Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Creating Morning and Evening Rituals In 2017

For over a year now, I've been practicing extreme self-care. That means I don't run myself anywhere nearly as ragged as I used to, not for my art, other people, or events that are fun but end up costing  too much time, energy, and gas.

The forms of self-care that have had the biggest impact and which I've been able to keep consistently  are my morning and evening rituals. I came up with an idealistic list for each. I added things I enjoy doing and want to be doing regularly. I say it's idealistic because the list has too many items to do on a typical workday/evening but having the variety of things to do as a possibility, helps to keep my mornings and evenings flexible and unique since I can pick and choose among my ways to start my mornings or close my evenings.

I've become accustomed to the daily morning and nightly rituals I created for myself. It's been both healing and centering to have them in place. I have more patience on days when I wake up early enough to do my morning body work, journal, and enjoy my morning. And I sleep better after a sea salt bubble bath and after I've had time to unwind from my day. There's something about the consistent practice of taking care of oneself that nourishes the soul and creates a deeper, richer sense of self.

Having this time that I love in my days has helped me to guard my time by saying no to too much busyness. There's so much negativity in social media these days. It's a sabbatical just to go off it. My goal is to maintain balance as I remain socially and politically involved.

I'll share the details of my morning and evening rituals in another post. For now, I wanted to ask the question, do you have intentional morning and evening rituals? We all have routines, but are you making deliberate choices about how you are starting and ending your days? 

Friday, October 28, 2016

Acting Lesson: How To Do A Cold Reading

As a playwright, I'm sometimes asked to read for characters during my play-writing classes or writing groups, and even at auditions to read with actors. It's fun and I've always been fascinated with how a seasoned actor can bring words to life even when they haven't memorized the lines and are still reading from a script. They somehow kept pace with the script while the other actor was reading and their faces weren't buried in the script. So, I wanted to learn the techniques actors use for doing a successful cold read. I did a little searching and found a useful YouTube video by thehellerapproach on cold reading.

For those of you not familiar with acting, a cold read is an impromptu reading of part of a script. You are asked to read something and you are only given a few minutes. A cold reading is not when you are given the script the night before the audition since a dedicated actor would have studied and memorized the script by then. Sometimes in auditions, the casting director might want to hear you read for a different role than the one you originally signed up for.  In this case, they would hand you a different script and give you a few minutes to look over it before calling you in again to do a cold read. 

Tips For A Successful Cold Reading

1) Your attention should be on the other actor when they are talking. This is not the time to be looking at your script trying to keep up with the lines.

2) To hold your place on the script, you can slide your thumb down the page at a pace comparable to the actor reading so that when it is your turn to read, your finger will be on mark. I imagine this takes practice and presence. I'm going to be paying attention to see which actors use this technique during readings.

3) When it's your turn to read, you can look at the script and act it out while reading.

4) To avoid looking too shifty, don't shift your glance from the page to the actor too often. 

You can hear the full lesson on Free Acting Lessons: Cold Reading by the hellerapproach. Taking notes and sharing what I have learned helps me to remember. As far as additional tips, I'm going to add: practice, be confident, and a little prayer never hurt.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

2016: Is Your Business Paradigm Outdated?

I had the opportunity to attend a small business expo recently. As I walked around the booths, I couldn't help to feel that some of the hopeful businesses were modeled after old paradigms that just aren't true anymore. The internet, social media, environmental issues, documentaries, and a push towards minimalism have helped pave the way for more conscious living. What I saw were entrepreneurs clinging to old business and products ideas.

Multi-Level Marketing Companies

Multi-level marketing companies sell anything from makeup, essential oils, to kitchen wares. I can't remember the last time I went to one of those hosting parties, but if I did it was probably close to 20 years ago. I come across these vendors at farmers markets. If there is still a venue for them, that would be it.  The money maker though was in getting other people to sign up as sales reps  (another aging paradigm) to produce greater earnings. Why go through all the trouble to be a rep to get discounts when you have Google, Amazon, and competing large beauty and kitchen supply chains at comparable prices offering a wider selection of products? Ever stop to consider who still shops from a catalog? I stopped once they started tacking on the shipping cost to my bill long ago and haven't looked back. The Penny Hoarder goes much more into detail about these types of direct-sales-companies.

Out of Date Products

The best way to tell if your product is outdated is to ask yourself a few simple questions:

* Does my product or service promote the well-being of human-kind, the environment, and/or animal life?

* Is its life-cycle environmentally conscious and responsible?

* Is it necessary?

Those are stringent guides to build a business on a solid foundation of truth.  I saw several frustrated small business owners whose products weren't in alignment with the reality of the world we know today. They were marketing products built on a lie or a need that doesn't even exist. When we didn't have the means to empower ourselves, we could say we didn't know better. Now, there's just no excuse. 

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Book Review: The Lost Girls: Three Friends. Four Continents. One Unconventional Detour Around the World

the lost girls

I was surprised to find that my latest travel book find, The Lost Girls: Three Friends. Four Continents. One Unconventional Detour Around the World by Jennifer Baggett, Holly C. Corbett, and Amanda Pressner, was a withdrawn book from the Rockford Public Library. This was a huge mistake on the part of the librarian/staff who had obviously not read the book. It's over 538 pages, almost two inches thick, intimidating considering we live in the age of social media distraction. I had recently bought five other travel books and kept this one at the bottom of the pile for its sheer size. I figured that if I could get through a book this thick I can get through anything, maybe even get around to reading the Bible one day. Little did I know, I inadvertently saved the best for last.

The Lost Girls is about three late 20 something New Yorkers who set off on an adventure to travel the world together for one year. From page one I was hooked. I was grateful the book started with the details of how the trip came to be from its early wishful thinking to all the details that went into the planning and how they took advantage of their individual talents to divide tasks and get things done. What really worked in this book is that the chapters alternated being told from the perspective of the three authors. The girls shared their individual and group inner and outer journeys as they traveled through India, Africa, New Zealand, Peru, among other places. It's a quick easy read that kept me glued the whole time. I feel like I am being a tease by not sharing more details about what the book is about but it really is a journey. I don't even know where to begin. It's a whole years worth of detailed travel experiences where they share with you vivid intimate details of what it's like to travel to all these different countries with three of your soon to be closest friends. 

I can't imagine why anyone would release this book from their shelves as I'm having a hard time releasing it to lend to my sisters to read (what if they don't give it back). I know they'll enjoy it as much as I did.

Where to get the book:

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Artwork of Readers

You know how I love to read. Well, I was just so excited and inspired when I came across a variety of artworks created of readers. The artwork spanned centuries and styles, and left me wanting more. Here is just a sample of what I found.

Luna By Oleg Zhivetin

Crystal Coast Reader By Beth Carrington Brown

Reader #19 (large), 2012. Darren Thompson. Oil.

 Total immersion … has reading really changed? Photograph: Corbis


Mary McLain

”Young Girl Reading” Jean-Honoré Fragonard, oil on canvas, 31 15/16 x 25 1/2 in. 1770

Reading Girl By Franz Eybl.

When was the last time you held a book? What was the last book you read? How was your transition from reading paper backs to reading in digital format? Have you made that switch yet?