Improvising Life

To explain my improv acting experience, is like answering “what is the meaning of life.” It doesn’t feel simple, and yet it feels as simple as breathing.

Before going to The Open Door Acting company. I was a pretty bitter, cynical, hard to please, negative thinker, judgemental woman. I hid all this VERY well, and went from self loathing as a teenager and young adult, into a grown woman who had found sources to believe there wee other ways of being, through reading, metaphysical classes at the open center. So I had lots of information, but I was still playing out my role, as a woman on a hunt for a husband and the conforming American dream, which I had never questioned, I didn’t’ know there was any alternatives…

Also at the time, I was a special education therapist, and was working full time one on one with children with autism. I was drained, and going to bars after work because that’s the only way I knew how to have fun. One of my autism therapy colleagues invited me to this class, I was annoyed it was all the way on the Upper West Side, and as I drove there, I was falling asleep, it was another low energy, dare I say boring day.

I left class feeling energized, awake, hopeful and wildly creative. I thought it was a fluke. I went back the following week, and again I arrived feeling irritated, tired, cranky and hungry. AGAIN, I left physically and mentally feeling wildly alive. This was something to pay attention to.

For the next two years, I ONLY went to improv acting class, I dropped a huge social scene, I dropped any friends that wouldn’t attend class with me. I was hooked, and why? Because I felt better, amazingly better. I felt better about money, my relationships with family, how I approached my therapy work, and how I saw myself. It wasn’t all overnight, but my body and soul knew where I should be hanging out for the greatest good. And it was this improv class, and naturally I loved it so much, I began training to teach the work. I used it with children with autism, I used it with parents, educators, young adults in prison, aging adults, teenagers in public schools, and it always resonated. It always proved to make a person shine.

The style of improv that I love and teach is based on saying, “no.”  It’s a way to  create connection, truth, share self expression and get personally liberated from any thoughts and experiences that keep a person prisoner to their limitations.

On a metaphysical level, once certain expressions are expressed, the body doesn’t know if it’s “real” or not, hence the stage. The way my teachers say it, “it’s being real in an imaginary set of circumstances.”

I grew up not feeling my feelings, it wasn’t cool to be sad, or joyful, and although I saw and experienced a lot of anger growing up (in Canarsie Brooklyn.) It was never a safe healthy anger, it was out of control, messy and scary. So my coping mechanisms were to stay numb, and blame everyone else for their stupidity.

I learned new concepts and a whole new language at The Open Door Acting Company;

  • Compassion
  • Empathy
  • Listening
  • Compromise
  • Equanimity
  • Abundance
  • Truth
  • Heart based
  • Embodiment

And so much more, my mind and body got to work together, so strongly that my limited egoic thinking couldn’t work anymore. Fighting for my limitations had no fuel, and the community that was involved only knew me in this profound way, and so all the voices that were trying to keep me small and fearful, had to be quiet.

difficult convo

There is tremendous research in how the brain receives this information and energy, as a scene is going on. The tears, the yelling, the sorrow the raw emotion that emerges during a scene is in fact real, the storylines are not. And then, when the scene is over, the body experiences a relief, and gratitude to go back to the life it knows.

It’s therapeutic, but it’s not therapy, and this is the core reason it’s healing. Talking is limited, but talking, feeling and being is expansive and creative, so the right brain feels safe to see what’s there, and the left brain knows there is an ending, so the usual avoidance of fear of going down a rabbit hole, does not exist.

If there was one outcome that was most popular after every class it would be

  1.  Presence
  2. Relaxation

The tools used are so light and simple, they can be used anywhere in life. Love relationships, family, around money and business, and within ones self to feel grounded, authentic and 100% trusting.

This work is for everyone, life is a stage, every moment is actually improvised. Working with the unknown is this specific modality, is the most fun, efficient way of moving through difficult, challenging, stressful and of course awkward moments, that create the human experience.

For the next workshop email us at: support@enchantedembodiment.com

 

Dear Enchantress… Are you sparkly and single?

Dear Enchantress,

Hi. I write to you because I’m curious about what my next step should be. I just ended a 10-year relationship. I feel mixed feelings. We were like married, except we weren’t. I’m 100 percent sure it was the right move for right now. Who knows what will happen next? I have so many friends giving me advice, even if I don’t ask, so I’m asking you, Miss Enchantress, what should I do next? Should I go on a dating app? Should I go out and party? Should I sit home and cry? Should I go on vacation? ARGH!!! It’s like I don’t know myself at all without him. We have some mutual friends, and they are asking me what they should do! Between the questions and the advice, I’m overwhelmed and exhausted from all of it. SO, what should I do next?

