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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The Biggest Adventure You’ll Ever Take is Already in Progress

And oh but it is. As I turn another year older, I’m reaffirming a commitment to that grand ol’ adventure that is life.

From visiting Australia and New Zealand to putting on one of my favorite shows, the last 365 days have been chock full of adventures over which I’m still pinching myself.

Also, a big thank you to all of you readers who have been a part of this WordPress endeavor these past few months. What started as a pinboard for show inspiration quickly transformed into an amalgam of all things creative, random, or otherwise intriguing. Thank you all for your inspiring posts, thought-provoking comments and all-around support.

And may you all find ways to enjoy your own personal adventures.

Poster available here.

How Do You Measure Art’s Worth?

“The best theatre should be like gym for the soul”

– Anne Bogart

Recently at the Kirk Douglas Theatre, the LA Stage Alliance explored the intrinsic impact of live theatre in the first of their LA STAGE Talks series. But how does one go about measuring how theatre affects its audience members when an individual walks away from a show with no quantifiable differences? The piece touched you/changed your life/challenged you/made you think? Great. But how do you show that?

For the researchers involved in this study, their answer was a U.S.-wide survey. The lead researcher Alan Brown asserted, “If you can describe something, you can measure it.” And so they went off to help 18 theatres better understand what kept their patrons coming back.

Perhaps the most interesting part of their findings were their results on the motivations for attending a production.

For most, a primary motivation was “to relax or escape,” which goes up significantly with age, and then tapers off. The second most popular motivation was the desire “to be emotionally moved or inspired,” which also increased with age, before leveling off. Ranking third was “to spend time with family members,” which rises during the child rearing years, and then, “plunges” later.

Another interesting motivation was “to re-visit a familiar work of art,” especially true in cases of classic musical theatre pieces and staples such as the Nutcracker and Christmas Carol, which served as a primary reason for older theatergoers to attend.

Interestingly, the motivation “being invited by someone else,” was highly recorded throughout the results. Brown was able to report that “an invitation from a friend explains half of all art participation.”

The last one speaks greatly to the idea of art as a community. We often forget the power of people and the strength of word of mouth. Theatre cannot exist without the audience. Thus it is as necessary to cultivate a great audience as it is to find a great cast when working on a piece. The two are interdependent. The crowd will sustain the theatre, and the theatre will sustain the crowd.

What are some of your reasons for getting down to the theatre?

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How to Deal When Life Throws You Curveballs

Life has a funny little way of throwing obstacles your way…just to keep things interesting. Whether personally, professionally, or otherwise, there will be days that are harder than the rest. Instead of letting these events all pile up into a roadblock, take the following steps to neutralize the problem and overcome.

1. Acknowledge that things aren’t the best

Take a look at the situation and admit that it bums you out. There’s no use in wasting energy in trying to slap on a smile when presented with a big ol’ pile of suck. Talk to a friend, write a 3 page long rant, get it up and off your chest. It’s the first step to lifting the weight of stress off of you.

2. Make a plan

No matter what tornado of terrible is swirling around you, take a solace in the fact that you can change it. So your Plan A didn’t work out? Start brainstorming for Plan B, C, all the way down to Z. There is rarely one correct way to do something. Put that creative cap on and face the problem with an open mind.

3. Choose the High Road

If the situation has made you feel lost, angry, disconnected, take a step back and remember that our perception of life is 10% what happens to us, and 90% how we react to it. You want it to get better? Good! Use that emotion to set the path upwards ablaze.

4. Hone in on the One Thing Causing You the Most Trouble

Pick the one thing stressing you out the most, and fix it. Put everything else to the side for a moment and resolve to focus your energy on the one problem that is glaring you in the face. If you let every other minor stressor fall away for a moment, you will be able to see why you’ve been afraid to address this problem, and realize that it isn’t so scary after all.

5. Reclaim What You Love

Rediscover the things that make your heart beat faster. Guilty-pleasure music? Play it. Getting back into a hobby you haven’t touched for years? No better time than now. Nurture the unique fascinations that are all your own.  Love the things that you love, and do it shamelessly.

6. Take Yourself a Little Less Seriously

None of us are perfect human beings. If you messed up? It’s okay, you’re not your mistake. Learn from it and find a way to laugh at yourself. And at life. And if you need a smile, turn to YouTube and type in “puppies.” Amid all the bad, there will always be adorable videos only seconds away.

7. Breathe

It’s amazing how we forget to something so essential to our well-being. Slow your thoughts, close your eyes, take a breath. And another. And another. And if you feel yourself start to tense up again, start over. You’ve been doing this since day 1, and it’s something you’re dang good at by now. So show off a little.

8. Say Thanks

To a friend, to yourself, to a complete stranger. Look around and take stock of what you have. It can be the tiniest thing:  “I found a lucky penny.”  Flaunt an attitude of gratitude for an instantly rewarding way to live life.

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Starting to learn

There’s something to be said about the power of good teachers. You can see from this clip how much this commedia teacher cares about the craft and how that passion translates to her students. Love the excitement and lines of energy throughout.