A few weeks ago, as I was working with a young client, I was reminded of how much wisdom some of them have gained through the difficult circumstances life has presented them with.
In that counselling session, this 14 year old young gentleman taught me the applicability of the improv rule of always saying yes. We were talking about healthy coping skills and those relationships in our lives where there exists a paradox of love and hate, compassion and resentment, appreciation and rejection.
He said to me: “with _________, you kind of have to use the improv rule of always saying yes. Do you know that rule? It’s like this… whenever someone throws you a line, you have to just go with it. That’s how it is with her, I just go with it and when I think of it in terms of improv, it makes sense and I don’t get upset as easily.”
Here’s a 14 year old who has figured out the difference between what he does and doesn’t have control over in his life. He was referred to me because “he needs to learn healthy coping strategies”. The improv rule of always saying yes – that’s a pretty brilliant one if you ask me.
I guess your “improv rule” is like always being open to what arises in the present moment. In theatrical improv you need to cultivate fine attention to what is arising and allow a natural response to flow from there. This allows real creativity to arise. For it to work best, there is no ego – just attention to the flow.
thanks Kate for the theatrical background. I don’t and never have been involved in theater of any kind. I love watching improv though. I think I’m still trying to figure out my way of relating the improv rule to situations in my own life, but for this young man, it did seem to be exactly what your saying… and about changing a pattern by changing his response.