Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Improv and Presence…

November 1, 2006 by  
Filed under Newsletter

You Just Might Surprise Yourself

Have you noticed that as adults we tend to take ourselves too seriously and tend to become overly cautious? Because of this we may close ourselves off to new experiences that we might actually really enjoy. We find ourselves sticking to the familiar, staying in our comfort zone and living in a cocoon.

A couple weeks ago, there was an Improvisation Festival in Denver. I received a flier on a class “Wet Feet – Improv 101” taught by the Chicken Lippers and thought: “oh this could be fun!” and then preceded to send out an email to a friend of mine (that’s always willing to play) and of course, she said: “let’s do it.”

Then my usual resistance (and fear of the unknown) came up. Would I look silly? Would I go blank? Would I be uncomfortable? But after some prodding I agreed to go. And the answer to each of these questions was yes, yes and yes. And even though I was uncomfortable, did some very silly things (and that’s a good thing in Improv) and went blank at times – it was a total blast. I surprised myself.

The interesting thing about Improv is that the ONLY way you can do Improv well is to be in the unknown. Improv requires one to not think ahead, to not plan ahead, and to not be in control. And for most of us the opposite of this is our modus operandi. What struck me was that letting go of this was quite a relief.

In Improv, you must listen with full attention to every word that each person speaks without thinking of what to say next. In this class, we were totally in the unknown because we didn’t know when it would be our turn or what curve ball we’d be thrown. What this taught me was that being totally present and being in the unfamiliar is fun! It brings freshness and levity to life.

So how can you be in a state of play/presence with your life? How can you take yourself a little less seriously? How can you step out of the known, step out of the usual? Maybe it’s taking that class or workshop that scares you a little, or going to an event that intrigues you, or taking a new job, or stepping up to the speaking platform or going back to school.

Let’s enjoy this thing called life.

Comments are closed.