I’m walking down the hall at The Barrow Group on my way to get some water before I start teaching class. I pass two young students talking about a play they had seen.
“What do you say to your friend when they suck in the play and the play sucks?”
I stop and turn around holding my empty glass and follow them down the hall.
“I am so sorry I overheard you talking about seeing your friend in a play.”
They both look at me like they had been called into the principal’s office.
‘Was there anything about the experience that you appreciated?” I asked.
They both continued to stare at me like they didn’t understand the question.
“Did you appreciate being in the theater, going with your friend, the comfort of the seat, the comp ticket, the lights, seeing the actors creating something together, one thing in the story?”
“Well…the costumes were ok and I liked the music,” one of the girls answered.
“There you go,” I said.
“But what if the whole thing just sucked?”
“Seems like one or two things didn’t suck,” I answered.
Last summer I had a conversation with a group of people over dinner when the topic of “deeper appreciation” came up. One gentleman identified himself as “An Appreciator.” He talked about leading with generosity of spirit. As I took in this happy man, it occurred to me that “appreciation” elevates. Perhaps our lives become enhanced when we are able to look through a different lens?
As an actor, director, teacher, mentor, audience member, I find when I let appreciation come into play it softens my inner critic. I’m able to have a deeper, richer, and more complex experience. It relaxes my body, mind, and emotions. I also tend to smile more.
Let us practice being better “Appreciators.” Is that even a word?