Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.
-Viktor Frankl, Austrian neurologist, psychiatrist, Holocaust survivor, and author of “Man’s Search for Meaning”.
This quote speaks to the sacred space for divine play that emerges when improv activities are taught with an emphasis on the process. (Unlike improv comedy, where the emphasis is on the performance.)
In the simple, yet often profound activity called, “The Gift” one person gives an invisible present to another and it is the other person who defines what the gift is. For example, let’s say my partner in this activity is Liz Korabek-Emerson, (we co-teach unique classes in mindfulness and improv called Stronger Together and you might see us around town putting up posters for PILL classes).
In this activity Liz would reach out to me with a knowing smile and say something like, “Beth, I have something for you”. And I would have a knowing smile back to her as I await the gift. We don’t know what the gift is, but we do know that I will think of something and she will support me. It is a rich moment of trust, creativity, and divine play. For me, this IS growth and freedom!
And truth be told, IN that moment, I might feel anxious and uncertain. Okay, I would feel a little anxious, I’m pretty sure. Because in my mind or the ego part of my mind, there lies the possibility of rejection or failure. Yet those worries are fleeting because no matter what I say,
Oh Liz, thank you for this spoonful of dirt
Oh Liz, thank you for this diamond necklace
Oh Liz, thank you for this cup of delicious coffee
…no matter what I say, Liz is going to support me.
You are so welcome, Beth. I thought this spoonful of dirt from my garden would help you start your indoor herbs.
You are so welcome, Beth. When I saw the necklace I thought how beautiful it would look on you.
You are so welcome, Beth. I thought a nice fresh cup of coffee would taste good to you right now.
I am supported, safe and even loved. WOW, right?
And if you were in this PILL improv class watching, you might feel the beauty of this moment and take joy in whatever we say, because somehow you are with us in this sacred space. It is indeed, divine play!
If this sounds like fun and you want to get a taste of improv taught this way, check out the Improv for Everyone (single sessions), Discover PILL, and Stronger Together classes coming up soon. Or if you are interested in the world of Medical Improv check out latest Who, What & Where!