Don’t Chase Deer


I’m in the 201 class at UCB here in Manhattan. The teacher went into a rant about ho-humming in the space between choices. In every improv. scene there are many directions the scene can go, but you need to identify one, stick to your guns, and GO WITH IT. “There’s never going to be the one, single, perfect choice! I’d rather watch a fully committed choice than watch a half-ass attempt at a few.”

Aint that the truth in life too? There’s a hesitation to fully commit to a choice, whatever it is, because we fear it may be the wrong choice, something better might come along, it wont work out, we’ll fail and flop, etc. Improvisation is an amazing microcosm of life, in the sense that the players are overwhelmed by stimulus (other players, audience, sounds, laughter, lack of laughter…) and have to identify a course of action while dealing with the assault of information. The same holds true in life. “I want to go to school for psychology but my parents really saw me in the business world, and I don’t know which city I want to move to, and how can I take a job in New York when the weather in California is so inviting, and maybe my soul mate lives in California but my ex who I might get back together with lives in New York…”

There are so many choices coming from every which direction, its difficult enough to identify them as they come, and even more difficult to latch on to one and commit whole-heartedly forward. I once heard a comedy (I wish I could give credit where due, but it’s been too long to remember…) compare the difference between men and women in bed, to a race. He said, “Men see the finish line, they see the gold, and they go for it, go for it, go for it.” “Women on the other hand…” he let out an exaggerated sigh, “…they see the finish line and go for it, go for it, and then….” he starts strolling the opposite way on stage, “they see a pretty little deer on the side of the road.” I vividly remember thinking I see a lot of pretty little deer in ALL (get your head out of the gutter) life scenarios.

A Mayan sage once told me “…if you want to catch salmon, you need to learn about the boat that takes you where the salmon swim, you need to learn about the net needed to catch salmon, you need to learn what part of the ocean they dwell, you need to study with other salmon fisherman, and of course you need to cast that salmon net.” “Um, I don’t follow. Why are we talking about salmon?” “Jenna, if you want to catch any ‘ol fish, just throw a net out in the water. You’ll catch something. But if there’s something specific you want to catch, you need to make the choice, and carry through with it in your course of action.”

Make a decision. Commit to it. See where it takes you. You won’t get anywhere chasing deer.

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