Saturday, May 21, 2011

Living from the heart...

Re-posted from a previous blog February, 2011:

John Eldridge (an author I'm fond of) wrote this in his book The Sacred Romance:

"Think about the part you find yourself playing, the self you put on like a costume. Who cast you in this role? Most of us are living out a script that someone else has written for us. We've not been invited to live from our heart, to be who we truly are, so we put on these false selves hoping to offer something more acceptable to the world..."

I have been involved in improvisational comedy for years, and after reading Eldridge's words, I was compelled to write. Here's what came out....

Most of us, it seems, are wearing costumes and playing parts based on somebody else’s script. That's not how we live from the heart God intended for us. It strikes me that living from the heart God intended is much more like being a skilled improv actor.  Everything is made up on the spot and we get to be unique and original, but even as we're there being original, there’s an understanding that undergirds each scene we play. In improv every scene has a format and structure that frames the scene. If followed well, it makes our creativity rise to its best. There’s the intro, the conflict (humorous if we lucky), the climax (more humor if all goes well), and the denouement (the needful wind-down from the fever pitched action that came before.)

Living from our heart: (i.e. being who we were created to be) and being who we'd like us to be are in point of fact very closely related.

It’s like the difference between a showboater (an improviser who wants everything to be about him and often breaks little rules—or big ones—to make that happen) and the true improviser who knows that scenes play best when the right structures are met and who knows the goal is always to help everyone in the scene give the best performance. He still gets to be himself—uniquely himself—and very much enjoys the process.

The showboater thinks he knows what he wants... to be the star no matter what, and will put on whatever costume, or break whatever rule necessary to reach his goal.  But the true improviser takes joy in being a part of the whole... helping other's better their performance, and in turn is bettered himself. The structures are there to aid that, not to hinder. It really is a beautiful plan.

The showboater is like the ball player that will only swing for a home run. He may hit that one that makes him shine for the moment, but just as often he strikes out... and he might just take the team (the other improvisors) down with him.

Funny the spiritual parallels there.

Thank you, God... for the insight. Please keep it coming, and help me always be the true improviser... not the other guy.

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