Improv in the Moment @WeWork Hollywood
Date of workshop: Tuesday, Feb. 28th, 2017
Location: WeWork Hollywood
Wow! What an awesome and unique experience today at WeWork in Hollywood! I was very excited to bring IITM to WeWork as a big goal of the workshop is to de-stress, relax, and gain confidence in our daily moments.
The Hollywood office is very big and seems like a giant community room. In the picture below, you can see that there is a large area of community desks where Co-workers can work hard while feeling the vibes from other entrepreneurs around them.
I was teaching during "Lunch and Learn", which is usually reserved for more of a classic "I speak, you listen" type class. However, some of my students were quick to learn that's not how its done at The BUENA Vida!
After our yummy curry lunch, I invited the group to sit in our circle and join the class. I could easily tell that some participants were nervous and didn't quite know what they were getting into!
There were 9 of us total in the circle. I opened with a short description of the class, my background and what we would be working through. To my surprise, none of my guests had any experience with meditation or mindfulness. A few shared that they didn't think that improv OR meditation really could help them as they were used to "just grinding it out!"
After our first, funny and silly name game, we were feeling a bit closer and ready for our short breath meditation. I always say, "If you can breath, you can meditate". I guided the group through resting breath, alternate nostril breathing to open up each sides of our brain and encouraged them to just observe their thoughts rather than try to silence them.
One of the best parts of my job is being able to hear the feedback and sharing from my students. Paul, a student who was admittedly scared to even try the class, said
For our next games, we played "The Doctor" which is one of my favorites! This utilizes three students at a time that collectively make up one brain or one doctor. The audience asks the doctor any question they like and the three students must answer one...word...at....a......time.
This exercise is so important for being acutely in the moment, listening only to what was said immediately before you, and not letting your mind plan ahead. We all agree that while this exercise is difficult, it shows us how often we are in our heads and not actively listening to those around us.
After a few more short games, we decided to close the day with a Loving Kindness meditation. Even for seasoned meditations, this can be a challenging exercise. I guided the class through sending love, peace, serenity and long life to:
1. someone you love
2. someone that annoys you/someone you have difficult feelings towards
Not surprisingly, many told me that sending love, peace and a long life to themselves was even harder than to someone they don't like (side note: three of us sent love to Trump). This is an important moment to reflect on the difficulty of self-love and self-acceptance.
Another student, Matt, shared something that's very important to remember
Toward the end of the meditation, I guided the group through my favorite aspect of the meditation: sending love to this room, to LA, to California, to the US, to the planet and then all the way back down and into our own hearts. We were so in the zone that we wanted to stay together even longer!
I'm very excited to continue this work with other co-working spaces and offices around SoCal and eventually the entire US!
A big shout-out to Betty and Alayna @wework Hollywood for setting this up, helping me out and making sure it all went smoothly! You guys rock.