Years ago, after reading Shakti Gawain’s book Creative Visualization I set out on a path to create what I thought I wanted. Sometimes I got what I wanted. Sometimes I didn’t. When I did get what I wanted I gave my visualization powers credence. When I didn’t get what I wanted I denied I ever wanted it or wallowed in mental gunk.
Since then I have pretty much dismissed all the fads including The Secret. Just not for me. If it works for you – awesome.
A few days ago I flew to Los Angeles. I wanted a book to read on the plane and quickly rifled through my bookshelf. The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success by Deepak Chopra. OK. I read that about ten years ago and didn’t throw the book away so I must have liked it. In my knapsack it goes.
To my surprise, I absolutely love the book now. I feel like I’m reading it for the first time.
Deepak Chopra talks about intention and detachment in the book. He says to have intention but to let go of the outcome. I love that.
It applies to acting…
We need to have a trajectory in the scene we’re doing, but at the same time be open to how it will unfold. We shouldn’t be attached to the outcome or result. If we attach so much to the outcome we will miss the creative impulses available in each moment. And those creative impulses are pure gold. And they can’t be planned. Only invited.
It applies to business…
We need to have a direction that we want to move in. But we must detach from the results. If we don’t detach from the results we will be locked in misery and thought. Also, detaching from the results opens us up to a possibility much grander than what our minds can imagine. We need to plant seeds and let them do their magic under the soil. Deepak says “You do not want to dig up the seeds of your desires to see if they are growing, or get rigidly attached to the way in which they will unfold. You simply want to release them.”
I love that.
I’m in LA shooting an episode of the new NBC series I am recurring on with Jimmy Smits. The show is called Outlaw. Great show. So thrilled to be a part of it. I see my mind wanting to attach to various outcomes. But I will do my best to plant my seeds and detach. I can only do my job, the rest is an unfolding.
So, let’s plant some seeds and water them and let the magic that surrounds us turn that seed into a forest. Or a tomato, or a weed, or a venus fly trap.
Let us all know your ideas about intention and detachment.
just red the law of desire this morning. impromtue, picked up the book. and now your article. funny synconicity. loved it too and doubly now!
Wow, love the synchronicity!
Leanne Regalla says
Josh, Great article and great approach to life, creativity, and business. I’ve been following this for the last few years and it definitely works for me.
Yea, so great to remember this stuff.
I definitely needed this today! I will go in there, do my job and allow the rest to unfold. Thank you for always infusing my journey with insight and comradery.
Let us know how it goes.
And you are so welcome!
Monica Callan says
Thanks for this perfectly timed article! Last week I auditioned for a feature film with Ellen Bersten. I got a call back! They handed me a white draft with 5 scenes to memorize over night. Instead of letting myself be attached to the voice in my head that told me I couldn’t possibly do that in 18 hours (with six hours of travel and a good nights rest), I just hunkered down and enjoyed the process–hey, I got a callback!
So I showed up, and like auditions are, nothing was like I thought it might be, but I kept breathing and focusing. The trick was to not think about what could be, but what is right now. I played with body rhythms in the wait, went over my lines, stayed in the room, etc… They called me in and I gave myself the permission to not be perfect before I did my piece. I started out nervous and all that, but kept going, listening and letting it happen. They then paired me up with someone so they could have him read–with me! Then they sent him out and gave me another scene to work on, a tiny role, “Emotional Woman”–one of those roles that you usually hate to see in any film. But I told myself I have no idea why they are giving me this very different role to read (Did I suck? Was I being “demoted? Did they think I was only capable of doing a walk on? Do I look unglued?..etc) I was working on it, along with other women in the waiting room, when the casting director told me to not go anywhere. The director wanted to talk to me.
