Where can you get True Blue Seaglass Jewelry & Wave Rings? REALLY Real Seaglass?

Seaglass is a real word no matter what spellcheck says! And it is only real if the sea has rolled it around, smoothed it out, and left it on a beach somewhere. And Jori Ami has been collecting it for years on beaches far and near.

Jori is the owner of True Blue Seaglass!  She’ll be at the Marketfest on Saturday 9/22/18 in York, Maine with lots of unique and lovely earrings, bracelets, toe-rings, and more! Collecting seaglass and turning it into beautiful jewelry is a spiritual experience for Jori. She collects and crafts each piece with a vision, artistry, and love!

I’m going so I can say “Hi” AND get more silver wave rings.  To create a ripple effect on my hand.   Sort of like the double decker waves here. Can you envision one on each finger?

Check out all the vendors and activities at Marketfest York!

And please, pray for surf!

 

Envision a face saying “Ewwwww”: How nonverbal language can build trust, even with folks with dementia!

Among other things like creating opportunities for divine play and meeting nice people, Portsmouth Improv Learning Lab (PILL) offers classes that help participants tune into nonverbal communication. Keeping in mind that 80-90 % of our communication takes place in this realm, increased awareness of and facility with sending and receiving nonverbal messages can help us with all of our relationships.

Not everything that counts can be counted and not everything that can be counted counts! --Albert Einstein Click To Tweet

What I communicate nonverbally is important in building trust and safety with students and one way to describe what I mean is to share an example that comes from working as an RN in a long term care facility a few years ago.  Here I was a Charge Nurse for two secure (locked) units where folks with moderate to severe dementia lived.

One of my tasks was giving medication to people who couldn’t swallow pills and so certain medications would be crushed and mixed with something that was easier and hopefully more enjoyable to swallow, like applesauce or for some, even better, ice-cream.  Even so, sometimes, residents would

make a face that told me the experience was gross!

In this moment, I would take a minute to respond to their nonverbal message.  “Oh that didn’t taste very good did it?  I’m sorry!”   I don’t think that my words were understood, but I believe most of my patients sensed the sincerity and compassion conveyed in my facial expression, tone, and other body language.

Please consider joining us for our next PILL class which starts 9/26!  Liz Korabek-Emerson and I will begin our 5th session of our Stronger Together class where we combine mindfulness and improv for a unique and fun experience!

Creating an environment where people feel safe is essential for facilitating positive experiences and learning as recently described by Joanne Hardin in this testimonial.

How Miles Burns & this PAPA Camp Nurse Helped One Little Kid This Summer!

(This quick story unfolds as I was in my role as PAPA camp RN and Miles in his as Artistic Director of Seacoast Rep).

“Hey Miles’, I said outside the Pierce Camp Birchmont Infirmary, ‘do you have a minute to talk about Sally?” (I’m changing details to protect privacy etc.”)

“Sure,’ said Miles, what’s going on?”

She is having a hard time connecting with other kids.  Some of it is probably due to physical limitations, but maybe some other stuff going on too.  He nodded, sensing what I meant.  Is there a way to include her in one of the talent shows that will be doable for her physically?

“Hmmmm…sure, let me think”, said Miles.

Less than an hour later I was walking down the hill with Sally. Rehearsals by various groups were going on.

“Hey Sally, Miles booming voice caught our attention, would you be willing to help us with this skit for the show tomorrow?  We need someone to walk on and look sad about kids not invited to a dance.  It might involve one or two lines.  It is a short part and would be really helpful.”

Sally looked up at me and then to Miles who went on to explain that they needed someone to play an important and quick part that she would be perfect for.

We walked closer to the small group. She, hesitated and looked to me, I think for encouragement as one who knew her physical limitations well.  I wanted to gently nudge, but not push her and shrugged my shoulders saying something like, “it’s up to you.  Might be worth a try?”

Miles, perhaps sensing Sally’s hesitation, “Why not come on over and help us try out the idea?”

