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Simple stories can give a sweet taste of wisdom. Cued by a compact wisdom tale passed on by friend and colleague William Hall, co-hosts Ted and Lisa wonder about purpose, sweetness, and gratitude in the midst of certain danger. The episode starts with a game that Ted created a while back but hasn’t gotten to play much and a Monster Baby milestone (…
 
When is the right time to act or to speak? So much of being skillful with life is getting in rhythm with one’s self and one’s surroundings. In Monster Baby #85, Ted and Lisa explore bunches of angles on timing. The episode starts with a game Lisa recently learned (3:06) and a recap of the recent apocalyptic day in the San Francisco Bay Area (8:04).…
 
Hmm. Things seem somewhat muted these days. How do you dance with your doldrums? Yup. We’re still in a pandemic and it looks like we will be for quite a bit longer. In this episode, Ted and Lisa take stock of that fact and look to transform their feeling a bit down…by acknowledging that they feel down. Ted starts things off with a check-in about so…
 
Where’s *your* focus? Where do you want it to be? Spurred by a suggestion from a Chicago-based listener, Ted and Lisa gallop into a conversation about focus. They start with a rousing round of the new game “D’jever?” (1:54) before Ted kicks off the topic by mentioning the simultaneous different focus tracks in his brain (6:32). Lisa wonders about t…
 
Screenwriter, Improvisor and Stanford instructor, Adam Tobin Communications expert, author and Stanford GSB instructor, Matt Abrahams Effective collaboration brings great joy. How the heck does it happen? In Part 2 of their two-episode conversation, Lisa, Ted, and Stanford colleagues Matt Abrahams and Adam Tobin (of the “Improvisationally Speaking”…
 
Screenwriter, Improvisor and Stanford instructor, Adam Tobin Communications expert, author and Stanford GSB instructor, Matt Abrahams Speaking on the spot can be tough. And you can get better at it! In the first part of a two-episode conversation with Stanford colleagues Matt Abrahams and Adam Tobin, Lisa and Ted dive into the details of “Improvisa…
 
It’s a Monster Baby birthday: time to consider some improv wisdom! On the 4thanniversary of Monster Baby’s first episode, Lisa and Ted celebrate by going through a recent blog post from their mentor, Patricia Ryan Madson. They start with the obligatory COVID check-in—we are going through a world-changing pandemic after all (2:10). Lisa makes refere…
 
Photo by Mohamed Hassan from pxhere.com. That’s the thing about half-baked ideas: they could be gems; they could be duds. In a bit of frivolous departure from their usual deliberations, Ted and Lisa take up the fun task of considering a few half-baked ideas for coronavirus-inspired potential new products. Ted kicks off the episode with a couple ran…
 
Are you an extrovert or an introvert? Are you sure? In their continued adjustment to living with the reality of a world-sweeping pandemic, Ted and Lisa turn their attention to one of their most noticeable differences. They start the episode by acknowledging the challenging circumstances of the time (1:49) and then begin by introducing the very conc…
 
How do you make sense of living under lockdown? As citizens of the San Francisco Bay Area, Ted and Lisa have been holed up in their respective homes as the coronavirus crisis continues to unfold. Recorded over Zoom, they start this episode by considering their usual tolerance for germs (2:01) and then check in about their latest thoughts and feelin…
 
How can you play if your string is too tight or too slack? Finding the right amount of tension matters hugely: in improv, in mindfulness, and in life. Along those lines, Ted and Lisa mine a moment of tension from the last podcast episode (1:48) before drawing on some wisdom from the worlds of astrology and Buddhism (8:09). Lisa explains how her imp…
 
Lisa Rowland and Ted DesMaisons Should you tell your story—or step out of it? Storytelling: it’s a topic that lies at the center of both improvisation and mindfulness practices. After recognizing that this episode has been a long time coming (2:14), Ted and Lisa dive into how foundational stories are, starting with the example of the stories we tel…
 
Lisa Rowland and Ted DesMaisons What can you learn from improv without ever taking an improv class? After catching up a bit after a long stretch away from the podcast, Lisa and Ted reflect on a recent article in the Stanford alumni magazine that quotes each of them. Ted starts the episode with some thoughts on his recent trip to Maui and the curiou…
 
Lisa Rowland and Ted DesMaisons What if this (and every day) were the best day ever? Finding inspiration from their everyday interactions with others, Ted and Lisa offer up a Monster Baby grab bag of musings and insights. After opening up with a rousing game of Convergence (2:19), Lisa starts the conversation off by wondering about discipline in he…
 
Sivasailam “Thiagi” Thiagarajan, renowned facilitator, game maker, and general wizard. “You don’t solve problems in life. You keep reconciling paradoxes.” –Thiagi Every now and then—if you’re lucky—you get to spend time “under a mango tree” in the presence of a true master. For Monster Baby Episode #67, Lisa and Ted had such a treat: chatting with …
 
