When I started taking improv classes ten years ago I realized how often I was reflexively saying NO to my daughter. (You know, trying to preempt her disappointment. Not proud of that. )
And somewhere along the line I started practicing embodying a posture of Yes and introducing this concept in my work with clients.
Now this doesn't mean I'm saying YES to everything and everyone. What has come to mean to me - and let's take the example of my relationship with my daughter - is that I want to remember and embody a posture of YES towards her, towards who she is as a beautiful, wondrous human being, no matter what or how she might be coming to me.
I realized that when I embodied a posture of YES towards her, conversations went differently. When I started from a foundation of love, acceptance, and curiosity that colored the conversation from the start.
Earlier this week I heard a great interview with Staci Haines, who is a "national leader in the field of somatics, specializing in intersecting personal and social change".
She made an important distinction between a reactive Yes, and an embodied Yes; and also a reactive Maybe, and an embodied Maybe; a reactive No and an embodied No.
Very often we reflexively/reactively respond with a Yes, No, or Maybe. And if we really tune into ourselves it doesn't feel right. We said Yes, when we really needed to ponder it more. Or we reacted and said no, without taking time to consider. There could be various causes for this reactive response, but whatever the causes there is a misalignment.
What would be made possible if our No, Yes, and Maybe were more clear because they were embodied?
In the interview Stacy actually describes clearly the shapes in which to put our body to embody a Yes, No, and Maybe. I believe she calls it the ''consent exercise''. (see time stamp 40:00 to get a running start)
If we want to learn, grow, and develop and be less reactive we need to first be aware. Just observe for a day... where am I on a spectrum of reactive to embodied in terms of my responses?
Then start practicing these body shapes she describes on a daily basis.
We want to practice new skills, before we are in a situation where we want to use them. - Staci Haines
(And can I do back to back quotes? YES! : )
Awareness creates choices. Practice creates capacity - Amanda Blake
Take a moment (maybe three deep breaths) and ask yourself,
Do I want to move towards being more intentional with my Yes, with my No, and with my Maybe?
What would be possible if I did?
Who could I talk to about this and practice with?
From the Coaches Rising podcast with Staci Haines -
(including this here so you can see the juicy bits) In this podcast we talk about: 01:15 How context shapes worldviews 04:55 Coaching across social boundaries 08:10 Addressing conditioned tendencies 13:00 Fostering resilience through practice 16:20 Living from inherited commitments 20:15 Moving from a known to an unknown self 25:00 Reclaiming the wisdom of the body 29:30 Expanding our somatic capacity 35:30 How do we give centered consent 41:20 Embodied consent and commitment 46:10 Safety, belonging and dignity 53:15 Becoming part of something bigger