Improvisation is Life

Last night we held our first improvisation class at CSL Kaua’i. It was time to laugh, have fun and get to know each other on a different level. Seventeen people showed up with nothing more than the longing to know and experience something. They weren’t, for the most part,  even sure of what it was. They just thought they’d try it. They just showed up.

There was a 93-year-old there, too.  At the end of the class, I asked everyone what they had learned. The 93 year old said, “I learned that I am younger than I thought I was.”

I think this is amazing. I like the idea of showing up for something and just being willing to learn something new. What if we were to go into every experience like this. There is that challenge to be like a little child, who looks at the world with wonder and without the veils of limitation. We look at each other without the baggage of past. I believe that is what happened last night. We were like little kids, who played laughed and stopped thinking about life so analytically and so seriously.

I’m as guilty as any of being too serious at times. I realize how detrimental this is to any project, to my health and to my forward movement, and still I am guilty. However, I can change that. I can say, “Up until now, I was too serious and now I can let go a little and find my playful nature. I can find the humor…even in this.” Perhaps this choice to teach an improv class was more about me.

There was a person in the class who liked to push the envelope. You know, do that one thing that went beyond what was asked of the exercise, sometimes going totally in the opposite direction. At the end, when asked what he had learned, he said, “I learned that I am a trouble maker.” I quickly corrected him.. “You are not a trouble maker. You are just highly creative.”

It’s true, us renegades are just highly creative. We are the ones who make changes in the world. We don’t conform and if we do, we can’t be held down for long. We see the spirit of the law and go beyond the letter of the law. If you look back at our development, all change was made by those who went against the norm.

So, what did I learn from last night? I learned that seriousness needs to be replaced with humor. I learned that rules are made to be broken. I learned that I can get just as much done when I leave time to play.

Improv welcomes parts of ourselves that sometimes lie dormant forever. It give us permission to be naughty. It moves us out of our comfort zone without danger of hurting ourselves. We get to walk in the shoes of others. We make choices in the moment that come from our intuition.

Shakespeare was right, “All the world’s a stage.” If we could look at it this way, we might be more willing to dig a little deeper, think a little deeper and say and do what really leads us and pulls us. We might find our true role. We might be a little more honest with ourselves and others.

When we improv we have to get clear. We have to listen. We have to give and take.  It is unrehearsed and in the moment. Improv is more than just play, although that is what we do. It might just reveal who we truly are, because it pulls the veils away. The characters we choose to play are what’s behind those veils. Improv forces us to think before we speak and get clear. I think it might be time to be a little more improvisational in the “real” world.

Love and Aloha,

Rev. Rita

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