“Check here if you got it done.” Who holds you accountable? Even just a little addition of accountability can make a huge difference in the behavioral choices we make. What the heck makes that work? Given an unexpected gift of time and inspired by an agreement Ted has recently made with a buddy of his, Ted and Lisa dive into Monster Baby episode #6…
 
Image courtesy of publicdomainpictures.net. What happens if you conspire for joy? Joy’s a huge part of improv—and hopefully, a huge part of life. On Monster Baby #65, Ted and Lisa explore the ins and outs of this delicious emotion. They start with a laugh-worthy warm-up game of “Convergence” (2:03) and a recap of Lisa’s great day (7:55). Ted distin…
 
When to say yes and when to say no—how do we know? Both improv and mindfulness teach us to say yes to the unfolding story of life. But is that the whole story? On this, Monster Baby podcast episode #64, co-hosts Lisa and Ted explore the tension between the poles of yes and no, starting with Lisa’s recent thinking on the subject (1:40). The pair dis…
 
Can you quiet your Inner Critic and nourish your Inner Coach? Few things block your creativity more than the nastiness of the voices inside your own head. And it’s true for all of us. On episode #63 of the Monster Baby podcast, Lisa and Ted sit down with creativity evangelist, Denise Jacobs, to explore insights and recommendations from her book Ban…
 
You are truly special. As is everyone else. Once more, the Monster Baby Podcast shows its affinity for paradox, this time diving into the topic of uniqueness. Ted and Lisa open with a check-in: Ted’s got lottery tickets for Hamilton and the pair struggles for Greek mythological references to describe their state of being (2:26) They continue their …
 
Some family stories are unconventional from the start. Stepping into a vulnerable arena, Lisa shares her consideration of having a child on her own. Ted and Lisa start with an insight about improv and love from Lisa’s recent class (1:59) and note the ways that our environments help shape who and how we are (8:07). Lisa speaks openly about how her d…
 
Have you ever wanted to get a creative vision into the world? In Monster Baby episode #60, Lisa and Ted celebrate the release of Ted’s new book, Playful Mindfulness into the world! The conversation starts with some reflections on Ted’s current voice and presence class (2:14) before Ted describes the error-finding process of bringing the book to com…
 
What behavior do you really want to encourage? Today’s episode starts with the mind-blowing wonder of Lisa’s recent night out at a magic show (1:41) before Lisa and Ted together jump into the realm of positive reinforcement (11:30). Ted helps clarify some commonly misused terminology (17:59) before sharing some thoughts about the game “Dolphin Trai…
 
Nothing like a near-disaster experience to get you thinking. Lisa and Ted return to the ambient sounds of the Stanford University campus to share Ted’s frightening story of almost taking his friend Dan’s life (3:15). Our intrepid pair again dive into the topic of vulnerability, especially as amplified when we’re stepping out into the world (11:10).…
 
Want to know what you let in and what you let out? Time to check your filters! For the first episode of another new year, Ted and Lisa lean under the hood to check the topic of filters. Per usual, they start with why the topic interests them (1:25) and then move onto identifying those filters that get in the way of our creative output (4:58). Some …
 
Does our humanness lie within our tenderness? Let’s dive into the topic of vulnerability and see what we find! Lisa’s back from her month-long junket to Europe and Ted’s got a Thanksgiving tale or two (1:37) before the pair explains why they wanted to explore the topic of vulnerability (11:25). Ted introduces Brené Brown’s definition of the term (1…
 
Why not just try some s**t out? In Episode #55, Ted and Lisa extol the virtues of bringing a spirit of experimentation to all of life. The pair starts by catching up on Lisa’s improv exploits over in Germany (2:26) and by articulating the differences between Halloween rituals there in Deutschland versus those here stateside (7:52). Ted gets the top…
 
Improvisation takes care of all of who we are. In this episode, Lisa and Ted continue their two-part conversation with longtime improv stalwart and new author, Dan O’Connor. (If you haven’t heard Part 1, you might want to start there.) Dan discusses two of the “stickiest” concepts from Life Unscripted (1:09) and the trio discusses how to move into …
 
How do we break free from the stale scripts we’ve been living by? Lisa and Ted have a two-part conversation with longtime improv stalwart and new author, Dan O’Connor, to find out. Ted and Lisa welcome Dan by showing him a fresh version of his hot-off-the-presses book, Life Unscripted (1:57) and learn how he got connected with his co-author, Dr. Je…
 
What did Lisa learn at clown camp? Still a bit hazy from her experience off in the woods of Northern Ontario, Lisa reports back in on her experiences training to clown. Ted and Lisa start by acknowledging the typically chilly conditions of late-summer San Francisco (2:14) before Lisa jumps into explaining the basics of “Baby Clown” (4:45). Lisa tel…
 
