About twenty-five years ago I went to a LifeSpring event at the Holiday Inn in downtown San Francisco. I went because my music teacher, the late Sky Evergreen, recommended that I take the three-day course, citing how it had “changed his life.” I was very skeptical about the whole thing, but I went anyway. Sure enough, I began feeling early on during the course that it was nothing more than an elaborate con game. My attitude was decidedly negative and I couldn’t wait for the thing to be over. However, in the midst of feeling like a trapped rat, there was one activity that surprised me.
As I recall, there were several hundred people in the course and we were all in a very large room. At some point, the LifeSpring director had us all line up in two rows facing each other down the middle of the room. The two rows were a good twenty feet apart forming a sort of carpeted boulevard between them. The activity was simple. The last person at the end of each row on the West side were to go down the boulevard doing anything they felt like and when they got to the other end, just join the row again. Most people did fairly silly things, like skip, or jumping jacks, or walk backwards or do summersaults. I thought it was pretty ridiculous until one guy came down the lane as a mime! WTF?
So creative was this man’s use of the space that I was literally shocked out of myself and glued to his every gesture. I remember him making and washing imaginary windows and doing a number of other things mimes do and it was absolutely fascinating at how he had seized the activity like no one else had. Here was as clear a case as I had ever witnessed of somebody seeing opportunity where others did not. I wasn’t the only one who noticed either as several people on both rows started applauding and shouting as he passed their way.
After LifeSpring I never saw the man again, but the memory of his mime remains. Thank you mime man (wherever you are).