 

Dear Sparkly and Single,

I am so glad you’re reaching out! I imagine all these friends really care about you, so first it’s great that you have a community. Second, I strongly advise you to take one whole day, to unplug, rest, take a bath, and if you have the energy, clean your house, (or start) to clear out your house of items that are remnants of your past relationship. You can give away, throw out, or put in a box, photos, clothing, personal items, so they are not in your face. Then I would offer you some way of feeling into what is right for you, based on what YOU want. Here are some questions, to guide this part:

  • Where do I want to live?
  • Who do I want to spend time with?
  • What makes me relax?
  • What am I most afraid of?
  • What brings me joy and fun?
  • What do I need to know right now?

sparklesparkle

So take out a piece of paper or your diary/journal, and just free write. Write the question, and then write the answers, don’t judge yourself, or worry about spelling or grammar. STAY CURIOUS and see what comes out. I would love to get an update!

The reason to do this writing exercise is to tune in to what you want, that’s beyond what any others will tell you.

If you are interested in having Shane as your mentor, coach and guide, email support@enchantedembodiment.com, or if you have a question for this column! 

Back to Basics: Self Love Guest Blogger Merissa Hanley

When was the last time you told yourself, I love you?

When was the last time you gave yourself a hug or a pat on the back? 

Picture

These questions may sound trivial to some but to others, these words have never been uttered from their lips to their ears.

How can someone love you, if you don’t love yourself?

When we are unable to love ourselves unconditionally, we make the horrible mistake of looking for someone else to love us the way we should love ourselves. We create unrealistic expectations for our loved ones, and they are not aware of it. This is unfair to your loved ones because we are putting pressure on them to make us happy.

No one can love you better than yourself. 

Self-love is essential to having a healthy relationship because it enables you to set healthy boundaries in your relationships with others. Also, self-love enables you to recognize when you are being mistreated and avoid unnecessary heartache.  You will be able to walk away from toxic relationships that do not serve your higher self.

​Let that marinate for a minute.

Author

Merissa Hanley is on a mission to spread love and peace to the world with her own self-discovery. Through this blog, Merissa shares her trials, tribulations, and resources which led Merissa back to herself.

 

Get Unstuck Goddess

Dear Enchantress,

I’ve been reading about my chakras, it’s overwhelming and I feel more stuck. And every time I read anything, I get overwhelmed that I’m so messed up and I’ll never be able to overcome all my stuck places. What do you think I should read or do? I feel like I’m blocked in all of them, and that’s why my whole life feels stuck. I’ve been living in my parent’s house in their downstairs apartment. It’s a good deal, except I still feel like a kid. I will eventually move out, but right now, I feel stuck. Where do I begin?

 

Dear Stuck,

I almost didn’t want to type the word “stuck” again. I hear you, and I know it can feel like you are stuck. I hear this from so many women. My first piece of advice is to stop using the word “stuck.” Our words are powerful, they are like spells and it keeps you in the same place all the time, by you affirming the words. Next, I know everywhere the chakras are mentioned, they say stuck and blocked, and those images feel like brick walls, so I want to introduce you to them as being hurdles.

This feels bold to share. I like to use language to help situations. When you have an obstacle or a HURDLE, you have more choices, you can go under it, around it, over it, or simply move it.

Most, or dare I say ALL people have root chakra issues. This is the primary chakra. All chakras are energy centers. When we have experiences that create fear, we can feel blocked. I won’t go into the explanation of all of them. If you want more info, I have videos on YouTube and Soundcloud to listen to.

To have a hurdle around your root chakra, you have worries and fears around survival, money, love, sustainability, basic needs like food, sleep, shelter, and being present, that right now you have everything you need. You might be in fight or flight most of the time, and have trouble sleeping and anxiety.

I would say start with the root chakra. The physical location is the root of the spine. The color is red. There are many meditations to listen to. Go to sleep to them, or take a five-minute break to sit and use them. Also affirmations, which you can say out loud, or have written on postcards will start with the words, “I am.” Like I am safe, I am loved. You will begin retraining your brain to get away from thought patterns. I hope this helps!

Love, The Enchantress

 Enchantress Shane coaches Awkward Enchanted folk wanting more magic, passion and confidence in their lives. Join the Awkward Enchanted Coven on Facebook or attend Beginner Burlesque at 7 p.m. on November 29 at The Castle on Beach 117th Street.

rockaway times

Where is the Masculine Energy?

In my research, from my workshops and watching time and time again, men and women connecting and processing, sharing and working with their subconscious and unconscious.

I see that the majority of men in these workshops are more in their feminine energy. Sharing and connecting is where they are mostly. While this is wonderful, it’s a pity.

warrior man.jpgOn the flipside I see the majority of women in their masculinity or their warrior.

There is a certain fear or avoidance for men when it comes to being their warrior.

This is a result of all the confusion of how men and women operate, so no one offends each other, and also to avoid confrontation.

It sucks, the avoidance of the warrior or the darker side of things from men, leaves women doing that role, holding the container, clarifying that they are powerful.

There is a sound and movement exsersise I lead and it’s a way to connect the mirror neurons in the brain. Done in eye contact one person leads with sound and movement and the other person follows. When each person is complete the person who was leading switches places.

