by Carol Kelly
“Alive, alive, I want to get up and jive” – Joni Mitchell
Improvisation is the most exciting and terrifying form of acting or playing music because it requires such total flexibility, a suspended stance, a “tuning in” to the situation in a heightened way. The older we get the more we see the patterns emerging in life and in other people. And it is the hardest thing to recognize those patterns while still allowing things to be different. Do we really want to play the same role over and over day after day? What kind of a deadening effect does that have on us and those around us? We get bored and seek distraction. But there is nothing more entertaining or exciting that really being “alive.” It requires effort, that’s all, and so we run from it. And what if we go off the script, or the notes, and make (God forbid) a “mistake?” Then what?
We continually draw wrong conclusions about other people and even about ourselves! We have no idea, or only a glimmer of their true nature. It is a never-ending struggle to penetrate, from the surfaces which people show – to their real, abiding being.
We feel this most acutely when a person dies. Then the veil is lifted and we see the one we did not know, the one we could not love enough. Can we ever really love another person enough?
I want to be alive in this moment and to know you, who are alive in this moment. This is my daily prayer. This is the new music, the unexpected turn of events.