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the power of "yes, and..."

Updated: Dec 17, 2021

honest wholeness for the holidays

at the beginning of my chaplaincy training program, we had a weekend workshop teacher who shared with us how the tenets of improvisational theater could be applied to the world of spiritual care. as an introvert and contemplative who struggles with being put on the spot, i found the prospect of an improv class to be the stuff of mild (but fairly absolute) GI distress. the older i get, the more i'm able to recognize and even laugh at or relax into that resistance, but it still remains a challenging part of my wiring and likely always will.

as almost always happens, and primarily because my fellow cohort were people with whom i shared trust built through repeated instances of vulnerable openness and connection, i was able overcome my own objections, dig in, and even have a good time. because i was able to free myself (mostly) from the fight/flight/freeze of on-the-spot theater, i remained open to the nuggets of wisdom shared and was able to uptake and integrate a powerful foundational concept within improvisational theater--that of "yes, and".

in order for improv to work, there has to be a relationship between the participants built on the principle of acceptance of whatever has come before. if someone starts a story and hands the mic to you, improv theater says that you don't correct or challenge the previous content... you build on it. you accept it as true and then add to it in a way tha