I’d like to live in this reality – I don’t know what will happen really.
I’m in London this week where Brexit is still the hot button topic, and PM May is facing the final vote on her deal. A decision will be made later today in fact – a decision that might change the course of economic policy in the UK, through Europe, perhaps around the world – she knows. We can’t really know. The topic’s trending on Twitter. The pundits are providing their predictions. PM May has just made her last plea to Parliament. The mainstay of discussion will begin after lunch and carry on until early evening. The voting will begin at 7 pm. By about 10 pm GMT we’ll at least know the outcome of that vote. But we still won’t really know anything.
Although many people think they know what’s to come, none of us actually do.
Like we couldn’t have known that Manchester United was going to win their sixth game in a row against Tottenham Spurs at Wembley this past Sunday. The stats were not in favour of a sixth win for ManU. But they did win, incredibly, thanks in most part to the magical reach of goalie David De Gea.
It was better not to know who’d win that game. What would have been the point of watching otherwise? So what’s wrong with never knowing what’s going to happen?
Like, I have no idea what the outcome of this blog post will be? Would knowing make me a better writer? I mean, I hope it’s read-worthy. I intend it to stand on its own with an idea worth considering. But I can’t know for certain that anyone will read it, and if you are, reading it I mean, I can’t know that you’ll be persuaded by my idea.
To Be honest – I only remember I don’t know some of the time.
The commitment I’ve made to myself is to post a blog once a week for a year (except over big holidays like Christmas). My intention is to write about whatever is most relevant to me at the time and send it out into the world. To get over my reluctance to take part in this blog-o-sphere as I call it. Isn’t that enough. Why worry about the outcome?
To be honest, I can say, “I don’t know” only some of the time. I can only now and then face the fact I don’t have all the answers. Most of the time I say, “I know the answer is in here somewhere but I’m not ready to hear it yet, or not ready to uncover them yet. I’m philosophical about it, and more comfortable with the perception of potentially knowing. Not fact though. It’s an idea. The only actual fact is this, I can’t know what will happen next. Neither can you. We all live in a constant state of not knowing what is around the corner.
I know this, some of the time, even though it flies in the face of wanting to believe I have it all together.
I’ve believed I can control how the next moment will unfold. I make a list and accomplish everything on it. Or I have a premonition about what’s about to happen and then it does. But maybe even in these times I’ve only been noticing the unfolding of ‘what is’ which has nothing to do with me controlling.
This line of thinking always brings me back to when I was teaching improvisation. The first thing I would introduce to new students is the principle of “Yes, And”. They’d quickly understand what happens if they decide to refuse the information other actor(s) provide – nothing. For example, if you’re in a scene with another actor and they imagine you to be a lion in a cage, you can choose to agree or disagree. But if you refuse to be that lion, the scene is pretty much over.
Imagine this –
Actor A and actor B stand side by side frozen. The director says, “Begin” Actor A is the first one to say or do anything so he sets the scene. A turns to B and says, “This lion hasn’t moved for an hour. Don’t know why they keep him in a cage.”
Actor B puts hand on hips and says, “I’m not a lion in a cage.”
End of scene.
We have to accept what is in order to move forward in our life.
You have to say ‘Yes’ the other’s idea and ‘And’ to evolve the scene from there –
Actor A turns to B and says, “This lion hasn’t moved for an hour. Don’t know why they bother locking it up.”
Actor B yawns and roars and rolls over onto her back. “I’ve been wondering the same about you.”
Actor A – You can speak?
Actor B – Of course I can speak. I was a princess until your evil sister cast that spell on me.”
Actor A – I thought I recognized your long golden locks.
Actor B – Oh sweet prince. You do remember me. Can you help me escape?
Actor A – There’s a key in the door. If I turn it, maybe the cage will open. (He fiddles with the key)
Actor B – That’s it sweet prince. Keep jiggling.
(Actor A opens the cage door and Actor A leaps onto him. Could be a natural ending, or a new circumstance could be offered to keep the scene alive)
The point is, ‘Yes, And” means accepting we don’t know.
We can make a choice, we can move forward like a stream and accept what is. Yes And is metaphor for life. Of course we can also say “No, But”, a metaphor for death, and make the choice to end the scene.
Life is better. I prefer to keep the story going. Life is breath. And this breath it depends on is only so long and then it ends and a new breath begins. This is the fundamental fact of our existence. So why worry beyond this breath? Why not look into the future and say, “I don’t know, I’ll see what happens when that future is my present. Then I’ll make the best choice I can to keep my life moving forward.”
Today, I”m going to try to remember, all the way into this big vote tonight, as each moment of life unfolds.
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