Eventually he came out and gave me directions for the scene. Things I had already come up with, mostly, so it was good to know that I analyzed the scene well (something that hangs me up and gets my self-editing mode in 5th gear if I let it). He told me to take as much time as I needed, if I wanted, go to town and come back, whatever I needed (I thought this was a bit luxurious, but whatever. I wasn’t going to go anywhere). The scene was pretty clear to me, but I took the opportunity to go outside by myself and play with “chaos”. As I was out there, I watched the director leave the premises in his car. The casting PA came outside and shouted, “Monica! You’re next!”. Clearly the casting director and the director had differing views. So, staying calm and not worrying about the fact that the director had just driven away or the pressure that the casting director was under to get me out by the SAG hour, I stayed present and calm. I couldn’t worry about what I couldn’t control.
I walk in and she was rushing me (as that hour was quickly approaching) and she told me to “go”. I turned away from the camera very briefly, reminded myself of my work and my body and turned to the camera and took a breath. Then I let it rip, whatever that may be. I just felt my body and let my imagination pique and I really don’t know what happened except that I executed the director’s notes. But I was crying at the end (and you know how “I don’t do that”). The casting director was looking at me when I finished, and not through the camera anymore, and she just said, “…THAT was AWESOME!”. Then she remembered to turn off the camera.
I just finished reading the book that the film is based on. The role I read for is a character that, according to the white draft, is cool, calculated and in control. The book paints her as a hot head and a loose cannon. Guess I showed them I could do both.
I am well aware that casting is a tricky business and that I have no control whatsoever over what they will decide. But what I can say, is that I can celebrate a victory in knowing that I didn’t get caught up in that vicious game of trying to control the outcome. I did my work and let it go. Ahhh! the freedom! And the joy! If I don’t get a role? It wasn’t because I didn’t do my job. Yahoo! and THANK YOU, Josh, for all the amazing work that you have shared with us!!!!
Looking forward to seeing you in October. Are there going to be ensemble classes running?
PS– check out my new website (which I just received a grant for its upgrade!) All sorts of things are popping from seeds planted! Who knew?
Wow! I just saw this – our posts must’ve crossed paths in the affluvia that is the internet – and I just had to say THANK YOU. I just got back from an audition where I felt so PRESENT and alive with my work, but the casting director seemed dismissive, and I’ve been trying not to let that get me down. So THANK YOU for the reminder “that casting is a tricky business and that I have no control whatsoever over what they will decide.” But I can celebrate the work I did and how good I felt doing it. Break a leg on your work, Monica, and best wishes on all those seeds you’ve planted. I’m BACK! 🙂
Sooo awesome Monica.
Yea, classes start in September.
See you then
I’m not an actor, I’m a writer and saw this posting on Jeff Marcus’s facebook (he’s an old friend)…anyway, letting go of outcome is a good reminder for me too – glad I stumbled into your world. Thanks! Juliet Johnson
Thank you for this reminder, Josh. I always have the urge to “dig the seeds up” as well, and I really need to just let them/me grow and bloom. 🙂
Yup we gotta sometimes just let the soil do it’s magic.
David H. says
Nice work Josh. Perfect post for this morning and something I’ve been working with a ton lately too. Rock on master Jedi.
YOU are Jedi!!!!
Maria Rose says
The Seven Spiritual Laws has been sitting on my bookshelf the last ten years, the only one I haven’t given away..or left at the airport.( If they don’t work for me I like leaving them on an airport translounge seat thinking maybe the person that needs it will pick it up and create luck 🙂 Anyhow I have pulled it out to read again and am looking forward to it. I lost sleep last night essentially trying to force an outcome in my mind..Woke up with a bad head, bad back, grumpy and dark circled eyes..If I do get the call, I am in no shape to present myself. Thank you for the constant inspiration and perspective x
This post couldn’t have come at a better time. I had an audition today and found myself getting caught up in my thoughts and checking to see “how I was doing”. It led to a less than stellar performance and I sat with that feeling the entire drive back home. This is a nice reminder for me to let go of it and to not assign it immense power over my life. Thanks, Josh.
Yea, it’s a great lesson that is so easy for me to forget.
So, this blog community can help keep us all on the path.
Thanks for filling us in on your experience.
Love the idea, I’ve been looking for a new read, Deepak is amazing! Thanks for sharing!!
Let us know what u think!
Spot freakin’ ON! So glad this landed in my inbox today. Congrats on Outlaw. Can’t wait to see it. Rock star…
Starts airing late Sept on NBC, but I don’t really get started til the 4th epsisode.
