Tonight, improv class began. This means I put into practice the namesake of this blog: say yes.
For me, improv is therapy. We play, we laugh, we create. We tap into that part of our brain that isn’t always used as much as it should be. We also exercise our yes muscle, which in this world of negativity and debate, often gets lost.
In this creative safe space, I end up exploring how I want to live my life. I just show up, I live in the moment, I genuinely react, I say “yes and” the others who are with me, accepting their ideas and adding to them. Each improv class I take, I reaffirm my commitment to live into these ideals.
Tonight, I realized that I have taken half of the intention behind the “say yes” rule in improv. Through a game called “yes and” I learned that I say yes, but often I don’t mean it. In this exercise, 2 people have a scene, but start every sentence with “yes and”. It forces the players to affirm what their partner has done or created, as well as makes you add to it.
While playing in our scene, I totally had the ‘yes’ part down. However, each sentence showed me trying to direct the scene vs. truly reacting to our shared reality in it. When Beth, our teacher, pointed this out, I was floored. Yikes, it was true! I was saying the words, but the intention was to control. I had a vision, and I was going for it, come hell or high water!
What does this say to me? First, good job, you are part of the way there! You are continuing to say yes in improv and in your life. Second, let’s work on intention. The game we play isn’t “Yes, but”, it is “yes and”. So in my life I need to accept the circumstances and build on them. If I am always denying them, I will never get beyond that.
My personal task this week is to find ways to say yes, and mean it. I may have to get creative, I may have to spend a moment to think before I can find the way, but trust me. It’s worth it.