We are NOT Non Essential


WE ARE NOT “NON- ESSENTIAL” – And here’s why. 

I’m sure most of you have seen or heard the blaring announcements. You know, the ones that demand that businesses currently considered “non-essential” in some states must close their doors for the time being in light of the Coronavirus. So on today’s blog, I’d like to dive into that aggressive label and unpack it, from a “non essential” business employee’s perspective. 

Before we dig in, I recently wrote a blog post about the impact of the Coronavirus and what our four -man (well really three man and one woman) team at Dearing Acting Studio plans to do in the meantime. Spoiler alert, we’re only going to push harder. You can check out that post HERE

Let me be real with you guys. In no way is this post meant to argue that the list of essential businesses are not essential, but rather a wake-up call and perspective shift for those who do rely on the myriad of “non-essential” businesses to survive everyday life. This isn’t about what’s fair and what’s not. This isn’t about shaming our leaders who are trying to exhaust every option as best they can. This is about pulling back the curtain on the undoubtable impact these small or large “non-essential” businesses have on society and the mental, emotional and physical health of those around us. 

**Warning** You’re going to see me using the word “non-essential” a lot in this post, and it’s sure not because it’s helping our SEO data by any means. I’m repeatedly using this word to make an important statement about the fact that one simple man-made definition has affected human beings more than people may assume. 

So, what does it mean? 

An article from Business Insider details the difference between businesses that are considered essential and non-essential here in this post. To give you a quick break down, essential businesses are deemed as “businesses that people rely on in everyday life.” 

Want to take a guess on what is first on the list of non- essentials? I’ll give you a hint: it’s not big-box stores.

You guessed it. Theaters. When I first read that “theaters” were first on this list, I was like:

We are NOT "Non-Essential" 

I foolishly took it personally because we spend so much time as artists defending our craft. Our grind is absolutely rewarding, but it’s tough.

Wait! Stop what you may be thinking! This does not mean in any way that we have been deemed “unimportant”. No one is personally coming after arts-based facilities. This is happening in support of ensuring people will be safe and healthy, and of course that means to stay away from large groups of people. Totally get that. 

And it’s happening. This crisis has left businesses no choice but to shut down. One by one, companies all over the world have sent statements expressing their sincere heartbreak that they have to close their doors because they have been recognized as “non-essential”. There is an extremely small percentage of businesses in the world who are fighting back and breaking the barrier that’s been built around them.

The Dearing Acting Studio is one of them.  

Do I even need to say it? 

I feel like I don’t need to rant about how important creative arts (in many forms) are for people of all ages. This means Dance. Yoga. Photography. Journalism. Theatre. I could go on and on. These art forms offer so much for the brain, mind, body and soul. The dreams we pursue feed on the positivity that comes from doing something good for yourself and pushing to become better. Here’s the thing, though. In times of scarcity and uncertainty, our brains go into fight or flight mode and push our mental and emotional balance to the back burner. This also means making budget cuts within your own life and cutting back- and typically the first ones to go are the self-practices that feed your soul. 

In my case, I work for an Acting Studio in Arizona that flips the script on what it means to be an “actor”. We use the vehicles of script and improvisation in connection with personal development. We just want to help people be better people and change lives. Our mission at Dearing Acting Studio is to inspire others to “act with passion” and realize their true potential as human beings through connecting personal development with mastery level training in the art of acting. In other words we are here to help with your thought life. We are here to help bring you joy, laughter and an escape from the negativity. We are here to inspire you to be the best version of you possible.

 A Quick Reminder 

Just to refresh your memory, here’s a few reasons why Theater in particular is so great for you. 

  1. Theater promotes power, discovery and growth. It is often used as a caveat to pose questions, create and visualize storytelling, and symbolize ubiquitous truths. 
  2. It allows for self expression, healing, and community. People need other people who share their passions. Legacy’s are built this way.  
  3. Theater is for the common good. It is alive and thriving. It is ever-evolving and breathes magic into self-reflection and unified representation. 

The Truth

We know that what’s “good” for you does not come before feeding your family and making sure your bills are paid. Of course not.

But what about the businesses that protect your mental and emotional health? What many don’t understand is that the two necessities are absolutely connected. When you are taking care of yourself mentally, emotionally and physically, you are able to 10x for the people in your life and in the work that keeps food on the table.

Through this crisis, we are seeing countless businesses shutting down. We are seeing a massive disappointment and wave of sadness because outlets for creativity are being taken away. 

Let me be clear

Again, this is not an accusation being thrown at the people that are doing everything they can to protect us. We are so appreciative of every effort that is being put out to limit the spread of this monster. But perhaps we consider this; instead of shutting down non essential businesses, let us change the language. Let’s encourage and inspire businesses to find a way to innovate, grow, collaborate and come together. To connect in unprecedented ways so we can strengthen the heart beat of this country and keep our spirits thriving.

Days before we made the decision to close our doors physically, we committed wholeheartedly to creating a virtual environment through which our students could continue to communicate with each other and grow as human beings. We committed to using this time of darkness to double down on our giving and we have been working non-stop to create ongoing “light driven” content that we can give away in this time when people need it the most. And we are not alone. There are many others around the world who have figured out how to inspire others be it with online teachings, content, and most importantly, love. 

How can we help? 

I figured a great way to end this blog would be to post a stream of positive articles for you to read through in order to know and feel that there is a lot of good out there right now. Our hope is that we will all come together to support these businesses, and support each other.

Lastly, if you own a small business and you’re interested in learning about what we’re doing, in the arts field or otherwise, we want to help. If you are looking for ways to innovate and make your business accessible, feel free to contact us and we’d be happy to brainstorm on ways to help you continue serving your community. 

Spread the positivity. 

Check out the amazing businesses in the world going above and beyond for their supporters. 

  • Joyful Yoga, the spectacular yoga studio I teach at have also been forced to shut their doors. My owner, Charla Lewis hosted a virtual world healing meditation today. The purpose was to send healing love to our planet in the company of others. Almost 100 people attended. You can check out the post here
  • Here’s an awesome post  from the The Gleaner. This article highlights a group of local women writing positive messages with sidewalk chalk so people will have an uplifting message to see. 
  • This article from Good Morning America shares an entire list of heartwarming efforts people are making amidst the virus. 
  • Kimberly Lewis, of Dance Studio 111 in Phoenix, has also taken classes online. The studio is live streaming dance classes, live baking and cooking, and even bedtime stories to their sea of students who currently cant practice in studio. You can find them on instagram here
  • Devin Booker of the Phoenix Suns has pledged to donate $100,000 to Coronavirus relief efforts by live-streaming games on twitch.
  •  Hawthorn Court, a Senior assisted living home in Ahwatukee, Arizona is providing window visiting hours to invite family members to interact with their elderly family members as they cannot go inside the building. 

Let’s spread more love, positivity, joy, and passion. We are all in this together. 

Joseph Sweeney