Let the same mind be in us
But what did Christ
When he surveyed
Imagine a table with a certain number of chairs.
What type of embodiments are envisioned here? Beyond the door frames being accessible, beyond a ramp situation being available, does the table allow a diversity of embodiments to approach and find welcome? Are there hurdles and obstacles for alternative embodiments to cross/scale/overcome?
At the same table
Jesus sits and dines
Takes bread and wine
lets the road ahead,
like this dinner with broken bread,
In the British science fiction show, Doctor Who, the Doctor is a Time Lord who can cheat death by a process called regeneration. He (and now she!) has been played by thirteen actors, allowing Doctor Who to be tv’s longest running sci fi program. With each new regeneration, the Doctor takes an episode to get reacquainted with the new body, new personality, and new preferences. Usually in the midst of a high stress, world-saving dilemma, while using that top-notch brain to devise a clever solution, the Doctor is in the midst of the chaos, figuring out who s/he is now.
On the improv stage, yes can transform two chairs and an empty stage into an imaginative scene of relationship and impossibility. With one audience suggestion, soon comes an encounter of a famous baby doing a book-signing, a law student in relationship with a cursed sorting hat, a couple arguing about giving birth to an avocado.
We all stand in different areas of the room, with our faces to the wall. The topic is five major feelings: joy/happiness, passion/desire, anger, sadness, and fear. With one emotion at a time, we are asked to express our feeling, in hand gestures, words and their content, tone and volume of voice, expressive body language, facial expressions.
In the container of improv, anything can happen. Such are the very bones and basis of improvised comedy: it is made up entirely on the spot. Never before has this show been performed, never again shall it be revisited. The epitome of you-had-to-be-there experience, even the performers are unaware of what is about to occur between them when they step out on stage.
Sometimes, I dislike people.
I am not defending or proud of this fact; I am simply confessing. Some people have a quality or affect, a sense of humor, a way of being that can grate on my nerves, ruffles my feathers, even makes me feel uncomfortable or annoyed.
Improv classes are a constant stream of new discovery and activity. A new warm up is taught to the group, we learn it and try it, we practice and stumble. Someone messes up in the warm-up exercise, a rhythm gets off, someone whooshes instead of pows, laughter ensues. After all, we are standing in a circle ready with playful, silly energy.
Listening is a key component to effective communication in improv, to the work of collaboratively making scenes up on the spot.
It scares me to go out on stage.
You already belong. Be who you are.
Improvised comedy begins with “Yes, and.”
I agree to the name you just gave me, the relationship you clarified, and to the situation you established.
As a personal spiritual discipline of late, I have been taking improv comedy classes at the Dallas Comedy House. In improv class we begin with a few warm-ups. They move the body and get the blood flowing, they help lower our defenses and embrace the playfulness of the environment, they get us engaged. They help us practice saying yes, being present, and supporting one another.
The highest point on the island of Iona is a peak called Dùn I (I = “ee”). While this climb, and the accompanying 360 degree island view, is available to anyone, pilgrims climb it as part of their pilgrimage around the island. It serves as a celebration point, a mountaintop moment, for it can be difficult to scale, and even harder, sometimes, to then find your way back down.
For the space at the table
We celebrate and give thanks
For the stories that arrive
Important to be heard
For the bellies and hearts that come hungry
Hoping to be filled
In the sacrament of table and community, there lies the healing power of presence and the movement of the Spirit.
Three ladies have prepared the food, two from Syria and one from Iran. They’ve been in The Mix Kitchen for the afternoon, preparing for this meal. A tasty assortment of rice, marvelously seasoned meat, fried kibbeh, and a light mix of greens; we are preparing to feast on this Tuesday afternoon.
Waiting can shape, sharpen, and make us more sensitive to that which sustains us.