It seemed like time to revisit the question I first asked early last year (posted on Feb 2, 2009…for some reason I can’t get it to link directly to it).
And it connects to some posts/discussions I’ve been enjoying on other blogs about individuals pursuing meaningful action in their lives (check out this at SteadyMom… there are others which I’ll add when I’m not under 30 minute deadline!)
As a theater artist, I’ve struggled with keeping the work meaningful. When I was deeply immersed in playwrighting, I looked to Athol Fugard and Vaclav Havel (heck there’s a playwright who became president!) as role models for keeping the work of meaningful. When I decided to write, direct and produce a play for my senior thesis in college, it was inspired by the graffiti on the women’s bathroom walls on campus and performed as a fundraiser for local nonprofits. When I went to work in professional theater, I worked on educational programming that was about social issues such as hate/violence, substance abuse and sexual harassment.
But I did not find my place there.
I wandered in and out of different theater experiences and writing experiences looking for a way to integrate my desire to make a difference in the world with my desire to make a place for myself as an artist.
Then I fell in love with improv.
The experience changed my life. I was so painfully shy that I could not imagine making it through that first class (with the brilliant Rebecca Stockley). And I made it through that class. And the next few years of classes and adventures in experimenting and failing and struggling to become a person who can say “yes” and find out “what comes next.”
And then Rebecca invited me to teach. And I fell in love with teaching. And made that my work for a number of years.
Yet, as much as I loved teaching improv, I did not feel like I had fully found my place.
So I went back to school and studied drama therapy and went into the world integrating the art of improv with mental health practice. It was hard work. It was meaningful work.
Yet, as much as I was inspired (& often exhausted) and moved by the work, I did not find my place there.
So I pulled back and tried a lot of different paths (drama therapy with seniors, corporate training, freelance this and that, documentary film production). I became a mom, struggled with postpartum depression and am (I think at long last) getting back in the practice of trying new paths.
All I know for certain is that improvising is a part of the meaningful work I am going to do.
So why improv? Because…
… the practice of improv creates community
… the practice of improv has taught me to be more brave and take more risks
… the practice of improv creates optimistic habits of mind
… the practice of improv has helped me be more open minded let me know that there are more paths to explore
Today’s post is part of the Moms’ 30 Minute Blog Challenge over at SteadyMom. Stop on by over there, see what other Moms are blogging about and say “Congratulations!” to Jamie on the publication of her book Steady Days. Post time start to finish is 29 minutes…whew!
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