Embracing Terror

I’m a few weeks away from a big production’s opening and am aware of a familiar pattern. I feel a blend of excitement and nausea pretty much all the time now as we approach the performances. I’m overwhelmed with everything that I need to do to pull this thing together, scared that I won’t feel good about the piece, scared others won’t like it, scared that the performers won’t enjoy the process, scared I’ll offend lots of people, scared people won’t want to work with me again after this, and to top it off I feel alone in shouldering this growing burden.

This is enough to make anyone despair. And yesterday I began to slip into a whole lot of insecurity and even depression about it. But then I had a glimpse of remembering.

I remembered that this is how it always feels when I’m a few weeks away from sharing a big new work. This is how it always feels right before any performance, big or small. And from this momentary bigger-picture perspective, I was able to gain enough internal leverage to choose “trusting the process” over lots of worry.

Nothing changed really. I’m still overwhelmed. Still scared. Still have a nervous tummy all day. But I made this slight little shift in my outlook, and it is making a huge difference.

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