The non-acting acting discipline.

When I went to take a class to learn to be an improv actor, I was surprised at what they taught us. I took classes at Whole World Theatre in Atlanta. My teacher was Emily Reilly Russell.

I had acted in a few things before in high school and I’ve always loved the theater…but I had few real skills.

So I went into it with an open mind.

Emily was one of the most engaging teachers I’ve ever had. You can tell she loves her craft just by the energy she exudes.

The focus of the class was not on acting or how to be funny but rather on how to be present in a scene. In most cases, we were completing exercises to prepare us for scenes: burpees, deep breathing, etc. The discipline was getting into our bodies so we could be in the now and access the creative side of our brains.

There were many side benefits for me.

Public speaking at work became easy. I don’t feel anxiety about talking in front of groups of any size.

It was also a model for how to live life in general.

So much of my life has been spent ruminating on the past or worried about the future.

Living in the present, in the now is much more satisfying.

I still delve into the past but usually as an exercise to understand the patterns that created the person I am. I try not to it pull apart and covetously graze on the pain of things I can’t change.

I plan for my future, lay the groundwork for things to come but without constantly circling the drain about outcomes.

It’s an imperfect discipline that I refine with time.

Here in the now.

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