Out of the Comfort Zone
Strange is the power of the unconscious, and its ability to provide for you in a situation where you feel the need of help.
6 months ago I had exactly that experience.
I set myself the task of reaching the south of France in one day leaving from La Rochelle in my camper van.
Daylight came at 8.30 am, and I was under way within 15 minutes, with everything stowed, only needing my capacity to focus and be coordinated.
This did not work out exactly as planned when I strayed in to a bus-only lane between two roundabouts …
Wake up!, I corrected myself, get with it!
Three days of fog was slowly drifting away – not just in my mind, the harsh reality of weather conditions.
By the two hour mark I was ready to stretch my legs, look for the washroom, and buy fuel and drinking water.
It seemed to take ages. Unfamiliar store layout and queues conspired to waste time.
But once under way I spent the next two hours driving until lunch break, and passed Bordeaux on the A10 and A63 without navigation errors or other stupidities.
A pull in came into view and I pulled over to eat and relieve my cramped legs.
After eating I jumped out of the vehicle and for once – forgot to remove the keys from the ignition.
There either is or should be – a travellers saying – once you feel safe, you’re done for!
I swung shut the cab door behind me as I jumped down, realised too late the keys were in the ignition and reached up to re open the door.
No response. The handle would not open the door!
Some one – either on this trip, or in the street where the van is kept everyday, had tampered with the handle breaking it away from its latch operating mechanism.
There was no contact from the handle to the door latch, and here I was in a foreign country a thousand miles from home firmly locked out of my own vehicle.
Both sets of keys were inside – one set in the ignition which I could see through the window!
A real fix.
I looked at my advantages first while steadying my breathing and unclenching my fists.
Hours of daylight left.
I am a powerful problem solver!
Trouble is – do I have any ideas how to solve this?
With careful inspection I saw a small hole in the window frame leading to the hasp that locked the sliding window.
If I could poke wire through maybe I could open the window and reach the keys that way?
I scanned the ground for wire.
I saw a car parked nearby with a couple in.
I decided this would be one of the rare times I asked for help.
I went over and asked if the man could speak any English.
‘A little’ – he smiled, his wife smiling too.
I locked my keys in the car – I said.
‘Oh – that’s bad! they said.
Where are you?’
With no hesitation the man said “I will go to your car!” and he started his engine, drove over and got out with a tool box.
There were spanners, screwdrivers, and wire.
I showed him the small aperture and the hasp.
Immediately he began fashioning a tool out of wire to raise the hasp.
Several attempts, and a few minutes later the hasp was up. That was easy! Are all these vans that easy to break into?
Trouble was the glass wouldn’t slide.
There was a window handle halfway up which needed compressing with hand pressure to release it.
Then the glass would slide.
We were no further on.
What a moment of frustration!
We tried sliding wire between the edge of the door and the inside of the van in a vain effort to reach the window clasp. No luck, no way through.
My thinking went to the door handle.
It worked to pull a mechanism that by- passed the rotation of the lock inside the cab.
The handle had broken somehow but the mechanism presumably existed.
What if we removed the handle?
We set our minds to doing so
Pulling, stretching, squeezing we dislocated that handle, soft and plasticky as it was, and rotated it 90 degrees.
Theoretically we were making progress.
I needed a torch.
My friend produced one and this allowed me to explore the cavity we had just created.
I reached my smallest finger inside and felt a projection of metal that might once have engaged with the broken handles edge.
Experimentally I tugged at it – first of all towards the cavity, then more realistically towards myself, away from the door lock.
The door yielded and swung open.
The biggest smile appeared on my face and I shouted something like ‘we’re in!’
Shades of Oceans 11 and the casino safe!
It wasn’t raining yet, I had my keys back, I could start my van and continue!
Elation. Tinged with a little disbelief.
I belong to a rescue service but that was useless with my phone locked inside the van ….but with our combined determination at solving a mechanical problem ….we prevailed!
The whole process took about 35 minutes, valuable lost journey time, but it obviously could have been so much worse …..
My Alexander Technique training stood me in good stead and allowed me the space not to drop my head – there was never a time when it seemed a disaster . And people close by were willing to give up their time and give their best ideas to solving a problem.
The whole thing took less than an hour.
Were it not for Alexanders Discoveries I might have felt more challenged when faced with this unexpected problem.
