Synchrony!….[Three!]

Boys-in-the-Boat-Rowing2_t560

{this is the third post in) a series of Seven Things that Improv Gives us}

Currently I’m reading ”The Boys in the Boat” at bedtime. And I’m loving it. I’m completely drawn in to the story of this nine young men – the University of Washington crew team – who persevere against all odds, and win the olympic gold in Berlin in 1936 (under Hitler). At the time all the great crew teams were Ivy League schools in the east – Harvard, Penn, Cornell, Yale, etc. University of Washington’s crew team didn’t come from a place of means. Many were sons of lumberjacks and farmers; many like Joe Rantz came through such adversity and abandonment from his own family (twice!). The author chronicles how Joe often felt like an outsider from even his own teammates. The varsity coach Al Ulbrickson kept trying new configurations of the boys in the boat. They’d do well, but then fall apart.  Then Continue reading “Synchrony!….[Three!]”

Embodying a Posture of YES! ….TWO!

 

YES

One of the Core ideas of improv is saying YES. It’s basically unlearning what we learned in our terrible twos – No! No! No! : )

In the Improv world…..You and I come on the stage together and you say, “Hey Doctor Miller I’m here for my 2 o’clock appointment.”

Me: I’m not a doctor. I’m standing here at this bus stop.

This is known as blocking and the scene goes nowhere. I’m basically saying ‘That was a stupid idea. I’m starting over.’ 

[Take 2] Continue reading “Embodying a Posture of YES! ….TWO!”

Laughter IS the Best Medicine … ONE!

Laughing Together

What if Laughter actually is the Best Medicine?

Doc: Well Sarah, seems like you’ve got a lot of maladies right now in your life – physical, psychological, emotional.

Sarah: [ thinking: ‘tell me something I don’t know’ ]

Doc: Well, I could put you on Xerozaphanictaphase* (there are a number of side effects including Extreme Anger at medical authorities….so I tend not to prescribe this.), and some other pill options, but you know what I’m gonna do?
[Doctor scribbling on her prescription note pad] Continue reading “Laughter IS the Best Medicine … ONE!”

SEVEN things Improv Gives Us! GO!

In your Fridge

Often in my enthusiasm I assume Everyone Else in the world is similarly enthused. This is true of Improv too.  Often people, understandably, are a bit fearful because considering improv brushes up against one of the biggest fears people have: public speaking. Only improv is worse, they think, because you don’t have ANY plan, AND you may look like a fool on top of it. I get it. And, trust me with this, but as you enter into the world of improv via taking a class, going to a show, participating in an improv workshop at your workplace, you’ll discover there is SO MUCH that it gives us that nourishes our lives!

There’s an improv game called ”Seven Things”. It goes like this: Continue reading “SEVEN things Improv Gives Us! GO!”

Using your body to take your place in life

prison-cell-hands-bars

Imagine you are in an 8×12 cell in the county jail. The cell has bunk beds, so add another person. The jail is overcrowded so add a third person who sleeps on a cot on the floor. And add a toilet. You’re in this cell for 18 hours per day; if there’s an incident in the jail, then you may be in your cell for 23 hours per day. This is the situation at the Skagit County Jail where I serve on the jail chaplaincy team.  Continue reading “Using your body to take your place in life”

Inserting Trampolines

Noam Sauls drawing
[image from ”The Body Keeps the Score”. Drawing by Noam Saul]

“On September 11, 2001, five-year old Noam Saul witnessed the first passenger plane slam into the World Trade Center from the windows of his first-grade classroom at PS 234, less than 1,500 feet away. He and his classmates ran with their teacher down the stairs to the lobby, where most of them were reunited with their parents who had dropped them off at school just moments earlier. Noam, his older brother, and their dad were three of the tens of thousands of people who ran for their lives through the rubble, ash, and smoke of lower Manhattan that morning.”

This story is told by Bessel Van der Kolk M.D., in his book, “The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma”. He continues.. Continue reading “Inserting Trampolines”

You should have seen the Look on His Face!

Related image

[Or, ”I Want to Share My Joy with You, Part 2]

One of the gifts of St Ignatius that the Jesuits have carried on is the idea of Composing the Place or Entering the Story. I’ve done this here and there on my own and in Skagit County Jail in my jail chaplaincy there with Tierra Nueva. Basically, you take a scripture passage from the gospels – one with Jesus in it – and enter into the story in your imagination using ALL five of your senses. It’s an embodied experience. And you are basically doing Improv with Jesus as you go. [ I wrote about this in Fall 2013 when I did this with inmates and we entering the story of Jesus Calming the Storm ]

A few weeks ago I spent a week on an Ignatian spiritual retreat. It was a new thing for me. I was alone at a cabin on the Olympic Peninsula. Continue reading “You should have seen the Look on His Face!”