Acting Workout: When can I “do” something?

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Today I had my first acting class downtown with Dolores Drake. I am in her class called “The Professional Acting Workout”. I got to be downtown at night which I love, but not the late kind of night (though I got to do that too) but the sunset time of night. The twilight. When the orange (the pretty kind, not like the CMYK kind) kissed the pavilions and the streetlights and the building’s edges.

I learned so much and I really had a positive experience! So many questions and answers.

 I was wondering about how to know when you “can do” something. For example, an accent. Or a special skill. Like playing guitar. When am I competent enough and proficient enough and confident enough to put something on my resume. I suppose I could think of acting as similar to other types of jobs this way. If I don’t want to be hired for 3D Modeling, then I won’t put it on my resumé. If I don’t feel comfortable playing clarinet for a casting director, I probably shouldn’t advertise that either. My teacher brought up some good point too about getting feedback and confidence. Do [insert skill here] for people and if your peers, friends, classmates, teachers, etc. compliment you on your work, then it is something you should promote. Do you believe yourself and feel confident?

COMEDIC SIDE NOTE:

That reminds me… during the winter break this year I went on the trip to Whistler with some friends and for some reason (I can’t recall if this was before or after the alcohol but neither would surprise me) I spent a large portion of the evening pretending to be Australian (because SO MANY people we met up there were from down under). I went to a cafe with an accent (where the owners were legit Australian), I bought lift passes, I went to a bar… I drank more alcohol. LOL.

I got to read three parts today in class:

  1. A short bit from Brent Butt’s CBC show “Hiccups”
  2. A scene from a TV movie where I worked at an eyeglass store.
  3. I am now working on the role of “Lynda” from Savage in Limbo by John Patrick Shanley

I really enjoyed the class for a few reasons. Everyone is very talented. People are working. One of the guys from the last class I attended was in a commercial I saw on TV  recently! Cool! (I still get a bit starstruck : P).

Also, I really like working with Film and Television material. I was reflecting on my time so far in the SFU Theatre Program and I noticed that often with self-directed scenes from plays I couldn’t “figure it out”. What does this line mean? How do we make the scene interesting? I needed a director or outside eye to help me put things together. Perhaps it is because of all the short film work I have done from a Director and DOP standpoint, but I really “got” the scene today. There were a couple times when the rest of the class was confused but I “got” it. That felt good, to be in on the joke. To understand.

I started to see myself in roles while rehearsing in class today. This has been a struggle with me in my ongoing journey wondering if/how I should pursue acting. I am a character. I fit into role. THAT COULD BE ME.

Overall, beautiful, wonderful day. Job well done. Mission accomplished. YES.

Alternative Education

Education

There are some really innovative program offered at my university, many of which I have/will take part in. My initial major, Interactive Arts + Technology, involves a trip to Seattle for one course and most course use group projects and hand on applications instead of exams and mid-terms. I just auditioned for the acting program (aka: BFA Major in Theatre Performance) which is also highly immersive. I love that when I go to an acting class I learn so much about life and humanity just by observing other people and reflecting on my own experience. Yay!

Outside of these “special” programs there are also some courses which are quite innovative. Next semester I am taking SFU’s Semester in DialogueAccording to their site…

The Undergraduate Semester in Dialogue addresses what we believe is the principal challenge for contemporary education: to inspire students with a sense of civic responsibility, encourage their passion to improve Canadian society, and develop innovative intellectual tools for effective problem solving. Each semester we develop an original and intensive learning experience that uses dialogue to focus student education on public issues.

Our topic is Sustainable Food Systems and after my studies in permaculture I am quite excited to explore this topic. We have already planned a camping trip for our first week to visit a farm on Vancouver Island! Cool!

SFU also has some really cool geography courses that go on trips for learning, in addition to field studies (such as ItaliaDesign) and exchange opportunities. And I have a couple friends that did an experiential learning course called The Change Lab. I am so lucky to attend a school with so many opportunities!

Thinking back on it, I have had a number of alternative education experiences in my lifetime. In elementary school I was identified as “gifted” and received special support throughout my education as a result. In grade three I got to be part of the “challenge” program which basically meant I got to skip class once a week and the principal would drive me to another school where I got to learn about a special topic with other kids in the program. My topic was circus! In grade 6 I did some special testing and was accepted into Surrey’s first ever MAC class where I stayed for a few months before returning to my “home” school. It was really cool to connect with other kids who learned the same way I did. I am still friends with some of them today! Then in high school I considered joining Inter-A (a largely self-paced learning environment with independent research opportunities) when I entered high school, but I had already established friends and volunteer commitments at my home school so I chose to stay where I was. At my home school we had a gifted coordinator and about once a semester we would meet with her, and the other gifted students in our year to discuss our “issues”. I really valued the opportunity to meet with other kids who were “like me” and I always thought we had a special bond. We all got to make Independent Education Plans (IEPs) and the coordinator tried to put us in classes with other gifted kids, and tried to support us in doing special projects and other initiatives. I got to skip one year of high school social studies through this method. I was also a year ahead in Math. Online courses were another opportunity I took advantage of. I took English 11 online and some other courses later on (Math 12 and Chem 12 to upgrade my marks) through Surrey Connect. I also recall a district Gifted Education Coordinator (staff person). She supported me in joining a gifted environmental conference planning committee. I got trained to be an SFU Philosopher’s Cafe facilitator as a grade 10 student which was pretty cool. I am realizing that I always felt really connected to other “gifted” students and educators. I think it was my idea that we were somehow the same and had something in common if only through or labelling.

