Collaboration or Competition?

I am facilitating an improv class that I call “The Undiscovered Genius.” I’m thinking about one of the fundamentals behind improvisation – cooperation and collaboration. If you do not know what improv is, it is ” a form of theatre in which the actors perform spontaneously, without a script.” My class is not for people pursuing an acting career or even for those looking to perform in scripted theater, although I’m sure it would help those people. We are using improv for the purposes of awakening our creativity and opening up to our heart and curiosity about life.

So, where does collaboration and cooperation come in and why is it important to me right now. In improv as the players are working together they must listen, respond and add to the story. There is no room for stars. In other words, as soon as someone tries to take over the scene and make themselves more important than the other players, they stop listening and responding and the scene dies.

I believe this is where we are at in the world right now. We are learning that collaboration and cooperation assist us in success of our businesses, our lives in general, and our relationships to others and to Nature, etc. We are being challenged to stop the chain of competition and begin to work together.

My question for all of us is “Do we want to be stars or do we want create a community that grows and expands together?” This planet needs us all to give attention to its challenges right now. It doesn’t mean that there won’t be a leader. In fact in improv, someone always comes forward in the group that tends to lead the creative process. However, that person, when doing his/her job well, brings out the creativity and leadership in the rest of the group. He/she knows when to lead and when to follow.

I performed in theater for much of my life. I loved having starring roles in productions, because I could use all my talents and because I was challenged creatively in these roles. When I was cast as a lead, I always did my best to work with my fellow actors and bring out their best. When I was in the chorus, I did the same. A successful production always included a deep cooperation between all the players, technically behind the scenes and out front.

What does all this mean for my life right now? As my husband and I begin anew during this pandemic, which by the way is still here, life has changed and continues to change. We were all sent to our rooms two and a half years ago. We had a time out. Some of us got more creative, some of us shut down and Netflixed ourselves, some of us went into severe depression, some of us fought hard to resist what was happening. I’m sure there were many other reactions. However, now we are out of our rooms, our time out. We are back together as community. Are we competing? Are we collaborating? Are we holding onto star status? Are we trying the recreate the old?

Here’s where I am. We run a business now called Center for Spiritual Living Kauai. We are going through a rough spot since COVID19. We kept afloat and alive. Now, we've come to realize that in order to thrive again, we are starting over. Collaboration and cooperation are going to be integral in assisting this Center to be reborn. I realize that the gathering of other leaders and lovers of this great philosophy that changes lives is what is needed now. I dream of a community coming together to celebrate their magnificence. I dream of a community that is a beacon of light and service in the world, bringing together a multi-talented group of people who share their gifts and work in collaboration and cooperation, who lead and follow, and most of all who practice self-love and radiate that self-love outward to others.

Love and Aloha,

Rev. Rita Andriello-Feren, Co-Spiritual Director, CSL Kaua`i, Spiritual Coach and author of “What Do I Need to KNOW? and “This Thing Called Treatment” available HERE ON AMAZON

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