We live in uncertain, confusing and scary times. Understandably, we want to grasp onto knowing what's going on, what’s going to happen next, knowing who I am and knowing who you are. But what if this need to know and to label keeps us from creating new paths for living together, and new ways of disagreeing together? What if growing and emerging together requires giving up knowing and labeling? What if it calls for creating new things together? What if playing together is what will save us?
Playing together is our shot at developing new ways of seeing, thinking, and relating. I think about playing in the literal ways that we play, like dancing and joking, the arts and sports, but also being curious with one another, willing to be weird, vulnerable, accepting.
Picture an afternoon where people of diverse backgrounds who do not know each other or exactly what they signed up for, agree to come together. They agree to be videotaped while practicing exercises to help us listen, be curious, slow down, be present and create an ensemble experience. That is what some brave and creative folks did this weekend. It was a very powerful and moving gathering. None of us knew exactly what would unfold, and that did not matter. We were able to create something together, and I’m talking about people who are quite diverse in political views, gender identity, age, race, and nationality. That is the power of ensemble play, and the power of giving up having to know before we practice life together.
The afternoon was part of a new "Skits for Growth" project on our community Social Therapy YouTube series, where an ordinary and diverse group of people sign up to play together. In that process, we offer the in-person and digital community ways to relate in more intimate, creative and humane ways.
Now more than ever, let’s unite. Let’s create new, more open conversations with one another. This is hard and scary because we would need to be curious. This requires giving up the right-wrong paradigm and relate to one another in a way that puts focus on the how and not just the what of our conversations.
The next time you disagree with someone, be curious and listen slowly and non-reactively.
Let’s discover where it takes us. Together.