Spotlights & Insights, Vol. 1 – September 2017

Spotlights & Insights, Vol. 1 – September 2017

  Spotlights & Insights, Vol. 1 - September, 2017 Welcome to the first issue of Spotlights & Insights - a new monthly feature on the Five Winds blog! Here, I’ll share with you the best links, resources and stories I’ve come across this month on the topic of  Performance & Wellness. I’ve also included updates on Five Winds and my top insight this month from my work as a Performance & Wellness coach. It’ll be quick, fun and inspiring! So mark your calendar for the last Friday of the month, and subscribe to the blog below or in the sidebar to make sure you don’t miss an issues. Let’s dive in. ????     My September “Aha!” – Truth: It’s who you are. “Telling the truth is not just what you say, it’s how you show up. It’s being the truth.” – India.Arie I posted this quote on Facebook a few days ago, and I think it sums up pretty well what I’ve been thinking about this month. I’ve been inspired lately by so...
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Who’s a Performer? – You Are!

Who’s a Performer? – You Are!

Perform. Performer. I use these words a lot. I say them all the time. I write them over and again in this blog, on this website, in social media posts, in articles and even in books. I even call myself a “Performance & Wellness Coach” (and I’ve got business cards to prove it!). Most of us probably have our own definitions of these words. We likely have images in our minds of what a “performer” looks like, or what a performance is. Maybe you hear the word “performer” an automatically know that means you. Maybe you feel like your work is a “performance”, but are unsure if these terms apply to you. So let’s get clear on what these words mean at Five Winds. And it’ll give you an idea of the kinds of people I work with and what it is we do together. Read on! … Perform According to the dictionary (Oxford English, please), the (abridged) definition of “to perform” is: • To carry out...
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Slow down, it’s OK: Lessons from India.Arie

Slow down, it’s OK: Lessons from India.Arie

  Confession: I am addicted to inspirational stories. I subscribe to all the podcasts (Oprah’s SuperSoul Coversations, The RobCast, Magic Lessons, On Being, The Deconstructionists…) and I love all the inspirational people (yes Oprah, Glennon Doyle, Rob Bell, Krista Tippett, Elizabeth Gilbert…). I find motivation and comfort in hearing how others have walked through the fire and come out the other side. These stories help me process my own journey, provide insight and inspiration in my work, and make me feel deeply connected to myself and my fellow humans. Side Note: We all feel this way about inspirational stories. I think it's because these stories are the essence of the human existence; the quest, the struggle and challenge as we discover truth, and the growth that allows us to emerge stronger than we were before. To quote Glennon Doyle, “first the pain, then the rising”. These stories have been told to us since the beginning of time. We find them in the Bhagavad Gita,...
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Where in the World is Mairin this Summer?

Where in the World is Mairin this Summer?

Well, it’s true! Summer is finally upon us. Yay! The sun (and even the rain), the long days and all the plants in bloom having been calling me outdoors every chance I get. Weekend hiking and road trips have been refreshing, and the chance to work on my back patio has helped me stay focused during the week, even though all I really want to do is run off to the beach (can you relate?). ;) In the midst of all this wanderlust, there’s been a lot of activity at Five Winds! Recently, an article of mine, Leaving Troubling Characters on the Stage, was published in Intermission Magazine. This article has been several months in the making and features interviews with a psychotherapist and professor on the psychology of performing and post-performance recovery. If you haven’t had a chance to read it yet, click here. I’m also excited to be taking my Five Winds work out on the road! I’ll be presenting and teaching...
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Onstage Zen: My Recent Feature in Elephant Journal!

Onstage Zen: My Recent Feature in Elephant Journal!

  Exciting news! Yesterday, an article of mine on meditation and performing was featured on Elephant Journal. Yay! This piece was a bit of a personal one, exploring one of the main reasons I've struggled so much as a performer for most of my adult life. But beyond the struggle, it also talks about one of the biggest game-changers in my life over the past few years: meditation. If you've been reading my blog or following my work, it's probably no surprise to you that I love meditation and that I see it as an important (if not fundamental) tool for performers. But I didn't always feel that way. In fact, for a large part of my life, I didn't think that I would ever be able to meditate. In order to be a meditator, I thought you had to be a certain "type" of person: an already zen, quiet and undramatic person (in my mind, not a performer). But all this changed for...
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Instant Calm: An Exercise

