"My most persistent memory of stand-up is of my mouth being in the present and my mind being in the future: the mouth speaking the line, the body delivering the gesture, while the mind looks back, observing, analyzing, judging, worrying, and then deciding when and what to say next. Enjoyment while performing was rare - enjoyment would have been an indulgent loss of focus that comedy cannot afford."
This set off alarm bells for me.
I hadn't come across this explanation of the mind, the body, and the mouth in different time zones before. Yet, these bells ring true.
It brings to mind a question I've wrestled with for a long time:
How can I be "fully in the moment" and yet still anticipate and make plans for the future?
I ask this both for when I'm on stage performing in improv shows, and in life.
Can I get my mind, body, and mouth all in the same time zone?
This question may not lead to an answer. But, I believe that dwelling in the question is more valuable than a single answer. I learned from a great professor back in university that this pursuit of dwelling in questions will bring the reward of better questions and realizations.
Where I'm at now in the journey of this question is this - When I set time aside to set intentions, plan, and organize, I can be more fully present in moments that lead me toward my goals.
For me, this means journaling about my goals, practicing and performing improv to get in the zone, and looking ahead in my calendar to organize my time. These activities allow me to get closer to being present when it counts - creating those purposeful moments. Planning allows you to have purposeful moments that help you to get closer to your goals.
In a recent improv practice I learned that regardless of your great ideas and vision, you must be present and listen to co-create or you'll just live in your plan without flexibility and deny your partner's offer in the scene.
So, plan to get your mind, body, and mouth in the same time zone more often... and then when they are - listen and be flexible with the plan according to what is actually happening.
Tougher than it sounds!