[image from ”The Body Keeps the Score”. Drawing by Noam Saul]
“On September 11, 2001, five-year old Noam Saul witnessed the first passenger plane slam into the World Trade Center from the windows of his first-grade classroom at PS 234, less than 1,500 feet away. He and his classmates ran with their teacher down the stairs to the lobby, where most of them were reunited with their parents who had dropped them off at school just moments earlier. Noam, his older brother, and their dad were three of the tens of thousands of people who ran for their lives through the rubble, ash, and smoke of lower Manhattan that morning.”
One of the gifts of St Ignatius that the Jesuits have carried on is the idea of Composing the Place or Entering the Story. I’ve done this here and there on my own and in Skagit County Jail in my jail chaplaincy there with Tierra Nueva. Basically, you take a scripture passage from the gospels – one with Jesus in it – and enter into the story in your imagination using ALL five of your senses. It’s an embodied experience. And you are basically doing Improv with Jesus as you go. [ I wrote about this in Fall 2013 when I did this with inmates and we entering the story of Jesus Calming the Storm ]
Well it’s been three months since I’ve written.
March/April in sum: busyanxietybusyWakinginthenightbusyworkworkgogogo.
(And then at the end of April, as we say in improv with the swipe of the arm)… ” And….SCENE” [lights go out]
* * *
Sabbatical as Salvation
First week of May. HoldenVillage. Glorious. Mountains.
Feet of snow still melting
Speed of multi-tasked life still melting
Cell phone, computer, car and the
BuiltWorld of their assumptions
Set aside, for the time being.
If you know me at all you know that I am a book lover. I read mostly non-fiction, and yet reading good novels for me is like taking a walk in the woods. I love it! And remark to myself, “Now why am I not here more often?”
And as much as I love to think, cogitate, ruminate, ponder, I also sense the need for a fully-embodied existence — one that is not just stuck in my head (As Anne Lamott once remarked: “My mind is a bad neighborhood that I shouldn’t go into alone”). Continue reading “reincorporating by walking”→
Several years ago I read a book called The Art of Possibility by Rosamund and Benjamin Zander. She’s a psychologist. He’s the conductor of the Boston Philharmonic. I’m going to re-read it this summ
er because the book is about thinking outside-the-box, imagining in a new way, being open to possibility. That’s what improv gives us and it’s what’s needed in our current times.
The frames our minds create define – and confine – what we perceive to be possible. Every problem, every dilemma, every dead end we find ourselves facing in life, only appears unsolvable inside a particular frame or point of view. Enlarge the box, or create another frame around the data, and problems vanish, while new opportunities appear.
“The prophet does not ask if the vision can be implemented, for questions of implementation are of no consequence until the vision can be imagined. The imagination must come before the implementation. Our culture is competent to implement almost anything and to imagine almost nothing. The same royal consciousness that makes it possible to implement anything and everything is the one that shrinks the imagination because the imagination is a danger. Thus every totalitarian regime is frightened of the artist. It is the vocation of the prophet to keep alive the ministry of the imagination, to keep on conjuring and proposing futures alternative to the single one the king wants to urge as the only thinkable one.” – Walter Brueggemann from the ‘Prophetic Imagination, p 40)
We can see this in our nation today and even sharper focus in America’s prison system. Facilities called “reformatories”, or “penitentiaries” are misnomers as they are designed for punishment and not rehabilitation. Continue reading “improv opens futures”→