Sunday, August 8, 2010

A Magical Shared Adventure

This is a totally unaltered photo, taken near the beach at LaPush, Washington.  Isn't the color bizarre?  It was a super low tide; my guess is these rocks and pilings are almost always underwater.  I don't know if the lichen or plankton or algae or whatever it is that makes it that color is always that green, or only turns green when its exposed to light and air -- if I were my husband, I'd have looked that up on the Wiki before blogging about it -- but then, if I were my husband, I'd get so intrigued by all the links off that wiki site I'd never get around to writing the blog at all!

And isn't it wonderful that our kids got both kinds of parents -- the parent who is really good at holding her feet to the fire, and the parent who is so curious about the world he sometimes forgets to eat?

It's all about balance, and in order to get that balance we need all kinds of people and all kinds of ingredients.  But it's not enough to have them; we need to USE them -- which means, as Patricia Ryan Madson says in Improv Wisdom, saying YES.  Maybe not yes to everything, she says, "It is undoubtedly an exaggeration to suggest that we can say yes to everything that comes up, but we can all say yes to more than we normally do."

So how does that work?  Madson tells a wonderful story about a child who runs to her mother and cries, "Mommy, Mommy, there's a monster in the closet!"  Normally the mother would of course reassure her child that there is no monster, but, inspired by improv's Rule of Yes, she said, "There is?  Wow, let's go see!" and together they went to the closet, "where we had a dynamic encounter with the monster, capturing it and squealing with delight as we tickled it into disappearing.  It was a magical shared adventure; I would never have thought of joining her fantasy before considering the rule of yes!"

As you might imagine -- being the parent who is good at holding her feet to the fire -- I found Improv class incredibly terrifying..  But at the same time it was exhilarating and very freeing.  And I kept thinking -- my husband should be in the class.  He's great on his feet in situations like that -- precisely because he is so curious about the world. He, who -- unlike me -- has no interest in performing in plays, would probably get a huge kick out of improv.

In truth, it takes all kinds; I think we're back to the rainforest image again.  We need panthers and leaf molds and spiders and brown bears and daisies and orchids and actors and audiences and algae and pilings... and the great thing is that it's just like Richard Rohr says: Everything Belongs!

But as a friend of mine points out, well -- sometimes that's a concept that can be VERY hard to say yes to: there are some things and people we just think shouldn't get to belong.  But I think I'll keep working on it.  And the best way to do that is to say yes to more than we normally do.  So that's your assignment today: say yes to something unexpected!

-- and be sure to let me know how it goes!


Louise Gallagher said...

Sometimes, it is the unexpectedness of what we're being invited to say Yes to that allows the space to happen where we can say yes. And it is the contemplation of what we may or may not say yes to that let's fear override the freedom of saying yes!

thanks for some great thought-provocation!


Patricia Ryan Madson said...

Your writing and photography inspire. I love the idea that "we need panthers and leaf molds and spiders . . ."
And, thank you again for quoting from Improv Wisdom. How lucky I am to be in your library and in your thoughts. That moss IS incredible.
Thanks you.

Joyce Wycoff said...

Love the dragon in the closet story ... and how many of our dragons might we "tickle" to death. Thanks!

Kimberly Mason said...

This image made me clap my hands with joy when I saw it. Must be the brightness of the green!