Are you an over thinker?
My current teacher – or chief operating officer, as I like to call him – my son, is helping me work on this. I recently came to the conclusion, that Toddlering is the same as being in Comedy Improv.
The first rule of Improv is that you cannot deny the line. If someone says you are at the beach eating pickles, you are at the beach eating pickles and —. You keep going from there. You can’t say: No, that makes no sense to eat pickles at the beach. No, I should be eating watermelon. No, no, no.
I remember when in Improv class, watching adults who were new at it, stumble at the ridiculous. Like – wait, that is so silly how am I going to do that? And their body language communicated it. Whereas those that loved Improv, rolled with the ridiculous. It was play. No, one is going to make me actually go eat sandy pickles in my bathing suit – I am being asked to play along in the moment.
My sister gifted me the book: How to Talk So Little Kids Will Listen. One of the strategies is that when your toddler asks for the ridiculous, play into the fantasy because what they really want is to be heard and valued (like all human beings, fancy that!). The book goes on to say that all emotions are valid, not all actions are.
So when Aaron asked me for pizza this morning for breakfast at 6am, I didn’t say No. I smiled and said, “You want pizza for breakfast,” playfully not manipulatively. And the rest of the conversation went like this:
Me: And you want pizza for lunch.
Aaron, laughing: Yeah
Me: And pizza for snack
Me: And dinner
Me: Pizza all the time, all day and night
Aaron, giggling: Yeah.
And eats his bagel.
It worked. Allowing the playful inspiration to arise, without squashing it with a dietary lecture worked, because it was fun. It was a Yes and — . We played out the scenario and still had a bagel and blueberries for breakfast.
Toddlering is just like Improv.
Then I thought, well that is really the trick of it for all of us, isn’t it? Saying yes to the impulse of joy and not squashing it with all our practicality and accumulated “proof” of adulting of what will, could, and should go wrong. Rather let the impulse of joy beat, and choose the correct action without shame or fear or force.
I don’t think you have to have a kid to get this. And I think a lot of you reading already know this, but I didn’t. And it has given me great pause. Can I feel confident enough to say, “Yes and –“ and know what the next right action is, without saying “No because,” and pushing the river, cutting off the flow, asserting myself because I don’t have the confidence to allow the moment, — whatever metaphor speaks to you. We may have confidence in one zone and doubt in the other. It’s called being human.
A friend and amazing women’s practitioner, Lilavati, shared recently a sentiment that I have tucked into my tool box. I am paraphrasing, but she said “I may be figuring out my own life’s darkness, yet I can still be a headlight for you.” It is profoundly true. We do not have to be in perfection to share what we are good at – in fact it is our flaws that improves our craft, our love and our insight.
Next week is the celebration of Imbolc, in Celtic tradition, of St. Brighid, the returning of the light and the spark of inspiration and creativity (read more here from friend + herbalist, Danielle Jarecha) . There is no coincidence that Sit In Your Center (our online womxn month long circle) starts at the same time. This online circle is now a month long, and can easily be tucked into your daily life and routine, to create a space for expansion and returning to your own light, through breath, reflection, support and a few reminders (or perhaps revelations) that the female form has an intricate and exquisite way of guiding and leading if we listen, if we have the courage to re-inhabit our form as it is for us – not as we are told we should, or how we can leverage our endlessness for others, and be left malnourished for ourselves. If you are hearing the whisper to see what can come from sitting in your center, join us.
Here’s to more “yes and’s” and less “no because’s.”
Our moments are short, let’s try living into them as serendipitously inspired rather than tragically flawed and see what happens.