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!  🙂

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.

“When the Human Spirit Needs Protection…”–Margaret Wheatley

What a couple of tough news days for those of us who want to be compassionate towards others, prevent violence and bullying, seek truth, treat our earth as sacred, and promote respectful, empowered relationships between men and women, old and young, black and white, straight and LGBTQ, Muslims and Christians, etc.   Oppression, in all it’s various forms and for whatever reason, seems to be a popular plan of action these days.

Not at PILL!

PILL improv is about sharing power, playing together in trust & respect, & supporting each other! Click To Tweet

We have a few simple rules to ensure these values are maintained and in the process, our humanity thrives.  Plus we laugh a lot!

We are an ‘Island of Sanity’ in Portsmouth, NH.  As visionary, Margaret Wheatley offers in her book, “Who Do We Choose to Be? Facing Reality, Claiming Leadership, and Restoring Sanity:

When the human spirit needs protection the warriors will arise.

The human spirit needs protection.

May the warriors arise!

Maybe you’d like to join us for a summer PILL class? You’ll discover the most insane “Island of Sanity” you can imagine.

Come and fortify your human spirit! Our human spirt!

“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”!

“Eat Pray Love” & Maybe Play a Little Improv?

Choosing Curiosity Over Fear” is a wonderful interview from Krista Tippett’s Onbeing program with the author of “Eat Pray Love”, Elizabeth Gilbert.  As you will see, if you follow the link, you can read or listen to it.  They are not talking about improv per se, yet their discussion had some wonderful parallels about the process of play and our human experience.

Highlights that might entice you to put this @Onbeing interview w/ 'Eat Pray Love' author on your radar! Click To Tweet
  • A discussion about practical magic which affirms the divine play of improv.

…it’s the mystical things that we need to demystify the most, in order to lay claim to them and to not keep thinking of them as something that only belongs to a very special class of people. The more mystical and precious, in a way, that we make creativity and spirituality both, the more people get left out of it. And I think that’s a pity and a loss, and sometimes, even a tragedy. So it should be that all are invited, or else what are we even doing here?  –Elizabeth Gilbert

  • Exchanges about human creativity which sometimes gets lost in our growing up and life.  

…every human child is born doing this stuff innately. It’s an instinct. There’s no child that you put crayons and paper in front of who doesn’t get it, what you’re supposed to do. No four-year-old boy was ever sat in front of a pile of Legos and said, “I don’t know, I’m just — I’m not feeling it.” [laughs]–Elizabeth Gilbert

When improv experiences are safe and fun, people can reconnect with their own creativity!  It is a delight to see!

  • A really cool story the author shares about an idea she had and lost around the same time her friend and author, Ann Patchett seemed to have found it!

 …ideas are conscious and living, and they have will, and they have great desire to be made, and they spin through the cosmos, looking for human collaborators. –Elizabeth Gilbert

I am convinced that one way to develop trust in and explore the ideas spinning around in the cosmos is with the playful interactions of improv. I found Gilbert’s interview quite inspiring.  Let me know what you think!