“Did I offer peace today? Did I bring a smile to someone’s face? Did I say words of healing? Did I let go of my anger and resentment? Did I forgive? Did I love? These are the real questions. I must trust that the little bit of love that I sow now will bear many fruits, here in this world and the life to come.” – Henri Nouwen
It is the natural order of life that what goes in must come out. That could show up in the form of obesity, alcohol abuse, porn, violence, etc. Ignoring life’s moans and groans only gives permission for the poison to spread to other areas of our life whether it be in relationships with money, food, health, people, pets, employment, etc.
It’s mind-blowing when we discover that the abusive relationship of our parents has morphed into poor money management, or sexual molestation has led to promiscuity or lack of food has led to poverty and feelings of unworthiness. From experience, exposure to trauma in childhood set our foundation for how we cope in adulthood. By putting an emphasis on childhood trauma, we save ourselves the headache of chasing the effects instead of the cause. Why go on a diet when you would make effective lifestyle changes by redressing physical abuse? To effectuate change go after the cause not the effect, otherwise the solution always remains a hope deferred.
We are constantly building upon what we learned from as far back as our memory can take us. We are constantly rehearsing the life that was projected on us and accepting, instead of unlearning behaviors and trends that no longer serve us, but because of that internal voice in our head that sounds so much like our mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, uncles, cousins, we accept it as law. Being honest with ourselves and unlearning behaviors and routines that no longer serve us is key.
We need to take a step back when something strikes us as odd then shows up in physical exams disguised as high blood pressure or cholesterol, depression, bad knees, migraines, poor sight, etc. If you can’t strike a balance, then stop and get help. One day you will get a handle on things and then you will be aware enough to know what measure you need to take to live a healthier and productive life.
Looking in the mirror every so often helps and it’s the perfect time to reflect. Take a second to pulse before passing judgment on other people and do some introspection. Being insensitive to others pain is not keeping it real. Most people who consider themselves “keeping it real” can’t take the real when it’s handed to them with no filter. In the end, growth can just happen, which isn’t so bad but imagine the possibilities if we stepped out and stretched ourselves.
This brings me to the Sweat Lodge Ceremony back in October 2015. When presented with this opportunity I became curious because I had never heard of a Sweat Lodge before. Always eager to try new things I decided to go, plus the weekend retreat included an Ocean Ceremony. Upon my arrival I met Ms. P who happens to be a comedian. She has been to several Sweat Lodge Ceremonies and she brought me up to speed on what to expect. Our conversation led to us sharing personal stories that stemmed from childhood trauma that we have seen crop up in all areas of our lives. Ms. P shared how Improv has served as a great tool for healing. She shared how free she felt during her Improv Classes and how it continues to strengthen her ability to make mental shifts and how Improv keeps her thinking on her toes. She ended up getting emotional about the benefits she has experienced having participated in improv classes.
It only took 8 months before the universe presented an opportunity for me to partake in improv classes. When I received an email from an acquaintance sharing affordable rates for improv, I could not resist. I was reminded of Ms. P’s story and how her sharing mirrored my own philosophy that stretching yourself is necessary in life. I signed up and I laughed out loud for 2 ½ hours. When I wasn’t laughing out loud, I donned a smile that made my jaw ache. We did a lot in that 2 ½ hour class. So, with 7 more classes to go I am more than excited about growing, healing, connecting, and sharing my space.
I am always thinking about how I can stretch myself big or small but don’t they all seem so big when you look at it from afar? Enough times of stepping up to challenge only to realize, that it wasn’t so bad will give us the courage to push forward more often.
I want to add that aside from healing here are some other reasons why improv is awesome:
- To get back in touch with the fun side of life. Often times we get so consumed with our work-life and forget about the things that make us happy.
- To give the shy-introvert a safe space to share and connect without feeling judged.
- To push boundaries.
- Thinking on your feet.
- Acting purposes.
- Public Speaking.
I encourage you to keep pushing forward in life!