Last week I got a call from a mom asking if I do Committed Impulse work with kids.
“My daughter is in a school assembly and she is very very nervous about it.”
“How old is she?”
“WelI, I don’t usually work with kids,” I replied
“She’s consumed with nervousness. And I know you help people with that.”
“Ok, OK, let’s see what we can do.”
I usually have people fill out a little questionnaire before I work with them so that the time is used most effectively. But in this case I asked that her daughter draw a picture of what she feels when she gets nervous.
A few days later I meet this amazing six year old on Skype.
She sat up straight in her chair with beaming bright eyes and we started talking.
When I asked her to describe what she drew for her nervousness image, she said, “Well, an elephant walks in the room and sits on my chest.”
Then I asked her what kind of thoughts she has before the elephant walks in.
“I start to think that the eighth and ninth graders will think I am a bad dancer. Then I think what if my dance goes badly in assembly.”
(Kind of amazing how young all these thoughts start up in us, isn’t it?!)
So, I explained to her about the four access points to being present, and particularly about “I’m back.” ( if you’re not familiar with the 4 access points – listen to this audio:
I had her start practicing “I’m back”, every time she noticed her mind start to go to dance worry.
It was so cute to see her say “I’m back”, then take a deep breath and look around her room.
Then we discussed the elephant that sits on her chest.
“So, does it feel like a lot of pressure?”
And to make a long story short, we concluded that maybe that sensation isn’t so bad. We reframed the sensation so that instead of the elephant crushing her – it was a big ol’ elephant hug.
“And, if you dance what that hug feels like – it is going to be amazing”, I assured her.
She looked at me through the computer, paused and said, “Ya know, that is really good advice. That is really going to help me.”
That, I assure you, made my week.
We all have to remember that the sensations in our body are not good, and they’re not bad – it’s just pressure, or spinning, or flowing, or lifting, etc.
And, at times we need to reframe the sensation if we associate it as something bad. After all – the sensations we feel are just atoms pulsating in our body mass.
It’s also key that we catch ourselves when we go into mental dramas and COME BACK.
The result: creatively invincibility.
What about you?
You ever been in a creative situation where you started having thoughts that stifled you?
Or body sensations that prevented you from staying present?
What did you do?
Let us know what works for you.
And, if you like this post – please “LIKE” it, and let your friends know.
Sending you a big elephant hug,
Ps. I’ll be in touch soon with more info on the Committed Impulse Online Training Program ( IT”S SO DAMN AWESOME!!!) launching January 3rd, 2013.
Great story, Josh. And, I’m sure you are awesome working with kids.
Big Elephant Hugs to you and Marie!
Robert Keller says
I’ve been performing stand-up for years, but recently, I’ve noticed that I have been getting more and more nervous right before my shows. And the nerves manifest as dry mouth, sweaty palms, trembling, trouble swallowing… My theory is that it’s a result of my having made noticeable progress lately (bigger audiences, better shows, better pay, the possibility of being “seen” by industry people, etc.), so the stakes are getting higher. But I never thought that I would regress in terms of my ability to deal with the nerves! I am going to listen to the “4 Access Points” and try applying them. (And I know about “I’m back” from my former speech teacher at the Atlantic–Susan Finch–who used to have us use “I’m back” all the time!) Really looking forward to meeting you in L.A. for the workshop in February, Josh! And thanks for this blog post!
I look forward to working with you in the Character and Business LA course!
And – yes – the more we put ourselves out there – best to expect more body sensation.
And the game is to increase our tolerance for the sensation.
You’ll be a master soon!
Thanks for your comment.
I feel sensations in my body more and more – I guess I’m getting well trained? 😀
It’s keeping in touch with you and people like you (they call them like-minded-people) that helps me remember that the attachment to the story is what makes everything good or bad.
I do a lot of talking by myself, that is how I become aware of the subconscious (too smart of a word, right? :)) games that go on in there, and a lot of dance/singing that puts me right back in my body.
Thank you for being and doing what you are and do, Josh, can’t think of a better coach!