Improvisation is not about acting but about being you in this moment, as the moment arises. It can be terrifying as we face the unknown – for no-one can ever accurately predict the patterns of time, no one knows what will happen.
We attempt to predict the weather with thousands of sophisticated computers and often it is wrong. When we add in to the mix our inner worlds, stirring in emotions, thoughts, ideas and sensations that spring uncontrollably up through us, no one can ever know.
This is the joy – and the terror – of improvisation. We can bravely go further into the process, losing control by thinking less and simply allowing ourselves to respond, to move, becoming more aware to ourselves in this present moment. As we do so, in a sense, we slow down time, moving our time frame into shorter and shorter moments, becoming more and more aware of the subtle, of contents of the experience that we were going too fast to notice, until we are about to improvise perhaps a few seconds of experience in a performance of a minute, five minutes or even more. We open up to the possibility of slipping through the velvet curtains of time, into that which is greater, expansive, into that which we all innuitively know but cannot put words to. In that eternal space we discover who we are at a deeper level.
Though we all eventually walk this journey into finding ourselves, each person’s path is totally and utterly unique. We cannot walk another’s path. We must be brave and walk our own. For we make the path by walking. Ahead is the unknown.
Improvisation plays with this. Dealing with chaos, vulnerability, raw unprocessed emotions. When we improvise in front of another, we learn to be deeply vulnerable to others and to ourselves. We learn the skills of dealing within safe chaos, so that when we go out into the world (which by definition is chaotic, uncontrollable and unpredictable) we have tools, skills and abilities to find our way, the way that is the most in line with who we are.
As we discover ourselves, we can then be who we are on purpose, with confidence, knowing that we can cope with experiences as they arise. We also, as we progress along the journey, begin to understand and accept that who we are is constantly changing.
Who were you yesterday?
How are you in a supermarket? Is it the same as when you are at home, in school, in a hospital or in a party? There are so many different ‘me’s’.
There are so many ways to be in the world, but each, if it is to be healthy, full of growth and leading to a place of empowerment, needs responsibility. This word, ‘responsibility’ is about being able to respond to the ever changing world. Improvisation teaches us to ‘surf the wave’ of our experiences and our circumstances, it helps us to stay aware and leads to a deeper, more fulfilling life.