Instant Calm: An Exercise

I remember clearly the first time I had a panic attack on stage. I was in high school, performing a play in drama competition. It was a two-person show; just me and another actor in front of the audience for 45 minutes. While I had acted in a similar style piece before, this felt much more high-stakes. It had been years since my school had made it this far in the competition and I took this responsibility both seriously and personally. We were the second show of our night. Before us had been a lively and intense piece with a large cast. Now, as I stepped out on stage, that entire cast was sitting in the first two rows of the audience staring up at me. They were buzzed from their performance, with too much energy to sit still. They chatted amongst themselves, so loudly that I could hear them clearly on stage. Thank goodness this was the time before cell phones....
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Post-Performance Recovery: An Introduction + Exercise

Post-Performance Recovery: An Introduction + Exercise

If you’ve been clicking around my website or following me on social media at all, you’ve probably seen the term post-performance recovery come up a *few times (*read, a lot). It’s a pretty catchy phrase, and seems pretty easy to understand. But since I talk about it so much, I thought it might be useful to explain what I actually mean by it. So… Post-Performance Recovery. What the heck is it? In many ways, it is exactly what it sounds like: A process to assists artists in releasing their performance experiences and rebalancing their energy, so they can transition back into their everyday lives. This is a fancy way of saying it’s a “cool down”. Think of sports. Before an athlete competes in an event, they go through a warm up routine to prepare themselves. Afterwards, they follow a cool down routine to help their body recuperate from all the energy the just exerted. Many performers follow a similar routine, except for one thing: most...
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That Tingly Feeling: An Exercise for Feeling Energy + Mandy Moore

That Tingly Feeling: An Exercise for Feeling Energy + Mandy Moore

We talk a lot about energy on this blog. We’ve talked about it as vibration. We’ve talked about how it transforms us when we perform. We’ve talked about how art has its own unique energy. And we’ve talked about how it can be hard to let go of that energy after a performance. But what does energy feel like? How do we experience energy moving through our systems? The truth is…I can’t exactly tell you. Here’s the deal… We are all unique beings (surprise!), and following that, the way we express energy is unique. We know this as performers. Think about it. This is why 4 actors can play the role of Hamlet and all their performances are different. Or 5 musicians can play the same song and they all sound different. Heck, 5 musicians can play the same instrument and the instrument sounds different! So it follows that the way each of us feels energy is different from one person to the next. So...
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Releasing Character: Lessons from Hugh Jackman and Wolverine + EXERCISE

Releasing Character: Lessons from Hugh Jackman and Wolverine + EXERCISE

My first memory of Hugh Jackman will always be from this film. I mean, what more could I have wanted from an early 2000s romantic comedy: Meg Ryan, time travel, a man in tails, Liev Schreiber, margarine…I’m not seeing a downside here! Oh, and Bradley Whitford too. ;) But regardless of my teenage taste in movies (don’t judge…), the role that really defined his career involved having giant retractable knives sticking out of his hands. Yes, in between several Broadway runs, hosting the Tony’s multiple times and winning a Golden Globe Award, the character that has stuck by his side for 17 years has been James (Logan) Howlett, better known as the X-Men’s* Wolverine. *Side Note: The X-Men were my gateway superheroes. I was a big fan of the animated series in the 90s. This was probably largely due to the fact that it was one of the only cartoons that had women heroes (Storm, Jean Grey...pretty awesome). I can still sing the...
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Performance Energy, Part 2: A Harry Potter Theory

Performance Energy, Part 2: A Harry Potter Theory

In my last blog post, we began exploring the idea of performance energy. We discussed energy as vibration and the exchange of energetic vibrations that happens during a performance. And we also started talking about another energetic force at work when we perform. That’s where we’ll pick up here. If you have haven’t read the previous post yet, you can do that here. Then join us as we continue to explore performance energy. A spark. That little flash of energy that transforms us from our everyday selves into performers. When do we feel it? In the moment of stepping from offstage to onstage? In the seconds when our hands first grasp our instruments? In that breath that brings the microphone to our lips? What happens in that moment? Where does that burst of energy come from? That my friends, is the power of the performance itself. Let me explain. In the previous post, we talked about how we give off energetic vibrations in everything we do. This...
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