In essence, we are the lifeforce expressing itself through all the physical faculties available to us. Therefore, it is so satisfying to allow ourselves to imprint who we are through as many creative energies as we desire to become. In the process of being fully present in the now, regardless of the amount of time we choose to focus on each creative funnel, we will experience our life to its fullest potential.
Anastasia Washington is an artist whose core intention is to impact the world through everything she loves and how she expresses herself. She says, “I always call myself a Boss Lady, I have a lot of focused energy, and I’m very passionate about whatever I do. However, it’s very zoomed in on what I am doing. So, I consider myself to be a force of nature. I knew my purpose incredibly early in life—to be an entertainer, getting stories out into the world, entertaining people, and making them laugh and think. Therefore, everything I do, everything I put my energy into, has always been for that.”
When Anastasia was three years old, she and her parents were enjoying a show at an amusement park, when suddenly she got up and started singing and dancing along with the performers. Anastasia even bowed to everyone, and although she wasn’t part of the performance, she was already a performer. Shortly after that event, her parents signed her with an artist agency, and ever since then, she did not stop singing, dancing, and acting. Along the way, Anastasia received many ‘yeses’ and ‘noes,’ all valuable to her experience as a performer and as a person. Often, we rely our success on others by thinking that a ‘no’ means a rejection of our worthiness. Nobody but our own perception of ourselves has the power to erase who we are or determine what we are worthy of. Only we can get caught up in our own story of defending our own limitations, which also means that we can start telling a new upgraded story of who we are already becoming.
“I have removed personal competition with people, especially when some of them are my friends and colleagues. So, I had to psychologically remove the ‘Oh, we’re up for the same role’ or ‘Oh, they got it,’ which means jealousy and evaluation of my worth. Part of our job entails auditioning, and there are numerous factors that influence whether or not you are cast. I’m one of those vision board people. I have my little vision board up there with my goals for this month and year—that’s how I dictate my success. Also, that’s how I dictate my milestones and things that are creatively in my control. So, for the sake of my sanity, I had to remove that personal competition because I’ve been in the industry since I was three, and it would cause a lot of turmoil in my soul against other people, especially myself. In acting, it’s easy to start comparing your worth to what other people have achieved and overlook all of your own achievements. So, I cheer for others, and I celebrate me,” Anastasia explains.
We all are inclusive in nature. We all yearn to be more inclusive, be steady within our own beingness, and then see others as our own mirror reflection from a different angle of ourselves. But to include others, we have to embody the inclusiveness ourselves.
Anastasia passionately shares, “To me, inclusivity means that you hear from more than one side of life. I think for a long time, we heard from one side of culture in Hollywood. I think what’s beautiful and what’s happening more these days is that the people experiencing these stories are actually telling their story from their cultural background. I think it’s crucial that we hear more voices and, as a biracial woman, it’s great to hear the hardships and hear about thriving, hoping, and just everyday slices of life. I think we’re all experiencing the same things because, in some ways, with all our cultural differences, we’re still a people, we still love, we still freak out, we still have anxiety. And the more we see that from different perspectives, I think the more we will say, ‘We are all the same, we all experience very similar things.’ And it really makes the world a lot smaller and everybody more empathetic toward one another. So, I personally hope that my contribution tells stories from my perspective while also encouraging others to tell their stories from their perspectives. Let us do this to show empathy and explore uncomfortable topics with a little bit of humor so that you can have a discussion about it and feel open to exploring other perspectives. I did a documentary about Black Trans Lives Matter, entitled “Free To Be,” which is doing the festival circuit right now. And I hope that, in addition to telling my stories and encouraging others to tell theirs, I will be able to assist others in expressing who they are and how they feel.”
To fuller understand the world, we have to understand ourselves, too. Actors explore different perspectives of diverse characters blended with their own interpretation. That cannot be if they don’t explore themselves because everyone they play to become is expressed through that which they are becoming. It’s a mutually nurturing process that adds value to the character’s interpretation as well as to the actor who brings that process to life.
“The first thing you always do is you figure out what is similar about you and your experience to the character. You think about those memories that are very similar to the situations you might be in or make you feel the way that character feels. Because not all of us have experienced everything that we play on screen, there is still a general feeling that you probably have felt to some degree. I take myself there to explore how that felt and how it possibly looks like. That’s the part of therapy/internal work that I do as an actor—figuring out your connection to make this character realistic to an audience and yourself, making them vivid, and understanding the character. It’s like exploring a different angle of myself. If you’re open to it, as a person, you can learn a lot about yourself and how you feel and react to things. You have to care about humanity and love studying humanity to truly be a performer.” Anastasia shares.
Sound is energy that vibrates, resulting in waves traveling through the air. Singing and music make the energies of sounds flow through our whole body, affecting the molecular response of every single cell to vibrate in a particular wavelength. That, in turn, has a chemical reaction that we sense as our emotions. These emotions indicate the energetical standpoint in which we are vibrating.
Anastasia, with a sassy attitude, says, “I don’t ever stop singing. I feel so connected to the feeling of the music, whatever that music is trying to evoke in me. I guess, whatever that message is, it’s what I feel throughout my whole body when I sing—the sadness, happiness, love, anxiety, Boss Lady power, etc.”
Often, we think that caring about ourselves is selfish. But what can we offer to others if we don’t take care of our own steadiness? Perhaps within that context, to be selfish is to become selfless. Because when we are steady, then we want to open our heart to everyone we meet in our way for no other reason than because we love—that is when we are changing the world.
“For me, it’s about empathy, and the best way to deliver messages is through humor. I came from a family with many different cultures and strong personalities. I think I always was around these hard conversations. When I realized that making people smile could also make them discuss things in a more uplifting way, I started infusing that into my comedy. So, I tell a lot of jokes about what it’s like to be a woman, to be biracial, just what it’s like to be. How you can react to things said to you also counts. I’ve had people come up to me after a show saying, ‘I feel this way, and now I can discuss it.’ So, how can we be better to each other? How can we do better? I love to tell stand-up jokes like that. I love that about comedy because it teaches you that making a mistake isn’t the end of the world if you can laugh at something silly that happened or something silly that I said or did. Besides, learning something different or doing something different next time is possible,” Anastasia shares her passion for comedy accompanied by a contagious laugh.
Regardless of whether we are focused on doing an activity that we love or not, we are in the process of increasing more the activity of our mind. Therefore, breathing can be one of the easiest and most helpful tools to go within and soften our intellect from so much intellectual focus. Weola’s words—spoken by Kosta Trifunovic from his wider perspective, who is one of the contemporary inspirational facilitators—says, “Allowing yourself to become predominantly one with your breath allows you to start blurring the lines of that which is laser-sharp focus and gets you to the state where you can experience from a wider perspective, from a vantage point of more inclusion, from the perspective of One. That is why breathing is often referred to as a gateway to other dimensions of life experience.”
Anastasia created and made available two meditations on Apple Podcasts for anyone who wants to relax and get a splash of her humor. She also says, “To me, empowerment is feeling like my best self. It’s feeling like I am giving myself the support and love and care I need to feel like a bomb lady. I feel empowered when I empower other people.”
After a traumatic birthday party incident involving racism and a young child being denied cake, she made a tradition to celebrate eating a delicious cake each Wednesday and not feel guilty about it. There is a lot for Anastasia to celebrate since she made the decision to do whatever she does, from being a friend, a partner, a daughter, a writer, an actor, a comedian, a producer, or anything else she is passionate about to express herself with the purpose of inspiring the world.
If you want to impact the world as Anastasia, remember to embody the change you want to see, and only then can you offer that change to others.
Photography // Ben Cope