Moving forward

In my own city we have the discovery school

Discovery School is a unique program of choice within the Surrey School District. The school draws students from around Surrey and other parts of the Lower Mainland.  Approximately sixty percent of the students come to Discovery from outside the Whalley area.  This is a public school, and there are no tuition fees.

Classrooms are free of clutter.  There are no desks, tables or chairs.   Toys, books, manipulatives and other equipment are stored on shelves lining the rooms.   This uncluttered environment allows for maximum flexibility in arranging small groups for a variety of activities and, most importantly, allows the whole group to sit in a circle, which encourages inclusiveness. Students’ artwork, and other art related to the themes being studied, is treated with respect; mounted and hung on the walls of the classrooms and in the front hall.  Otherwise, walls are generally clear and free from distractions. Even the playground reflects the ideas of cooperation, imagination and tradition. Along with the common adventure playground, Discovery has ‘logs and rocks’, string games, hand games and other areas where children learn to play timeless games with their peers.

I have also heard of Windsor House School, a democratic school in BC! Cool! I am sure I will continue to discover alternative education mediums. Vancouver has a whole brochure of them!

Woofs of Wisdom

I went to a storytelling event. It was really amazing to hear all of the stories… There was sadness, happiness, and mystery in all of them.

The biggest thing I took away was not from a story though – it was from the dog. When I was younger I was afraid of dogs. It took me a long time to get comfortable with dogs but now I am often the person a dog will spend most of the night getting rubs from. I like to think it’s because I am vegan.

Usually when I am with an animal ( dog, cat… any animal) I try to lure it closer to me, to sit on my lap or next to where I am sitting. I realized that instead of trying to force the dog to sit by me, I could move to accommodate the dog. And I did. I got to sit in a new place and discover something new. By listening I find that I can discover so much : )

Positivism: How Love, Happiness and Compassion Change the World

This past weekend I hosted a workshop at the Canadian Conference on Student Leadership in Calgary, Alberta. The workshop was called “Positivism: How Love, Happiness and Compassion Change the World” and the description in the program was as follows:

How did one girl go from being suicidal and depressed to traveling the world for free, meeting celebrities and living a life of unconditional love? From Vancouver to Hawaii to California, presenter Jenni Rempel has been connected with big names like Maroon 5 and Jason Mraz. By making choices about how we act and think, we have the power to change the world we live in. This workshop will looking at empowering videos, personal stories and other examples of a loving world. We will also try out techniques for communicating with, loving, and inspiring others (and ourselves).

“What is going to save the human race? Please. Thank you. Why? Because if we all started treating the people and things that we interact with every day with respect and compassion, the effects would ripple through every aspect of our lives, transforming society.” – SuperForest.org

Click here to view the Positivitism Slides! Below are the videos we watched during the workshop…

We ended by reenacting a quick version of this meditation:

If I would have had time I would have played this as well because it is beautiful:

Links!

A few things I could have done better: prefacing the Laughter Yoga exercises with the “fake it till you make it” explanation for health benefits; stating WHY I have certain opinions, being extra careful to state that everything is only MY opinion, define terms (ie: acknowledgement, unconditional love) in slides, acknowledge doubt.

The reviews were very positive… all parts of the workshop came up in feedback as valuable so I’m not sure if i’ll change the program of the workshop at all.

I feel inspired to make changes in the way I live my life.

I appreciate those around me.

Everything in life is an opportunity!

I want to call/e-mail my family and friends and change the way I think of my “enemies”

Awespirational!

It made me feel great!

I feel the need to find unconditional love for people i’ve shunned in my life.

There is always something positive in every situation.

I feel inspired, which is impressive.

This was the best session at the conference!

Positivistsm is awesome and can change the world.

I feel grateful and reaffirmed in my own positivity.

I feel great and worthy.

So much positive energy was going around the room, you were a great speaker!

I feel happy i’m happy!

I feel like smiling a big, huge smile!

I feel like a million bucks.

We have the ability to instantaneously love a stranger next to us. We all just want to be loved.

