The Power of the Pursuit

Actor and Director Ben Hodge has been the acting teacher at Central York High School for the past 10 years where he has developed an innovative and fresh curriculum for young actors aged 13-24. This curriculum and workshop format is now available to the greater York area with hopes of training and leading new actors to the realisation that acting is a more than just a hobby or pastime: it is an honourable profession and a way of life. His connections with New York City, LA and local talent agencies are now being offered to anyone who joins the Studio classes and have opened the doors for many already joined. He currently runs classes and offers private acting coaching via Skype. Connect with Ben on Twitter or via email
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Letting go of the pressure of plans, resolutions & end results

It’s getting to be that time when we once again look back on the year that was while looking forward with expectations and resolutions for the year ahead. It’s as inevitable as time ticking off the clock.
What if I said that those reflections and resolutions don’t paint the whole picture? What if there was something else that we should do as each year comes to a close?
Breathe. Let go. And remind yourself that this very moment is the only one you know you have for sure.
Oprah Winfrey
The issue here is that we reflect, we resolve, we set goals, we set expectations, but we often don’t learn and/or follow through with them. Don’t misunderstand me here: There is nothing wrong with reflection, resolution and evaluation. The problem is that we lose sight of the present. As we focus on the past year and the future year that lays in front of us, we can lose our concept and understanding of what possibilities exist right now and the work it will take to make those possibilities a reality.
You see, many of our resolutions and reflections are based on what could have been or what should be, rather than on what actually is. If we truly understand what it is in the right now, the more aware we become of the what it could be.
Do we accept the reality in front of us? Do we look to find peace with that reality before we go into the pressures of the end results we think we deserve and want? Do we learn from our mistakes? Do we strive to follow through with our resolutions? Do we keep working on them?
We can literally lose ourselves in this stress of reflection and resolution. Where is the faith that things can get better? Where is the trust that the present is where we are supposed to be RIGHT NOW? Where is the hope and happiness in the pursuit? In the work? In the search? NYC acting teacher Emily Fletcher says it this way:
What if we made success less about success, and more about succession? What if we made it less about the pursuit of happiness and more about the happiness of the pursuit?
Emily Fletcher
Emily is right here. I think we spend too much time on the end result of our journey or the resolutions themselves: the happiness, the success, the perfect weight, the ideal personality, the penultimate relationship. In doing so, we forget the importance of the journey itself. We forget about the resolve it often takes to achieve those resolutions.
There is a specific and widely quoted scripture reference from the Bible that I feel fits effectively here:
For I know the plans I have for you says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find Me.
Jeremiah 29:11, 13-14
For believers: The truth of this section of scripture is this: we must learn to let go of the all of the plans we have, all of the end results that we desire and instead shift our focus on the search. The context and takeaway of this scripture for believers is an encouragement to look and search for God and his will the result of this will be a stronger faith in the good that is yet to come, and I think the good that is found in the promise of the present.
For non-believers: This is still a powerful reminder that there is power in the search. There is power in working towards the plans that are in front of us. There is power in letting go of the pressure of the future and readjusting our focus on to the work and journey that lies ahead. We must trust that there are better days ahead of us. We must hold fast to the belief that we don’t have to settle for the mundane moments and mires that we feel that we are stuck in.
The funny thing is that God, nature or the universe or whatever you believe, has a way of working these things out. It’s not enough to want something. It’s not enough to simply want to be an actor. It’s not enough to want a healthy relationship. It’s not enough to want success. All of those wants are just the end result.
If we want all of those things, we must work for them. We must wait for them. But we must never give up on them.
Make the resolutions. Make the plans. Dream the dreams. But keep moving. Keep searching. Keep seeking. Keep looking. Keep working. Keep at it.And then those resolutions, plans and dreams will become realities when you least expect it.

About Ben

Ben Hodge has been acting and directing for 20 years in a variety of formats. He has directed several productions in York, PA and had his play REACH performed in NYC at an Off-Broadway venue in 2009. Ben studied English and Acting at Messiah College and received his Masters in Education from Penn State University. After the success of REACH, the hit play about the hidden issues of 21st Century teens, Ben started acting classes in the York, PA area and created Ben Hodge Studios in October 2009. His main goal is to bring a high-level, professional acting workshop to York, PA that is modelled after professional workshops with influences by Uta Hagen, Sanford Meisner and David Mamet.
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