Saturday, January 31, 2015

Opening Yourself To Others

I found myself really inspired by one element of the movie WILD. Reese Witherspoon’s character, Cheryl, tackles the Pacific Crest Trail by herself and as time goes on she gets farther and farther away from civilization. There are so few moments that she sees another person that when she finally does see someone, her needs are so great that all fear is put aside for the necessity of getting someone’s help.

Example: Needing food and a shower so badly that she got into the car of a strange man and rather than flee when she got nervous, she simply lied about having a husband on the trail ahead of her. Her survival instinct forced her to create community when all signs pointed to getting the heck out of there.

SPOILER ALERT (do not read if you plan to see the movie)

What’s possible when opening yourself up, against all odds, is connecting with your fellow human being - even if only for a moment. Cheryl is initially terrified that he’ll take advantage of her - a pre-judgment we’re all accustomed to heeding. Instead, he takes her to his home and his wife makes her a home cooked meal. This possibility of community kept being created time and time again, and it was beautiful to watch.

Obviously I know this can be somewhat idealistic - bad things happen in the world from which our defenses rightly protect us. But what’s missing from our world of devices and instant news is relatedness. - true relatedness, not just the kind where we’re aware of something but when we actually experience it.

I’m noticing that I’m only participating in the world at its periphery rather than jumping right in. I don’t know yet exactly how I want to address this issue, but I’ve uncovered a “blind spot” I didn’t know I had and the discovery has really been fascinating.

What about you? What do you think about your connection to your community? Leave a comment and tell me your thoughts!

Erin Cronican's career as a professional actor and career coach has spanned the last 25 years in New York City, Los Angeles and San Diego. She has appeared in major feature films and on television, and has toured nationally with plays and musicals. She has worked in the advertising & marketing departments of major corporations, film production companies, theater magazines, and non-profit acting organizations. For more information, please visit

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