Friday, April 30, 2010

Movement... Duh. Uhm... What Is It?

Natural Intelligence: Body-Mind Integration and Human DevelopmentMovement is a type of therapy that is also one of the three pedagogues of actor training, the other two being acting and voice training.  Movement is used to help the body become more free.  For example, if a person has slumped shoulders with her head jutting forward, she will not be able to play royalty until she creates the option of upright posture.  Often, habituated patterns do not allow for the body to simply spring up and be upright if the pattern of slumping has been in the body for a long time.

What do you DO? 

First, I like to understand your goals and what you want to address.
  Past clients goals:
  • behavior awareness to succeed in the workplace
  • opening of the body because of limited posture (like the example of slumped shoulders)
  • increased breath capacity
  • fuller range of motion throughout the body
  • enjoyment of each area of the body rather than disliking one (belly, legs, arms, etc.)
  • to decrease anxiety
What might we do as experiments in the session?  Second, applied learning might include:
  • behavior examination and practice
  • guided relaxation or imagery
  • gentle range of motion exploration with all moving parts
  • sensory awareness experiments
  • passive and active stretching
  • mask work (so you use your body to communicate rather than face)
  • field trip to mall to observe and discuss behavior
If you would like to try Movement, which I call Moment Awareness Development, I am offering a workshop on Saturday May 15 from 9:30am -1pm in Altadena.  If you would like more information, please visit my website  Class size is limited.  Cost is $30 - space will not be reserved until payment is made.  Or feel free to email me or call me at 626-421-6296.

Copyright 2010 Heather Corwin
The Use of the Self
Bodystories: A Guide to Experiential AnatomyThe New Rules of Posture: How to Sit, Stand, and Move in the Modern World 

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Plants Clear the Air

Plants.  Are they just for nurturers and green thumbs?  Some relationship experts like Patti Stanger, CEO of the Milliionaire's Club, believe if a person does not tend to something like a plant or an animal over time, the person's ability to tend to a relationship can be questionable.  This is not to say that if you kill your plants, you kill your relationships - some people just are not good at reading plants. 

When I flew out to California to meet up with my now husband, I looked around his apartment and noticed he had NO plants.  Feng Shui was not in his vocabulary.  Now, this is a man who would over-commit and cram meetings or events in every available moment of his life.  Because he also suffers from allergies and has an extreme sensitivity to airborne irritants, I gifted him with two plants that are very clear when they need water - because they droop.  Ideally, they don't get to the drooping stage, but hey, nobody's perfect.

Plants help clear the air.   So which are great houseplants that communicate?

"Commonly used in shopping malls and office buildings because of the low level of care it requires, the Pothos is a vibrant, green plant, often with white and yellow variegation. It will tolerate low light and irregular watering. More plants can easily be grown from its cuttings." (read more)

"As far as watering is concerned, Peace Lilies prefer an evenly moist soil. Most people find that they can water their plants once a week, depending of course on light and temperature conditions. At lower light levels or cooler temperatures, any plant will use less water than when it is more actively growing. Use room temperature water. Soil should never be soggy, and plants should never stand in a saucer filled with water.  Peace Lilies do exhibit a sensitivity to chlorine in the water, so in metropolitan areas where it may be heavily chlorinated, it's best to allow the water to stand overnight to allow the chlorine to dissipate before watering the plants." (read more)

You may not grow an indoor garden, but these two plants are a great start.  They are often sold in supermarkets.  Give it a go!

Copyright 2010 Heather Corwin

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Allergies. Can they be stopped?

I tell you what, my nose running or my throat dry irritates me.  Here in L.A., it's almost a sure thing that I'll have one or the other at all times.  So what can I do about it?

