finding a more authentic, playful life --- finding your story

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

3 actions for a more playful, authentic, improvised life TODAY!

1. say yes

Improv is all about saying YES. Yes creates action, moves things forward and makes things happen. Try saying YES today to yourself, to others, to situations...anything! It make take bravery and slight adjustments to your thinking patterns, but it can change the way you live your life.

2. take a risk

Everyone is scared. Jump anyway. Do something you're afraid of. Say something you fear. Go somewhere you never thought you would. Live boldly. Take action. Take a risk. Even a small one right now, can prime you for more important risks later. So go ahead: jump!

3. make someone else look good/create joy

This is crucial to good improv work -- making other people succeed and look good! When you shift your focus from YOU to THEM -- something happens: you end up looking better! Your ego, worries, fear, psychosis all disappear and you actually succeed more. So surprise someone, put them first, create joy in their day and see how it changes yours!

This is a start to bringing more improv into your life! Let me know your thoughts and experiences with these 3 tricks. Post comments or questions below

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Lesson from a Russian Tennis Player

I recently found myself a new tennis partner.  My new partner is blind in one eye --- a one-eyed Russian. Really. A one-eyed Russian tennis player. Life is strange.

I was practicing tennis against a wall in my neighborhood park. He was too. I noticed him watch me, but living in NYC, I ignored him. After all, he could be a crazy one-eyed, Russian tennis player! After a few moments he walked over to me, studied me and finally said (imagine heavy Ukrainian accent), “Come. We play.” 

Sooo as an improviser, naturally I said yes. Apparently, we were going to play tennis. After walking a few steps and feeling that introductions were in order, I said politely, “My name is Kim”. Nothing. Silence. Awkward. Why won’t he tell me his name? Helloooo? 

After a too-long pause, he says, “If you must know, my name is Val.”  If I must know?  Well, well! “Now. I believe I am better tennis player than you,” he says, “But…I will adjust.”  Well, then. Talk about speaking your truth….So, I let that one pass and we played tennis -- me and my name-hiding, Wimbledon-claiming, mono-eyed Russian.

When was the last time you laid it on the line like that? Or rather, how often have you found yourself trying to hide your truth or hide “who you are” in a given moment? Maybe you don’t want your employees to know that you don’t actually know everything. Maybe you hide your true self from a group you’re speaking to at a conference because you’re afraid they won’t like who you really are or what you really have to offer. Maybe you’re hiding in an unhappy relationship, afraid to speak your truth—afraid of what that might do. But to not bring who you are to each moment of your day is to cheat others of what you have to offer, and to cheat yourself.

Maybe by our cultural standards what Val said to me on the court that day was rude, but for him it was merely his “truth” — who he was. He was better than me and would adjust. End of story.

I teach improv. Improv training teaches us to declare our truth and be more of who we are. Is that sometimes scary? Yes. Off-putting? Sometimes. Rewarding? Always.

Improv teaches all of us how to live better, more impulsive, more honest lives. Improv teaches us to be in the moment (that’s the only way to make all that crazy stuff up). Improv teaches us to listen to each other and take what is said as a gift (that’s the only way it becomes funny). Improv teaches us to say YES (that’s the only way anything gets done or moves forward---someone says YES!) And improv teaches us to play (all good things—inventions, careers, relationships – all start with fun). And improv teaches us to say yes to crazy one-eyed Russian men who come up and ask us to be their tennis partner. (He is better by the way and kicks my butt every time we play)

Where are you withholding? Where are you not being your true self? What are you not saying? Be a one-eyed Russian tennis star! (Or... just be who you are. Maybe that's easier...)

Thursday, April 11, 2013

A. Bun. Dance.

Sometimes I get stressed out. Honest. I do.

I'm not sure where I'm going. I'm not getting everything I want. I'm worried I'm making wrong choices. I think things are taking too long. I'm impatient. People annoy me, upset me, disappoint me. Life ain't perfect. Right? I mean, right? But then I remind myself to just shut up and be grateful. Yup. I said it. Grateful.

I have so much. I am so lucky to be living the life I am living right now and I wouldn't change a thing. Things are happening exactly and in the right time as they are supposed to happen. Or that's what they say! :) (please let it be true!!) I try to remember that and trust that. And I am grateful for all I already have -- which is enough.

Coming from gratitude makes me operate from a place of abundance. There is enough for everyone. I can be generous, because there is enough for us all. Truly there is. Look around! I don't need to be selfish -- with my time, resources or spirit. And the best part? The more generous I am, the more abundance comes my way. Score!

When I come from scarcity, I get small and selfish. I don't want to be small and selfish. I am wealthy. I am big. I am lucky. And so are you. Choose abundance over scarcity as your life's operating system and see how things change. Anything becomes possible. Choose generosity over stinginess and the universe sends its agents to make the impossible, possible

I don't want a small life. I want a big, juicy A. Bun. Dance. life. And you?

Today: Be grateful. You have exactly enough.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

How I Saved My Technology with My Intuition

          My super just left. It’s 4:30 am. I feel like I just took a bath.

          See, over an hour ago I was awoken by a doorbell (strange at 3am in your first night in a new condo). I had been dreaming of swimming and as I put my feet on the floor, I was — there was an inch of water everywhere. Oh my God, what is happening?!

          Apparently, a water pipe piece thingy broke (who knows, whatever) and water had been literally pouring on my floor for hours as I slept. The entire condo was flooded, with my downstairs, doorbell-ringing neighbor experiencing “rain” in his unit.

          The reason I write this story is not just to tell you why I’m up at 4:30 am. But please note, I am. No, it’s to tell you that I’m so grateful --- things could have been so much worse. Because I followed my intuition, I save my technology.
          My mom calls it “a tap on the shoulder” or “angel nudges”, and before I went to bed, I had one. I had been working in bed with both my laptop and cell phone. Ready for bed, and with no bedside table in my new digs, I chose to lay them on the floor until morning. I simply placed both very water-sensitive items on the floor until morning. No biggie. What could happen to them? But as I rolled over to sleep, (pay attention now…) something nudged me. It said, “Pick them up. Put them on the chair.” 

           Through my years of improvisation training and practice (and listening to my mother!), I have learned to heed these universal clues occasionally sent. Improv is all about paying attention to signs, making something out of nothing, listening. In improv, I teach (and learn): Trust your gut! Follow the signs! The training translates to life. I have become a firm believer that all the signs are there. It’s just a matter of whether we notice them or take heed.

           Luckily last night, I took heed and even though I woke up almost under water…my technology was safe. Sigh.

Thursday, April 4, 2013


a Guide to Authentic Living through Improvisation 

Want more time to play?

Take time for a retreat that can change your life!

Life lessons  on the Riviera Maya in beautiful Akumal, Mexico, this 4-night, 5-day retreat will change your life. Come down and play in the sun, sand and yourself! Through improv exercises, games and dialogue, live more in the moment, communicate better, take more risks, play deeper and be more of who you ARE.  Also, we will laugh. A lot! This is a life-opportunity not to be missed.

All this at the magnificent TAO Wellness Center in the beautiful Mayan Riviera of Mexico, staying in the 5-Star Gran Bahia Principe Sian Ka'an Resort, with all meals and drinks included and private beach club.

DATES: June 20-24, 2013

Truly ALL INCLUSIVE RATES starting at $1100
This includes 4 nights stay in a luxury room at the Gran Bahia Principe Sian Ka'an Resort, all meals and drinks, full TAO Wellness Center access and amenities, ground transportation airport-hotel-airport, plus your event fee.

Please email or call for questions or registration...
Registration deadline May 20!