The Gift of Silence

“It’s okay to just sit there and wait for it.”

My acting friend had brought us all together to practice improv again. We haven’t been able to get together because of the pandemic.

Quarantine was not what we wanted. We had been getting a groove together as we worked through improv scenes. But that was a long time ago.

I was so glad when Jenn reached out to to ask if I would be willing to come work some scenes outside. We could stay distanced and be safe and everything. But we are artists and it was high time to get some practice.

When the going gets tough, artists make art.

We warmed up and marked out the borders of the stage so we could practice proper stagecraft. We did a few small scenes and were reminding each other how we had been taught.

Say one short sentence.  Let it sit.

Then the response.

Wait.

The story will unfold naturally.

In improv, it’s all about relationships. Just like life.

Time and silence helps conversations with people. When I speak, I can give it time to sink in. Then wait to hear the response.

That gives so much depth to the conversation. It shows a lot of confidence to let the silence ride. Leaving that much space is generous to others, allowing them to use the space.

It is not so common. Many people find silence in conversation deeply unsettling and jump forward to fill it.

Amazing things can be revealed in that silence.

The truth can bubble up when it has the space. Silence lets a situation breathe.

I know my first response is not always an accurate reflection of my true feelings. When I give someone else time to speak, that allows them to rethink and say what they really mean.

It is a gift.

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