Follow the fear all the way to the dishwasher...
Well happened again. A seemingly innocent exchange about dishes somehow turned into a "you just don't get what I'm about" kind of thing. Even when I'm sure that I'm right, which is all EGO, it never feels good to start the day that way. As a friend once said to me, “Yep. You’re absolutely right….now what?”
I love my wife. She's a great improvisor who you'll never see on stage because of stage fright. And because she doesn't want to. She inspires me. But for some reason the way she loads, or doesn’t load, the dishwasher manages to infuriate me and leave me prone to lashing out at her. It's a behavior I'm not proud of. But one I’m working on.
In improv we say "follow the fear". We say accept and heighten. We say yes, and. We make our scene partners look like rock stars. How could I have used those tools in this situation? For starters I guess I could have said the thing I'm most afraid of, which was probably "leave me alone, I'm not in a mood for talking right now." Then maybe used a mindfulness exercise while walking the dog to reset and figure out what was really going on.
I'd be happy to tell my wife what she could have done differently, but it's not about that. It's about owning how you behave and being the change that you wish to see. It’s about empathy and seeing their point of view and supporting it. It's about making space to create and say yes and build together instead of saying no and blocking all the beautiful things we could otherwise create. On stage, saying NO is a block that shuts down your scene partners ability to share and give gifts. It’s an EGO thing. A power word. Next time I'm going to focus on the yes in the scene, be it onstage or at the front door when I'm juggling six things and I cannot tell once again if the dishwasher is empty or if its clean.
Live - Laugh - Love.
Thank you for reading. As Martin deMaat said, “You are pure potential.”
Feel free to comment or ask a question. It could inspire the next blog posting.
Here's a good post on Follow the Fear
You will find hints and suggestions to improve your performance as a troupe or an improvisor. We also cover stories from the field of performing on the stage as well as teaching improv. Sometimes we include case studies of our corporate work to show how improv can boost office productivity and morale.
Should you have any questions about our classes, our work, or our essays, feel free to contact us and start a conversation.