Showing posts from April, 2023

How You Can Change Your Brain

Life experiences have a physical affect on our brains. Not just the changing of our minds, but the very brain itself. This science is called Neuroplasticity . Neuroplasticity refers to the idea that the neuronal make-up of our brain can change in structure and connectedness. Coined by the neuroscientist Jerzy Konorski in 1948 and introduced even further back, under the term ‘neuronal plasticity,’ in the early 1900s by the father of modern neuroscience, Spanish neuroscientist Santiago Ramón, neuroplasticity goes against the belief that brains remain the same after a specific age.  Here are what a few have written about neuroplasticity: "Your brain is a relentless shape-shifter, constantly rewriting its own circuitry — and because your experiences are unique, so are the vast detailed patterns in your neural networks. Because they continue to change your whole life, your identity is a moving target; it never reaches an end point." David Eagleman, neuroscientist – The Brain: The

Make Another Choice

 One of my favorite improv games is "Make Another Choice." In this game a team is given suggestions for a scene. As the side coach, at any time during the scene I may ring a bell indicating an improviser needs to make another choice. It could be a verbal choice, or a physical choice. The point being that the line just given was not working. Perhaps the improviser was stuck in her or his head, or perhaps they were trying to move the funny or take over control. Often times the idea wasn't bad, it just wasn't strong enough. I find it great fun to watch an improviser scramble to come up with another idea. The process in itself is funny and the audience laughs along. It usually takes ringing the bell twice to get just the right response. It seems "the third time's the charm." Either the improviser has let go and opened their mind, or the audience anticipation has heightened, but most its likely a combination of both. Through trial and error, a better solution

Time to Invest

Investment is traditionally defined as the "commitment of resources to achieve later benefits.” Another description is to devote (one's time, effort, or energy) to a particular undertaking with the expectation of a worthwhile result. You put something of value in, in order to get something of greater value out. Things of value are worth working for. We invest money into business or stocks. We invest time into practicing, rehearsing, and to getting ahead in business. We can invest hours “making it to the top.” We can become vested in our careers. Priests receive their vestments when ordained. The investiture is a large part of the upcoming Coronation of King Charles III.   Improvisation is excellent at teaching us how to invest in one another. An improv team learns to put the team first and always make their partner/partners look good. A good improviser invests in the team. It’s about giving of yourself, about making the other look good, and about listening to offers. Impro

Improvising with the Buddha

 In my last post I wrote about the Einstellung Effect. This Einstellung Effect is when a person or group is so used to doing something one way, that they can't consider or even acknowledge new ideas or approaches. It's easy to see how churches and organizations get so entrenched in their patterns and beliefs that change becomes almost impossible. Even if the desire is there, the rut is too deep and patterns are too entrenched. As St. Paul wrote in his letter to the Romans, "I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate." Our task then becomes breaking out of the rut by practicing new thought patterns. He continues by saying, "be transformed by the renewing of your mind." Jumping from Christian scripture to Buddhist thought, we need to embrace beginner's mind. Having a beginner's mind means you approach the world through a beginner's eyes. The term is translated from the original word, Shoshin, whi

Stuck in a Rut? Improvise!

There's an old joke in the church that is particularly fitting for Holy Week. It's called the "7 Last Words of the Church" and they are, "We've never done it that way before."  Riffing off of the seven last words of Christ from the cross, the joke refers to the church's last words as it dies. Is the "Church" dying? Well, reports show that with the current downward trend in membership in The Episcopal Church will cease to exist by 2050. That's just twenty seven years from now. This is, of course, if things don't change. Like Ebeneezer Scrooge asked the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, " Are these the shadows of the things that Will be, or are they shadows of the things that May be only? " How can we change our future? By changing the way we look at things.  Episcopalians describe their beliefs via the three-legged stool of Scripture, Tradition and Reason. We often use the metaphor of a three-legged stool, with  each leg of t