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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§ One Response to unlikely candidates for improv.

  • mum says:

    totally love this entry. makes me think about all of life and how we poke it into our tired parameters as ‘the right way’. also makes me think of mama and what all we’ve learned from her–how her beautiful essense has been more graciously released through dementia as she has lost the capacity to doubt herself and fear people.

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