Train Your Brain
After I retired from full time parish work, I began working on an idea I had about combining my love of improv with my church work. That's the reason I titled this blog "Improv Spirituality." I find that the tenets of my faith and of improv go hand in hand.
The initial course I wrote for improv in the church is a two-day seminar entitled "Innovative Church." Over two days and three sessions, I lead church boards, clergy, and staff through the skills required for improv, which are the same skills required for innovative thinking, creativity, and adaptability. These are the skills needed for congregations to be vital and life giving in this age of stress and uncertainty.
Now that most of the pandemic restrictions have been lifted, I am also returning to coaching in-person improv workshops. The workshops are not performance groups, per se. The point isn't to book gigs at the local pub or comedy joint. The purpose of the individual workshop is similar to that of the church workshop, to learn the skills needed to have an improvisational mindset. It is this mindset that enables us to deal with whatever life throws at us. Like a pandemic! We all can learn to accept whatever comes our way as an offer that invites us to Yes, and. Yes, anding is about living in the present moment, refusing to scapegoat or deny, stepping up and creating something wonderful with whatever it is we've been dealt.
When it came time to design my online presence, I looked for something that could encompass both aspects of my improv coaching. In stressing skill set over entertainment, I wanted to focus on what improv does for the brain. Improv increases our Emotional Quotient (EQ), it increases our Integrative Complexity which is that capacity to accept that there is more than one way to look at and issue, and it boosts creativity. It's not complicated, it just takes practice. We can actually rewire our brains to think differently simply by practicing our improvisational skills. I knew somehow I had to incorporate the mind or brain into my logo.
Anne Bogart wrote in And Then You Act that theater is "a gym for the soul, the intellect, the imagination, and the emotions." That's it. Improv is a gym for the brain. Instead of CrossFit, I thought of BrainFit. Improv is a way to train your brain to think creatively. And it's actually fun! You get to laugh and hang out with friends while you getting rid of stress, negativity, and fear of failure. How cool is that! So, don't be afraid of taking an improv class. This isn't Jr. High gym class. No one will yell at you or make fun of you. There will be laughs, but we're laughing with you, not at you.
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