Friends Forever International-Did you know about this cool organization in our backyard?

Right off of Rte 4 in Durham! You have to admit this is pretty exciting work.  Hopeful work. 

Their MISSION:

Friends Forever International empowers youth leaders to connect, strengthen, and serve communities around the globe by combining their passion to make the world a better place with the skills, experiences, and resources required to do so.  Learn more about the awesome work FFI is doing.

Their GOAL

Every young person who desires, regardless of ethnicity, religion, socio-economic status, and ability will have the opportunity to build their leadership skills beyond what they imagined possible before participating in the program. These young leaders will transform the way that they see the world and realize that they can change the world for the better. Now.

How did this get on the PILL radar you ask?

Word of mouth always involves relationships and stories. That’s why when PILL student, Joanne Hardin suggested that Liz Korabek-Emerson and I reach out to FFI leadership, we did.  She had just completed our mindfulness and improv class, Stronger Together and in addition to her testimonial, felt our work might be of interest to this organization.  (She knows of FFI from a close friend.)

Front to back Chelsea, Beth, Liz!

Long story short, we reached out and were invited to connect. Liz and I met with Chelsea Fitton, Sr. Program and Community Engagement Manager recently.  As you can see we had an inspiring meeting.  And we hope to go back and talk more with their alumni trainers soon.  Thinking just maybe some mindfulness and improv might be helpful! 🙂

Lots of hopeful stuff going on in the world despite all the chaos!  Thanks, Joanne!

Medical Improv & How I Got into It in WAY FUN Podcast w/ Margot Escott, LCSW!

Hey Friends of PILL, ‘Out of the PILLbox Players’, and friends and colleagues of yours truly! Please put this podcast on your radar to listen to and share. I loved talking with Margot about improv work locally and nationally.  Margot’s questions and listening helped me to articulate my beliefs and wisdoms with a sense of confidence, enthusiasm, and spiritual focus that feels so authentic.

Lot’s of fun topics and mentions (my son and his work, history of me and med improv, using the word improv in teaching pros and cons, AIN conference coming up in NYC, love, listening, empathy, and more….)

Podcast: Beth Boynton & Medical Improv

Hope you enjoy, happy for feedback, and most of all, THANK YOU!

Margot’s podcast series is focused on Improv for Therapists and I’m jazzed to listen to others and follow this series. She is a social worker in Florida and is doing some wonderful work using improv for caregivers and folks who live with Parkinson’s.

Oh and PILL classes coming up soon!

 

Margot Escott, LCSW & Beth Boynton, RN, MS - inspiring conversation @ Medical Improv on 25 min podcast! Click To Tweet

Doesn’t this Improv Activity Sound Like Fun?

Richard Oberbruner is a fellow improv teacher.  He shared his experience facilitating this activity recently and I can’t wait to try it with PILL students!
He wrote:
“Three Timeframes.” This scenic improv game was a gut-busting joy recently at my weekly adult improv class. You familiar with it?
Two players act out a scene at three different ages in their lives.   At various points in the scene, I call out a different timeframe. The two players continue their conversation but at older or younger points in their lives. The transitions from one timeframe to another creates the funniest moments!  
This game reinforces two things:
1) Focus on the part of the players. They have no time to think. Just do. 
2) The adage I learned through my training at Second City Theater: Human behavior is the funniest form of humor. Not jokes.
The three timeframes we chose to jump-around in-between were Third Grade / Millennial / Senior Citizens. Third graders are all over the place. Millennials are device-centric minimalists. And seniors are slower, more methodical.   I highly recommend playing this scenic game with your students. It’s stage worthy and life affirming!   ~Richard

Learn more about Richard’s work as a Communications Coach at R.O.I Training. Improv is his communication tool. He conducts employee engagement sessions with corporations and non-profits nationwide.

https://www.buildingbrighterteams.com/

https://www.linkedin.com/in/richardimprov/

10/9 Seacoast Writers’ Panel Discussion Brought to You by Maat Publishing & WSCA Community Radio

Please join Steve Carter, Tom Sweeney, and I in Portsmouth next week.  We’re all local writers and have varying experiences to share about writing, publishing & marketing. This is a free monthly event featuring a variety of writers and publishers.  I’ve been to several and always learn something helpful! (Podcasts archived here!)

