“Yes, and…” People

In the world of improv, there’s a concept of “yes, and.”  Meaning that if you say “yes, and,” then the action/narrative/drama/scene can go on, but if you say something akin to “no” or allow the dialogue or action to stop with you, then the scene is over.  It can’t go further without each player moving it along.

The beauty is that each participant gets to take it where they want to.  Perhaps actor number one says, “I saw a bear today and I wanted to kill it and eat it.”  Well then, actor number two gets to say, “I’m vegetarian.  Can I just make you a big salad?”  And the pathway curves.

I was thinking about that in relation to people’s reactions to my passion for road trips.  If someone hears that I went on a recent solo road trip around the country for a few weeks, they generally have one of two reactions, “Is that safe?” or “That’s the gutsiest thing I’ve heard in a while.  Good for you.”

First let me say that in this day and age where our cars have computers on board, where AAA shows up anywhere, where we have cell phones with GPS features and where there is safe food around most every corner, it is hardly a gutsy move to take a road trip.  Come on, people, this is not the Oregon Trail.

The scariest part might just be the idea of being alone with one’s thoughts.  Which — on the other hand — is an invitation to the best things in life.  That’s where we encounter the “what is” and begin to know what we long for.  I believe that the psalmist we encounter in the Bible probably was on the road alot.  Solo journeys are a great impetus for the sorts of honest wrestling that can result in God encounters.

But that’s not my topic today.   I want to spur us all on (myself in particular) to say “Yes, and” to other people’s dreams and ideas.  You may not want to go on a solo road trip, but you can sure encourage me by saying, “Tell me more” instead of “Is that a good idea?”  Obviously I thought it was; that’s why I went.

Yesterday I encountered someone who, upon meeting me, said, “I heard about that road trip.  That’s the greatest thing I’ve heard in a long time.”  Guess what?  Those folks are on my short list of encouragers, of people I like, and of people I’d like to see again.  And it wasn’t lost on me that one of them is in a wheelchair, not able to take every journey she wants to take.

What does naysaying do for anybody?  Say “yes, and….”  A good story will result.

~ by Cary on January 21, 2011.

4 Responses to ““Yes, and…” People”

  1. Cary, I love this. Our words are so powerful, aren’t they? They can open up the door for more conversation and learning, or slam it tightly shut. Thanks for writing this…and, for the record, I think your road trip idea was fantastic.

  2. Amen to a life filled with more “yes” and “tell me more”….LOVED THIS!!!

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