unlikely candidates for improv.

August 15, 2011 § 1 Comment

I’ve been thinking about spontaneity lately.

To be spontaneous, you have to let go…of sensibility, of the voice in your head that says, The risk is too great, the cost is not worth it.

So this morning, listening to Morning Edition on the way to work, I was struck by a report on a new project at Northwestern University, an 8-week study conducted as a continuing education class on improv.  The students?  Recently diagnosed Alzheimer’s patients.

Learning improv helps them live in the moment, reducing anxiety or sadness about not being able to remember.  The sound bytes I heard included a lot of laughter, obvious enjoyment of a reality that existed outside of the need to be right.

One man had been a professor of Hebrew studies, but was unable to tell the reporter at which university he had taught.  He couldn’t remember.  However, he was able to participate in a group chorus, where the group began humming all on one pitch, then, after a time, began one by one to introduce other pitches or sounds.  There was a harmonious cacophony of trilling, droning, chirping and then the sound of a man’s musical “Woof-woof-woof-woof!”

Another man, playing a game called “Yes, It Is,” declared that the object in front of him was a huge, red mackerel and his classmates joyfully shouted back, “Yes, it is!”

The leader of the group says the most important concept the group perpetuates is the concept of yes.  “Fundamental to all our work,” she said, “is that whatever answer someone comes up with, the rest of us are going to be able to work with it.”

It got me thinking.  We hear no so much.  Primarily from ourselves.  What has happened to yes?

For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding,
“Yes!”
{II Corinthians 1:20}

Are you surrounding yourself with people who tell you that Jesus says yes?  He looks at the real you–the free, childlike you–and He says yes.  That’s His answer to you.  All He asks is that you leave behind your fear-based, knee-jerk, shame-faced excuses and let Him love you so completely in the present moment that you find yourself saying yes, too.

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re-entry to blogging.

August 13, 2011 § 2 Comments

What do graduate school, running, NPR, farming, and Jesus have in common?

If I knew, blogging would be so much easier, because then I would have an actual theme for my blog.  I should narrow it down–have a blog focused on my musings in prayer or my running training or highlights from the latest podcast or Fresh Air segment I’ve heard.  I’m not far enough into grad school and I don’t know enough about farming, really, to focus a blog entirely on either of those things.  So instead, I’ll glom all of them together into one, possibly taking a day a week (best case scenario, in which i am disciplined enough to blog that often) to focus on one of these things.  Today, an amuse bouche–a taste of what is to come:

  • Ephesians 3:14-21 is intense.  This morning, I was especially struck that God says He’s able to do far more than all we ask or think in direct proportion to the power at work inside of us.  It makes me want to ask for more power inside, or for the ability to make more room for that power.
  • I missed quite a few of my favorite programs this week on NPR because I was moving, restarting work, trying to find my car keys, etc.  But I did listen to July 29 The Splendid Table podcast this morning–one of my favorites–and loved the segment on brewing your own beer.  Lynn Rossetto Kasper’s guest, William Bostwick, coauthor of Beer Craft: A Simple Guide to Making Great Beer, made it sound so doable.  It’s something I’ve been wanting to try for awhile and my cousin, Kate Powell, in Houston, has started experimenting with microbrewery and I believe may even be selling some on top at a local venue!
  • Almost two weeks ago, I ran my first marathon and finished in 3:24:41 (the number is engrained into the heads of everyone who knows me, I think).  I had a blast and can’t wait to do it again.  I’ve been taking it easy with running, wanting to focus on other things right now, but am looking forward to running in cooler weather.  If it ever comes.

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