AAAhhhh Mid life…..kids launched…nest empty (well… maybe not totally empty….20 something’s could be back/never left and aging parents may have moved in)…nonetheless it is Life Part II. Twenty five to forty years (knock on wood) to take life ON!
Time to say a big YES to Life!
There’s a seriously fun IMPROV theater game called “YES and”, it illustrates the power of YES!
Performer/player #1 starts by making a statement (the more ridiculous and nonsensical the better so there’s obviously no way to be ‘correct’). Performer/player #2 responds by saying “Yes, and ….” building on whatever they were given and flipping it back to the first person who adds another layer and sends it back and so on and so on. It might go something like this:
“Hey…I saw a purple rhinoceros on the subway this morning reading the sports section.”
”Yes, and I saw an orange one reading the food section at 2nd and Maple!”
“Yes, and did you hear what I heard? Apparently rhinos are the single biggest group seeking asylum…we’re going to be seeing more and more of them.”
“Yes, and of course anyone can understand why….mucky swamps, barren landscapes, hot, dry and dusty….who wouldn’t want to get outta Dodge?
“Yes, and what about the drain on our already overburdened system? The cost of supporting one of these interlopers has to be astronomical!”
Yes, and I understand an initiative to provide funding for housing, food, job training is in the works…heard about it?”
…….and on (and on) until a player is stumped.
Players are continually pressed to stay open, accept whatever they are given, think fast on their feet, trust their innate creativity and respond spontaneously. By saying “YES, and….” the game can continue indefinitely and becomes increasingly hilarious as players with zero time to edit thoughts have to trust the first thing that pops into their head.
Give this some thought – Interestingly, in life our spontaneous, non-edited thoughts often contain our brightest moments of brilliance.
I love “YES, and…”! I would often play it with corporate teams (in my life as a corporate trainer) as a warm up for strategic planning and unity sessions. It provided many laughs, got everyone relaxed and open, thinking creatively and ready to accomplish great things together.
As further insight and comparison I sometimes followed “Yes and” with its cousin “Yes but”. As you can imagine the game loses it sparkle, humor and fun and falls flat as open ‘and’ is replaced by closed ‘but’. It has nowhere to go but down and fast. “YES and….” is a great analogy for life.
YES…keeps us open to possibility, stretches our comfort zone, boosts our dopamine levels, increases overall motivation, and takes us to people, places, and ideas we never would have discovered had we stuck to our plans and habits. YES is a simple and powerful pathway to growth, connection, and happiness.
I thought about conducting an experiment where I would say “YES” to everything for 30 days. The more I thought about it, it seemed the purpose would be defeated by the constant pressure to seek out new experiences and meet new people every single day. Maybe one “YES” day a week would work… like Saturday. I mentioned the idea to my husband who is my Saturday buddie and it got a nod (he’s a gamer). We will embark on the YES initiative soon!
I’m thinking Greek dancing lessons for the first one?? (kidding)
YES has served me well in the past. A spontaneous “YES” to a pair of red shoes and the Red Shoe Project that followed was how I began this incredible blogging and community building journey. Which I might add I could have never imagined and LOVE!
I’ve said YES several times in the last few days including:
- Hosting a dinner party for 14 people (this terrifies me I’m a small group/one-on-one kinda gal, I’m pushing way past my comfort zone and plans are moving along…I’m trying meditation)
- Agreeing to be a practice client for a friend finishing her Life Coaching Certification (looking forward to it…think it will be fun…I like looking at things upside, downside, inside out)
- Going to a friend’s daughter’s play (it was great! Play and friend’s daughter were good (that was exciting) AND it brought back memories of being same age as the daughter, living in Toronto and acting in and going to shows just like this one in tiny, alternative ‘pop up’ type theaters. WOW! So nostalgic! Great surprise. Unexpected.)
- Booking an ocean kayak trip (nervous around water….think I may be awestruck by what I see? Empowered by doing it?)
Why don’t you give this a shot and let me know what you think. I’d love to hear when you’ve said “yes” and where it’s taken you.