Real improvisation is happening within us all the time, but we aren’t always conscious of it, and we aren’t always improvising as freely or as creatively as we could, since most of our movements and choices are based on habit.
But the truth remains that you can never do exactly the same thing in the same way twice.
Let’s explore how we can increase the amount of freedom we experience by improvising with conscious intention!
First of all, why improvise?
When you let your Creative Muse (something deeper than your conscious thinking mind… your Higher Self, or whatever you want to call It – see this video for more on this) lead you in your thoughts and movements, the resulting art will be fresh, new, spontaneous, fulfilling, healing, and exciting for you and for your audience.
The 5 Pillars of The Art of Freedom ~ and how they relate to improvisation
You have to WANT to improvise, so that you can consciously create what you want! You have to want to get out of the way of your natural ability to improvise. What do you want? Why?
2) Mind… and…
We use the mind and body (which is really one thing) to carry out our creative ideas, through thought and movement. The mind-body-self also interferes with the easy transmission of those ideas, so it makes sense to learn how to consciously use the mind-body self to get out of the way, instead. Otherwise, habit will take over, and mind-body tension will tend to block our creative flow.
4) Spirit Without accessing that special “something” that is the life-stuff of creativity, our art will be devoid of heart… and then it’s not really art.
You simply can’t make great art without allowing for improvisation to happen. Even when you’re following a strict structure – for instance, creating architecture, or playing a Bach invention – there will always be room for improvisation within the limitations provided.
Improvisation is not just about inventing something completely “original” (impossible, anyway – “There is nothing new under the sun”) – it’s about allowing creativity to flow through every aspect of everything we do. Allowing the creative Spirit to flow through us freely allows every aspect of life to be lived as art.
How do we get in the way of our improvisation?
The biggest way that we interfere with our creativity is to not be present to our experience in the moment that we are experiencing it. Usually, we’re either stuck thinking about what has already happened, or we’re trying to predict the future. Improvising can only happen in the present.
Negative thinking, habitual and unquestioned beliefs, assumptions, expectations, critical judgments, black-and-white thinking, and fears also get in the way.
Here are some examples of fears that get in the way of the free flow of creative improvisation:
- Fear of making mistakes
- Fear of failure
- Fear of what people might think, say, or do
- Fear of disappointing oneself and other people
- Fear of the ‘pain’ felt if results are not achieved
- Fear of death (as irrational is this may be)
A couple other red-flag thoughts to avoid: “I can’t”, and “I should” or “I shouldn’t”.
How can improvising be healing?
If any of the above thoughts or fears have been preventing you from improvising, if you can work on healing those beliefs, and just take action and enjoy the process, you can use the improvisatory process to heal yourself of the negative consequences of those thoughts.
It’s not always fun, though….
[Watch the full video to hear about some of my personal experiences with improvising and getting in the way…]
Stuck feelings cause suffering – physical and/or emotional pain. We all need creative outlets!
Allowing oneself to feel deeply without blocking/suppressing/repressing our emotions … then, to express those feelings and get them out of our system… THIS is the creative, improvisatory process, and this is deeply healing.
I often go to my violin with the sole purpose of healing something I’m dealing with – so that I can process my emotions in a healthy way that I know will produce something beautiful, if I let it and get my ego out of the way (easier said than done, of course – and relative).
Do you purposefully go to your creative activity to heal? Have you tried creating art solely by improvising? What happens when you do this? What happens to your thoughts… your body… your soul?
You don’t have to know how to improvise to improvise!
Improvising is experimenting.
Some random helpful thoughts to help you improvise, in the context of my “3 Magic Phrases”:
You’re free to improvise, screw up, and be brilliant! Your improvising doesn’t need to fit into a mold – you can experiment and find your way! You’re free to do it your way! You’re free to improvise your improvising! That can be terrifying… or totally liberating! You are free to be yourself! You can learn how to do this! You get to choose what you’re going to do, and how to do it. You don’t have to be able to improvise perfectly. You don’t have to know what you’re doing – just start! You are safe! You won’t die of improvisation! 😉 You don’t have to understand harmony, or any special systems for how to improvise.
Be open to learning.
Improvise your learning! Improvise your improvising!
Just express yourself.
Ponder these ideas for a moment…
Then… STOP pondering…and…
P.S. Tell me how it goes, and please share your experience in my facebook group! (LINK)