The Best Laid Plans of Mice & Men

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     Sabrina Pratt
    Participant

    Hi Team- I wanted to share this super sweet email I just sent out to my improv cast.

    !!!

    See you soon! here’s the email:

     

    Hi Team!

    I am writing this email at 4:37am becauseI am awakeand because there was a mouse with a very long tail in my room on my window sill right by my bed!!! The dog was going ape shit about it, Butters didn’t give 2 shits and might have been the one who brought it in. Hurray for live presents! The mouse seemed pretty chill about the whole thing which makes me think he now lives in my room sooooo- that’s freaky-gross.
    After about 30mins. of being butt naked chasing it around my room wearing an oven mitt and a work glove (don’t know where the other glove is) I have closed the doors, opened the window and removed the pets. I hope that mouse gets the point.
    I have a SUPER long day of mentally stimulating work to get to tomorrow (I will be in coach training all day so just a reminder to use Kyle’s zoom meeting id for that class later today), I mean, uh, in a few hours and I guess I could be:
    mad
    frustrated
    embarrassed
    enraged
    sad
    dissappointed
    irritated/annoyed
    any combo of the above and other poop-o feelings to sit in
    But, I’m actually just feeling really cozy on the couch with my cat (the dog is stalking around the house barking lightly at everything from grocery bags to shadows) and having a very, very early cup of coffee. It’s making me reflect on  how often life goes a way very different than how we imagine it will or best laid plans it will.
    It’s so perfect that it was a mouse that’s in my room and that my mind is reflecting on planning because I think of this Robert Burns poem- here it is in all of it’s original *1785 glory:

    To A Mouse, On Turning Her Up In Her Nest With The Plough

    Wee, sleekit, cow’rin, tim’rous beastie,
    O, what a panic’s in thy breastie!
    Thou need na start awasae hasty,
    Wi’ bickering brattle!
    wad be laith to rin an’ chase thee,
    Wi’ murd’ring pattle!

    I’m truly sorry man’s dominion,
    Has broken nature’s social union,
    An’ justifies that ill opinion,
    Which makes thee startle
    At me, thy poor, earth-born companion,
    An’ fellow-mortal!

    I doubt na, whiles, but thou may thieve;
    What then? poor beastie, thou maun live!
    daimen icker in a thrave
    ‘S a sma’ request;
    I’ll get a blessin wi’ the lave,
    An’ never miss’t!

    Thy wee bit housie, too, in ruin!
    It’s silly wa’s the win’s are strewin!
    An’ naething, now, to big a new ane,
    O’ foggage green!
    An’ bleak December’s winds ensuin,
    Baithsnell an’ keen!

    Thou saw the fields laid bare an’ waste,
    An’ weary winter comin fast,
    An’ cozie here, beneath the blast,
    Thou thought to dwell-
    Till crash! the cruel coulter past
    Out thro’ thy cell.

    That weebit heap o’ leaves an’ stibble,
    Has cost thee mony a weary nibble!
    Now thou’s turn’d out, for a’ thy trouble,
    But house or hald,
    To thole the winter’s sleety dribble,
    An’ cranreuch cauld!

    But, Mousie, thou art no thy lane,
    In proving foresight may be vain;
    The best-laid schemes o’ mice an ‘men
    Gangaft agley,
    An’lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
    For promis’d joy!

    Still thou art blest, compar’d wi’ me
    The present only toucheth thee:
    But, Och! I backward cast my e’e.
    On prospects drear!
    An’ forward, tho’ I canna see,
    I guess an’ fear!

    *1785: Just 10 years after the Declaration of Independence was security mailed post-haste to London, speaking of best-laid plans, I am proud to be an American but sheesh, already, sheesh, that patriotism has been hella tested lately.
     
    And, I think, here WE are all turned up and turned out like so often happens in life. We plan and plan and plan. I set out my clothes, I went to bed early and, wouldn’t you know, I got some mouse medicine nonetheless. I just can’t help but think that we have so much CHOICE in the matter that we abandon because we are absolutely stuck on what we think should happen, or could happen or because we are caught up in ‘how it used to be’ and how we wish things had done. The sooner we can get really present and in the now and get with the get down so to speak- like, just accept that things are the way they are and no amount of resentful wishing and regret is going to alter that, the better. 
     
    Because when we are truly present we are powerful. You don’t have a ton of say over how tomorrow will go and you definitely have no say over how yesterday went, it’s already done and gone. BUT, you have ALL the say over how this moment goes. What will you choose for yourself for this moment? What will you create for yourself right now? An experience of irritation? Sadness? Anger? Exhaustion? Or perhaps you will choose to create for yourself an experience of being happy, content and cozy on the couch with a warm cup of tea and a purring (blissfully oblivious) kitty cat on your lap. 
     
    This long, delirious diatribe is actually the note that I most want to give to you all, my dearest improv fam, please, please, allow yourself to be joyful in the moment. Practice in your scenes, carry it into your life if you so choose but, for the sweet, sweet love of Dionysus please practice being truly playfully, joyfully present in your scenes. Lose yourself in your play, let go, just be silly AF without knowing where it is going and being 100% completely relaxed in not-knowing what the hell is going to (or not going to) happen. 
     
    We all say “got your back” before shows because we are saying “no matter what I am right there with you!” so you CAN let go and you MUST let go if you are to grow in your improvisation. You must be PRESENT and you must relinquish CONTROL. Godspeed on this journey, I know it is one helluvah journey. I’m on it, too. 
     
    And, I got your back all the way. 
     
    Here’s the recording from last week: (not included in this forum post)
    All my love;
    Sabs
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