If you want to benefit from the technique, which results in greater self management than you ever thought possible, message me and we can arrange a short practical introductory lesson here in London.
Sensitive or wound uptight?
I don’t know about you but I have times when I am much more sensitive to my environment.
These easterly winds we have been experiencing a lot lately press my buttons a lot.
I can also become aggrieved if things don’t work out the way I expected or wanted, which tends to happen a lot – purely by chance….!
Part of my personality has that Perfectionist streak.
And in the past this gave me some upsetting experiences.
If I failed to get into a team at school I felt bad, – if I did get in but performed badly I felt I had let the side down; if my exam results were below par I felt I had let myself down ….it got so bad that if I even missed a bus I would take it personally and literally get up- tight.
Uptight – a “hippy” expression from a time when we were supposed to chill out -(way before we chill-axed.)
Staying “coo-ool” was prized above all else – which sometimes meant not giving a FLIP.
But the stiff upper lip was always prized too – back then there was no such thing as counselling, and any form of wavering or wobbling was looked down on “big time” (we didn’t have Big Time quite then either….)
So a lot of stress was internalised, and a pretence of being OK was kept up.
A little later the classic book on Transactional Analysis came out – “I’m OK -you’re OK.”
Till then we were all OK. Supposedly.
Except when we were uptight – sometimes out of sight …. (and Ziggy played guitar …..)
Well all these years later I STILL GET UPTIGHT (sometimes anyway)
And it doesn’t matter as much to me now, because now I have a tool which can if used carefully, unwind some of my uptight-ness and allow me some slack.
Its called the Alexander Technique; or as most of my friends and colleagues refer it now: Alexanders Discoveries.
I no longer have to stay stuck in my doldrums. That doesn’t mean I don’t go there – oh NO.
My perfectionist nature still beats me up. Events can still turn out NOT as planned.
Recently I experienced one of those really heightened states where one becomes very sensitive to the environment. Sounds are louder, clearer – colours more intense.
There is more to notice – and with it can come a rush of exhilaration.
I feel ALIVE!
And in that state perception is so high that if a slight dip in another persons awareness causes a glitch of performance or efficiency on their behalf, there is a tendency in me to blame that person for falling short.
That brings me up close to the “unfair” side of myself – a self that can easily become harsh, judgemental , capable of scorn and even unkindness or cruelty.
And this is being alive too.
And it is judicious use of my skills learned studying Alexanders Discoveries that allow me some peace amidst all this highly charged experience.
I can literally find a way to restore my equilibrium, get a sense of proportion and stop blaming.
Lucky for me – lucky for any one who might otherwise get it in the neck (another saying I quite like but have no idea where it came from …)
Equilibrium can be restored, and when that happens what happens to UPTIGHT?
No longer Uptight.
Downright OK – after a little bit of reflection.
We can never change the past – it actually doesn’t exist any more.
But we can change our attitude to it and change how we felt.
Unwind from Uptight.
Read my offer on this site – so I can assist you to become a little less uptight – its a whole body thing….
I am a frustrated performer. In acting mainly – but at least I now sing at open mic nights.
Some time in my past a memory block scared me off the stage.
Instead of treating it as a bad day at the office I built it up into a big thing.
And I began to recover significantly in Jo Larsen’s acting group in Totnes, Devon.
Jo and I both did our NLP Mastery Certification with Nick Evans Training in 2008.
We became friends and I subscribed to her news list. Later it seemed foolish not to take advantage of her great offers of training in acting.
8 of us would turn up for the workshop for two hours each Wed eve for workouts.
Each week the bar was set higher; after a few weeks of warm ups we began to do improv in pairs to entertain the others.
To see our small audience go quiet, and finally applaud, even if the results of our efforts weren’t broadcast worthy, raised our spirits and brought a flush to our faces.
After breaking this ground we were assigned set pieces to learn in TEN minutes and play back to the company.
Surprisingly not – improv gave us a get out for memory glitches, and sheer nerve or even bare faced effrontery did the rest.
It’s very focussing to be learning as part of a team – you support each other.
Next task was choosing a set piece to be played in front of an invited audience.
We had some real surprises here as some of us morphed into unrecognisable, sometimes shockingly so-out-there characters.
Well – we had signed up for acting…. Put it out there – its not you!
