As so often happens once we risk saying ‘yes’ to something, it’s already begun! Though it doesn’t officially start until Friday, in the few weeks since I wrote about seeing the invitation, and registering for the Bobby McFerrin Circlesongs program, I’ve become much more aware of the many possibilities for embracing what he calls “the freedom to play, sing, invent, and imagine – in music and in life“.

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 isto 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.

The very day I registered for the Circlesongs program, my son Matthew shared on his Facebook page something that inspired me. A free, online experience – 30 Days of Yoga with Adriene. Now I’ve only ever taken 2 yoga classes in my life, but I’ve been increasingly aware of yoga as a way to care for myself; of supporting me in strengthening and moving more freely and fluidly in my body. There was something about the easy, un-pressured, naturalness of Adriene’s invitation, and the fact that I could do this right at home, that drew me in.

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.

But what about those less comfortable life moments? This week I received a Facebook note from a friend saying “My father is dying. Please send me your energy.” Another friend called, sharing the pain of a betrayal she’d experienced. And just now as I was typing, a message popped up on my screen “Unable to save your work. Logging you out because of an extended period of inactivity.” What?! I was right here typing!

I’m committed to practicing responding to life’s uncomfortable moments with greater ease, courageous presence, imagination and inventiveness …

I’m intending to have great fun and delight singing improv for 5 days next week. AND, I’m anticipating that this extended in-my-body practice of being in the moment musically, will deepen my trust – in myself, and in the support of Life – giving me even more “freedom to play, sing, invent, and imagine – in music and in life”.

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.”

Nurturing juicy co-creative partnerships
…with ourselves, others & life!