It’s been a busy couple of weeks for me on my travels. As expected, the hoopla that ensued from last week’s segment on The Daily Show segment disappeared as quickly as it arrived. I spent the last few days at the Applied Improvisation Network Conference in Baltimore. I met so many inspiring people who are living and working the ‘yes, and…’ of improv.
And now I am in Washington DC staying with an old and dear friend and I have the chance to reflect on some of this madness. Here are some of the things I am noticing from my adventures of the last week.
1. Sometimes I will look like a fool.
In this Stuff article I come across a little bit lame. I don’t resile from that. I can be a little bit lame and sometimes a lot lame. But I think I come across a little bit more lame than I am in real life. Quotes are used selectively and the written word, of course, does not pick up voice inflection and sarcasm. This includes my hilarious and self-deprecating wit. Perhaps my medium is not print (I duly note the irony of blogging about this).
2. Stop worrying about other people’s opinions.
When I read the comments from the same article referred to above, I came across the following gems:
Why would he give too [sic] hoots about our election and why would she talk about it!!!??? BORING! Does she always try to “educate” celebrities she meets….LAME. I’m embarrassed that she is from our country!
this girl seems so kiwi. so trying to impress when no one cares… and so boring. imagine thinking someone should be interested in nz politics. get serious.
What is really sad is that she really THINKS she can educate Jon Stewart. I suppose she thinks she will give God a few clues also.!!
These comments would really have bothered me a year ago. I would have been super embarrassed about how I came across. I would probably have attempted to defend myself, explained the context for the discussion and generally tried to set the record straight so that the good people of New Zealand who read these articles and take time to comment on them would be assured that I really was worthy of their respect and possibly their compliments!
But now? I just don’t care that much. I’m okay with their comments.
3. Be honest with yourself and with others
Being okay with a few comments from some disenchanted readers of stuff.co.nz may not seem like a revolutionary act. Instead, I see my ‘being okay’ with these comments as a happy side effect of becoming more honest with myself about the important things that do matter to me and, through this, not getting worried about the things that don’t matter so much.
While at the Applied Improv Conference, I went to a workshop led by Liam Kirsher of Radical Improv. Liam describes radical improv as “a combination of two things I personally derived a lot of benefit from: Acting Improvisation and Radical Honesty.”
We did a number of exercises in the workshop that used the practices of honesty and presence as a platform for creativity and connection. It was awesome.
Not a new concept but there was something about the experiential nature of the exercises that made it really stick for me. (Go applied improv!)
Since that workshop I have been trying to practice elements of greater honesty. Honesty with myself and others, about how I am feeling and what I am doing. Yesterday, I had a conversation with someone I love that required a high degree of honesty with and about myself. I did not want to have that conversation, but I needed to have that conversation. To not have had that conversation would have put a big barrier in our relationship. I am glad I had that conversation and today I feel like I can breathe again.
It seems to me that it is all too easy not to be honest, with ourselves and others. We think we are protecting ourselves and them from hurt and pain but all we are really doing is putting barriers in the way of genuine connection.