Can’t Drive Using Just the Rear View Mirror

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A memory,
That hazardous bridge between you and the present –
The all sweeping, all-knowing now.

You remember
A quiet mind, absent of chatter,
And run towards the past to find it.

You forgot
how stillness found you in the first place:
waiting right in the place you were meant to be.

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A World Without Barriers? Enter iConsciousness

STRATA is one of the newest pieces of interactive explorative theatre to hit the U.S. scene, specifically taking Pittsburgh by storm as of August 2012.

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Turning the traditional model on its head, the creators ensured that the main character was the audience and required them to unmask their anonymity to become “participants” in the experience. As one reviewer Sean Collier explains: “When you buy admittance to STRATA – the Strategic Training Research and Testing Agency – you’ll receive an email with further instructions, including a questionnaire to fill out, directions to a rendezvous point and a stern request not to look at any birds. From there, the STRATA team will guide you through a “refitnessing,” in pursuit of “iConsciousness”…you’ll be sent on a personal journey through a hidden downtown locations, mostly alone and intimately involved in the story that unfolds…Depending on how your journey progresses, the experience can be touching, disturbing, shocking, affirming, inspiring – but no matter what, it’ll land like a knockout punch. It’s a very unusual thing to find yourself wandering around through a world catered for you and crafted down to the smallest detail. if you ever wanted to live out a waking dream, this is your chance.”

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Early in their marketing development, the creators decided to cultivate an anti-campaign to pair against the STRATA’s Gate Corporation pro-iConsciousness movement. This campaign helped to give the Gate Corporation its depth, for it would have had to exist for a number of decades for a resistance movement to develop. The “Anti- Gate” marketing movement would distress the hundreds of posters from the show that popped up everywhere downtown. And a fictional campaign leader “Rob Clifton”  led an anti-campaign on Twitter with such succinct messages as “don’t believe the lies.”

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The result is a theatrical experience that unnerves but enhances, that pushes its participants far out of their comfort zone and into deeper realms. And with such inspired marketing to match, it makes you curious enough to want to check out STRATA for yourself.

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Welcome to STRATA. 

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A Year Worth Living

“What we call the beginning is often the end. And to make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from.”

– T.S. Eliot

sparkAs we reflect on another trip around the sun, let’s take stock of the all of the surprises and joys 2012 had to offer:

– Felix Baumgartner leaps from the edge of space and lands safely just a few minutes later.

– The Royal Shakespeare Company collaborated with international troupes for the World Shakespeare Festival featuring 37 productions, either of or inspired by the Bard’s plays,  in 37 different languages.

– People show immense compassion and prove the generosity of the human spirit post-Hurricane Sandy.

– Announcement made for a musicalisation of Pan’s Labyrinth coming to Broadway ASAP.

– Films break out into riskier territory and push the envelope with titles such as Cloud Atlas, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Looper, Les Miserables, and more

– The future is now. From DARPA’s cheetah robot which can run faster than any human, to Google View glasses hitting beta testing, to a woman being able to control a robotic arm merely using brain signals, we’re living in some incredibly fascinating times.

– Maryland, Maine, and Washington join the ranks of those states that have made equality a priority.

– No apocalypse! While many clamored on about the end times, my guess was that the Mayans were onto to something…just not what many feared. Sounds like rebirth is a rumblin’. Let’s hope 2013 allows for more awakening and understanding from all of us.

What do you hope to see in the new year? Wishing you all a beautiful new beginning.

Bite-sized Wisdom: Saint Exupery

Why resist change when it could promise some of the best new moments for you? Here’s to always coming to know ourselves better.

“A single event can awaken within us a stranger totally unknown to us. To live is to be slowly born.”

– Antoine de Saint Exupery

 

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Bite-sized Wisdom: Ailey

The next time you’re feeling blocked, remember that you are on your own side. You have created, you will create again. The key is love for what you’re doing.

“The creative process is not controlled by a switch you can simply turn on or off; it’s with you all the time.”

-Alvin Ailey

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Bite-sized Wisdom: Copland

Music is the great uniter, bringing together people and cultures in a language all its own. What musical favorites from other countries have you discovered and fallen in love with as of late?

“So long as the human spirit thrives on this planet, music in some living form will accompany and sustain it and give it expressive meaning.”

-Aaron Copland

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Blast from the Past: A Message from the Pre-YouTube Era (On YouTube)

If you were charged with leaving a short message for future generations on how to live life, what would you say?

Would you be able to capture the essence of all that could be said in under two minutes? When asked to do just this, Mr. Bertrand Russell offered just two calm and sage prescriptions for how to survive in an increasingly globalized world. Thank goodness this little moment was time-capsuled.

How Do You Measure Success?

Does no good to compare when everyone is on their own unique path to success. Should you lay these paths out side by side, you will see they are all equally fulfilling. Choose your own, mix and match, and remember that your success story may not look a thing like someone else’s.

I Have a Dream, or two, or three

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that”

– Martin Luther King, Jr.

In honor of MLK day.

No better way to pay homage than by sharing a dream or two:

I have a dream that the people of this nation recognize that history repeats itself. I hope that we can open our eyes and see that the struggles of the gay rights movement are no different than the struggles of the civil rights movement. Individuals are  fighting to get equal and fair treatment owed to them under the law. I hope we may soon be able to look back and shake our heads over the folly of not recognizing this truth sooner.

I have a dream that we may realize that the “American Dream” never included a provision on blatant arrogance and egoism. I hope that as other nations progress and potentially surpass our status as global superpower, we takes notes on how to improve rather than try to cut down their success. If we attack other nations verbally, physically, or ideologically simply because they stand a chance to rival us, we only promote xenophobia.

I have a dream that future generations may be able to live in a country that champions the health and wellness of its citizens. I hope to see families who ensure that their children stay active, schools that offer vegetables other than pizza to their students, and prescription medications that cost less than the price of  summer beach home on the southern coast.

I have a dream that we all may come to understand that protecting and caring for this earth is a global responsibility. This shared gift is one with an expiration date. If we continue to treat the planet like garbage, that is all it will become.

I have a dream that even with all of the entertainment and ease of communication technology can provide, we acknowledge that there is no substitute for human connection. I hope that we continue to see value in face-to-face conversations, hand-written notes, and random acts of kindness in the future. Even if every three year old starts toting along an iPod to preschool one day, I hope we never forget the importance of forging real relationships and learning from others.

I have a dream that we may finally free ourselves from the shackles of prejudice. I hope we can understand the difference between one “bad person” and an entire community. I hope that we can see that fear begets hatred. And if we allow fear to control us, we will shrink our perspective day by day. We will see only a fraction of options when there are a multitude. May we choose freedom now.

I have a dream today.

Let freedom ring.

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Shift your Perception, Change your Life

“We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.”

– Anais Nin

Ah, the start of a new year. Everyone seems to be a flutter with resolutions and promises they swear they to keep this year “…no really! I mean it this time”

How do you ensure that the new year is all that you want it to be?

If you want this year to be different, envision a different future for yourself. You are the only person that can hold you to the past.

So put on a pair of shades that you will be happy to look through this year. No better time than now.

And happy January all! Here’s to finding 2012 new reasons to enjoy the year ahead of you.

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