  • drink plenty of water, 8 8oz. glasses are recommended per day (hydration can help your body function better to avoid full-blown allergies)
  • include local honey in diet (honey is a mixture of all the flowering plants in your area, ingesting honey has proven to decrease allergic reactions to these plants)
  • sleep (rest allows your body to regenerate, which encourages good immunity)
  • low stress 
  • humidifier (the Vicks UV Germ free is my favorite pictured below - I've tried MANY)
All of these actions will also help you have a healthier life and possibly live longer - and these actions have all been proven to decrease the likelihood of you suffering from allergies.
Happy Breathing!!!
Liberation from Allergies: Natural Approaches to Freedom and Better Health (Complementary and Alternative Medicine)Curing Airborne Allergies: A Revolutionary, Safe and Natural Approach for Adults and ChildrenVicks UV 99.999% Germ Free Humidifier
Copyright 2010 Heather Corwin

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Guilty Pleasures

I like to think of myself as an intelligent, focused, and successful woman.  So guilty pleasures don't always fit in my model of who I think I should be.  For the sake of this argument, I'm defining a guilty pleasure as something that I would not offer as information to someone whom I have just met.  For some people, they love pro wrestling, for others tabloids, and others love video games.  Who says these things are wrong if you love to do them?

The truth?  I LOVE romance novels!!!  There I said it. I love the formula of girl meets boy, boy annoys and intrigues girl, conflict ensues, and they triumph together.  I don't have to wonder if I'm going to feel good at the end of the story - I know I'll feel good.

When I'm stressed or I am facing a big life transition, my go to is romance novels.  These novels calm me down and get me out of my own story.  I get to think about people who often fear love but decide to fall nevertheless.  My favorite trilogy of all time is Nora Roberts Three Sisters Island Trilogy.  Now, I happen to enjoy magic and the idea of it.  If you have a problem with it (you were against reading Harry Potter) don't even think about reading this trilogy.  If you do enjoy a little magic and romance, you can thank me later.
Face the Fire (Three Sisters Island Trilogy)Dance upon the Air (Three Sisters Island Trilogy)Heaven and Earth (Three Sisters Island Trilogy)
Let me know what you think!

Copyright 2010 Heather Corwin

Monday, April 26, 2010

Behavior Defines You

I grew up with "actions speak louder than words."  That phrase is something I cling to when I'm unsure of how to proceed in a variety of relationships.  Sometimes, a person will try to confuse me with saying very kind things to me when he is behaving insincere.  Do you know that feeling?

Now, as I get older, I'm really savvy about this sort of thing - almost to the point of splitting hairs.  When I was younger, I would take someone at his word whereas now I lead with behavior.  Behavior never lies.  I sometimes mistakenly put how I would behave onto another; everyone operates differently.  You may have already experienced a sweet talking jerk.  A friend who embodies vastly different priorities then mine confuses me.

For example, I was thrilled when a new L.A. friend invited me to join her book club.  I wanted to be both in a book club and develop more friends; an exciting avenue to build community!  We had gone to one book club meeting together and I had promised to ride with her to the next - when I became engaged to be married to my wonderful man.  My new mother-in-law decided to make the 5 hour drive to see us the same weekend the book club was meeting.  Consequently, I canceled on my friend and the book club (about four days out).  My friend surprised me by being very upset that I was canceling plans when I had promised to go -- regardless of the reason.  I was shocked she did not share my sensibility regarding priorities and we had a falling out.

She could have written me off and/or I could have written her off, but we both chose not to do so.  Instead, I learned her very clear boundary of NEVER committing to something fully with her; I now give her a very probable maybe when agreeing to attend something.   It works for both of us.  She also is very aware of my stance that family comes first.  We're much better friends for it, and no other conflict has arisen in our few years of friendship.  Bottom line?  Every relationship has hiccups.  You determine if the areas you don't agree on are a deal breaker.  I was surprised to find a great learning about myself and my friend in the conflict.  Today she's a person I count on without hesitation.

Copyright 2010 Heather Corwin

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Thinking Creates Action

Do you ever hear in your head the judge who is trying to stop you from succeeding?  A great teacher, Alexandra Billings, calls them your parrots.  These are the collected voices from your past that haunt you when you are making decisions, small or large, that include risk.  Well, life is a risky business.

