Amidst, the life with over laden pressure of assignments, presentations and exams etc., the week long theatre classes came as a solace. At first it seemed like “what a waste of time?” it would be better to give a holiday instead of this” was the attitude we carried with us in the beginning of the workshop. We were apprehensive as on how it will make me an inspired leader of us or even a better person.

But, the course on Pillars of Inspired Leadership through Theatre has changed the way we look up at life. It has transformed us in some way or the other, and has only helped us in understanding so many feelings within and also made us understand that there isn’t one right and a wrong.

The theatre classes brought in within us a new wave of energy and enthusiasm, an inner fearlessness to come out of our shells. It seemed day’s long fun for us at the superficial level but, when we went back and reflected on the day’s experiences, it brought out such hidden treasures of learning. It brought us near to ourselves and enhanced our self – awareness. Emotions define what we are as people, and so often we fail to understand our emotions ourselves; because as people we have never given enough weight-age to our own emotions. At times, we don’t even realize these feelings and emotions within us. At such a point and time, theatre helps us in evolving and makes us vulnerable enough to be able to face our own strengths, weaknesses, joys, sorrow, and guilt; and shed the shackles of self-consciousness. It helps continue the tense of the earlier sentence in the para in understanding our inner selves and being aware of what things motivate us in life.

What I learned was that, each one of us has considerable amount of potential in us but because of the fear of criticism or the fear that people will laugh at us we do not express. It bogs us down and hampers our self – confidence, and this is where the theatre class helped rejuvenate that confidence in us. Theatre not only boosts your self confidence, rather it works on empathy, collaboration, trust, concentration, memory and fun. Each activity performed right from the start of the day had something to build upon your competence. Be it the trust exercise of free falling or neuro-linguistic programming, which helped in experiencing the depth of our inner selves. It was astonishing to see that we were able to go back in time and feel that exact moment of fear, anxiety, happiness and guilt. It helped me comprehend the complexities of ethics in life, where there is only a very thin line between right and wrong.

Theatre taught us the 5 pillars of SOIL exceptionally well and how we have to implement them in our day to day lives.

While performing an act, mindfulness plays a very critical role. To be aware of your surroundings, your co-performers, the audience all these require you to be mindful of whatever is happening in the act. To be observant and receptive to your audience always benefits and makes the act bidirectional. Wherein the audiences are imbibing what the performers are showing them and simultaneously a parallel conversation is happening and the performers are reciprocating to their audience and their reactions. The performers communicate through their eyes, voice, ears, expressions and gestures and the receivers respond through their eyes, expressions and gestures. Mindfulness also extends to covering up for each other’s mistakes during an act even before the onlookers realize it.

A theater performance is a beautiful blend of different people from diverse backgrounds coming together. Putting to rest their differences, shedding their inhibitions and performing as one while helping each other. Diversity is not necessarily restricted to people. There is diversity within us – interesting observation!. The different emotions that we emote are a perfect example of diversity within us. The ability to express different emotions in different situations of a performance and still be able to be the same is something worth the effort. How about the diversity brought about by the conflicting emotions we feel?

Be true to yourself, only then can you be true to your values and to others. Theater is one of the most impactful ways of expressing your ethical dilemma just as we did in our workshop. Theatre not only helped me in unleashing my personality but also helped me understand the fundamental questions of ethical behavior. We face ethical dilemma every now and then in our lives. Being mindful and looking at the situation from all perspectives, we can be better human beings. Theatre gave us power to introspect, and identify as to what is that we truly need in our life to make us happy and what our fears are!. The code of ethics from theatre taught me how important it is to respect co-actors/co-workers and how the stage/workplace needs to be shared and the presence of all the co-actors/co-workers needs to be addressed, without forming any opinions and letting go of our preconceived judgments.

Using the resources available to their best potential, be it the performers or usage of props for a performance is an example of sustainability. “Using the right resources for right amount at the right time” is the true meaning of Sustainability. Creating characters for a performance, choosing suitable performers for each character listing the props needed and their usage, all this when we employ in our personal lives, we can become more conscious of our usage of the resources and hence contribute to sustainability in our small but very effective way.

Compassion is the ability to be able to put yourself in other’s shoes, think as that person and then act. Theater teaches us the same thing. In order to do justice to any role in a performance, it is important to put yourself in the character’s shoes, think like that character and then do what the character would have done. With time, putting ourselves in others’ shoes will come naturally to us and that day, we will be in a position to show compassion without any hesitation.

In the end, I am really grateful to SOIL for giving me these precious learning and memorable experiences of the year. The learning and energy this workshop has given me will help me propelling myself to give my best in all aspects of life.

Well done!

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