This upcoming week is going to be a difficult one for our country. The election will be completed on Tuesday, but it is likely that we won’t know the results for some time. I have spoken with colleagues this week in places like Washington DC and Boston, and significant parts of their week have been spent in meetings preparing for possible civil unrest.We as a county, and we as individuals, are on high alert. This is an uncomfortable and unhealthy way to live.
The right response to this isn’t to simply dampen down our anxiety, telling ourselves everything will be alright and nothing bad will happen. Everything is not alright in our world, and bad things of some sort or another will likely happen.
A better response is a, ‘Yes, and…” response. “Yes, and” is a technique from improvisation. When actors are improvising a scene, they are taught to always go with the world that is being created. Never saying, “No, but really….” always saying, “Yes, and…”
- Covid rates are going up: “Yes, and… I’ll continue using all my precautions and will pray for those who are sick and our caregivers.”
- My candidate may not win the election: “Yes, and…I will pray for wisdom for our leaders daily and I will research a way I can help those who will be hurt by this win.”
- There may be social unrest: “Yes, and…I will contact others I trust and we will work on a plan together to keep safe/to join in protests/to support those in the fray. And I will pray for peace and justice daily.”
“Yes, and…” can be an important spiritual practice in times of stress or anxiety. Don’t deny your feelings, don’t deny what is happening in the world. “Yes, and” them. Don’t let the what ifs dominate and control your thinking. Admit that the terrible thing might happen, and then create a plan and pray.
I’ll be “yes, and…”ing my way through this week. Join me.