“Okay, can’t hurt to try”. And she went over.  I walked away thinking, THANK YOU MILES.  Thank you for making this one little kid’s experience a priority.  And for using your creative thinking and compassion to do it.

Now, I also know that after a little while Sally decided not to participate in the skit.  And I guess we have to let go of that.  Yet still, the value of being included and choosing not to continue might be important experiences for Sally.  I hope so.

I bet Miles hopes so too.

Quite frankly the whole PAPA camp crew was a pleasure to work with because of the shared ideals about acceptance and inclusion.

I join the many others as part of the SRT family in being shocked and saddened that he has been terminated from his job. Something seems very wrong here.  This Friday, 9/14 at 7pm outside Seacoast Rep there will be a rally in support of Miles being reinstated. People are asked to wear PAPA shirts if you’ve got them. Make signs and spread the word.  I’ll be there.

Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts. --Albert Eintstein Click To Tweet

Why Improv?  Why Now?

Because it restores everything that is slipping away from us in our distracted, mediated, complex and isolated world.  And it’s just darn fun!  When’s the last time you did something just for fun?  

Improv brings us back to connection, embodiment, community, play and civility. Click To Tweet

Long before theatre, music, poetry, and making pictures were the exclusive purview of a professional class of artists who had the “right” training, these activities belonged to all of us and served multiple functions within our cultures and communities.  They provided beauty, preserved our history, allowed us to let down our guard, and strengthened relationships. In teaching non-performance improv we are in a sense returning theatre to its essential role in examining and expressing what it means to be human.  Theatre, in general as an artform has the unique ability to influence and inform our everyday living because the medium itself is human experience. It’s about us. It is us.

Theatre happens in community. In the communal structure of improv, the basic principle is yes and . . .  We are not just playing. We are playing with and for each other. This playing encourages us to develop the skills to be connected; to be present by listening, trusting and speaking up.  As our connections deepen through play, our understanding of ourselves, others and the world can’t help but grow. In any given improv, we might be called on to be the mom, zombie, movie critic, or translator.  Who knew we could step into all these roles? And if that’s possible, maybe we could expand our idea of ourselves beyond our work/family roles to include something we discover, maybe. In playing with each other and accepting whatever circumstance we are given, who knows what we will find ourselves relating to?  Coworkers who are angry, elated, sad, bored or nervous. We might find ourselves open and empathetic to qualities we normally block out or ignore in the people around us. As we continue to practice yes and . . . looking for opportunities to contribute or support to the overall storyline, we can begin to recognize and feel part of a larger trajectory, deepening that sense of being a small AND important part of the world at large.  Anything is possible in an improv, along as we listen, trust and speak up. Anything.

In a world that feels contracted and overwhelming and speedy and aggressive all at the same time, more technology, do-lists and work, work, work doesn’t feel like the solution. It feels like more of the same. We need something different like maybe some good old-fashioned play time so we can slow down, laugh and be together just for the fun of it.

Bio

Liz is a certified mindfulness instructor, transformational workshop leader and creative coach dedicated to creating opportunities for people to connect to their inherent wisdom, confidence and compassion.  Since 2012 she has been designing and leading mindfulness programs for individuals and organizations including the Portsmouth Hospital, Liberty Mutual, and Riverwoods Retirement community.  She also holds an MFA in theatre and brings thirty years of experience in theatre to designing programs that are engaging, insightful and compelling.  Learn more at Korabek Training.

WOW! Moving testimonial from “Stronger Together” PILL student!

“I feel our world is failing and it is challenging to know/learn what to do to affect change, besides voting! I kept seeing this poster in downtown Portsmouth that mentioned PILL (Portsmouth Improv Learning Lab). It was a 4 week commitment indicating that we would work with divine play, improv and mindfulness. It scared me, why put myself in this position where I may have to be vulnerable? At the same moment, I knew I should be taking this class.

Our leaders Beth Boynton & Liz Korabek-Emerson were gentle, accepting and very funny as were the other 15 class participants. I haven’t been able to verbally process all of what I received from PILL.