Offered by Maat Publishing

in cooperation with WSCA Community Radio

It is typically a small gathering with plenty of time for questions and 1:1 networking after the panel discussion. 

Plus, complimentary snacks and beverages.  Hope to see you there.  

Tuesday, October 9, 2018 6:00 to 8:00 P. M.

Portsmouth Community Radio

909 Islington Street Portsmouth, NH

There will be a 30-minute panel discussion, followed by Q&A, and then time for hanging out and chatting.

Panelists:

Tom Sweeney

Steve Carter

Beth Boynton

Get your questions answered and connect with others in the field: writers, editors, cover artists, publishers, marketers.

Event is free and open to public

Complimentary light refreshments, beer & wine will be available

WPM is offered on the second Tuesday of each month.

Vision Statement

At Maat Publishing, our vision is to help you bring your book to life!

Working with us, you will be part of a collaborative team. As author, you know what you wish to achieve and are free to choose the services that are right for you. Throughout the process you are always in charge. Our part of the collaboration is to provide you with the best guidance in getting the story residing within you out into the world in a timely fashion.

What Would a Kavanaugh Apology to Ford Look Like? And in What World?

I believe Christine Blassey-Ford’s account of Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulting her when they were in high school. I am open to learning new information that suggests otherwise.

I also believe a healthier world is possible!

One where all people are of equal value, have the skills to communicate respectfully and share power in relationships.  Mutuality and boundaries will vary, but respect will be constant.

In order to create such a world, we need a vision of what it might look like along with effective ways to develop ‘soft’ skills like self-reflection, ownership, perspective-taking, attentive listening, and empathy. These are hard skills to practice because they require emotional maturity, behavioral change, a culture that supports them, and safe opportunities to practice with others. I’ve learned a lot of these kinds of skills through individual work in therapy and playing with others in improv classes.

For one minute, just one minute, consider a universe where Judge Kavanaugh apologizes to Dr. Ford. Click To Tweet

A parallel planet somewhere where humans are more evolved than we are right now. Here, Brett Kavanaugh has gained insight into his own emotional injuries and alcohol use through psycotherapy and Alcoholics Anonymous. He has come to realize he has hurt many people in his life and wants to make amends. He pieces together memories and admits to himself, his therapist and  his wife that he assaulted Christine Blassey-Ford when they were in High School.

He is learning how to express himself and listen more respectfully in therapy.  He is taking applied improv classes to help him to practice . With support of his therapist and wife he has decided to contact Dr. Ford and to admit his behavior and apologize.   He knows must take this step if he is to be a healthy husband, father, and Judge.

Kavanaugh writes a letter.

Dear Dr. Ford,

I am writing to you today with a heavy heart and a great deal of shame.  I am sure you remember, probably better than I do, that day when I assaulted you in a bedroom at that party in the summer of 1982.  Mark Judge was there and we were both very drunk.  We were laughing when I pinned you on the bed, groping you and trying to take off your clothes with one hand and covering your mouth to keep you from screaming with the other.  I can’t remember how you got away and can only imagine how scared you must have been.  You were younger and smaller than me.  It must have been terrifying for you and I am so so sorry.  I can’t begin to imagine the physical and emotional pain I caused you.

If there is anything I can do to help decrease the pain I must have caused and may still be causing today, I want to try.  I will answer any questions you have and try to help you understand my horrific behavior as I have come to in therapy.   I will listen if there is a way that feels safe to you.  With police, your husband, or any support you need present? Or read anything that you would want to share.  I don’t know if you can ever forgive me. I terrorized you and will understand if you do not want to interact with me in any way. I do know that I will work very hard to earn some kind of forgiveness. I am afraid of a criminal complaint, but if you decided to file one, I won’t fight it.  I have two daughters and as father I cannot fathom how something like what I did to you might impact them.

Words are not enough for the remorse I feel about what I did to you.

Brett Kavanaugh

I don't know what Dr. Ford's response to such a letter would be, but it could be a path towards healing for everyone. Click To Tweet

Sigh….human evolution is a slow process!

And to those of us involved in furthering the efforts of applied improv and  other ways of nurturing humanity, let’s keep going! Fight for truth and justice here and now, take care of ourselves, and contribute to a healthier world whenever we can!

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

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?