Of all the weird-ass treatment approaches to Chronic Fatigue, joining an acting class sounds the weirdest. But if it worked for my mate, I thought “What have I got to lose?”. I’ve done some basic acting in community musical theatre in the past and quite enjoyed it; I only gave it up after I became ill. 4 months rehearsing and performing in Les Miserables when I first came down with CFS was no cup of tea. When I died on stage in the barricade scene, I didn’t have to push my acting skills to appear dead at all. At least there’s no dancing in Les Mis; otherwise I’d have been totally fucked.
I had my first Meisner class yesterday, and it was really fun. Scary and challenging, but just fascinating. The whole technique is based on repetition and distraction to get you out of your head, and operating on an emotional level. The antithesis of how I’ve lived my life. To me, this seems totally compatible with meditation: stop thinking, and start being. I struggle with meditation because I’ve had so many years of analytical thinking; but it’s the thinking that causes my suffering with CFS: the relentless “I wish this would go away. I hate my life at the moment. I just want to be well. I’m so frustrated” blah blah blah. The flu-like symptoms are quite tolerable when I’m not complaining about them internally so much; it’s the self-talk that stresses me out.
I don’t do that when I’m being in-the-moment, and that’s what the Meisner technique is all about. It’s early days, and it’s a big commitment taking on a full-time acting class. 30 hours per week, including practise. But it just sounds like so much fun, and totally complementary to the Gupta programme in breaking thought patterns.
I only did one short exercise in front of the class yesterday. Immediately my need to get things right had me feeling anxious. The teacher had coached some of the other students who weren’t acting naturally in previous exercises by saying “You’re trying to get it right. Stop doing that!” I totally get where he’s coming from. His answer to most questions about mastering the technique was “Practise!”. I get it.
I’ll let you know more about how it goes.