I played a little bit safe and chose to play a chunk from a book I was reading.
I had to play two parts. A doctor, and a patient who was blackmailing him.
For the role I had to smoke – it said so in the book.
And ten years previously I had quit smoking.
What would be the outcome?
Would it affect my recall? Would I look un- convincing?
Would I take up smoking again?
Marvellously none of these side effects happened.
It actually helped me live the role.
I didn’t inhale, just let the smoke trickle around my mouth and emerge gently.
I hadn’t forgotten why I quit smoking, the cough, the unhygienic taste and smell to others,
the sheer burning waste ……
Yet it was a real help putting the character across , and when I saw the video play back I was impressed. And no I haven’t smoked since.
Getting into character does the following.
Takes the focus off your self.
Who ever does the actions and says the dialogue – its not you!
Its the character. Let them take the responsibility and say what ever it is they need to say.
- It gives you permission to explore somewhere you don’t usually go. Its freeing.
- It gets you involved in the scene with the other actors – and this can be exciting.
- It brings you into the moment. And that can be such a contrast to how you live your life!
After trusting my memory, and staying in the moment, I noticed that I did not have to play the scene on automatic. I could vary the voice in so many ways, tone, rate, accent, loudness and intensity. Afterwards I felt rested.
I felt as if I’d been somewhere new. Like being on holiday.
Alexanders Discoveries – and he was one of the most successful actors of his time – give us a holiday from the tyranny of being our old self and show us a new kind of lightness filled with choices and freedoms. You might like to try them out sometime.
Contact me below – I’ll get right back to you.
And keep standing up for yourself.
I park the camper van just above Glyndebourne next to the wind tower in a “secret” layby I often use.
My companion and I walk across the barley field looking over the South Downs and soon join a track leading us higher up towards the top of our local world, on the South Downs Way.
We pass new born lambs, calves, the birds that share their food, and the (very) occasional walker.
Now we can see them – dark crescents grouped together just above the horizon. Twenty or so, shifting in the wind, criss crossing and suddenly rising or falling as an air current intervenes.
As we get closer they get bigger, and higher up.
They never get louder; these are the silent flight passengers of the sky, buoyed up by the Southerly wind bouncing back off the side of Mount Caburn.
Like dancers they rise and fall, and like riders they pass left shoulder to left shoulder, sometimes scarily close.
Scary for us, the watchers. Maybe not so for them selves, these weekend sailors of the wind, scalers of the Sussex peaks, and brave dancers in the blue skies.
Now we are close enough to pick out the colours, and as in a balloon race the bright and dazzling slashes of colour clash and shift before our eyes as the paraponts circle the top of the mountain hungrily holding the last few thermals before the end of the afternoon.
One of them is significantly larger, and carries two riders – the wing span reminds me of the dragon creatures in Avatar. It is effortless for the two stocky men to be borne aloft.
And at last after weeks of waiting, conditions are perfect.
Warm thermal air, a stiff Southerly breeze and great light.
Perfect visibility for them to rush down from the peak, down through the whistling wind, jump into it and become it.
And once they do – Silence – they don’t just ride the wind – they are part of it.
Light as a dandelion seed on its parachute.
Bright as a golf umbrella.
Brave as a lion who carelessly floats past his prey.
A lion dwelling only in his own power and enjoying the bliss of surmounting the everyday; gaining a perfect perspective where problems can drop to one side – problems maybe even solving themselves in the quickening unconscious minds of the deeply chilled participants of this risky sport.
So we sit on the grassy bank safe in our 360 degree horizon and bask in the hypnotic rhythm of the slow, slow, quick, slow passing of the overhead bird- like creatures that are an amalgam of hi tec engeneering and mans quest for adventure .
What a very strange and beautiful afternoon.
Get down on the floor NOW – and take your sellotape with you !
No need for alarm!
I haven’t just turned into an armed robber.
Though if any one was ever provoked to turn into one – today it is me!!
Read on and I’ll explain what I mean!
The floor – a safe place or a hard landing?
Which is it to you?
Because I teach Alexander Technique, a way of challenging unhelpful habits that pull us down, I complete most lessons with getting people to lie on the floor or on a table and chill out.
This process is called Constructive Rest.
Yoga, Alexander technique Constructive Rest, gymnastics, pilates, ballet and dance of all kinds depend on the floor being their reference point. It’s a safe place to be so long as we mind HOW we move and look after ourselves.