I'm sure there are many wonderful books out there that inspire people.  However, the only one that I've been told to read from people in my life who
  • I admire
  • have created success for themselves (CEO/Owner of company, Artisitic Director and phenomenal actor)
  • I consider to be inspirational
Think and Grow Rich: The Landmark Bestseller--Now Revised and Updated for the 21st Centuryall suggested reading  Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill.  It's a small book and easy to read.

You don't have to, but it will give those damn parrots something to chew on!

Copyright 2010 Heather Corwin

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Laughing Matters

There are times that I just need to laugh.  I'm hoping you agree with me that levity sure does make life easier - and creates memories that last for years!  Do you have a great laughter filled memory where you laughed so hard you couldn't catch your breath?

I remember times like these and they often become inside jokes.  For example, a very wonderful and dear friend of mine and I were going to a wedding of another friend.  As we drove from the city to the suburbs, we spotted a hot man driving a car (we were both single), so we were playfully trying to catch up with him.  When we did, he was picking his nose.  That started the hilarity - but that's not where it ended.  It turns out, when we happened to catch up with him again, that we knew him! He was also attending the wedding because he was a great friend of the groom whom we had known for years.  Plus, my friend had had a crush on him over a decade prior.  Awesome!  The profile didn't give him away, and the nose picking was very distracting.  We almost had to pull over from laughing so hard.  Later that night, we joked often about "digging for gold" and couldn't stop the giggles.

Real moments with surprises are often what make me laugh - and I love to laugh.  May your day be filled with many real moments, delightful surprises, and tear-filled laughter!!!

Copyright 2010 Heather Corwin

Friday, April 23, 2010

Getting Older Means Loss is Inevitable

When I was growing up, my best friend lived two blocks away from me.   I could call her last minute to hang out, go see a movie, or whatever.  We found ways to make everything tolerable through laughter and hanging out.  As an adult, I still want to believe that friendship can be in this form... it cannot.

Being an adult includes responsibilities like running a household, running a business, having a job, paying bills, and creating a structure to successfully manage all of these things.  That means I now have to set a time to hang out with friends - sometimes weeks out from the date - only to be disappointed because something comes up last minute (like an audition) to foil our best laid plans.

A wise woman pointed out to me that instead of focusing on the gap, or the elements I would like to have in my life, I should focus on the things I DO have in my life.  Friends don't come along every day, but I also can't force a friendship to be something I have shared with an amazing woman whom I've known since kindergarten.  History cannot be forced.  Nor can chemistry be forced.  Much the same as romantic relationships, a person cannot force love to appear.  If it comes, it comes.

I may not be thrilled with the idea that I cannot have a girlfriend I can call up anytime who will jump to hang out and chat - but I can save up to travel to meet my girlfriends at their home or at a destination of our choosing.  Since I know I want to reconnect with my friends - I will make it happen on my terms.  It's the adult thing to do!

Copyright 2010 Heather Corwin

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Relationships. Does it all come back to Family?

When the Past Is Present: Healing the Emotional Wounds that Sabotage our RelationshipsMost psychologists agree that family is a human's core relationship system, and is the most profound and long reaching you can have in your life.  These relationships occur pre-verbally.  Consequently, met and unmet needs you have from these relationships go on to inform the rest of your life.  However, that does not mean you cannot create awareness around these patterns, how they affect you, and work on your ability to change them.

The most direct way to learn about these patterns, so that you can begin to address and practice changing your reactions, is in a group.  Most commonly, group therapy is ideal for this very reason.  Private therapy or one on one is amazing, but it focuses only on you and does not put you in direct relationship with other people as does group therapy.  For this reason, group therapy is reputed to be more effective than one on one therapy.

Systems of Family Therapy: An Adlerian IntegrationFamily constellation work, introduced by Adler,  may also be a tool that your group uses.  Basically this works by using group members to play members of your family - sometimes beginning as a family portrait.  Through seeing your family this way and how you see yourself within that unit, you can more clearly determine how you participate in relationships, then and now. 

Regardless of embedded patterns of how a person operates, through awareness, courage, tenacity, and work, a person can evolve the creation of alternate choices in behavior that do result in happiness: in self and in relationships.

