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Sunday, January 20, 2013

Letting Go

I can't seem to sleep so I figured I'd write something. I've been starting blog posts but never able to finish them lately - unsure if it's because I lose interest before typing out a thought. Anyway, let's try again!

I feel the theme and lesson I'm grasping now is to stop forcing my will or expectations onto a situation for a desired outcome and being disappointed afterwards. The lesson was really clear last week in improv class where I saw first hand what happens when two people are on the stage and the conversations always lead down a very random/funny/awesome path only if the two people actively listen and support the other person, not steering the conversation their way or disagreeing. It sounds easier than it actually is. Only through this I realize how much of a control freak I am :) But not only me but most people in my improv class struggled with this. When you're put in the spotlight with a very vague subject suggested, the default instinctive way to "succeed" is to plan out your train of thought in your head of how to drive the conversation. However, since both of you are instinctively following the same strategy, you get into a mess if you aren't both on the same page off the bat, each trying to derail the other person and go back to their own train of thought. So ironically, the best way to succeed in improv...and perhaps to actively pay attention to the moment, and decide to work together and support each other, in other words, letting go.

For example, we did an exercise called "Yes and...". Try it out with your partner. Say a sentence, your partner will HAVE to respond with "Yes and..." Not "Yes but" or "Yes, and I don't agree", And you're not allowed to resort to asking questions so that your partner can respond with yes...and any other questions doesn't make much sense to respond with yes. Try and have a 2 minute conversation like this. You'll see quickly how many times you want to say But...or No. Then try again :) My conversation went from houdini to rabbits procreating to reincarnation when I finally learned to let go.

I think the reason why I never understood this lesson before was that I thought Letting Go meant giving up. That you are lazy, not going to try and leaving everything to fate...that you've thrown in the towel. Letting Go simply means, you don't attach yourself to the results. You still have to work really hard. You still have to focus. You still have to learn and improve. You still have to know yourself. You still have to share. Things just might not turn out exactly like you pictured in your head.

I think something else that's valuable to really allow me to start Letting that I've been through the worst possible scenarios I've ever imagined. Failure, or what I perceived as failure: things not going my way, people not acting the way I wanted them...really hasn't been that bad. Well okay the feelings of disappointment really do suck. far, there hasn't been anything that has killed me or completely destroyed me that I couldn't bounce back from. Hitting rock bottom teaches you one thing - that you know how to get back up on two feet. I have the confidence that I can try and play whatever hand I get dealt. This helps detach from expecting a certain outcome.

Know the other benefit of being able to let go? So much time goes into worrying and anxiety and stress over things you can't control. You really do free up a lot of time when you just do your best and let the cards fall as they will. You actually get time to enjoy the moment instead of worrying about the next moment.

Especially in a beginners improv class, you realize, that everybody is funny or quirky in their own way. The more genuine, relaxed and themselves they are - the better. The more in the moment you are and able to let go and participate in the current topic, you end up enjoying that you have no idea where the conversation will lead. And not knowing where it'll end up is perfectly okay because everyone else is as interested (and laughing) and supportive of the same discovery process.

I'm now convinced its all about the journey not the destination.


  1. Very interesting in relation to improv. I never would have suspected that. Letting go is something one thought a lot about. I think most, if not all mental illness is rooted in the inability to let go.

    1. Yeah good point, I can see lots of health problems related to the inability to let go.

  2. Happy to hear that you found something out of "nothing". We are constantly learning, and it's something I'm surprised with daily.