Ceiling painters, climbers, acrobats, riders of hang gliders, kite surfers, and parceour performers might want to treat it with a little more respect.
One mistake and a hard landing can damage the unwary or unprepared.
And today I have found that another category of “athlete” also finds peril in the dangers of a concrete warehouse floor.
Packers of sensitive expensive electrical equipment for mailing to customers.
Yesterday I scoured the internet for a Speedometer that would fit my continental transport of delight – her Ladyship-Camper-Van.
We had spent 5,000 joyful kilometres together – with never a cross word, never a refusal to co operate – we had suffered a lock out (which had a happy ending) , resisted an attempted break in, traversed mountains, descended tracks with no safety barriers into hidden valleys, searched for refuelling stations, braved extremes of temperature from -5 to + 30 degrees, and laughed cried and got drunk together on the winter holiday of a lifetime.
Somewhere in the mountains between Guadalajara and Zaragoza her speedo had begun to fail, and finally expired before reaching Pamplona. Shrug, I was used to her gears and sound of her engine within the various speeds so knew how to drive safely and within speed limits.
We returned to England, and she went in for a service.
I forgot to say she is a dear old thing of nearly 25 years, (almost as old as me in spirit ha ha) and parts for the majority of her dear old innards are no longer made or supplied.
Hence my searching across the internet for a compatible speedo that had been recycled.
I say “had been” because maybe you have guessed what is coming …..
Within 24 hours of laboriously tracking one down, persuaded the local garage to order it, and ticking that task off my to-do list I had the following phone call.
Hello – its Sophie from the garage. You know that speedo you ordered? They just contacted us to say they dropped it on the floor when packing it and its broken.
Can you get another one?
Can I get another one ? You know that familiar sinking feeling?
The one that says the floor is calling – its time to lie down in a darkened room….
Well actually I prefer a sunny light, airy room where my eyes still work.
I love the Alexander technique lying down, but right now I feel too agitated to lie down.
I have to write this article freeing myself of those emotions that make me want to track down the operator of packing in that warehouse and drop them off the table onto the concrete floor and see how they come out of it.
I also have to scour the internet for another 25 year old speedo, and maybe make a few phone calls to parts recyclers in the far flung corners of this country – or another – and persuade them to sell me one of their recycled and carefully preserved components.
I have to resist the temptation to say “be careful how you pack it” (assuming I find one) and resist the temptation to say what happened to the last component I ordered.
And I have to find a way of publicising a non confrontational article praising the power of lying down on the floor, a safe place …
And find a way of recommending to owners of warehouses containing rare expensive, sensitive instruments that they tell their employees – ALWAYS,ALWAYS PACK THESE THINGS LYING ON THE FLOOR!
That’s all I have to do.
How hard can it be?
Here I am with the first attempt to write anything (apart from to- do lists) since returning from a 5 week road trip.
My road trip in winter encompassed two European countries, 5,000 Kilometres, and a large range of temperatures between -5 and +25 degrees C.
It had scary moments, lonely moments, tired moments, freezing cold to hot moments; extremes of emotions from near exhaustion to elation, and also moments of stillness.
I had unexpected warm acts of kindness granted me, which melted my heart, attempted crime – which saddened it, genuine surprises of joy and feelings of relief, along with some awesome beauty to look upon.
There were times I felt homesick, and times when I just felt sick.
Luckily I didn’t ever have a cold – in spite of or perhaps because of swimming in the icy Atlantic, or sleeping in below zero night time temps. The worst setback was occasional indigestion.
Some of my food went bad, and some of my maps got lost.
My sparse French improved and so did my slightly better Spanish.
My camper van behaved like a real lady – toiling and tireless, patient and forgiving.
I’m remembering memorable times and the memorable people who came to our rescue, like the African boys guiding travellers into the free parking bays by the riverbank in Sevilla….
The kind couple with their toolkit in the Aire near Bordeaux when I was locked out with all my money, spare keys and phone locked in …..
The local man coming to my rescue with an encyclopaedia like knowledge of the city, when I needed to find the lorry park because trucks could not park underground like cars….
The couple who spoke no English helping me find my friends house – which I had never been to – in farmland 5 miles from the coast and my campsite …..