Josh, thank you. Isn’t interesting how this is timely for so many? I recently admitted that I have control “issues” – meaning that I like to be in control of my environment. And yes, I have literally dug up a seed to see how it’s growing. So, I recently started taking voice lessons and one of the things that has helped is that you set your body, take the breath, and let it go. Let it go. How hard is that??? That came up in a weekly group last week – I need to let it go and let it happen. Maybe I can combine the two – let it go and let it grow. Good lessons that carry over to every aspect of life.
Thanks again, Josh. Hope you’re having fun in LA!
Who doesn’t have control issues?
Anyone with a mind has control issues.
The trick is to engage what is real.
What is in front of us and inside our body.
Then the seeds grow beautifully.
Love what you wrote.
“Let it go and let it grow.”
Josh, this is synergy. My mantra since starting school 5 years ago has been planting seeds and it has been the best thing for me. I think I even told you that when telling you about future endeavors.
Keep up the blog and get that book out soon!
So much synergy going on – I love it.
Book is coming along.
On last chapter!
Mate simply beautiful. Thanks for sharing 🙂
You are so very welcome.
Josh it seems there is synchronicity in hyper drive lately. I shared your entry with a friend and I wanted to share his comments with you.
“These are really beautiful words and thoughts… thanks for sharing!
Not to be too picky about semantics, but I wonder if your teacher means “nonattachment” rather than “detachment”. The former refers relating to life with equanimity (any outcome is equally appreciated), while the latter refers to relating to life with indifference or aloofness.
In any case, it’s a beautiful sentiment. Yes, let’s please hold the intention of deep love and sensuality and growing and healing and unfolding…. and welcome whatever actually comes!”
Sooo cool. Thank you again, Josh
But, you know what I’m saying.
SEAN Walker says
ummm I’m intent on spinning my intent via my HAARP, bounced off Venus, Mecury, moon sun, jupiter, saturm, uranus… and other of the recent 80 planets within 5 solar systems Kepler – the new hubble telescope – Kepler took the picture. I’ll leave em in my black hole, i hope they do not BBang
And there you have it.
GREAT post – a fantastic reminder, thank you.
thank you, josh for this beautiful post – invite the gold, this alone sounds magical*
Great post…especially love “detaching from the results opens us up to a possibility much grander that what our minds can imagine”
So true. I set out on a journey to get a friend’s amazing “live your optimal life” product on Oprah’s radar- in the hopes she could change the trajectory of this information getting out into the world. Who knew that this quest would allow me to meet and HUG Ms. O herself earlier this year. Much grander byproduct than I could have imagined.
If you are interested in condensed wisdom- these 20 minute mP3 summaries are like great books “juiced”…from Philosophers to big thinkers…even Deepak’s book you mentioned above is condensed into a 20 minute mP3. Check out http://www.Wisdomology101.com to download 3 free summaries. Shameless plug, yeah- but my intuition tells me you will totally DIG it.
I am entirely focused on outcome right now. It is time for me to create a new life and career for myself. I have been drifting for the last five years, and I don’t know which direction forward is. I’m stuck at the nursery trying to choose my seeds. Any suggestions?
.-= Ann´s last blog ..Big Love for Pink Martini with Jimmy Scott – Tea for two =-.
John Reoli Jr. says
The detachment from outcome is very hard for a lot of people to grasp because we are taught, or led to believe, that specific endeavors will lead to specific outcomes, but because of other things which we can’t control those outcomes don’t always manifest, or they do manifest seemingly from out intentions, but not really. For instance, a great education doesn’t necessarily lead to a great job because of other factors outside of our control, the economy, nepotism, etc. Or the great job comes along not from the great education but from a new market opening up which needs people with an education, not necessarily great. When I decided to pursue acting/writing, my goal was not to become famous but to be in the mix making it happen on whatever level, in whatever way that would manifest itself while learning to be better without getting cynical. I’m still learning, getting better and being challenged with varied outcomes and I’m grateful that I have the opportunity to be in the mix.