Of those of us who have been working in theatre and neuroscience for several decades, some, like me, have also been immersed in the business environment. What I’ve learned is that there is a cost paid by employees in the Information Age and what I’ve developed is an antidote to the perceptual limitations which befall workers living the connected lifestyle.
Recently there have been a large number of articles in popular as well as business publications such as “You’ve Asked Are My Devices Messing With My Brain?” TIME May 13, 2015. The answer is a resounding “yes”. And, yes, there is a way to have your digital cake and enjoy it, too, as long as you learn to repair the damage: to auto-restore that part of your perceptual field which has been affected. Your hard-wired perceptual sequencing risks actually being diminished over time — short-circuited if you like — and this can affect the quality of your life. The shrinking of the perceptual skills we are born with creates a state of chronic low-grade stress and makes us feel chased by time instead of being able to elegantly ride it.
Having been officially invited to France by the French consulate in New York as early as 1993 for what was then only termed a “new therapy through the theatre” and steering clear of the academic territorial jostling concerning naming new approaches, we’ve kept the emphasis squarely on the deep and radical connection between performance and biology.
Restoring damaged perceptual sequencing is a very pragmatic mission, for without intact perceptual skills life quality suffers. This was the initial product of the approach and as technological development happened, the need for it grew as the harm to perceptual quality markedly increased.
Imagine my surprise when in 1986 my hands shook as I read the syllabus to a course called Performance and Biology given at The Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. As perception is fundamental to all other human endeavors, whether IQ, EQ, altruism, art, science, happiness, sport, business, or health it was a worthy focus, but little did any of us know what was to come.
At the beginning, the approach was used to correct the effects of living at machine speed in Western industrialized nations. Now we’re living at digital speed and the need is greater than ever, and the symptoms, once subtle, are now visibly disrupting people’s lives and careers.
Thus far, over 2,000 individuals in Western cultures have taken the core six-hour training module. These participants have come from business, performing arts and life sciences with equal benefits received. People in the US, Italy, France, Slovenia and Nova Scotia have found refreshment, rest, perceptual restoration and new confidence through a fascinating series of exercises which are easy to do and though physical, are not strenuous. Needless to say, the development has been interdisciplinary and the mastery of several disciplines takes time.
For a long time the experiential module, which always focused on restoring perceptual sequencing, served the growth of awareness and built executive presence. Now, the recent explosion of expressed need in business environments for developing emotional intelligence [EQ] has opened a new chapter of relevance for BioArt.
Self awareness and impulse control are fundamental factors of EQ, but we can also use the distilled essence of classical theatre skills to strengthen the nervous system itself. The added value is in health, creativity, EQ, professional presence, renewed motivation and powers of concentration. And I say classical acting because the popularity of the more self-indulgent method acting only came about because of the advent of television and the proximity of those actors to television’s need for bodies in the 1950’s in New York. Classical technique for body and voice does not depend upon mood. It dates back as far as 534 BCE, and is just as valid today. What else is classical acting but a biological artform ?
The greatest good news is that once your perceptual sequencing is restored, you can cause neuronal growth in the brains of your audiences to a higher degree than usual, whether those people are clients, colleagues or family members. This is not an intellectual exercise, it is a physical skill you can learn and practice, at will.
Another boon is that, rather than being additive, the work is subtractive. The initial clarifying module can be carried out in six hours with three breaks. It is voluntary and participants enjoy it. It can be built upon, certainly, but I teach you to drive the car of your nervous system and then give you the keys after one workshop of six hours. Bringing added value to your profession through your skills is one thing, but “becoming” added value gives you a new level of meaning in living and working which has been sorely missing in our increasingly busy lives.
Madeleine Barchevska is a top multinational coach with over 15 years of corporate training experience. She holds parallel credentials from an award winning art and science base, has coached top sellers and management from C-Level to team management. Madeleine creates training modules to serve scientific discoveries and answer the needs of employee well-being.