The girl jogging who welcomed me to the city of Sevilla as if I was her Uncle or friend of her Dad’s…
The lady who directed me to a fuel station before going onto the motorway near Bayonne…..
The kind waiters and coffee bar workers giving me the wi fi key so I could receive messages from home – its not meant to sound like an awards speech, yet I am struck by the caring of so many utter strangers who put themselves out to make my day a little easier and more comforting.
And by the differences between the attitudes of certain European countries.
Could we : offer FREE city centre parking which generates understanding and promotes trade between the cities and their visitors ….?
: offer FREE toilets to travellers walking or cycling in a foreign city….?
: provide maps at intervals in cities so travellers can orientate themselves….?
: give FREE camping overnight to van loads of travellers OR when charging them a low rate for the overnight stay provide showers, toilets and fresh water /disposal points for their chemical toilets and waste water…..?
:display local bye laws and information in several European languages…..?
: run tourist information offices where the staff are friendly, speak several languages, ring campsites or hotels for you AND give you FREE WI FI…..?
Sadly I believe the answer to ALL the above questions is NO, we can’t!!! There is one exception, the street maps in Central London.
It’s not YES WE CAN – its probably: – WE NEVER EVEN THOUGHT ANY OF THAT STUFF MATTERED THAT MUCH !
Well I can tell you it does matter and its the reason I will be spending a lot more winters where I have just been for two months, and will almost certainly be spending a lot more time away next year.
Because some people care about looking after others and concerning themselves about them. And because they take a pride in their country, and want others to see the best side of it too.
Isn’t there some way we could do that again? We must have done it once. Or why would others be so kind to us?
“Can you just stop daydreaming and get on with something?”
– No, I haven’t finished…..! –
Maybe at some level we realise that dreaming is an active part of achieving.
People get paid to dream.
Car and aircraft designers have to spend time ‘dreaming up’ their designs.
I would love to have been a fly on the wall of Sir Alec Issigonis’s office all those years ago when he came up with the designs for the mini, now redesigned or ‘improved’ by BMW, and for the 1100.
The 1100 was a cool car. Besides the mini it was the first mainstream family sized car to feature 3 technological innovations.
It had FRONT wheel drive.
The engine was transverse mounted; it had been swung around 90 degrees so as to waste less energy through the transmission.
And it had a kind of suspension that depended on fluid filled tubes – hydraulic suspension.
That kept it low to the ground. The 1100 was economical to run, very quiet to ride in, with less transmission noise through the car, and with more floor space. In short it was a real innovation with novel energy and space saving features that most manufacturers still use now. And this was 50 years ago.
Apart from the energy-efficient turbo-diesel very little advance has occurred in car technology (airbags being a notable exception) since.
So where did all these innovative ideas come from?
From somewhere in Sir Alec’s unconscious mind.
Let me clarify. These ideas did not surface overnight BANG ! – three great USPs for a best selling car.
No. Sir Alec, while obviously a genius, had worked in engineering all his life. He had worked in all kinds of engineering, and wind tunnel testing and loved model building. He had a natural feel for body shape, spatial organisation, and he had mechanical principles at his fingertips.
His compact, energy-efficient, high tech new car was a product of 40 years investment in himself.
It takes a long time to get that good.
What he really needed was the authority to be right.
I guess once his drawings proved the viability of the design he didn’t really have to “sell’ it to BMC.
It sold itself.
He sold the conviction of rightness, right into the waiting market, and both the mini and the 1100 went on to dominate the 1960’s. Their flair and style still commands prestige today – over 50 years later.
Sir Alec let himself dream. But I “forgot” to mention; do you know which other previous best selling car Sir Alec Issigonis was responsible for designing?
One that sold more than a million worldwide, went into production in other countries too, and is still sought after today – nearly 70 years later?
The Morris Minor.
Another influential figure of the early 20th Century was Walt Disney the film maker.
He loved dreamers.
He set aside a studio at Disney HQ for the sole purpose of allowing employees to dream up ideas.
He was also astute enough to realise that besides dreamers you need critics, to give feedback to the dreamers and to ask them tough questions.
He was a business man whose productions needed to have a healthy bottom line.
So he had another room set aside next door to the dreamers for accountants.
These guys worked out a deal between the dreamers and the critics.
This approach became widely known as the Disney strategy after a long string of successful animation films.
