I was asked to perform at a New Year’s Eve gathering. (Thank you Ron Jones & Doug Baird for inviting spontaneous story-tellers, performing artsists, even cab drivers to share “theater of absurdity” stories.
It had been a while since I performed as an improvisational teller of tales. I’ve been focused more on teaching how to. The thought came up, “I have no idea what I’m going to say or do. What if I get out there and I go blank?!” That’s a scarey thought, one which, if I continued to entertain that line of thinking, would lead me into the black hole of frozen, self-conscious terror. And that thought did come up as I was performing, in the middle of spinning a story, my inner “critic” looked at what I was doing and, for an instant, wanted me to be elsewhere. YIKES! I knew I had to keep my focus on anything but evaluating myself at that moment. I switched to feeling my body in space, I allowed my body to lead me to feel a connection to what my heart would like to say to others, if given the chance. I then remembered my committment to speak the “truth,” whatever that is for me in the moment. My teacher, Phil Bennett taught me Stanislaski‘s precepts, to use my gifts as an actor in service to my fellow human beings. I coached myself to keep focused, slow down, feel what I was feeling and leave space for my Source of inspiration to speak through me. I forgot to worry about me. “I,” the ego Me was no longer important. What was important was giving to my audience something that was just coming to me in the moment, without judging it. I continuously gave myself permission to just free associatedly spin a story.
I’ve learned, by throwing myself into that state of “not knowing” so many times now, that I will land – somewhere and I don’t have to know ahead of time where that will be. The inner “critic” wants to be sure it’s going to be “good,” so better pre-plan it – right? But I’ve learned to let go of needing it to be “good.” In fact, in a creative process, “right” or “wrong” will block you up – so drop that worry. Drop the oars and let the boat float. My training in Improvisational Theater has helped me learn that I can step out into the “unknown” and trust that something will come to me – I WILL land on my feet. I will NOT die. My job is to use the tools I now teach to just get out of the way of magic happening.
On the other side of that debilitating, freeze-drying fear is FUN! I grow wings. I get to PLAY!
I want EVERYONE to have that experience. Little children have it, and we were all playful, fearless children once. And then – you all know the first time someone mocked you or put you down for doing or saying some-thing. You probably said it with naive spontaneity, but you quickly learned to cork that bottle. Usually, parents and siblings came first to keep you in line, then you learned to work for “good” grades from teachers and acceptance by peers. We are sold impossible life-styles and physical beauty standards by advertising, the media and on…
It worked. You (and most everyone else) accepted the safe role of conformity. You didn’t even notice when the wing-clipping took place. Most Americans would rather die than ever experience looking “bad.”
That is SO 2013! It’s a new year! People are done living with lies. There are folks who want the whole enchillada life has to offer us and are looking for places where hot sauce is being served. We live in a time of huge personal and societal transformation. Modern prophets have said, “Evolve or self-distruct!” I say, the next stage of our evolution of becoming conscious, human beings on this planet is to reclaim our rightful expressive power, our unique creativity and our capability to be fully who we can be. After years of fear and shame-based conditioning, humans need a safe place to come out and experience who’s been hiding for years. With a good coach, and I am one, Improvisation gives us a safe, light-hearted, playful “pretend” reality. Spolin’s Theater Games provide profoundly transformative focused exercises to do just that. In a Theater Games work/playshop we try new possibilities, taken risks and, with the support of the group, gained confidence we take back into our lives. It’s invaluable! In this Theater Games world we are asked to abide by one simple ground rule: no on gets hurt. Pretty basic.
My work is to spread this stuff around. In my little way, I am working to create a future I would pass on to the next generation. I give people an experience of the benefits of shifting to a “WIN/WIN” paradigm. It IS the next stage of our evolution to recognize we’ll all do much better if we work together. Viola Spolin, the creator of Theater Games, who was one of my teachers, called working as an improv ensemble, being “Parts of the Whole.” In an improv Everyone looks good. Your success is mine, too. Without the critical, judgemental voices that spoil the fun, we get a free-flow of everone’s creative juices. At this point in history, we need all the creative, “jump outside the box thinking” we can get.
Now there is a new interest in activities that develop our creative, intuitive thinking abilities as a needed balance to the analytical, logical, intelligence that is so prized by current “civilization.” We were born with a full package of right & left brain faculties, but along with training in Math and Science, we must include Art, Music, Dance and Drama classes to exercise and develop our intuitive capacities.
Einstein said –
“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.” –Albert Einstein
Are you ready for a change? It’s 2014 y’all!!! This is our wake up year. I am SO ready for The NEXT STAGE! If you are too, if you resonate with these ideas, please contact me. I’m looking for you, too.
aspiring to be sillyzen