The gift of Improvisation

After teaching a recent workshop I was reflecting on ‘improvisation’ and how it is a consistent tool I utilize in my work (and in life)….. so I thought I would share some ideas.

I feel that improvisation takes you ‘off script’ and into being more present in ‘the moment’.  It can also develop our intuition and senses.  It can be engaged in many different ways (in performance, in travel, cooking, making friends, work etc) but often it asks you to turn off the ‘auto pilot’ we are using most of the day. I think auto pilot serves a purpose to be sure, but it can also impose some limitations.

I feel improvisation is about opening up to possibilities or seeing options you didn’t realize were already there.  It can create new pathways for thinking, seeing and being. Some of the ways it can achieve this is by taking us out of ‘ordinary’ space and time, asking us to step to ‘one side’ of typical and potentially pushing our comfort buttons.

Being ‘off script’ can be unsettling….you don’t know what comes next….and it is in this ‘unknown’ that you can discover a new way of being in your body, your thoughts and in your experience of yourself and living.

I truly believe we can shift our habits of thought and perspective in ways that can remove limitations put in place over time.  This shift can have benefits in our health, creativity and our perceptions of self.
Improvisation assists this by interrupting the rapid fire ‘auto pilot’ of ‘shoulds’, routine and statements of what defines things. Improvisation can help us observe these patterns by juxtaposing new possibilities and simply interrupting the ‘typical’.
This interruption can allow for more potential by cracking a window in our conditioned thinking and behavior.

Our ability to more fully know (and express) ourselves is one of the most significant explorations we have in this life. To remain open and curious about ourselves is a continuous gift; the journey is never complete and is always teaching us something. And when we give permission to perceive ourselves and the world in new ways, it creates a domino effect that also touches others.
We each are amazingly brilliant beings and the effect our thoughts and perceptions have on one another (and ourselves) is quite tangible……

…..in life and on stage…..I always endeavor to remember this……

Thanks for reading…..

‘but why’…..

Why do I write?
I think it is a process of refinement and discernment through words and energy. Perhaps it is a way of pulling threads and coalescing as I go. I am not sure exactly…but a process.
And I witness so much as I go…..
Observe…..
So much curiosity all entwined in this being human.

I generally remind myself of a 2 yr old constantly and perpetually asking…. “but why?”….
This is the question that follows most moments and thoughts throughout my days. I might see an ad on television, overhear a ‘gossip’ heavy conversation, witness a perceived imbalance in exchange or dynamic between people or groups, interpret a certain suffering ……and as I begin to flex opinions and judgements…this question ‘interrupts’ it all.
“But why?”…..

It is amazing how this practice supports my not getting swept away in judgements and criticisms. Because asking ‘why’ says ‘I don’t know’. It humbles me immediately; creates space for other possibility. And it is a questioning that simultaneously asks me to let go of any attachment or desire for finding an ‘answer’…..because this asking has no focus or goal for an ‘answer’ per se.

The questioning allows a multitude of responses/possibilities to emerge so that my single snap judgement or conditioned opinions have some company; all standing shoulder to shoulder.
My asking ‘why’ becomes a practice of looking in between the cracks of this constructed ‘human’ world we have; our derogative stereotypes, social dynamics, judgements, insecurities, systems of greater than/lesser than,’suffering’……(and so much more)….
To witness the spaces between and all around the concepts and habits…

The ‘why’ is a softening into these complexities….with compassion and curiosity.

And perhaps….
just perhaps…..what if these inherited and potentially unquestioned perspectives of self, life and other were to underlie so much of the imbalance that fuels this sense of ‘suffering’ in the world? Would you change anything? Would you ask ‘…but why…’?


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