Mindful Improv Thinking explored
A funny thing happened on the way to Bluffton University’s fall 2022 Spiritual Life Week. 2010 alumnus Andrea Flack-Wetherald, a social worker turned improv performer turned best-selling author, served as the guest speaker as student’s explored Ephesians 4:29-32 and the theme “Let’s Talk… About Building Each Other Up.”
Recognizing the resilience of today’s young people, she reminded students that every day is an opportunity for collaboration, finding joy and tackling big issues and tools such as mindfulness and improv can be a big help.
“The future is being built now. This is improv,” said Flack-Wetherald. “What we’re doing right now is improv, and we still have the option of engaging the scene differently and building a future we don’t have to be scared of.”
Using what she calls “Mindful Improv Thinking,” Flack-Wetherald also provided some deep truths during Forum:
We are all more than the worst thing about us.
All that exists was built by imperfect people.
THIS moment is the moment that matters most.
The future is being created now. Good things are still possible.
I am surrounded by millions of scene partners: seen and unseen.
It is helpful to do my part, not everyone’s part.
Later in the week, Flack-Wetherald shared a message on forgiveness during Chapel which resonated with Deborah Yoder ’23, an English major from Listowel, Ontario.
“One thing that stuck with me was when she shared that forgiveness does not make us good people, it sets us free,” explained Yoder. “It sets of us free from frustration and anger and all the baggage of the past so that we can focus on working towards the future we want. To see the possibilities of today, we need to let go of the disappointments and hurts of yesterday.”
“Let’s Talk” has also served as the theme for Bluffton’s ministry team during the fall semester and connects to Bluffton’s year-long Civic Engagement theme of creating space for authentic conversations.
“We went with this theme knowing it was an important topic for our campus community, and I’m so happy Andrea’s understanding of forgiveness rang true for our students,” said Chalsi Campbell ’12, campus pastor.
Each semester, students play a major role in planning Spiritual Life Week activities which helps students strengthen their relationship with God. The week includes guest speakers and special times of worship.
Previous themes have included “God’s Calling,” “Echoes in Eternity,” and “Living and Trusting the Word of God.”
Spiritual Life Week will return during the spring 2023 semester with Georgia Metz, a 2013 Bluffton graduate and pastor at Shalom Mennonite Congregation, leading discussions.