Liz Korabek-Emerson and I started our 4th Stronger Together PILL class Monday evening with 10 wonderful participants. It is a unique combination of mindfulness meditation and PILL improv which we love teaching. We have a blend of energy and expertise that creates safety, trust, and playfulness within our groups. Liz teaches mindfulness, I teach improv, and we collaborate all along the way!
This past Monday evening we did some warm ups and a little talking about mindfulness and improv processes. Liz then led some sitting and walking meditations which evolved into some nonverbal group collaborations of stopping, starting, and turning. These moments where each of us and all of us are sensing ourselves and moving together in quiet simple purpose are quite lovely. In this space individuals consider their own actions in concert with others. And the consideration, while it may have intellectual properties, is part of what Liz calls, “embodied mindfulness”. It is a fascinating place to be with others.
From here we moved into an improv activity that involved one person doing a pose or nonverbal physical motion while another person was called to join in and define what the person was doing.
We had a great discussion about the tendency to think about what we are going to do rather than stay focused on what others are doing. Talk about being present, right?
Next we did an activity called “The Story”, adapted from Nancy Hurley’s book, 175 Theatre Games: Warm-up Exercises for Actors. With attention to group process and creating a safe environment, many activities can be facilitated for anyone who wants to play!
This activity involves the whole group telling part of a story and they must include a person, place, or thing that is written on a piece of paper they choose, but can not look at until it is their turn to contribute. The stories were fun and bizarre. They included a hilarious theme involving a golden paperclip along with fashionable evening gowns, aliens, pyramids, and a gallon of lemonade.
And in between two rounds of this, we talked more about about the mindfulness-improv connection. Because this activity keeps part of the story a secret from each person until it is their turn, it nudges us to be present! In playful, safe, trusting community, we get to feel it!
We think this would be a great workshop for management teams or staff with organizations who want to engage, inspire, and connect their peeps! Yes, we’re conspiring along those lines for a series or day-long session!