Way of the Mindful Improvisor
a playful retreat for courage, creativity, and connection
The practice of improvisation teaches something that we are hungry to understand: how to be in harmony with each other and how to have fun.
–Patricia Ryan Madson, author of Improv Wisdom
Befriending the “monster baby,” that playful, creative, oft-hidden and sometimes scary part within each of us, leads directly to discovery, delight, and a life well-lived. This retreat will help you forge new neural pathways, “play attention” in ways you never thought possible, and live and work with renewed creative fire.
Through mindful contemplation and playful exercises drawn from the world of improvisational theatre, you’ll develop an embodied presence that breeds courage, connection, and creativity. We learn to pay acute attention and to take joyful care of those around us. We embrace the adventure in each moment. Together, mindfulness and improv make us and life better.
As playful practitioners ourselves, we know this truth in our bones and we’ve had it reaffirmed again and again with our participants. Artists and athletes build resilience in the face of setbacks. Leaders learn to innovate with nimble acuity and authentic relationship. Educators find powerful paths for true development. And seekers of all sorts discover previously hidden wellsprings of insight and joy.
This active and contemplative retreat connects you to your own Monster Baby. Together as a small group, we create a safe and experiential learning lab that sharpens self-awareness and revitalizes relationship with the wider world. You’ll have time to learn, to breathe, and to integrate your experience. You’ll laugh a lot. And you’ll almost certainly welcome a new you into the world, more curious, more connected, more eager for living a life of adventure and delight.∧
What will I get out of this?
Every one of our retreats so far has been a unique delight, great folks getting together to learn and grow. Their feedback suggests you’ll likely:
- Find and express greater spontaneity
- Transform your approach to failure
- Increase your sensory acuity and in-the-moment awareness
- Trust your creative leanings
- Reach new levels of generosity
- Improve your communication: better listening, clearer speaking, deeper understanding
- Collaborate with greater ease
- Get resourceful in the face of chaos
- Tell better stories∧
*Please note: 3 Units of graduate-level professional development credit are available for this program through Courses4Teachers in conjunction with the University of Pacific.
Steeping myself in these principles for peaceful, playful living has been a true gift. –Kathy R.
I had expected to learn, to reconnect, to be delighted. I had not necessarily expected to be transformed. Thank you for that. –Sarah
Click below to hear spoken reflections from retreat participants:
Are you sure this is for me?
Do you have little or no prior experience with improvisational theater or mindfulness practice? Are you a bit nervous about the whole idea of improv and think “That sounds interesting, but I could never be good at that.” Or with mindfulness, think “Yeah, I just can’t get settled like that. I don’t think I can do meditation.” Great! This workshop’s for you. Do you have more substantial improv or meditation chops and want to explore new avenues and tap deeper levels? Perfect! You’re most welcome too! No particular religious or spiritual path is required, but those with an inquiring heart and open mind will gain the most from–and contribute the most to–the experience.∧
This workshop was everything I hoped for and much more. You created a safe environment for us to play and did so many things to foster our creativity. –Eric H.
Who will guide us?
Ted DesMaisons has been synthesizing innovative approaches to learning for over 25 years. Since completing his graduate work at Stanford (MBA) and Harvard (Masters of Theology), Ted has studied improvisation with Patricia Ryan Madson, Bay Area Theater Sports (BATS) and Loose Moose Theater in Calgary, Alberta. He is the founder and principal of ANIMA Learning and a trained Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) instructor. He writes regularly about improv, contemplation, and positive reinforcement on his ANIMA blog (www.AnimaLearning.com/blog).
One of the most recognizable and most beloved teachers of improvisation in the world, Lisa Rowland has performed, coached, and conducted corporate trainings with San Francisco’s BATS mainstage company for more than eight years. Students from Palo Alto and the Presidio to Amsterdam and Arabia rave about the way she combines power and generosity in the service of their learning. A graduate of and current faculty member at Stanford University and an uncannily astute observer of what’s needed next, Lisa was named the 2012 San Francisco Actor of the Year.
Mere Point Cottage, Brunswick, ME. Our June retreat will convene in a warmly welcoming summer cottage on the stunning coast of Maine, about 45 minutes north of Portland and 15 minutes outside of Freeport, the home of LL Bean. We’ll enjoy wide open vistas of Casco Bay and the islands, the inspiration of tides coming and going, and the restorative quiet at the end of peninsula. We’ll also allow time for swimming, kayaking, and boat rides if folks want it.∧
We will share three delicious, mostly vegetarian meals each day that include local organic fruits and vegetables, free-range poultry, hormone-free meat and dairy products, and extraordinary cheeses. The chefs at each location draw upon flavors and techniques from around the world to create a diverse cuisine with alluring flavors. Trust us–you’ll carry lasting positive memories of the food with you.
Participants can expect to stay in simple, clean rooms, two to a room (we may need a triple or two). Single rooms may be available for an extra cost, space permitting.∧
June retreat (5 nights): $1000 program fee/$850 food and facilities. Early bird payment of $1850 due upon registration before April 30. After April 30, regular payment of $2095 due upon registration. Single rooms may be available for an added charge. However, given our limited number of bedspaces in the cottage, that charge might need to be significant. Feel free to inquire!
Early bird payment will be refundable (minus $95 processing charge) before the early bird cutoff date. After that date, payment will be refundable (again minus a $95 processing charge) only if the workshop is full and you or we are able to find a replacement. Please note: you can earn a $75 credit for yourself for each person you refer who attends the workshop.∧
*Please note: 3 Units of graduate-level professional development credit are available for this program through Courses4Teachers in conjunction with the University of Pacific for $93 per unit. 2 PDEU (CEU) equivalents for psychologists and therapists may also be available for $100. Feel free to contact us for more information.
I already find myself craving more. You have opened the door to adventure. –Cathy Z.
Beautiful. Life-Changing. Thank you. –Jen D.