Yesterday I was both honoured and privileged to take part in a workshop organised by The Creative Path at Derry’s Playhouse. The workshop was hosted by Nuala McKeever. McKeever titled the workshop, ‘Get Your Act Together’. Throughout the afternoon it became apparent that we all need to begin to trust in who we are and believe in who we are, and quite simply live life ‘our’ way!
‘We are all in a drama’ said McKeever. How true her words are. We are indeed all in a drama, our life is one big scene! But unfortunately as was pointed out, we sometimes forget that it is we ourselves who write the script. We get caught up in our act and go along with what other people dictate. We forget to write it for ourselves.
One of the most important attributes that we all possess is communication McKeever told us. It’s how we communicate that’s important. Communication is not just about speaking, it’s about getting what we want and it takes many forms. We each must decide what form is right for us at any given time.
Whilst explaining how to get what we want an exercise was carried out within the group. McKeever had a set of keys and she was a toddler. A member of the group had to work out how to get the keys from the
toddler. A few moments of mayhem and madness ensued. But the keys were returned from the unruly toddler, thanks to a slight bribe!! It clearly showed just how important the different modes of communication are. Trust, observation and spontaneity are active at all times.
To understand the trust and observation skills required for good communication an invisible ball was thrown into the group. Each member had to pass the invisible ball to another group member and make a sound. The person in turn made another sound whilst passing to the next person. This exercise brought much giggling to everyone but it also showed that in a game with no jeopardy you really do lack trust. ‘We all walk around like a bunch of adults, but we’re just a bunch of kids’ McKeever said. Our censors come down and we don’t want to make a fool of ourselves. This censor stifles our
creativity and what we’re not aware of controls us. It’s important to learn to be aware. And be confident to lose the censors.
Most of the afternoon was about finding out ‘Who am I?’ Who is each and everyone of us? Why are we who we are? We must learn to ask ourselves who we want to be. There are so many characters within us and it’s important to be ‘me’. Again to explain this, McKeever set another exercise. Half the group were to be people of ‘high status’ and the other half, people of ‘low status’. Everyone mingled as these new statuses and then switched after a few moments. The end result was that some people were happier and more comfortable being a certain ‘status’. It proved that we take on these behaviours as they make us feel ‘safe’.
McKeever spoke a lot about her own personal experiences during the day. Perhaps it was her honesty and frankness that made her so warm and appealing to us all. She welcomed us into her world, and in turn we welcomed her into ours. Such was the comfort that Philomena, one of the group read a personal piece of writing from her blog. Nuala said about this that it ‘was like a wee warm bath’, having someone read to us. It really did explain the tone of the day. Relaxing, comfortable and very interesting.
A lot of discussion surrounded how we all feel the need to question things, and the negative attitude to trying something new. It comes from the fear of failing or just not knowing. But how will we ever know if we don’t try? We think we know how something will feel, taste or look. We think we won’t like something new. But how can we prove it without trying.
I sat thinking a lot during the afternoon session with Nuala McKeever. Everything she said was simply common sense. We just need to stop every now and again and take stock. If we want to continue going through life being someone we’re not, then so be it. But if we truly want to be ‘ourselves’ then it’s paramount that we take time to believe in that self, and to express it in our own ways. It doesn’t matter what other people think of us, it matters what we think of ourselves. In McKeevers own words, ‘Trust that your own voice is worth something and just do it’. What wise words of inspiration.
A huge thank you to Ursula McHugh and The Creative Path for organising the afternoon with Nuala.