The concept of “Yes And” comes from the world of improv comedy. In fact, it is the fundamental tenet of improv comedy. It’s a way of interacting with others, and with the world, that allows for possibilities. It is both an invitation and a means by which people can work together and create. And whether the women behind the Women’s Movement Collaborative realize it or not, “Yes And” is also the unspoken, but very present, spirit of WMC. How do I know this? Because I attended my first WMC event last year and witnessed the collaborative magic of WMC. It is “Yes And” in action.
“And in Improvisation there is one hard and fast rule, and that rule is known as "Yes And." The term YES AND: to say yes, and not just yes, but to add information. In the adding of information you don't negate the other persons idea - but you build on it.” -Maya Rudolph
The women who put together WMC events and all the women who attend do so because they all say “Yes!!” to movement. They want to explore movement within the world and within themselves. Each and every woman present at a WMC event wants to expand past the box of movement she currently finds herself in. She wants to lift the lid off and blow the walls out in order to expand on her experience. Collaboration is the alchemy that makes this possible.
And “Yes And” is the unspoken agreement that allows this collaboration of movement to happen. And while the “Yes” part of the agreement is about movement, it’s also about respecting what every woman brings to the space. The “And” part builds on the “Yes”. “And” is about contributing and adding to the experience.
The women of WMC strive to foster an environment that encourages “Yes And”. They do not view themselves as ‘ THE experts’ or the sole authorities on all things movement. WMC values all the women who attend as both students and teachers. The women presenting at WMC simply offer their wheelhouse of knowledge. And each one has some crazy wonderful and wise movement knowledge to share about how the body/mind/spirit can move beyond individual boxes of movement.
These badass Wonder Women of movement share what they know and what they’ve learned so that those attending can playfully explore it. “Yes” is all about doing an attentive and active listen to the knowledge that is being laid down. “And” is all about picking up that knowledge in order to begin the collaboration. And each initiation requires a bit of courage in order to step outside the box of what one knows. But with each step one’s world of movement grows bigger. Can you say buh-bye box?
So what does it take to be a part of this Women’s Movement Collaborative goodness? All it takes is making a choice to not overthink it. All it takes is a willingness to launch yourself down the chute. And initiating your launch down the chute is as simple as reaching out to the WMC Team about where to begin. Or you can slide on down the chute by registering for a WMC event. And just so you know, there’s a WMC event coming up at the end of September.
And I can vouch that going down the waterslide is a helluva lot more fun than sitting at the top overthinking the adventure. And I know this from first hand experience. Because when I first heard about WMC my initial reaction was that I just wanted to think about it and think about it some more. I mean, did I really belong in a group of amazing movers and strong women? Was my movement practice up to their level? Did I really have anything to offer? Yep, my thinking can take me to the dark galaxy of self doubt in which Imposter Syndrome reigns supreme. Not a direction that warrants a “Yes And”. So I put on my big girl panties and said “Hell No!!” to overthinking and “Hell Yes!!” to an adventure. I jumped in with both feet and slid into WMC. And I gotta say it has been one amazing ride.
“I learned some rules that I try to apply still today: Listen. Say yes. Live in the moment. Make sure you play with people who have your back. Make big choices early and often.” -Amy Poehler on improv
Deciding to join WMC on the level of interacting via social media was one thing. Attending my first WMC event was a big decision for me on a whole other level. Why? Because I’ve got a few years on most of the attendees. The overthinking questions in my head, that almost took over, included thoughts like, “But I’m too old to Parkour”, “But my shoulders are too beat up to do a handstand”, “But I’m not going to be able to do all the cool stuff all the other women can do”. It was but after but after but. Buts are such bullsh*t.
So instead of allowing the “Yes Buts” (another form of saying “No” that comes from a fearful place that can take a person to the dark galaxy of self doubt) to prevail I made the decision to trust the women behind WMC. I trusted that all the presenters would be truly collaborative in their approach. And that the spirit of collaboration would mean they would have my back as I tried new and challenging moves. Many of which were awkward for me. Moves that left me feeling clumsy. And I have to say, my trust was very well placed.
Because when my beat up shoulders couldn’t do many of the building blocks that lead to an eventual handstand, Kirsty Grosart was patient, supportive, and understanding. She simply collaborated with me to find another way to begin the building of a handstand. And while I can’t do one yet, I know that it’s possible. And one day I will achieve a handstand. Kirsty had my back. And I know she still does.
And not all the challenging moves were physical in nature. Listening to wonderful strong women like Sarah Scozzaro share her personal story was a “Yes And” experience on a emotional/mental/spiritual level. Sarah offered her personal story as a call to each of us to say “Yes And” to being fearless. And in her challenge to us to choose to be fearless she demonstrated what vulnerability, transparency, support, and encouragement look like. And I know she has my back as I realize more and more that I have no more #@*&s to give.
And it wasn’t just Kirsty and Sarah that made the WMC workshop so remarkable. It was each and every presenter who shared their knowledge and set the stage for collaboration to happen. It was also each and every woman who attended who brought their unique energy to add more magic to the collaboration. It was an uncommon weekend of connection. My concept of movement and my concept of myself both expanded past what a mere box can hold. And I’m now connected to a group of women who inspire me to play and explore. I’m so grateful I made the choice to say “Yes And” to WMC.
Thank you Sarah Young for another awesome contribution to the WMC blog!