“I thank you God for this most amazing day, for the leaping greenly spirits of trees, and for the blue dream of sky and for everything which is natural, which is infinite, which is yes.” — e.e. cummings
Many of you that read my work already know that I was a theatre major in college. I still participate in theatre shows when I can. (In fact, I will be in a production of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible in April and May of this year.) A very big part of theatre training consists of playing theatre games, and many of these are based on improvisational techniques. When an actor or actors make up lines, actions, and scenes as they go along, they are improving. In other words, there is no script to memorize or characters to embody. You fly by the seat of your pants and create the piece organically in the moment. If you’ve ever seen a television show like “Who’s Line is it Anyway?” or a stage show at a place like Second City in Chicago, these are fine, and usually very funny, examples of improvisation. A good actor has to understand how to improv because in a live production, you never know what’s going to happen. Sometimes improvising a line or doing something different can save a scene that has gone horribly wrong.
There are not a lot of rules when it comes to improvisation. But when I practiced improv every day in college, there was one rule that we, the actors, always had to follow. We had to play the Yes Game, as my teachers called it. You might be able to discern from the name of the rule what it meant. Playing the Yes Game required all of the actors to agree with whatever was going on onstage in a scene. For example, if I were doing a scene with another actor, and she came onstage and established that she had just fallen out of a window and injured her head, I couldn’t come onstage after her and ignore that choice or do something that negated it. I had to play into the situation without contradicting what she already established. So I might come onstage as a paramedic so that I could try to treat her injury. Or I might come on as a panicky pedestrian who doesn’t know what to do for her. Both of these choices say YES to the situation that my scene partner had already created. But I could not come onstage, examine her, and exclaim, “Oh my gosh! This woman is dead!” Doing this would negate what my partner had already set up, and it would ruin the energy of the scene. One of the most important things you must do onstage as an actor is trust your fellow actors. This trust is vital to building a scene, a play, a movie, or any kind of rapport. If I were to ruin the scene by not saying YES, I destroy the trust between the other actor and me, thus destroying the whole project.
So now you’ve learned a little something about theatre and improvisation. I was reminded of playing the Yes Game when I recently re-read the classic healing book You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay. This book has changed the lives of many, many people, myself included. In the book, Louise explores in great detail how our thoughts and our attitudes about ourselves create every situation and especially every health issue we encounter in our lives. Louise contends that by changing our thoughts, we can truly change our lives.
Now this is something that can’t be new information for most of you if you’re reading my blog. I realize that many of you believe in the power of positive thinking and understand the concept that thought creates reality. But even though we believe in this, many of us, myself included, have a hard time incorporating this into our lives every day. We have moments – and maybe longer periods of time than just moments – when we doubt, or we fall into patterns of negative thought. But one thing that Louise says in her book really caught my attention, and I wanted to share it with you today.
Louise writes that there are two mental patterns that contribute to dis-ease: fear and anger. Anger manifests as impatience, frustration, irritation, criticism, resentment, jealousy, and bitterness, thoughts that poison the body. Fear manifests as tension, anxiety, insecurity, doubt, worry, nervousness, feelings of inadequacy, or unworthiness. These also permeate the body and cause harm. And Louise says that we must learn to substitute faith for fear and anger if we are to heal.
“Faith in what?” she writes. “Faith in life. I believe we live in a YES Universe. No matter what we choose to believe or think, the Universe says YES to us. If we think poverty, the Universe says YES to that. If we think prosperity, the Universe says YES to that. So we want to think and believe that we have the right to be healthy, that health is natural to us. The Universe will support and say YES to this belief. Be a YES person, and know that you live in a YES world, being responded to by a YES Universe.”
So you see, Louise Hay is advocating playing the Yes Game in life, just like I used to play it in acting class. This Yes Game, though, is on a much bigger and more important scale. We are creating our own world by affirming to the Universe what we really want in it, and by affirming our divine nature and connection.
It’s important to realize that this is work, and it’s something we need to concentrate on and make a priority every day. We may also find that as we try to release a negative pattern in our lives, the whole situation may seem to get worse for a while. This is not a bad thing, and it is NOT a sign that we are going in the wrong direction. It IS a sign that the process is beginning to move! Our new affirmative thoughts are working, and we need to continue to concentrate energy upon them.
Let’s say, for instance, that you are working on expressing your creative talents, and you lose your job. This may seem like a very bad situation, but it may be that the problem is moving in a different direction to reveal different things you need to understand. Imagine that your affirmation has been, “I create opportunities in my life to use my creative talents and skills.” Guess what? The Universe just said YES to that affirmation and opened up a very big opportunity—you can create a whole new job for yourself! Instead of seeing this as a negative, find the positive in it and say YES to it! This may be challenging in itself, to see the positive in some of these types of situations. But you have the answers inside of you. As Louise also points out: the same Intelligence that created this YES Universe also created you and dwells inside of you as your own inner Intelligence. Access it.
How can we do that? Through meditation and contemplation. And by affirming for ourselves, every day, how beautiful and divine we truly are. We can say something like, “I release all the patterns of consciousness and action that have brought about this circumstance in my life.” And then we can affirm what we do want: “I easily embrace change with joy and peace.” “I easily attract the perfect mate into my life.” “I easily attract the best job to fit all my needs.”
I love the word YES. It sounds delicious, light, and happy. Let’s use it more often. Let’s say YES to the Universe and all it offers to us!