It’s this lightness of being that’s been the big draw for me. Another part of the Circlesongs invitation says Bobby McFerrin’s intention is “to invite us all to experience the joy and freedom he feels when he sings. He welcomes the opportunity to encourage individuality, free-thinking, and exploration …”. All this evokes a BIG ‘yes’ in parts of me. It’s felt wonderful and exciting.
At the same time I’ve been noticing some anxiousness in the parts of me that, even though increasingly uncomfortable, still felt safer living within what I’ve described as my physical and emotional straightjacket. So I’ve been intentionally looking for experiences where that delighted part of me can gently introduce those more nervous parts to the freedom and possibilities that my heart so longs for. There have been many, but here are a couple that have been especially potent.
Have I managed to do this everyday? Nope! But by the time I start improv singing this Friday, I’ll have completed 20 of the 30 days of yoga … absolutely good enough! I’m already feeling more freedom in moving my body. I’ve also loved having this fun, virtual connection with my son (who lives on the other side of the continent) as we engage these 30 Days of Yoga at our own pace.
Bobby McFerrin has described improvisation as “simply motion, just the courage to keep moving”, and with her gentle, low-key, invitation to honour our own bodies, Adriene’s program has been a delight. It’s en-couraged me to keep moving long after the first 30 days are done.
I had another really cool experience while attending a different weekend workshop. Here I met someone who’d already been part of the Circlesongs program. She was SO excited for me. “You’re going to love it!” she said, “Want to just try singing now? How about I start and you join in?!” And despite my initial protestations that I’d never done this before, and didn’t know if I could, she started singing. It didn’t take long for me to be drawn into the fun, and in that moment I saw another possibility. There was ‘Entertainment’ planned for that evening; an opportunity to stretch ourselves and be supported by our community. “Would you do this with me at Entertainment this evening?” I asked my friend, and she jumped at the chance!
Was I nervous when we first went on stage and introduced what we were planning? You bet! But the moment I turned towards her, we connected, and she started singing, the ‘magic’ happened again. I was immersed in the moment and our voices danced together. It was totally spontaneous and unrehearsed, and (in a way I still don’t understand) even the ending emerged organically. It was such fun!
As I’ve reflected on the notion of improv over these last weeks, it’s become clear that improv is WAY more than music or comedy. It’s actually the reality of all of our lives! Of course we make plans. We think we know what’s going to happen. But the (sometimes scary) truth is that we don’t, and in fact can’t, know how life will unfold.
It’s easy to be with the improv of life in those delicious moments when, as happened this week, I got an unanticipated card in the mail. Yes, a real card from a friend I hadn’t been in touch with for ages. She wanted to share some of what was happening in her life. Or the moment I looked up just in time to see a raptor soaring right above me. Or the day I was feeling uninspired about what to cook for dinner, and I caught a video clip of Giada using leftover chicken in what turned out to be a yummy recipe for which I had (or could improvise!) all the ingredients.
I’d love to hear your take on all this. What’s your experience with the improv of life been recently? As Bobby says “We’re improvising all the time – it’s good to recognize that.”