Disney’s creative approach was adopted by two psychologists called Bandler and Grinder.
They identified the Disney strategy as having more going for it than simply making child orientated products.
They applied that kind of thinking to ordinary problems such as how to communicate in a marriage, or how to teach an unruly kid.
I now believe you can operate the Disney strategy on a multiplicity of problems – how to plan launching a business for example, or how to overcome a fear or a limiting belief.
It involves dreaming, yet not only dreaming. A healthy dose of realism and an eye to the resources required is needed too.
Nothing wrong with dreaming up the crazy ideas first, then adapting them for current conditions.
If you would you like to know more about the thinking styles that go side-by-side with Dreaming just ask me a question below.
Keep your Dreams alive.
I could be sitting somewhere warm now – just writing this in the sun on a patio overlooking the bay in Andalusia, with fresh lemon scents drifting across on the southern breeze….
Of course in my mind I am there.
In my body I can be here in the chilly English winter, and I have the freedom of mind to compare and contrast the differences between the south of England and the south of Spain.
I will probably be in Spain for new Year, now I have had my camper van fixed.
I ignored her protests and internal noises back in the summer and took her away anyway for a trip down south when the weather here threatened, and achieved record breaking low temperatures and gales from the north all through June.
I ignored my camper vans blowing exhaust manifold gasket, her slipping clutch and her reluctance to start due to low battery.
And I was so lucky to get away with all that – travelling 1500 K across France with no problems.
Here the weather threatens again, record low temperatures. Maybe it seems I am flitting off like a butterfly seeking warmth, openness and the shiny objects in the Mediterranean.
It will still be winter there – but I will be on a momentum roll. I will be moving because I have prepared to move.
I have bitten the bullet of all the repairs to her ladyship -camper -van, changed her gearbox oil, refreshed her antifreeze, renewed her sticky clutch and replaced her exhaust manifold and its gasket.
How I love that phrase : Her manifold and its gasket. Sounds like a Mediaeval dance tribute band, or a tune written by John Dowland, that well known 17th Century composer of dance tunes…
I can play with words as I travel – I will be obliged to, as I will still be in the final week of this challenge which I remind myself is about Dreams.
It has been a dream of mine – lifelong – to have the freedom to travel – especially during winter.
And dreams can be over lapped into reality ,
A “dream” is only a thought.
(We have 60,000 thoughts a day) Turn one of those thoughts into a reality by adding qualities to the original thought.
Is it in colour?
Is it in 3D?
Is it a moving picture or a still?
Is there a sound track?
Where are you – IN the moving picture or watching it take place?
Do you think there would be any difference to the quality and likelihood of reoccurrence of this dream if you were in the picture – or are you happy to remain outside it?
Let me put it like this – a best selling Personal Development book I reviewed on my book review site recently stated that although we have approximately 60,000 thoughts a day – up to 95% of them are repeats.
Do you think it is better to repeat the entertaining enlivening ones OR the discouraging critical ones.
What do you mean I didn’t know you could choose?
Some people do appear to believe (according to the afore mentioned book up to 90% …) that their thoughts “just happen” to them.
I have no way of proving one way or the other that thoughts just happen to you or not, but I do know this:
You have the choice of reacting to any thought in a variety of different ways.
Maybe its time to take a step back from our immediate reactions and impose some different conditions on some of those thoughts.
Would it be possible to give a new lease of life to certain thoughts by tweaking some of the conditions attached to them?
“Never going anywhere – “ can be challenged by What – Never ? How about the time you xxx etc?
“I need so many things to happen before …” What things exactly?
Where could those things come from?
“I’ll never do it in time .. “ What specifically is IT, and how much time is left, and is there a way of breaking down what is needed to be done into little bits so that some things get done??
Do you now see the challenging power of this kind of cross examination of unhelpful thoughts?
I hope so , because if you soon dare to dream, and dare to dream big, these are some very searching questions, unthreatening in themselves, that can really open up the obstacles people are willing to allow themselves be defeated or dominated by.
If you would like to know more about getting more of what you want, fill in the box below and you will be sent more information on thinking styles and approaches to gaining more control over your life.
Keep questioning – and don’t believe everything you hear – even if you think that you hear it from you.
I am dreaming of having access to the flow of elegant phrases, infectious ideas and anecdotes that captivate you and keep your attention all through my article.
