Improv storytime over dinner

While working in tech, I learned that improv has become a really popular practice in many business organizations to help employees build interpersonal and leadership skills.  These companies use improv to teach employees how to think on their feet, to cultivate receptivity and to promote creativity and collaboration.

What I now find fascinating are the parallels between improv and mindfulness.  Here’s one post on this topic comparing a few of the similarities: Six Ways Improv Aligns with Mindfulness.  For me, I think it boils down to two key similarities.  First, both improv and mindfulness require a very keen awareness of the present – to be able to listen carefully and respond spontaneously without a script or a plan.  Second, in both practices there can be no judgment.  There are no mistakes; no resistance to what surfaces but an acceptance of what just is and what someone else offers.  Some mindfulness educators are now starting to integrate improv exercises into their programs as a fun interactive way to tune into the present-moment.

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Applying mindfulness during a sleepless night

Recently I had an amazing experience of mindfulness during a sleepless night.  I drank a little too much tea earlier that day, and as is usual for me when I’m over-caffeinated, I was wide awake at 1am- after only 3 hours of sleep.  And then begun the battle in my head while in bed, where I oscillate between the long list of to-dos for the next day and the fact that I’m so annoyed that I’m awake and can’t sleep.  On this particular night, this battle probably continued for a solid half hour at least, and then all of a sudden I had this realization that my heart was extremely tight and contracted.   Read more