If you’ve never seen them, it’s a little hard to imagine how powerful three blue men and a band can be. A couple of weeks ago, my family and I went to a local performance of Blue Man Group. Over 90 minutes of lights, percussion, and wholehearted participation. Here’s what I took away…
Communication is so much more than words.
The blue men said nothing. Rather, their eyes, their faces, their hands, their bodies said everything we needed to know. How often do we focus on merely the words, forgetting to pay attention to what is not said, someone’s facial expressions, their subtle shifts in energy?
There’s a luxury in listening, a generous settling into someone’s story with our whole body as we become aware of someone else’s breath and body.
As a coach, I’ve learned to notice the way people breathe, pauses that at first seem misplaced but tell so much more than the words we often jump to, a change in the way someone holds their head or glances quickly downward. This is one reason that email and text messages can get us into trouble—we miss all of this. But I think it goes deeper than that. There’s a luxury in listening, a generous settling into someone’s story with our whole body as we become aware of someone else’s breath and body.
We need community.
The best part of the experience was that we were sitting next to two boys who were about 8-years-old. Their reactions to the performance, the suspense, the interplay between the performers and the audience were so delightful. They were sitting with an older woman who, like me, was soaking in their enjoyment. Over two thousand people experiencing the same sounds, sights, and smells and each in their own way. Some, I’m sure, more engaged than others but all immersed in ninety minutes of shared community. We may think that we don’t need to be together to hear a symphony or to watch a movie or a competition, but we do.
We need play.
To be honest, I went to the performance in a dyspeptic state. I’d spent a day not really accomplishing anything and really wanted a quiet evening of reading and an early bedtime. Being in a room where the sole purpose was to see blue men drumming on drums that were covered in paint (seriously, you have to see this) lifted my mood, taking me out of the frame of mind in which I was determined to stay until the following morning. Play is many things, but the one thing it is indisputably is necessary.
The true object of all human life is play.
G. K. Chesterton
We need to be careful who we choose as our leaders.
Three blue men had two thousand people clapping, standing, sitting, following their gaze, ripping up neon pink paper, throwing it up in the air—all in unison. Yes, we were all there willingly, but none of us set out that evening to do any of these things. And, I’m sure, few of us decided to do them. All this is to
People can poison people; people can also promote people. People can push people up; people can also pull people down. Don’t just follow people cheerfully; follow people carefully!” Israelmore Ayivor
say that we can easily get caught up in engaging antics of people on the stage and in the spotlight. Knowing that, we need to take great care in choosing those whom we follow. And for those of us who lead others, we need to be equally careful about our actions.
What about you? Are you finding time to play? Do you have community? Do you have someone who listens deeply to you? Who are your leaders?
Photo by Rahul Pandit