Taking stock of 2022...
Eckhart Tolle says, “Realize deeply that the present moment is all you have.” I have been getting better at doing this. But post-pandemic, post-lockdown, post-chaos of the Trump years, it seems for me (and for others I know), that it is harder to stay in the present, takes longer to complete basic tasks, feels like time is slipping away at a fast pace and, conversely, moving like molasses. Additionally, there's been a great deal of sadness, loss, and, for me, a deep desire to spend as much time as possible with loved ones. In 2022, I acted on this desire more than anything else. I traveled to Alabama to see my parents and Bama family and friends in September (and got to see Mom’s art on exhibit at Aldridge Gardens!) and again in November when we all went to my beautiful cousin Mimi’s memorable wedding. I spent the entire month of July in London with my sister Alicia (well actually, in Richmond, plus a few side trips to Bath, Brighton, and unexpectedly Dublin!). Alicia was in London most of last year working as the main DP for Season 3 of Bridgerton (we are so proud of her!). Dale and I traveled to Elko for a celebration of life in June. My sister-in-law’s son left this earth way too soon. I traveled to Calgary twice to see Keith Johnstone and my Calgary “family” (the first time in August with Dale and Sofie. We drove through the breathtaking Canadian Rockies). For Thanksgiving, we brought my niece, Amanda, to our home in Portland for ten fun-filled days, including visits from my aunt, uncle, cousins, and my mentor/friend Dr. Theresa May and her hubby Larry (also a dear friend!). Not to mention several happy reunions with former students, countless meals and puppy play dates with our friends, Meg & Jeff (and Sofie’s besties, Olive & Archie), happy hours, coffee dates, and backyard BBQs (with veggies from Dale’s garden) with Portland friends, students, and colleagues, and numerous Zoom meetups with family and friends far and wide.
Professionally, it never ever feels like I accomplish as much as I set out to do at the beginning of each year, and yet, I only need to look back to realize I did, indeed, do a significant amount of stuff! The present moment may be all we have but taking stock of what has transpired over the past 12 months feels necessary to bring a more balanced understanding of where I am currently situated. I longed to do more writing, reading, exercising, and Oregon sightseeing in 2022. I did some of these things in small doses in between other important, challenging work. I wrote a foreword to my friend Nick Sorensen’s terrific book, The Improvising Teacher: Reconceptualising Pedagogy, Expertise and Professionalism, published by Routledge just a few months ago. I continued work with a benevolent team of Portland State University professors from Applied Linguistics, Speech & Hearing, and World Languages on an “Applied Improvisation for Communication” participatory, qualitative research project. I directed the world premiere of Quality of Death by my friend and colleague Ruth Jenkins, a play that poignantly explores end-of-life decisions. I started my third-year of teaching at The Actors Conservatory (TAC) and my fifth-year teaching at PSU. Last spring I was honored with a prestigious PSU Academic Excellence Award for Adjunct Faculty. My Impro Lab studio class at TAC for actors, directors, and experienced improvisers has grown and we did our first performance/demo in December for a full, enthusiastic audience. I didn’t have as much applied improvisation work in 2022 as I did in previous years, but the work I did engage in was quite fulfilling. One highlight was applying the tools of impro to attunement in difficult situations with a small team of public guardians during their retreat at one of my favorite hotels, McMenamin’s Kennedy School. It was a moving experience and the team continued to apply the impro tools beyond our workshop. Thanks to Patrick Short for the opportunity and for many of the AI opportunities I’ve had since moving to Oregon.
So on the last day of my winter break, this retrospection felt good. I feel somewhat lighter now, ready for what comes next. Below are a few photo highlights from 2022. Now, back to the present moment—lunch and a cup of loose-leaf tea from Bath in my Banff bear mug followed by a walk with my sweet Sofie while the sun is peaking through the rain clouds.