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

Rich Moments of Presence in Mindfulness Meets Improv Class!

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.

The 'Yes and...' principle of improv gives us infinite opportunities to share ideas & responsibility! Click To Tweet

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!

The combination of mindfulness & improv gives us infinite opportunities to be present! 🙂 Click To Tweet

BTW…

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!

 

 

 

Drop-in Meditation this Summer at Creek Farm Reservation in Portsmouth!

Certified mindfulness teacher, transformational workshop leader, creative coach, (and Out of the PILLbox Player), Liz Korabek-Emerson is providing some outdoor early morning meditation this summer out at the beautiful Creek Farm Reservation!  Get the vibe from this picture and details below it!

Every Wednesday until August 15th
Liz will be offering an outdoor drop-in group at this beautiful location in Portsmouth.

“Out of the PILLbox Players” Sneak Peak Slideshow – ‘Emotional Meeting’ OY!

Last summer, we started the PILL filming project to help show how fun and easy PILL classes are and to create training material for Medical Improv.

Recently the second filming session of the Out of the PILLbox Players took place at PPMTV in Portsmouth, NH.  We had a blast!  There is a treasure chest of film footage with beautiful humans playing.  Since it will be a while before video is ready, here is a slideshow from an activity called Emotional Meeting*.   

Out of the PILLbox Players in order of appearance:  Liz Korabek-Emerson, Barbara Trimble, Susan Conboy, Curran Russell, Lori Austin, Jody Fuller,  Robin Masia, Glenna Kimball, Dwyer Vessey, Patricia Corso, John Klossner, & Carolyn Vibbert! THANKS  to each of you and all of you  kindhearted and playful people! (Mary Ellen McElroy and Anita Remig were not available for this one.  You can enjoy them in Gibberish Talk Show Host!)

  • Emotional Meeting can be found in Kat Koppett’s “Training to Imagine”!

Progressive & Hopeful Vision about Aging at Extended Family

Not only do we have fun in PILL classes, we get to meet dynamic people who make their homes and businesses in the NH/ME seacoast. Barbara Trimble is one of the wonderful and intriguing people who are trying out classes at Portsmouth Improv Learning Lab-PILL!

In 2004, Barbara founded Extended Family.  Extended Family’s mission is to “help people age on their terms by offering premium services that promote independence, good health and engagement in life.”  Extended Family is more than a home service company, it is a lifetime membership. Members age at home, while receiving any type of services that they need or desire.  Evidenced-based programs built into the Extended Family model include Medication Management, Fall Prevention, Brain Wellness and Hospital Advocacy, and are designed to keep members active, independent and on their feet!  Quarterly metrics of Extended Family’s members are beginning to prove that their members fall less, maintain stronger minds, and report a higher quality of life.  And most importantly, never have to leave their home.

I so love her vision about growing older!

Aging does not have to be a long, slow downward slope.  Rather, with focus and effort, people can lead full and active lives until that “last day.”  Older adults need a plan, to manage any medical issues, to stay physically active, to maintain brain wellness, and to stay socially engaged.  By maintaining their dignity and zest for life, they will have a reason to get up every morning.–Barbara Trimblepresident and founder of Extended Family, LLC

We’ve had some spirited conversations about leadership in healthcare.  I think she would be awesome to work for. As you can tell in her vision statement, her philosophy is one of empowerment.  Empowerment of clients AND staff!

Curious about work at Extended Family?

Take a look at the expectations and see if you are inspired!

Expectations

We expect our caregivers to be the best of the best, and sometimes this means going above and beyond! Candidates with a high level of professionalism, attention to detail, flexibility, great communication skills, openness to receive and accept feedback, and a desire to learn and grow are who we are looking for to join our team!

Working at EF is being part of something BIG.  You will make a difference in the lives of those you work with.  You will feel good at the end of your day. You will have access to education, social activities and our rewards and recognition program.  –Barbara Trimble

 

 

Is it something personal?  Help keep programming going or at least check out fun PPMTV Kickstarter video!

Well, personally, I love PPMTV! They are helping me with filming project designed to make healthcare safer and more compassionate for patients, residents, and families and healthier to work in for nurses, doctors, etc

Last week, I was in San Francisco teaching Medical Improv to about 60 health risk managers.

Here I am with the group watching a video with seacoast PILL peeps Jody Fuller and Glenna Kimball doing an improv activity called Same Time Story.  It is a fun and effective way to teach empathic listening skills!  We need THAT in healthcare, don’t you think? Look closely and see how engaged the participants are!

Now PPMTV needs $$ for new programming stuff.  I threw in a few bucks and maybe you will too.  If you can.  And if not, please share this post and check out their fun video, “It’s Always Something!” What a crew!

Kickstarter Project to Help Keep PPMTV on the Air.  Please consider a donation to help replace their computer program and get some new software that makes all the programming possible.

Oh and next PILL classes start 4/28!

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If performing isn’t the goal of PILL improv, what is?

By Dwyer Leahy Vessey

Sometimes when I mention I’m going to Improv I get asked if I want to learn to “perform” improv…and I say – Improv is one of the only times that I don’t feel like I have to perform…I get to play.

And then I say “improv is like when you were a little kid and and you went outside to play with a friend and then another friend came by and the game changed into something new and then more kids showed up and you played outside until your mother whistled you home…that’s improv.”

If your curious to know what taking a PILL class is like, check out this slide show of a recent class. It might be hard to tell WHAT we are doing, but notice how much FUN we’re having doing it!

Check out this single session at York Adult & Community Education.

 

Glorious Ladies of PILL Spreading Light & Laughter at Seacoast FUNdraiser!

At a recent “Superhero”  fundraising party, (Seacoast woman runs for the homeless), several glorious women from Portsmouth Improv Learning Lab-PILL showed up at Jubilation Dance Studio to do a little improv!

And thankfully, one of the audience members took a couple of videos!  (THANKS, HAYDEN!)

Here are a couple of videos that will make you smile.  And you can still donate!

First, “Bus Stop” and then “Doctor’s Office”!

Can you sense divine play among us?

Oh and just so you know, we don’t generally dress up as Superheros for PILL Classes AND if you wanted that would be fine!