In the world of improv, there’s a concept of “yes, and.” Meaning that if you say “yes, and,” then the action/narrative/drama/scene can go on, but if you say something akin to “no” or allow the dialogue or action to stop with you, then the scene is over. It can’t go further without each player moving it along.
The beauty is that each participant gets to take it where they want to. Perhaps actor number one says, “I saw a bear today and I wanted to kill it and eat it.” Well then, actor number two gets to say, “I’m vegetarian. Can I just make you a big salad?” And the pathway curves around a new bend..
I was thinking about that in relation to people’s reactions to my passion for road trips. If someone hears that I went on a recent solo road trip around the country for a few weeks, they generally have one of two reactions, “Is that safe?” or “That’s the gutsiest thing I’ve heard in a while. Good for you.”
First let me say that in this day and age when our cars have computers on board, where AAA shows up anywhere, where we have cell phones with GPS features, and where there is safe food around most every corner, it is hardly a gutsy move to take a road trip. Come on, people, this is not the Oregon Trail.
The scariest part might just be the idea of being alone with one’s thoughts. Which — on the other hand — can be an invitation to the best things in life. That’s where we encounter the “what is” and begin to know what we long for. Solo journeys are a great impetus for the sorts of honest wrestling that can result in divine encounters or, simply, life taking a new turn.
But that’s not my topic today. I want to spur us all on (myself in particular) to say “Yes, and” to other people’s dreams and ideas. You may not want to go on a solo road trip, but you can sure encourage me by saying, “Tell me more” instead of “Is that a good idea?” Obviously I thought it was; that’s why I went.
Yesterday I encountered some people who, upon meeting me, said, “I heard about that road trip. That’s the greatest thing I’ve heard in a long time.” Guess what? Those people are now on my short list of encouragers, of people I like, and of people I’d like to see again. And it wasn’t lost on me that one of them is in a wheelchair, not able to take every journey she wants to take.
What does naysaying do for anybody? Say “yes, and….” A good story will result.