wondering, but just wondering about that again, what can we really do to look after ourselves and checking in with what can we really do? Can we ask ourselves, are you okay, twice? You Can we check in with that? Can we see where we’re at and really listen to what that is? Really listen to what that is that we need, as we come out the other side of this.
MT: How about you, Sarah? Anything else?
SB: I think just reminding ourselves that we’re all creative people, that creativity is to be human. You were talking earlier, Annemarie, about those things that we tell ourselves, “Oh, I can’t sing. I don’t draw. I don’t do that.” I guess, a note to myself at the moment is just allowing myself, giving myself that permission, that nonjudgmental space to play, to be silly, to be creative without having to be grand, pleasing someone else, stuff.
If that’s cooking, if that’s listening to music, they’re not small things, they’re huge things in our lives. We eat every day, right? These are big things, but allowing myself to just be with where I’m at and engage in doing stuff that’s creative, right? Because for me, personally, that’s when I feel wellest and that’s when I feel, maybe not even wellest, but resilient. That’s when I feel like, “Okay, whatever’s happening, I can keep moving.”
MT: Sounds like what you’re describing there is mindfulness. How do you stay present so that each moment can be an act of creation rather than going, “It has to go somewhere, it has to be for something or it has to be for someone.” So many times in this, all you’ve got is the breath that you’re breathing now, because to think even beyond that is overwhelming. It’s like you say, the act, the creative act of making yourself a meal to nourish yourself, to provide self care, it’s recognizing those things that we do every day to keep ourselves alive and sane, if that’s possible.
AG: I think the future can be so overwhelming and anxiety ridden and the past can be just so full of grief, so how do we stay? How do we stay in this moment in some way and what is that and how do we turn down that inner critic a little bit? How can we give ourselves a break? Give ourselves a break, it’s a global pandemic, give yourself a break. “Shh, inner critic. Not today.” How do we do that? And that’s a question I certainly keep asking myself, but I think it’s a question we should, if you’ve got a loud inner critic, how can I just turn that down a little bit?
MT: Amazing. Well, talking of the moment, thank you for the moment that you’ve shared with me, I so appreciate it. I know that people that listen will as well, because you feel connected. Kind of that’s the whole point, isn’t it? Thanks.
IG: That’s it from us, but we’ll be back with another episode on the arts and wellbeing next week. We’ll be speaking to some of our wonderful volunteers on how the arts can create new connections and why that’s so important after a year of isolation. You’ve been listening to Such Stuff with me, Imogen Greenberg, and Michelle Terry. To find out more about Shakespeare’s Globe and what’s on, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. We’ll be back soon with more stories from Shakespeare’s Globe, so subscribe wherever you get this podcast from.