Yes Uncertainty And Possibility



I invite you to take a deep breath.


Really.


Take a minute or less for a deep breath.


I'll join you.





That's how I'm starting everything I facilitate now.


With the increasing, escalating, feeding-on-itself anxiety due to the presence and uncertainty of COVID-19, we can easily get caught up in the vortex of anxiety and panic.


Take one minute to come back to yourself through your breath, is not only a gift to yourself, it's a gift to those around you that you interact with in your day.


I have learned that Anxiety is actually a gift. It warns us of potential threats and makes us ready to act according to what's needed. The problem comes when anxiety gets us off the rails.


And for many of us uncertainty, is something that takes us down the path of anxiety. So we try to control. And when we try to control the uncontrollable, we get more anxious. And we can get caught in a downward spiral.


About 10 years ago I read a fabulous book called "The Art of Possibility" by Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander. She is a psychotherapist and he is the conductor for the Boston Philarmonic.


In their first chapter they have the reader ask,


"What assumptions am I making that give me what I see?"


I invite you to take a moment to ask yourself:

What assumptions am I making about the uncertainty in front of me due to COVID-19 and it's ramifications?


And then....


What's something new I can invent, that will give me other choices?


This can help us to explore other choices and responses to the uncertainty we face.


When I first read this book, my daughter was five. She was stopping every few feet to examine a lady bug on a blade of grass, or to savor a flower. (I know, delightful right?!) The problem was ... I had things to get done! I needed to get to my work!


I journalled later with the questions above and this is what I discovered:

What assumptions am I making that give me what I see?

I assume if I go faster, I can get more done,

and i can be a ''better person'' ... (this is what came out in my journal)

With this line of thinking, my daughter, becomes an Obstacle to my getting more done and ''becoming a better person''...

Uh, no.

I didn't like where that led me.


So I took the opportunity to play with it and ask

"What's something NEW I can invent that will give me other choices?"


So I wrote, "If I go slower, I can do less things, I can choose what matters, and then

become more of who I really am." That resonated in a deep place.

And then...

my dear 5-year old daughter becomes not an obstacle, but a Gateway for me becoming who I really am. Wow!


I invite you to give yourself 5 minutes, and explore what assumptions you are making about the uncertainty you are facing.


And then play with it! What's something new you can invent.

(I find it helpful to write some form of the opposite of your current assumptions.)

And begin to test it in small safe containers, interactions.

"Get the dynamic alive in your body" as David Whyte says.


In the world of improv and applied improv we face uncertainty in every moment. And yet, we mix the fear with the joy of collaborating, discovering together, creating a new story, embodying a new future.


Yes uncertainty! And possibility!




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©2019 by David Westerlund. Photo credits: Ramona Laird, Alvin Shim, and David Westerlund.