Copyright 2010 Heather Corwin

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Silence Can Nurture

Reclaiming Vitality and Presence: Sensory Awareness as a Practice for LifeDo you remember the deafening silence when the electricity goes out?  The first time I experienced the power going out, I was startled by how quiet the world seemed.  I loved it!  I didn't hear any subtle high pitched noises, no whirring, and no humming.  And then I noticed something else, my nervous system settled and I felt a calmness I didn't know existed.  I feel confident this is why I like to go into the woods and listen.

Think about it!  We have so many gadgets that plug in and make noise: computers, phones, televisions, stereos, refrigerators, microwaves, printers, faxes, fountains, air purifiers, central heat and air... the list is endless!  I'm grateful for these conveniences, and they have a presence that makes noise.  Plus, cars rumble; some more than others.  One of the reasons I purchased my Prius is for the silence and stillness I can enjoy when the gas engine disengages.  Heaven!

To cultivate silence and stillness in your life, you might try going swimming and go underwater.  There you have the double benefit of simulating prenatal experience with pure silence.  If you don't have a pool, a bath tub (and I add plenty of suds) will do.  

True silence is the rest of the mind; 
it is to the spirit what sleep is to the body, 
nourishment and refreshment.  
~William Penn

Silence is the true friend that never betrays.  

Silence is a source of great strength.  
Tao Te Ching~Lao Tzu 

Copyright 2010 Heather Corwin 

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Mindfulness in L.A.

The Miracle of MindfulnessAccording to Jonathan Kaplan, Ph.D., mindfulness"can be done without any extraordinary effort. Mindfulness is often mistakenly equated with meditation. This is not surprising. However, meditation is simply a way to practice mindfulness in a structured, dedicated way. It's akin to going to the gym in order to work-out, perhaps. You can get into shape by running around the neighborhood or taking the stairs more often. And, we can train our minds in the same way. We can have a dedicated practice (like a morning meditation session) or cultivate awareness through more informal, contextualized means" like reading something every day that inspires you.

" It encourages us to trust in our own experiences. Mindfulness does not require that you believe anyone or anything; it simply encourages you to notice what's happening. No one is a better expert on your experience in the present moment than you-and the same goes for me. I can't tell you what you're experiencing, and vice versa. If we stand side-by-side, we might share some environmental experiences in that space, like being in an 80 degree room or hearing a siren outside. However, our perceptions and judgments of these experiences are likely to be very different. I might find the room hot and the siren annoying, while you might relish the warmth and extend a blessing to the people responding to an apparent emergency." (Kaplan, 2010).

One City: A Declaration of Interdependence"(Mindfulness) helps us get over our selves. Within U.S. culture, we spend a lot of time thinking about ourselves. Through the adoption of a mindful perspective, we're better able to recognize our commitments to and connections with the people around us. Particularly in an urban setting, we can't do it alone. We rely on others to make sure that we have electricity, running water, curbside garbage disposal, public transit options, etc. And, I'm willing to bet that you didn't make the shirt you're wearing. For a more detailed treatise on this principle, I'd recommend reading One City by Ethan Nichtern" (Kaplan, 2010).

So, hey!  You've already practiced some mindfulness today by reading this!  Way to be!

Copyright 2010 Heather Corwin

Monday, April 19, 2010

Storing Memories for Future Generations

All About Me. - Millenium EditionDo you ever wonder what your parents were like when they were in their 20's?  30's?  Do you wonder how much you've grown and what's changed about you?   All About Me is a wonderful book that will help you chronicle your life presently.  As an actor, getting to know yourself is crucial to your ability to augment parts of yourself to create a character.  All About Me is a splendid way to do that - and to share with your kids when they're your age now so they can know you in stages.

All About UsAnother version - THAT IS A GREAT WEDDING GIFT - is All About Us. My husband I had a blast filling this out during our engagement.  Again, great to pass down generations if you're interested in that sort of thing.

Copyright 2010 Heather Corwin