No Acting Please: The Eric Morris, Laurice Guillen and Gina Alajar Encounter

"No Acting Please" were words pasted in the four walls of the workshop room where I was to experience my first taste of the Eric Morris system of -- get this- "Acting". Now why were there posters screaming "No Acting Please" ??!? This intrigued me and only added to stress of having two of the Philippines' formidable and respected film and stage actor-directors as trainers of the class - Laurice Guillen and Gina Alajar. Who wouldn't be intimidated anyway?

There I was a nervous, insecure, wreck trying to look calm and collected amidst a group of seemingly confident stage and film actors who were to be my classmates in the Being Workshop of the Actor's Workshop Foundation in Manila. To say I felt like a lost "probinsiyana" (from the province) was an understatement, after all I just flew in from Cebu to try my luck in Manila, but  more than that though, I felt like all the things I learned about acting became null and void after undergoing just a few simple exercises. I was actually "jerked" into the Eric Morris system of "No Acting Please".

Its essence came in the form of BEING, of TRUTH, of ACCEPTANCE, of RESPONDING, and of EXPRESSING. Laurice and Gina spared no one from cleaning up the obstacles that prevented us from becoming better actors and better individuals through the instrumental therapy sessions.

There was no room for "acting". There was only room for "truth" expressed in a moment to moment basis. I finally began to understand the presence of  the "No Acting Please" signage and embraced its essence after four days  of training. It was a major turning point in my life and I will forever be grateful for Laurice and Gina for pushing me beyond my comfort zone to reveal the dragons that blocked my way to success. Passing the training after all, paved the way for me to become part of  the Actor's Workshop Foundation's training team. The workshop was apparently, my "baptism of fire" , as they teasingly called it.

Putting the icing on the cake, was the foundation's decision to bring in Eric Morris to train professional actors in Manila. This came a few months after I joined them and I was elated. I felt truly blessed being able to interact and witness how Eric conducted the instrumental therapy sessions. Spending many hours and days watching and experiencing his craftsmanship was simply heavenly, I ended up buying his books and gorged on them, some of which are featured here:

Now, 25 years after the first "No Acting Please" encounter, I have kept using all the principles of BEING in all my training programs and in fact have called my behavioral workshops the BEING Series Workshops.

The exercises contained in the various books helped me heal many areas of my life and have allowed me to become a more confident, self-assured, and empowered individual. To give you a glimpse of  how I use some of Eric Morris' instrumental therapy exercises in my various courses here's an article called INVENTORY SYSTEM: Feel Fully, Express Totally

Now, what does "No Acting Please" have to do anything with creativity training. Well, it IS in itself  Creativity Training with Therapeutic Proportions.


Creativity Is on the Decline — And Why It Matters

Creativity is a crucial aspect of any thriving organization or society—and one that a recent article says is declining ominously in the U.S.

The Newsweek article, by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman, focuses on the results of creativity tests designed by E. Paul Torrance in the 1950s. A researcher examined almost 300,000 Torrance scores of children and adults and found that while they rose until 1990, the scores have been consistently falling since.

Why does that matter? CEOs have called creativity the No. 1 “leadership competency” of the future, the article says, and the solutions to the tough problems facing the nation and the world “emerge from a healthy marketplace of ideas, sustained by a populace constantly contributing original ideas and receptive to the ideas of others.”

The American obsession with rote learning and standardized testing isn’t helping, the article maintains. Encouraging creativity isn’t just a matter of adding more art and music instruction—creative thinking is crucial in hard sciences as well. The article notes that pilot programs in some elementary schools have shown that it’s possible to teach children in a more creativity-focused way and still have them meet curriculum standards.

Our family is about to have some firsthand experience with that as my daughter, soon to be 9, enters fourth grade in a special magnet program for children who’ve met certain testing criteria. My wife and I attended an information session about it and were very impressed with the way the program encourages independent thinking. Both of our children have shown considerable creativity, but we’re aware it’s something we have to actively foster—it’s easy to let them fall into a cycle of just consuming TV and videogames otherwise.

And for the adult side of creativity? It’s certainly important in my work as a Journal editor and my wife’s work as a corporate-communications consultant. I do think I need to more actively foster my own creativity. As I mentioned in my May post about turning 40, I’ve been meaning for a long time to resume writing short stories, which I think would be both enjoyable and a good method of mental exercise. Time to turn tomorrow into today on that, soon.

Readers, how important do you think creativity is to your children’s development and to your own workplace and career?  Is creativity encouraged in your workplace or your family’s school? Are there things you’ve done or plan to do to encourage greater creative thinking on both fronts?  Any fun creativity-boosters you recommend for kids or adults?


Illness Paves the Way For Wellness

We've seen it happen several times. The internet is flooded with stories of such nature. Books have written much about this subject matter. It may even have happened to you.

The fact remains, that it is in moments of suffering from illness that many are motivated to reflect on life and are moved to do things beyond the limits they previously put on themselves.

In some cases, it opens doors to emotional and spiritual healing. In other cases, it provides the very springboard for other miracles to take place. Take for example the story of the father and son team Dick and Rick Hoyt. Many may know about them already but for the benefit of those who have never heard of them, here's a chance to see them in action.

This is what I would call a great example of creatively living life to the fullest. Wellness, after all, is not simply the absence of illness, rather it is the process of being aware of one's value and worth, knowing they are love expressed eventually paving the way for creating balance within and achieving wellness and wellbeing.

Such was the case of a good friend of mine.This is her story. LIVING WELLNESS


Encouraging Creative Thinking In Children Gives Them Lifetime Skills

(I-Newswire) August 2, 2010 - Creativity means more than just the ability to paint a pretty picture, dance Swan Lake, or compose a hit song. It’s a far wider concept, and one that comes in handy in all aspects of life. Creative thinking is a skill that is commonly used by the most successful leaders in business or government, as well as the arts.

A new down-loadable booklet, “Encourage Creativity in Children”, tells why creativity is such a useful tool for both children and adults, and it describes in detail how to promote creative thinking in children of all ages. This booklet is available only at www.AnswerGirls.com. The author, a teacher who has inspired many creative thinkers, shared these helpful tips:

"Creativity is a magical way of looking at the world and, fortunately, the process can be learned — at any age.

Give me, any day, a brain surgeon, a tax accountant, a mechanic or plumber who, when faced with an obstacle, doesn’t automatically say, 'Sorry, can’t do it,' but who stops and thinks, 'Is there another solution possible here?' That’s creativity.

If we allow and encourage our children to be creative, they will be. That doesn’t mean they’ll be performing on Broadway, or writing a bestseller, but they will enjoy a lifetime of creative thought — and all the benefits that come with it.”

“Encourage Creativity in Children” explains how to teach creativity. Through the booklet's series of eight different activities, such as The Colors Around Us, Write Your Own Ending, and Crazy New Uses, children are encouraged to open their minds to other possibilities and new horizons.