It’s a new year. I have been happily anticipating moving from the storyteller role into the door teacher role. Thankfully another teacher really wanted to tell the story consistently throughout the spring. And so when I showed up to class two weeks ago and again last week to absence, I found myself looking at my own expectations. This is a big part of my journey in Spirit Play and shows up in many different ways. It’s that moment when you show up with one idea and then something totally different happens.
And so I came to class having not prepared to tell the story and then needed to decide how to meet the moment. Since I taught the story role all last year, I knew the stories, or at least their basic outlines and after a quick consultation with my fellow teachers, I assumed the storyteller role. I can imagine another time where this quick change would have un-centered me and where I would have been disappointed. I can hear the old script in my head creating unhappiness because I wanted something different to happen. Things didn’t go my way. But, they did go a way and gratefully, I was able to go the way that the moment was going. This is that moment of “yes” that improv is famous for. The rule is to say yes to whatever story line is presented to you and continue on. This is a spiritual principle too. To accept the present moment as it is allows one a certain peace and freedom.
This aspect of flow or allowing the fullness of the moment is also an aspect of delightful play. How many times have we heard our children build a story by saying yes to each other and, of course, heard tears and protests when the action of play is stopped by a no. How wonderful to be in that opening and surprising place of being able to say yes. I have a friend who works in a middle school. There are many times where she needs to say no in her work. Instead of no, she is trying to say, “yes, and….”. She says that this sometimes works beautifully, calling both parties into a creative process rather than a power struggle.
In our spirit play class, we try to wonder in the spirit of yes. We try to gently call each other into respectful speech and action by finding the yes in the situation we’re in. We try to say yes when we show up to what we don’t expect. We try to find some kind of yes so that we can fully experience what is unfolding and don’t get stuck seeing everything through a lens of disappointment or resistance. Where do you find yourself in a space of yes? When you want to say no, is there a way to play around to find a hidden yes?