I recently did this with a group of high level leaders in their own right. Almost every woman lead with a fierceness that was intense and loud and masculine warrior like. The men were gentle, and more playful, they got lots of giggles and laughter.

There was one man who stuck out to me, and he went for the intense warrior, his soul was recharged. I found out later, he was in “something” and had been triggered by a woman during the day, he shared more that he was feeling insecure and lonely.  His primal energy which had been challenged and made him feel small, was reclaimed when it was his turn to lead the person in front of him.

Men and women, and non-binary are all at a crossroads. There is confusion about how to give complaints, how to feel sexy, how to be with each other in the time of #metoo and Dr. Ford’s testimony is the reflection of what is below the surface.

I am dedicated to speaking to this, as it is the most important issue, if we are going to move forward in all our systems. The personal systems we live with, in terms of dating, marriage, partnership, friendships, communities and sex. If we can’t have conversations that include, objectification with consent and without. How we communicate in the workplace in our families, in our government, to include schools we will stay in fighting mode.

When there is fighting, there is always a winner and a loser, and that model, which is the patriarchy never works.

What is your knowledge of masculine and feminine energy? Please share in the comments below.

Love,

The Enchantress

 

Bull Shit Artist

Bull shit artist, do you ever name call yourself? I do, and I know it came from childhood, without using the term bull shit artist. My teachers (of everything; dance, school, hebrew school, extra curricular activities etc.) watched me get through all the things I was expected to do. They said I was lazy and they said I gave little effort and I just don’t apply myself.   What they didn’t do was look at what I was really saying, I’m BORED! It would have been unheard of if they actually reflected on what they were accusing, and shaming me of.  I see my young self, the ehem bull shit artist being quite resourceful. Always managing to get shit done. Always finding ways to get answers, to complete projects, and deal with the pressures of being a “gifted kid.”

Most recently I was talking to someone about being a bull shit artist, and out of my mouth popped out “well at least I was an artist, I AM AN ARTIST!”   Declaring myself an artist was not new, but rejoicing in the bull shit artist was fun! And I found a way to get a kick out of myself and not take myself so seriously.

I could write about this a million times, it’s always changing shape, because my relationship to it, is constantly evolving.

NOT TAKING MYSELF SO SERIOUSLY is a major key of growth in life. And it actually is a perfect fit for burlesque.

Why? How does burlesque help therapeutically? One major benefit, that seems like it could be a joke, but is rather profound: burlesque gets you to have not take yourself so seriously.

Burlesque of the 17th century, derived from the Italian word ‘burlesco’, from ‘burla’ meaning a joke or mockery. It was used to describe this type of theater during the Victorian era.

burlesque cartoon .jpgBurlesque is a feminine way to play. It’s perfect. You get seen, you get to adorn, you get to create, you have Sisters to cheer you on, you learn how to connect to the nurturing part of you. Boom, that’s it.

Show up to class, you’ll get a kick out of yourself.

 In person Burlesque Class NYC

Learn Burlesque Online – Anywhere

 

Art by Devianart

Got Jealousy?

jealousy

Dear Enchantress,

I get jealous. I am a young black woman, I have many talents and ideas and I work on myself. I go to dance a lot, and I’m a great dancer. I like getting attention, (all of this is great to admit when I’m anonymous). When I am around other awesome women, sometimes I get jealous, like something kicks in where I want all the attention, and when there is a woman I get envious of, my heart starts to race and I start to act out in different ways. I’m in your Awkward Enchanted Coven on FB, and I’ve heard you say you have been jealous in the past as well. Can you tell me what to do? I feel stupid being a grown woman and comparing myself and getting jealous of other women.

Thank you.

Dear Jealous Jane,

Yes! I have spoken about this topic, it’s a good one, and can be easily bypassed or resisted because it feels wrong, or shameful or just plain annoying. I see all feelings, and sensations as valuable ways to learn about your self and all feelings are energy, and energy is being alive and is fuel for so many things, especially creativity. So let’s unpack this!

Jealousy is a recipe of desire, longing and feeling not enough. These things are built into our society though media, commercials and such. So, all the feelings you have of jealousy are totally normal, and yes uncomfortable. I wonder if you know the women you find yourself jealous of? If you do, I always err on the side of sharing the feelings, which can also be tremendously uncomfortable, but it usually brings you energy and power in not hiding these feelings, as truth is medicine for growth. If straight up sharing the truth feels impossible, you can also go to the woman and give her compliments and ask her questions about what you find so triggering.

I find that most women these days can be open for this kind of dialogue. If you are jealous of a woman that does not seem to be open at all, doing what you are doing right now is extremely helpful, reaching out to share and asking for support.

Jealousy is normal. If you can grow from the experience, you win. What you resist will persist, so keep us posted! I would personally love to know how you choose to deal with this! The truth shall always set you free. There is real truth in that for sure.