Surrounded By Energy

I just had the privilege of spending the last three days with the most tremendous energy. At the Applied Improvisation Network World Conference, I was surrounded by 200 folks who use improvisation to positively impact the world. Affecting people in business, education, the medical profession, and a wide variety of other contexts, these incredible coaches and facilitators are bringing experiences that help groups to work together, individuals to find their voices, and creative thinking to flourish.

Here are just a few of the countless incredible moments from this brief period of time:

  • Two hundred people from more than a dozen countries being "the perfect boss"--encouraging each other to give genuine compliments, hugs, and whatever else would bring them joy as the day begins
  • Damilola guiding a group through the activities he uses to teach children in Northeast Nigeria to play--children who are normally not allowed to do so. And then guiding us through some Boal-inspired Image Theater activities and explaining how he uses Forum Theater with people living in refugee camps...presenting to 10,000 audience members in many different camps.
  • Making masks with Paul and our small group of intrepid explorers of what is beyond the surface. Channeling deeper feelings and archetypes using nothing more than paper plates, napkins, rubber bands, our moldable faces, and trust.
  • Brainstorming dozens of ways to play improv games with young children, embracing the gifts of playfulness and discussing strategies for how to manage the unique challenges presented by 5-7 year-old participants. Max's experience with three generations of Spolin, specifically with 5 year-olds, took this play and conversation to an entirely new level.
After so many connections, so many inspiring moments, so many opportunities for true professional and personal growth, I am simply exhausted. It's the happy, blissful exhaustion one experiences after a particularly strenuous and beautiful hike. And as I settle into a deep sleep this evening, I can't wait to dream about how my students and fellow educators get to benefit from all of this. Watch out, folks--lots of new games and experiences coming your way!