I had the opportunity to tell my favorite college professor, Jim Cavanaugh, about the course I’ll be taking in Cambridge in a couple of weeks. It’s called Immunity to Change and deals with, as the title implies, resistance to that difficult transition we’re so often called upon to make.
He immediately got the concept and told me an entertaining story that related. Jim was my theatre professor and mentor. (The reason we’re back in touch is that he invited me to design the cover for his forthcoming book on acting–an offer I couldn’t refuse.)
Jim told me about the time when he was directing an actor in Edward Albee’s “A Delicate Balance.” It’s about a late-middle-aged couple – Harry and Edna – who have moved peremptorily into the home of their best friends, saying they had experienced a “terror” which prevented them from returning to their own home. It’s never stated in the script what that terror is. Therefore, Jim suggested that this actor think of the most frightening thing he could to access that strong emotion. Jim said, “You don’t have to tell me what you think of. Just have it in your mind for the scene.”
The actor was actually eager to share what frightened him most. Jim assumed it was death, but the actor surprised him. “What I fear most is change.”
I told Jim that I had thought about what I might use as the thing I’d like to change–my avoidance/relationship with twitter. We had a big laugh over our growing relationships with technology–his at 80, mine a few decades behind. I howled when he described what happens for him. I’m paraphrasing, but here’s the gist of it:
“Whenever you talk about anything, a picture comes into my head. That’s how I learned to understand. But, when you say ‘pdf’ – NOTHING. Wilderness! I have nothing to relate it to.”
Precisely! #hashtagFF RT whatever…