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  • Dolly

Declutter the Conversation

I recently watched a Netflix show that everyone was raving about: Tidying Up with Marie Kondo. I was intrigued by this sweet unassuming woman who could methodically reorganize your sock drawer and file away the garage clutter. This attempt to filter out the things that we pile on top of piles and keep 'just because' is a very familiar one to most of us. Though we may not successfully maintain a level of organization and minimalism we dream of, we can relate to wanting to rid our lives of the less important to make room for the good stuff.

This hits home for me right now as I wade through the toys and laundry and props that choke every room. I took some of the lesson Marie teaches and applied them immediately and I've got to say--my sock drawer is looking very nice right now! It was fun to go through a declutter mode and I sure hope some of her concepts stick! It's worth a shot!

This exercise got me thinking about what other areas of life we can apply a minimalistic approach to....why not communication?!

I can be a long winded and wordy gal. I can verbally walk a mile before getting to a point. My husband is quick, witty, funny and concise. There's no fluff or extra chatter in what he says. It's clear, intentional and thrown out there to see what sticks! My excess words versus his minimalist ways makes for some pretty interesting arguments. But our communication has gotten profoundly better this year as I make my way over to the world of clear-cut expression through applying some rules of improvisation.

Here are some of the changes I've made:

1. Make a Choice - It doesn't have to be the 'right' choice. But you won't get anywhere floundering in options. Pick something and move forward. In improv, someone has to start the scene. They've made a choice about how to begin and it's so freeing. You can spend all day thinking about how to craft the perfect scene but that's not what improv or life are about. Just go!

2. Own your choice - Take pride in the choice you've made. If you choose to be a cat in an improv scene, stay a cat! Be the best cat anyone can be! That pride you take in your choice and in your character will be convincing and strong if you believe in what you're doing.

3. Be clear - Clearly stating your thoughts gives the other person, or scene partner, only the most important information to work with. This doesn't mean that you leave out all the details. It only means that you stick to the details that are most important to the scene. And in life, if I'm mad about the dishwasher not being emptied, the toys on the floor, etc. that's fine but they should be secondary to the problem at hand : that it's dinner time and there's no food!

4. Just say yes -Try for a day to say 'yes' as the first response to anything anyone says. The grocer says, "Good morning." You say, "Yes, it is a good morning and good morning to you." Your husband says, "You need to go grocery shopping." You say, "Yes, I do. Thanks for the reminder."

You'll find that not only do you make others feel supported and heard but you also tend to become a bit more optimistic along the way. An agreement approach is minimalistic itself. You don't get the option to say no and so you've gotten rid of the mental weight of a 'no' mentality.

By no means is my house perfectly decluttered nor is my communication as perfectly tuned as Johns [Artistic Director of Front Porch Improv]. But, I am a big believer in trying to make those minimalistic concept changes to as many aspects of my life as I can. It's been nothing but positive results!

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