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Start Anywhere

[Newsletter Series (#8)] We are so well conditioned to need a plan, a direction and purpose; a clear beginning, middle, end before we bring our work into the world. We need to be polished and ready, equipped with a linear process. Dot these “I”s, cross those “T”s. Anticipate all possible outcomes before we even begin. You know...just in case. I say: Start Anywhere. Just -- start. There are a thousand reasons we struggle with this: Our inner bully shouts and warns we’ll surely die if we do things “wrong” We’re convinced there’s such thing as perfectionism (hint: there’s not) We’ve been taught that “good” work comes from a strong outline with steps and phases and measurable outcomes Fear h

Embrace Change

[Newsletter Series (#7)] It seems that overnight, my almost-11 years old son has turned into an almost-teenager. There are talks of girls and begging for a phone; shoulder shrugs when I ask about his day and more and more time in his bedroom listening to music through the ear buds he borrowed. Change. Lots of it. All of a sudden. I performed at the Sweetwater in Mill Valley earlier this week. I’d written a piece about parenting in the age of Alexa and digital screens, and planned to do more of a literary reading than a rehearsed show. But while I sat backstage in the green room with the rest of the cast, I learned quickly that everyone else had memorized their work and were seemingly pr

Non-Judgment

[Newsletter Series (#6)] Throughout life, we put so many expectations on ourselves - built from other people’ stories and meaning. Our parents, their parents, our culture, our social status, religion. And at the same time, we pour our own expectations all over everyone else, based on those same stories. How crazy is that? We suffer from pressures to be good and right; to succeed. And then we turn around and throw that toxicity at everyone else. Usually, without even realizing we’re doing it. What about being true to ourselves, based on who we are and what we need - irrespective of what bar has been set for us by our moms or our bosses or the bully back in high school who said we throw “

Engagement

*[Newsletter Series (#5)] We’re all in it together - this whole life thing. And with that, comes a certain degree of responsibility to uphold one another; to converge and create together for the sake of our shared livelihood. And yet sometimes, that takes work. Particularly now, with the barrage of digital dopamine hits that check our “connection” box, but often leave us lonely or misunderstood. Now, more than ever, we need to stay engaged - with each other, with our environment, with the moves of our policy-makers and our government, with our own needs. The trick of course, is to find the midpoint between being a disillusioned ostrich with our heads in the sand and an over-vigilant meerk

Interdependence

*[Newsletter Series (#3)] Since the beginning of time, human beings have relied on tribal connection, and it comes under lots of different labels: community, relationship, team, partnership. The reasons for this are many, and they’ve changed as we’ve evolved - gathering first for sheer safety and to procreate, then to form families and culture, share ideas, earn and build civilizations. Through the ages, one thing is clear: our most critical shared need is interdependence. We literally depend on one another to thrive. We’re in this together, forging ahead. Tally ho! Now, I realize I’m not giving you new information here, but in the interest of exploring aliveness through improv, interdepe

Vulnerability

*[Newsletter Series (#4)] There’s a very special “move” improvisers use when working together during rehearsal, and that is: the circus bow. It comes in many shapes and sizes, but in general it’s an over-exaggerated, ridiculously theatrical bow that sometimes comes with a loud and boisterous, “TA DAAAAH!” To do this, some improvisers cross their feet and bend low at the hip, sweeping their arms dramatically back and upward behind them. Others stand upright, heels touching and hands outstretched into the sky. However it’s manifested, the circus bow symbolized a very important improv performance skill: celebrating mistakes. Because despite what Fear tells us in her tantalizing language of s

 

©2017 BY SHANNON HUGHES, ENLIVENED STUDIOS