do the opposite

20 Apr


Basically this –  I’m afraid.

My acceptance into the improv company and the reality of actually performing in front of a live audience as a regular gig has me quite afraid.  Who is afraid?  Who watches the fear?

The body increases the heart rate in response to thoughts; the air flow constricts, the body pulls into itself, almost wanting to opossum itself under her chair.

What a  gift – to be feeling fear – and to get to experience the body and mind in this fear and to recognize the infinite array of choice here.

I’ve had a tendency (I guess that is what we do as human animals-have tendencies toward certain behaviors) to retreat.  I can get into my passive mode fairly easily, allowing myself to be taken by the currents, flowing with the go :), but not initiating the go, so much.

Where does the teaching come from that suggests one do the opposite of the habit or tendency as a practice toward the middle path?    One guru would be George Costanza from the Sienfeld show 😛

What compels us to do anything on this planet in our human bodies?  Dancers dance, singers sing:  why do I have hangups about just doing what it is I seem to be able to do?

The opposite for me here is that instead of retreating, I am walking straight into the fire of my fear.  My self doubt is tedious to me.  When I went to see a show this week, my little self was screaming inside, “You can’t do that.  Why did they want you in this company?  These people are all so funny and clever and spontaneous!”  And then those thoughts got old.  And I realized that I can say the opposite to myself,  of course.   I can stay open to the moment of whatever all of this brings.

What is difficult is that while you learn a new way of doing something, you make a lot of mistakes.  I say improv is a failure-based art form because inexperienced players fail almost every time they try to do a scene.[…]  Improvisors need to recondition themselves to see failure not as a negative.  Greg Tavares, Improv for Everyone  (Greg is one of my teachers)

Do I really care about success here?  NO, not really.  I just like to play.  And having an audience watch me play with others who like to stay in the moment in a massive game of silly pretend is of no matter.  I can do this.  Improv is a failure driven art form.  Life is a failure driven art form.  To live your life – the life of your own – you ultimately give up expectations and definitions of success and failure and just do what you are going to do.  The praise or rejection comes to no consequence.

In the world of improv,  My name is George, I’m unemployed and I live with my parents can even become a most powerful and attracting introduction.

7 Responses to “do the opposite”

  1. seeingm April 20, 2013 at 8:46 pm #

    The tight chest cold was craving spice yesterday to loosen the bands up so off for an Indian we went (first day out of the house in the past 4…progress!!!).

    My husband has been challenging me to experiment with not “being myself” in public. I am happy to report I successfully inserted the sound “nee” into the verbal flow not once, but twice without laughing while placing the order with a patient waitress (turrets style). This exercise is not about mocking anyone with a disability, but about treating my entire existence and interaction with the world as an act of improv. VERY powerful and freeing thing to experience not being attached to the idea of who M is and is not, and experimenting acting as one “should” or “should not” to be socially acceptable in public.

    On another occasion my husband was rude to me and the waitress (needless to say we give LARGE tips when we experiment like this). I personally got great compassionate service from this waitress while my husband’s drink slopped a bit when it hit the table in front of him. As a true English gentleman at heart, there is not one purposefully boorish bone in my husband’s body, but my oh my how the story changes in the world around one when we live all of our lives not attached to the idea of who we think we are.

    All life as improv. Very powerful there Ms M. LOVE THIS POST!

    • marga t. April 21, 2013 at 12:59 pm #

      What a wonderful dimension you add from your expanded spot, M! Lately learning more clearly to see the identity/body as an instrument for expression; the rental car can morph from economy class to luxury limo to jacked up hot rod.

      So so happy you are on the mend. Now why am I suddenly longing for curry?

  2. wisejourney April 21, 2013 at 1:04 pm #

    Playing is something that should never be underestimated. I think we should all do more of it….and that includes me….thank you Marga for that reminder.

    • marga t. April 21, 2013 at 3:05 pm #

      play and joy – hand in hand. 🙂 Thanks, wise journey!

  3. 1EarthUnited April 25, 2013 at 3:32 pm #

    Great observation, life is a game of improv! We ad lib and create the scene as we grow along. Love the Seinfeld scene, classic! ♥

  4. reneetamara May 5, 2013 at 11:25 am #

    “Life is a failure driven art form.” What a powerful statement, and so timely and liberating for me to read at this point in time.
    Back in the 80’s in NYC, the art scene seemed to be so much about what is on the outside, the form rather than content, meaning did not have as much relevance. I think that is why I am so drawn to art therapy – the emphasis is on the process, going with the flow, not worrying about what the end product looks like as much as is it an authentic expression of where I am at right now? The art I have seen coming from this place is rich and alive.
    I love seeingm’s comment “…how the story changes in the world around one when we live all of our lives not attached to the idea of who we think we are.”
    And me too, I LOVE THIS POST.

    • marga t. May 6, 2013 at 5:24 pm #

      Thank you, Renee! so interesting to hear of your experiences in the art world. I gained an awareness of the process of art as a way to be present in the moment with my children in these amazing art and craft rooms in the children’s museums we visited . We would always end up in those rooms, using all the materials, creating peacefully, quietly, joyfully side by side. We would often leave our creations behind or on the sharing board – it was about the moment – I would love public places that allowed people to just sit and make things together! Seeing M has so many rich nuggets to share as do you! X!

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