I am a workaholic and I am happy to report, that I did learn to play and have fun. All my senses were heightened, due to the mindfulness exercises; the air, smells, stars, the movement of driving home after class all felt like beautiful gifts. A big heavy darkness has been lifted from me and this isn’t even therapy! All of our ‘good-byes’ were so meaningful. To think that we were able to get to that deep level of intimacy & caring for each other without judgment even without speaking about our lives is astonishing to me.

Beth and Liz are creating something bigger than all of us! It will change us and therefore little by little change our world. I am thankful to both Beth & Liz for following their truth and it has truly blessed me.

I did know I was to take that class 😍 and am joy filled.! Joanne Hardin, Rye, NH Retired and active family care taker.”

Thanks so much, Joanne! Your comments inspire our teaching & may encourage new PILL students. Click To Tweet

Coincidently, we were just putting up PILL posters yesterday for our next mindfulness & improv class starting Weds Sept 26th along with other FALL PILL classes.  We got caught in the afternoon showers. Can you guess what happened next?

Yup…we were singing in the rain!  🙂

What do PAPA Campers & Crew Have to Say about “Silent Lunch”? Shhhhh….

Imagine this dining hall…

Location: Pierce Camp Birchmont in Wolfeboro, NH.

All seems quiet, yes?

Next, imagine well over 100 of these theater-dancing-singing-loving-people eating lunch IN the dining hall.

And it is still quiet?

How could this be?

It was Silent Lunch at Portsmouth Academy of Performing Arts (PAPA) Camp! Believe it or not, it really was QUIET! The whole time!

Camp Director, Alden Caple explained that “Silent Lunch is a time for campers to practice non-verbal communication. Using American Sign Language, (ASL) facial expressions, and gesture the whole camp has the opportunity to discover new ways of communicating while learning and appreciating ASL.” 

As this year’s Camp Nurse and overall introvert, I loved it! I noticed slowed down eating, tasted each bite, and was able to communicate differently with others at my table. It was calming for me. I wonder what other campers thought about it.  Obviously, we didn’t really talk about it at the time and afterwards we were on to other things.  Maybe some campers will comment here or on FB?

 

Improv is easier to try than you might imagine! Single Sessions this Fall on the Seacoast!

You have options!

At PILL (Portsmouth Improv Learning Lab), improv is about having fun in a supportive community.   Our students often say they were nervous to try a class yet, once they get started, have a lot of fun!  You can get a taste of PILL improv with a one-time commitment through Kittery & York Adult Education programs this Fall!

Kittery Adult Education

Thursday Evening Sept 20th, 2018 from 6-8:30p

$38

Toying with the idea of trying out improv in a safe supportive environment near Portsmouth, NH? Click To Tweet

York Adult Education

(See page 15)

Tuesday evening Oct 2nd, 2018 from 6-8:30p

$25

 

Portsmouth’s Creative Mornings & Christine Kelly’s Excellent Talk on Setting Intentions!

Creative Mornings is a progressive program that features an inspiring talk every month in cities all over the world.  PORTSMOUTH, NH is one of them as are London, Paris, Brussels, and Cape Town.  In short, the monthly theme is international while each city’s presentation is by local creative talent.  This past July, consultant Christine Kelly provided a practical and positive talk on setting intentions.

I loved it and am incorporating her advice into setting my intention for a home that looks and feels the way I deserve it to.  For me, this involves some reflecting, journaling, networking, and meditating.

And it is working, I’d say.  I want to use word of mouth as a primary process (as opposed to Craigslist) so there is an element of knowing me inherent in the process.  Yesterday my brother emailed me a rental sign he saw and I just got a text from a Zumba buddy about a rental downtown.  After I publish this I’m gonna go check it out. I’m not in a hurry.  I want a nice community whether sharing space or a studio/1BR in a nice village.  Quite frankly, that IS part of my creative life!

Oh wait, I'm writing about Christine Kelly's excellent Creative Mornings' talk on setting Intentions. Click To Tweet

Her talk was pragmatic and inspiring! it was also helpful in terms of understanding how our brains work to help us accomplish (or not) our goals.