The conversation with Joe Bill goes wider and deeper. When legendary improvisor Joe Bill arrived in San Francisco to teach and perform, Ted and Lisa seized the opportunity and wrangled up a whirring, stirring conversation about improv, psychology, surviving childhood—and a whole lot more. Listen in for Part 2 of their Monster Baby cup of Joe. (If y…
 
Joe Bill’s an improv luminary with a brilliant mind that careens joyfully between gutter-level explicitness and spiritual truth—oh wait, are they different? When Joe came to San Francisco to teach and perform, Ted and Lisa cranked up the podcast for a two-part conversation that runs the gamut. Part 1 of the conversation starts with the story of Joe…
 
Speaking up is one of the most natural—and most frightening—things we humans do. With Ted back from a month-long voice and speech training in Manhattan and Lisa back from a few weeks at summer camp, Episode #49 takes on the topic of stepping up and speaking out. Ted opens the conversation with his reasons for proposing the topic and why speech repr…
 
The devil may live in the details—but’s that’s probably because he likes the magic there. In Monster Baby Episode, #48, Ted and Lisa discuss the challenges, joys, and benefits of getting specific. They start with a few leftovers from last episode’s discussion on Emotions (2:20) and a new version of the old-standby warm-up game, Three Things (12:01)…
 
Pull out the pillows and the tissue paper—Monster Baby Episode #47 gets emotional. Or, more accurately, gets into emotions. Lisa and Ted start with some reflections on Lisa’s end of term teaching improv at Stanford (2:27) and working through some “leftovers” from last episode—including how do you stay calm when performing I front of a room (6:28) a…
 
What does it mean to be creative? Do you qualify? In Monster Baby #46, Lisa and Ted mix it up with the muses, exploring the boundaries and qualities of this thing called “creativity.” They start with a riff on poinsettias and mouth noises—hint: Lisa likes the former and hates the latter (1:08)—and acknowledge their entry into the discussion is a bi…
 
If you’re looking for some action, you’ve come to the right place! In Monster Baby Episode #45, Lisa and Ted consider the many ramifications of action in a life of mindfulness and improvisation. They start by considering what associations the word brings to mind (1:58) and then describe where action shows up in each of their lives—including a menti…
 
Ted and Lisa are working the levers of status: who’s got it, how it’s communicated, how we get good at playing with it—and more. On this, the Monster Baby Podcast’s 2nd birthday, our intrepid pair starts by giving away a scholarship slot for their upcoming Mindful Play, Playful Mind retreat (1:43) and then by getting into Keith Johnstone’s work aro…
 
There’s wisdom in them thar’ bodies—so it’s time to get physical! Lisa and Ted open Episode #43 with an audacious shot at a free slot in their upcoming Mindful Play, Playful Mind retreat (3:37) and a bit of a juicy story (6:31). Lisa wonders if mindfulness can ever be robustly physical (8:58) and if it, counter to common understanding, actually pul…
 
Limiting beliefs get into us from a young age—how the heck can we undo or at least disarm them? In this Monster Baby episode, Ted and Lisa play with some tools and generate some hacks from the worlds of mindfulness and improvisation. The episode begins with a check-in from Lisa’s recent junket to Singapore (1:39) and a warm-hearted invitation to th…
 
In honor of Valentine’s Day, Lisa and Ted dive into the topic of love in its many forms. They start by checking the legendary history of St. Valentine (1:45) and wonder if maybe St. Patrick is deserving of similar attention (3:19). They ask what the word “love” really means anyway (5:56) and then consider overlaps between love and mindfulness (8:17…
 
Responding to a listener question (thanks, Shannon!), Ted and Lisa start to explore the world of expectations. Some initial responses (1:56) give way to another question: if we don’t have expectations, can we be disappointed? (6:04) Lisa delineates between expectations of what—as in, the end results—vs expectations of how—as in, the process (9:00) …
 
How did the Monster Baby Facebook fast go? Lisa starts with her results and notices the power of habit, voyeurism and what it means to think in status updates (5:03). Ted reports about noticing loneliness and boredom but also renewed mental clarity and lessened need for comparison (7:58). Lisa mentions how Facebook serves as a space-filler and how …
 
For this more free-form episode, Ted and Lisa share what’s been on their minds recently. Ted starts by considering how his relationship to technology has been affecting his sense of presence (2:21). That leads to a discussion of the addictive nature of Facebook, its effect on the experience of community (6:20) and a commitment to try a Facebook fas…
 
On the eve of a New Year, Lisa and Ted consider the value of fresh starts. They begin with some numerical musings (2:29) and warm up with a round of the classic improv game “New Choice.” (7:21) They explore how New Year’s resolutions and how improv heightens our awareness of newness in any given moment (13:35) before discussing how “imprinting” can…
 
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