Reaffirmed my faith in humanity.

Giving space is powerful.

I feel touched.

I spend more time with the glass half empty, I need to change it to half full.

I feel happier, like I could change my life through love.

I want to spread kindness to people.

The lessons you taught and your attitude make me want to do what you do!

I learned how to appreciate the moments of life more.

You have an incredible perspective on life that is contagious, thank you.

I feel really inspired to live my life to the fullest and change my outlook.

I can affect change.

This session reminded me what it means to be human and the essence of humankind… How far off track we have gone and how important it is to get back on track.

I feel that there is hope for everyone and the potential for them to be good.

I feel inspired to banish negativity from my life and make it more positive. I feel uplifted to make change and share what i’ve learned with others.

I kind of realized that I am not always as kind as I could be and I don’t always appreciate what I have and i’d like to change that.

I feel really calm and beloved and excited that there are people like you in our generation.

The average score was 9.3 out of 10. (I think in the future I will add a “what would make you rate this session 10/10” part to my evaluation).

Us and Them

On the weekend I had the pleasure of seeing “Us and Them,” an interactive show up on by Headlines Theatre.

I as the show began watched the shadows dance under the glow of the sunlight (stage light). The harmonics tickled my ears with their delicate touches of perfections, it was a quiet beauty.

As the opening scenes unfolded I observed many things. When I began looking for differences, they grew to be great and many. I think we see what we want to see. When you look for differences they are infinite. I also saw consumerism get in the way. Quite literally, one character couldn’t see his path over his big screen TV. I see a social irony here….

Also apparent to me were the differences and perspectives in every situation. There is an inside to every window and a room behind each wall.

A large theme that the show presented was the modern differences in gender. Transgendered stigma was explored. It is something that I have only been part of dialogue on recently and I am still learning about issues and challenges faced by transgendered people. This is an area where I am fairly ignorant. Man… Woman… can’t we just be people? I am curious if these issues would exist outside of North American culture.

“We never know what we do.”

– DAVID DIAMOND

Is too much equal to nothing at all?

After the play we engaged in a DIALOGUE. In a dialogue, we suspend judgement and listen to others, even those with whom we don’t agree. This dialogue was centered around hot to build bridges, tear down walls, and stopping putting them up in the first place. The community in the room looked for access points to create these new outcomes.

“Is the wall inside yourself?”

– DAVID DIAMOND

I was left with these conclusions. Laughter, silliness and acknowledgements are the ANSWER TO EVERYTHING. I want to be a celebrator of differences and an empowering force of change in the world : )

US AND THEM runs until Saturday, November 12th. Shows are at 8PM at The Cultch. Dooo it!

Talks on Education

This past month I presented at ICE: The Inter-University Conference on Education. Some of the talks from this event have now been posted online.

This was the only talk I was present for but I really enjoyed it.

I strive to create conditions in which you might learn.

Wise words from a wise prof.

More talks can be found here: http://www.cisa-acei.ca/ice/?p=ice2011

My Workshop at ICE 2011 – Learning from Life: Unleashing Unconditional Happiness

UniverCities Conference from above

This weekend I had the distinct pleasure of presenting at the Inter-University Conference on Education. Apparently my session was one of the most popular! Around 30 people attended and the evaluations I saw were very positive. Here’s some more info about my presentation:

Learning from Life: Unleashing Unconditional Happiness with Jenni Rempel
By separating external events from personal experiences, it is possible to open a way to seeing life as a path way to unconditional happiness. This workshop will explore circumstantial learning, techniques and tools to look at life and perceived obstacles as opportunities for growth and development.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE PRESENTATION: Learning from Life: Unleashing Unconditional Happiness

The main points I was sharing were related to choosing happiness and creating a positive life. I also brought in some laughter yoga techniques as I do at all of the workshops I facilitate.

I showed a clip from this lovely lecture:

And I also played zen meditation music as people entered to set the mood.

It was really beautiful. Just sitting in the room with the sunlight sneaking in. And listening to people talk about what they are grateful for. I am blessed.

One of the main points I covered was the Cafe Gratitude Clearing Process…

So basically, it’s a conversation to get you to be present, in the moment, and living an amazing life.

There are two people: The Clearee and the Clearer.

  1. The clearer asks the clearee some variation of “what’s stopping you from being present?”, there are many ways to say this… “what’s in the way of you being here right now?”… “what are you resisting?”…
  2. Then the clearer repeats back what the clearee says VERBATIM. Simply let them be heard, without judgement, advice or opinions given. Do not paraphrase or change what they say. The clearer tries to get the clearee “out of their head an into their heart” by asking them how they feel and putting an emotion to it (letting go of anything conceptual or anything other than their experience).
  3. The clearee breathes in the emotion they are feeling, and then exhales and lets it go.
  4. Then the clearer asks the clearee a different question. Some variation of “what are you grateful for?” or “what do you love about your life?”  … “what inspires you?”
  5. Then the clearer acknowledges the clearee and tells them something empowering. Thank them for being there and be moved by them.
  6. And then they switch! That’s it!

