Andi Cumbo - Writer, Editor, Online Writing Courses, Classes & Lessons

A Fully Open Heart – The Writer’s Best Tool

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Last night, P and I watched Life of Pi, a film I had wanted to see since it came out because the book marked me in a beautiful, profound way.  The film was gorgeous – Ang Lee is a master of directors – and the book’s ideas came through well, the value of stories, the reasons we tell them, the truth found even in the fiction.  I loved it. 6808408777

But it was in the special features that I found what I needed – Ang Lee said that they put Suraj Sharma (the actor who plays Pi) through a rigorous yoga regimen to open this first-time actor up.  “Real acting comes from an fully open heart,” Lee said.

That’s true for all art.  We can know the tricks of craft. We can study audience and practice after the greats.  All of these things are valuable.

But it’s the heart work – the opening up of ourselves.  The way we push aside our mental rules and our fears, the way we peel back all the lies we’ve heard and told about what people can tolerate, about what we can stand.  It’s there that we find the deepest truth.  The truth we need to lay out.

And for me, I remember again today, I can do that best when I work hard physically.  Yoga is a perfect practice for me in this because it forces me to not think but feel where my body aches, where it won’t go and where, surprisingly, it will.  Yoga takes me out of my mind and drops me down into the center of myself, just behind my diaphragm. My breath lives there. My life force. The very thing God breathes into us.  The very thing we share with every other living thing on this planet.  There, there’s the truth.

To dig into that heart space, that’s where the real writing lies, the real painting, the real sculpture, the real song.  There, where we put aside concerns about how many people see our work, where we put aside the fear that we will offend or surprise, where we put aside our own need to be loved and approved. . . . it is when we work from there, when we create from the very space from which we were created, that we find all we need, buried under ourselves all along.

What about you? What role does physicality play in your work?  Where does your true word lie? 

A request – I need to get back into a regular yoga practice. I need to treat my body better.  Will you all – with kindness – help me remember this with some gentle queries into how it’s going? I’d so appreciate it.  Thanks.

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Author: Andi

I am a writer, editor, and writing teacher whose most recent book, The Slaves Have Names, tells the story of the people who were enslaved on the plantation where I was raised. When I'm not working, my husband and I are working to make our small farm - God's Whisper Farm - a retreat here at the edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

  • http://www.eileenknowles.com Eileen

    That was an excellent movie! And, I tend to find in running what you get from yoga. I completely agree, a fully open heart is key.
    Eileen recently posted…one piece at a timeMy Profile

  • http://rebootingworship.com Jamie Kocur

    I need to get back into yoga too. I’ll keep you accountable if you keep me accountable. :)
    Jamie Kocur recently posted…Disrespect during communionMy Profile

  • http://thirdstoreywindow.blogspot.com ds

    Yes, yes. That is precisely what yoga gives me, when I let it. I am trying to let it do so more often, and if i can pursue a headstand, then so can you ;-)
    Namaste.

  • http://deuceology.wordpress.com LarryTheDeuce

    Not sure I will watch it. But I agree with Eileen. Running opens something up inside me that I can’t explain. Ideas flow from unknown places and, if I don’t catch them, slip away never to be seen again. I can pray better while running. I am closer to The Lord when I am running.
    LarryTheDeuce recently posted…Wandering And Being LostMy Profile

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