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[Newsletter Series (#10)

I’ve been thinking about the improv principle, Listening, and it occurred to me yesterday how important it is to practice listening inwardly as well. Meaning paying attention to what our intuition is telling us - often like a whisper; more soft spoken and polite than our Inner Critic who’s motivated more by fear or self judgment.

It’s not easy though. Just as practicing listening outside ourselves - to scene partners, friends, our children - can feel like a struggle, the same can be true about getting quiet enough to hear that gentle voice.

I was at my kids’ school yesterday morning to drop off my first grader. The bell rang, and I spun on my heel to head home. I felt in a rush to get there too, even though I had no calls or meetings; no deadlines waiting for me at my computer. And as I approached the front gates to leave, I realized I’d been walking upstream. I stopped and looked around me.

Kindergarteners were lining up with their teachers. The principle passed me, heading the other way, with her team of support staff. Parents run-walked down the halls. Everyone was heading to the gym for the final assembly of the school year. And the final final assembly for my fifth grader, Jaime, soon to graduate elementary school.

Where exactly are we going? Turn around and go to the gym.

But I should really get home.

To do...what? Have more coffee and eat almond butter toast at your office desk? Go. We’ll regret it if we don’t.

So I did. I walked downstream with the others, toward the gym for Friday assembly. And I can’t tell you how grateful I am to have made that choice. To have followed the soft persuasion she had to offer.

There was singing and farewells to retiring staff members. The fifth graders sat on the big kid bleachers for the very last time before middle school. Parents stood at the side lines and cried together. It was awesome. And I wouldn’t trade that morning for the world.

Listening. To each other, yes. To ourselves, double yes. More often than not, we have a thing or two to ourselves, that might just take us to the gym for a heartwarming morning with our kids.

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