If you want more questions visit this google group, they email two new ones out daily: http://groups.google.com/group/question_of_the_day?pli=1

There is a much more detailed description of this process in the books “Sacred Commerce” and “Kindred Spirit” by Matthew and Terces Engelhart. They also have a DVD about clearing that was recently completed.

 

 

 

What stops you from creating connections and being in relationships?

This was how my amazing workshop, Kindred Spirit, with Matthew and Terces Engelhart from Cafe Gratitude began.

What stops you from creating connections and being in relationships?

NOTE: We are all in relationships with EVERYONE all the time. There is so much more than just intimate relationships. Friendships are relationships. There are work relationships. I even have a relationship with the Earth, Nature and our planet.

This was a really big question for me to answer. It was really cool to hear what other people expressed. Their sharing helped me to define my own challenges.

NOTE: I think sharing is contributing to the whole and making yourself available to be spoken through/ by love. I think sharing is expression love.

So what stops me? A lack of trust stops me from creating connections and being in relationships. Sometimes other people do not fulfill my expectations. By being transparent (honest + brave), making requests and communicating my experience (observations/thoughts/feelings/wants) I can face my fear and create a life of trust for myself. Sometimes I doubt other people. By acknowledging others and taking responsibility for my experience through the tool of apology I can fully trust and love others unconditionally. Sometimes I am afraid of failing, or of doing a “bad job”and I choose to work alone. Sometimes I stop communicating to other people because I think it will be easier to “just do it myself”. I think “other people won’t meet my standards”. I am not committed to this thinking. I am committed to being a source of unconditional love. I am choosing to value creating connections and being in relationships over being “right” or “the best”. Finally, sometimes I check out of relationships! I am afraid “someone better” or more suited to me will come along and I will miss out. I am committed to seeing each moment and relationship as an opportunity for learning and growth. I have to power to say yes and no whenever I like and that is okay! It is okay to change my mind but I will not let thinking of the future stop me from living in the present and creating connections and being in relationships.

I am so up for being vulnerable and committing to addressing these things!

I think relationships are a mirror, designed to reflect ourselves. I want to be a reflection of unconditional love!

I am committed to creating a life of unconditional love and unconditional trust.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s Epiphany

Dr. Stephen Covey, one of North America’s most respected, widely read and frequently quoted leadership experts, and author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People , defines leadership as:

Communicating to people their worth and potential so clearly that they come to see it in themselves.

I came across this quote as part of a leadership program I completed at SFU and I started making connections to the process of acknowledgement but I did not fully realize this connection until today.
Today it was made clear to me that…

if I just change my own behavior and use my aptitude for positivity to acknowledge others, then I can fully realize my potential for unconditional love.

By living with an appreciative mindset I notice and become attuned to the good in others and BY DOING THIS I can model how other people can do this as well. Then, they will also notice and become attuned to the good in others and (more importantly) themselves.

The thing I love most about the phase BE LOVE is that I continue to understand it on deeper and deeper levels.

Please watch the videos that SuperForester Matthew posted from the Leaders Causing Leaders Conference of Matthew and Terces Engelhart HERE.

I think i’ve seen this about 10 times and I STILL get stuff out of it. MAGICAL. Seriously. We create each other, so make us beautiful.

This insight also came out of a three day workshop I am completing and book I read called Clear Leadership. Good stuff.

So, what do you want to be acknowledged for?

Love,

Jenni

Lessons from this semester

Lessons from this semester: (or at least I hope they are lessons and I don’t repeat the same things over again)

  1. Getting what you ask for and getting what you want are not the same thing.
  2. To figure out what you like, you need to experience what you don’t like.
  3. Some things in life are scary. They are often the most rewarding things. Don’t be a pussy.
  4. Failing = Learning (and if life is about learning, then failure is success)
  5. There is a time and a place for everything.
  6. Follow your heart and you intuition. If something feels like a bad idea, it probably is… don’t be stupid (but if you fail see #4).
  7. Don’t walk in the mud with nice shoes. Metaphorically and literally.
  8. DIPLOMACY is an amazing skill to have. (Must. Work. On. This.)
  9. 720p and 1080p are NOT the same quality. (see #2).
  10. Positivity and gratitude are always the answer.
  11. When other people disappoint you, it is an opportunity for you to not disappoint others. (see #2).
  12. Criticism is awesome, it helps you learn. (however see #5).
  13. When challenges come up: recognize them (do not dismiss or ignore them), accept them, find the opportunity they present, and practice gratitude.

That is all. For now.

Oh! and don’t forget to dance! : )