Now here I am, procrastination temporarily banished like a spiders web discovered by a Dyson.
And isn’t it strange that once I stop wishing to dream, my wide attention finds ideas of its own accord to put in order and report on?
I think it is strange in one way, in another not so – because I have noticed before that engagement drives away uncertainty and indecision.
By engaging in the current occupied state of writing, as long as my Mac gives me no problems I am freed up to write whatever comes through me.
Having been empty at the beginning I am now beginning to benefit and refill the wells of resource.
Its a bit like one of my coaches says.
He works in a similar area of personal development, only he has chosen or allowed his niche to find him.
His niche is teaching the art of public speaking from the stage and often says – sometimes in a short video clip just before speaking from the stage – : ‘I am about to go on stage . I prepared my topic a long time ago, and now am I going over it in my head? No! I want to go on stage empty. Only when I do that do I give myself the maximum access to my authenticity – and that is what people are buying into.’
Here is my evidence that he is so right about this approach being helpful.
Years ago in my 20’s I decided to go for my classical guitar grades to formally announce to the world I was a bona fide trained guitarist, who not only improvised but could also read music.
I wanted to be legit.
For about two years I would travel in to the nearest town for a 30 minute lesson, receive some homework, take it away and prepare for next week.
After 18 months my teacher put my name forward for a certification exam with the Associated Boards of Music.
The exam was in several parts…. prepared pieces, unseen reading, and theory of music harmony and ear tests. Certain scales had to be learned and prepared up to a recommended speed, there were also identifying different intervals demonstrated on the piano by the examiner.
One piece of advice my teacher offered to all his pupils to offset their nerves was to say “Prepare what you can, then take some time off before the exam. Do no more practicing other than a ten minute daily warm up for a week before the test” He also said “I never put anyones name forward unless I know they will pass, because its the schools reputation on the line”.
That last lesson was a valuable piece of psychology. He was taking the responsibility of passing the exam on to his own shoulders.
Of course I wanted to pass – and that was what motivated me to do the groundwork, learn the scales, analyse the structure of the set pieces, and interpret them my own way.
So I took his instruction literally, worked as hard as I physically could in covering all the ground necessary and then took 8 days off. During those 8 days I only warmed up, heard lots of records, read books, went for walks. I also worked at my regular job and slept soundly.
I also rehearsed belief.
By that I imagined walking calmly into the exam room believing I knew enough for the examiner to release all my knowledge as long as he or she asked the right questions.
You could say it was a form of Dreaming.
And it was way before I had even heard about visualisation, or Active dreaming.
The day of the exam arrived.
I had to work in the morning, and the exam was scheduled to take place after lunch.
I drove myself there in my van, found a place to park, and was a few minutes early.
I just had time to tune up in the corridor, then was called in – in a similar way to going to the doctor or dentist.
Usually at those place, the dentist especially I would have a dry mouth.
Today was different.
My clothes fitted – I still remember what I wore, a grey wool sweater and black jeans and blue shoes.
It even felt strange to have time to notIce what I wore and if it was appropriate.
The sense of having enough time continued into the exam process.
I could notice myself playing my two nominated set pieces, one a lot a better than usual, the other about the same as usual or maybe not so good.
The scales and arpeggios flowed smoothly, the ear tests were a lottery but attracted no condemnation.
It was soon over and I was free to go home.
Funny, I knew I had passed, and even done well.
The results bore that out, no distinction but the next level down, pass with credit.
And the whole experience was so pain free compared to school exams where the custom had been to cram up till the very last moment, lurch into the exam room in a state of confusion and lastly scribble as much content as possible in the short space of time allowed.
Then go out not knowing whether you have passed or not.
What made the experience different in this case?
The confidence in the result that was shown by my teacher – his reputation on the line.
All I needed to do was trust he knew I had what I needed.
And second, installing the belief that all would work out fine, on a regular basis for all those nights leading up to the exam day.
I went to sleep each night dreaming of being a certificate holder in two weeks time.
And sure enough I was.
Just as 40 minutes ago I was sure I would write this article – on what I had literally no idea.
I just dreamed it up as I was writing it. There. Though its all true – not made up, – well would you wear a grey jumper and black jeans to an exam?
And take appropriate action. Tony Robbins says take Massive and Immediate action – NOW.