"Matt Smith, a wonderful Seattle improv teacher and solo performer, taught me a liberating game that can be used as a response to a personal screwup. He calls it 'the Circus Bow.' Matt claims this is how circus clowns deal with a slip in their routines. Instead of shrinking and berating himself silently with 'Oh, no, I really blew it!' the clown turns to the crowd on one side and takes a magnificent bow with his hands extended and his arms high in the air, proclaiming 'Ta-dah!' as if he had just pulled off a master stunt. He then turns to face the other side of the audience and repeats the bow, 'Ta-dah!' Doing it in both directions allows him a 360-degree view of where he is.
"The virtue of this is that it pulls his attention out into the world again, looking around and standing tall. This engaged and forward-looking vantage point is an excellent place to be after a blooper. It is more common to focus inward when a blunder occurs. 'How could I have done that?' The body shrinks and withdraws. Instead a mistake should wake us up. Become more alert, more alive. Ta-dah! New territory. Now, what can I make of this? What comes next?
"We need to let go of outcomes. This is the hard part. Naturally we have some result in mind. We want the bar mitzvah to go without a hitch. We want the carpet to be installed flawlessly, the dinner to come out of the oven like the magazine photos, the meeting to start on time, the vacation to be perfect. The more precise my vision of an outcome, the more likely I am to be disappointed. Things don't turn out as planned. You don't need to abandon your dreams; just don't let them get in the way of noticing what is taking place. Observe the currents of life, accept what is happening, including mistakes, and continue working to create the best outcome. The key here is a flexible mind."