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

Thursday, May 29, 2014

The Little Moments...

How true!

I just finished reading a lovely article about the importance of the small interactions in our days, the little moments which often slip by us unnoticed. Too often, we go through our commutes and coffee purchases and street bumps without so much as a boo. We are busy with our iPhones and iPods and iBuds. (is that a thing?) that we miss it. We miss everything. We miss the little moments, the little interactions, the MOMENTS that make up our days and our lives. We miss the billboard advertising what we need. We miss the child looking at us. We miss the woman who desperately needs a smile. We miss a potential new friend, the opportunity for kindness, the hello, the thank you, the... everything.

How many moments are you missing? How many did you already miss just today?

I like the idea that when you engage in the moment, you get happier.  The little moments, the little relationships are satisfying, way more satisfying than shutting down and isolating, way more satisfying than our iThings and the latest status update. When we connect with other humans, there is a mental health payoff.

Give it a try.

Talk to someone. Notice something. Be more present. Engage in your life.

And be happier.

Let me know your thoughts.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Funny Officiant

I am a licensed officiant. Did you know that? Sometimes even I forget.

I have performed dozens of weddings for friends, family and even strangers. Lots for strangers actually. It's a side business I love. With family and friends, marrying them is an honor. So great. I've had such fun marrying friends and family. But with strangers, it feels illicit or illegal in some way. Like I'm peeking into their private moment without invitation. I mean, after all, I'm just an actor. But I have to remind myself that I have been invited and I am actually kind of important in their ceremony.

I do whatever people want for their weddings--anything from just a joyful, playful tone to the ceremony to storytelling to full on standup. I love officiating weddings.


One wedding, they wanted standup. Straight up stand up. It was awful. I really thought I bombed. The Russian bride and groom seemed to enjoy it, were smiling and laughing throughout, but no one else did. No one. All stoic non-entertained faces. After the ceremony, devastated by what I thought was massive failure, I learned no one else spoke English, just the bride and groom.  Well that explains that. Would have been nice to know ahead of time.

Another ceremony was on a boat on the Hudson River in NYC. Beautiful, sunny day, just slightly choppy waters. Halfway through the ceremony, we hit a big wave and the groom fell over. And then I fell on top of him. Yes, on top of him. On top of the groom. We all nervously laughed as the groomsmen tried to pull me off the groom. It had nothing to do with the champagne I just drank. I don't think.

Another ceremony was two minutes --- literally two minutes. It's all they wanted.

"Do you?"

"Do you?"

"Then by the power vested in me by some online church...."

Life is funny. So many moments we get to participate in if we pay attention and sometimes...get lucky.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

10 Ways to Improvise Your Day. The Reboot.

  1. Walk a different hall, drive a different route, take a different path.
  2. Actually "hear" what is being said to you, not just the words.
  3. Talk in an accent at Starbucks.
  4. Speak your truth to someone with whom you haven't been lately.
  5. Dress your stapler up in character. Name it. Refer to it with a coworker.
  6. Do something new every chance you get.
  7. Close your eyes. Big breath. Open your eyes. Be present.
  8. Take a risk---big or small. Just take a risk.
  9. Say yes to 3 things suggested or asked.
  10. Be more of who you are.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Danger of a Single Story

I recently watched a TED talk given by Nigerian author, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.  During this talk she eloquently described what she calls, “the danger of a single story.” She had a horrific tale of growing up in Nigeria, but when she tells that story, she is wary. She is aware of how it adds to the collective ONE story people know about Nigeria: BAD. Recent events involving the kidnapped girls in Nigeria is case in point and adds to the story. Nigeria, and even Africa as a whole is dangerous and bad.

This blanket statement of course isn't true. One story never is. It is always more complicated than that. There is usually more than one story.

When two people have opposing stories, it is said that the truth usually lies somewhere between each story. I have found this to be almost always true. Our story is just that---our story! Is it the truth? Is there a truth? Or is there only your  truth?

Look at this in regards to the people you work with or those you are in a relationship with. When we have a conflict or disagreement, our story is usually the "right" one, right? That's the "true" one --- the single story. But of course, that's dangerous. There's always more than one side to every story, perhaps even more than one story. Africa is a beautiful and diverse continent with a varied and fascinating history. It's more than the single story of danger.

People can be like that too. They can be more complicated than we remember. Often we label them. My mom is like that or John is like this. Done. We know them. That's who they are. The end. But people are more complicated than that. In fact, people have more than one story too. They are more than one story. We have to be present with them moment to moment to discover who they really are in this moment, not last week or last year, but in this moment. Who is standing in front of you? What are they offering you now? What's their story?

Improv training encourages to look and live thoroughly in EACH moment, to not assume anything, because each moment is new. We're creating a story right now! ---making it up! And aren't we making it up in real life too?

If you'd like me to come into you group, team, organization or company and teach more of these lessons through improvisation, please be in touch. Training dates now available through this fall.