- Safe: What's said here, stays here.
- Sacred Space: Please disable your technology. :)
- Speaking: Be mindful that each of us needs a chance to share. The facilitator will keep an eye on time and help include everyone in the discussion.
- Support: Please assist other speakers by listening thoughtfully. It's best to offer advice only when advice is requested.
- Statements: The most effective communication happens when we speak from "I" (not "you") and avoid general statements such as "all artists are.." and "all musicians are..."
These guidelines were developed for our Creatives Coffee Klatch (C2K) weekly gatherings, and they can be useful for many other groups and situations:
Today at Creatives Coffee Klatch we talked about improvising. We learned that one person's "mistake cake" can be another person's tasty treat, and that a crack in a gourd is often a wonderful thing when we're painting on it. It can be tricky for more perfectionistic personalities, but we can make our mistakes work for us. It's good to loosen up a bit and see what happens. And, as in the case of improv comedy, what happens can be hilarious (the title of this blog post comes from the improv comedy rule of saying "yes...and..." whenever we're presented with something new). Or with jazz music, for example, spontaneity can be sublime.
We also discussed the masks we often wear in performance and other types of art and how those can help us or hold us back. One of my challenges as a musician and facilitator is allowing my authentic self to come through, warts and all. I shared with the C2K group that while co-teaching a workshop over the weekend on The Four Agreements for Creatives, I had a breakthrough moment where I read a passage aloud from the book and got choked up. I wasn't expecting to feel emotional, yet it was an honest response to the energy in the room created by my co-facilitator and the group participants. I felt safe and open and connected, which is always my goal with any type of art. I felt love.
Reference points: We discussed author Marcus Buckingham and his work on strengths and how we can recognize them (tip: we look forward to something, we get into a "flow" state while doing it, and we feel stronger after it's over). We also read a passage from Eric Maisel's book "Affirmations for Artists" about talent. Here's a sample from his affirmation about talent: "I am talented. That means above all else that I must work hard, for talent is a muscle; if I exercise that muscle, my art will grow strong ... but such skills are only a part of my talent: my greatest talent is in fully exercising my humanity."