If you missed it, don’t worry, you can listen here! Thanks, Christine!

A Children’s Visual Arts Teacher Explores PILL Improv with Her Students

By Rhonda Miller,

How do we work in a group while we are creating? How much of my idea should be used or included? How do I honor both myself and the other participants? These questions are important for furthering internal and external interactions in facilitated improvisation.

In the PILL improv class I took the teachers set up a space that was safe; where saying yes to a classmate’s idea and then running with it, was encouraged and supported.

Teaching the visual arts to children, I had hoped that some of the exercises could be useful in my classroom. I can already see how using improv is going to help set the stage for successful visual art making. The immediacy and getting to know people organically through improv will help the students create a “studio” that is safe and collaborative for the creation of physical art.

Recently, I was able to share some test run improv exercises with children while they were fresh in my mind at a summer art camp I co-teach for kids between the ages of 6 and 12. To see the subtle differences and similarities between children and adults engaging in the exercises was interesting.

“Strike a pose” is an exercise where one person strikes a pose and their neighbor tells a story or begins to act out the pose. Both the adults and children had a proclivity towards one or the other; either wanting to tell the story or act it out and engage the “poser”. To see adults and children alike struggle with “that’s not what I intended” or “I don’t want to guess incorrectly” and then work through those preconceived notions was admirable. These struggles are what ask us to reach outside of our comfort zone and the working through has to happen so quickly, that we gain information about our tendencies, strengths and challenges.

The kids played this and other games more than once. They liked the games overall, but some felt pressure the first time playing, while others knew what was coming the second time around and had more performance anxiety than when we first played. When in doubt, they  had a longer pause, shrugging and/or vocalizing that they “didn’t know what to do”.

In both the adult and kid games (interesting to me that kids called them games, and adults – myself included – called them exercises), participants seemed to want to come up with a “good idea” and that pressure caused hesitation. The fleeting nature of improv is both a blessing and a curse; if you “mess up” it can all be over in a moment (if one can let go the residual internal critic),  but the time factor causes people to feel harried and lost, especially if they want to “get it right”. 

Making ourselves vulnerable in a safe environment allows the speed w/ which things resolve to become an asset.

The art form of facilitated improv asks others to be generous & makes one want to be generous in return. Click To Tweet

The questions at the start of this post are worth asking. We also often ask “What will others think of me? What if I mess up? What if I can’t think of anything?” instead. We all have a need to be accepted and appreciated. Facilitated improv games tweak this nerve and nudge us to be more mindful of how we are; both with ourselves and with others. Just as important to help us toward being present, are figuring out what questions are helpful. Curiosity drives us to ask more helpful questions.

I have loved taking this class. At moments it has terrified me, which is one of the most valuable things to remember when asking the students in my art room to become curious – even when they are fearful. Finding our curiosity through the fear is what creativity is all about, in whatever form it takes. 

Bio

Rhonda Miller is a local artist and art teacher – her bliss is creativity. She loves helping people reach their creative core. The joy that is cultivated while creating is a powerful force, and Rhonda feels honored to get to share in that with others. As an artist, Rhonda loves getting messy, using as many media as are available. She is the author of “What Potential!: A Simple Guide to Cultivating Creativity for Parents and Children

This Just in From PILL – For Your Improv Radar! :)

Thanks to new PILLer, David Silberman, aka “Darling David”  we have some other exciting improv goings-on to share!
There is the first-ever Vermont improv comedy festival,….this weekend July 19-21, 2018 https://www.bigpondimprov.com/ – Elderberry Jam, the troupe, (David is a member!) and will be performing at 6 PM!
By the way, this senior-oriented improv troupe is always auditioning for new members…if y

ou or someone you know is an experienced improvisor, of 50 years or higher, check them out! (Hmmmmm, I want to keep in mind!).  You can follow Elderberry Jam here:
Last but not least, there is the Vintage Improv Festival, in Boston coming on Sunday Sept 9, 2018!
Hey maybe could carpool from PILL HQ?
Thanks, David and break a leg this week-end!