Today on Valentine’s Day, I am in Cherai Beach. Tomorrow will be the last day of the ten-day NLP Practitioner Course with Sue Knight.
During 2013 and January / February of this year, I was part of a few such courses. If I had counted the money involved I would not have found the reason nor the gumption to come for this training. I let myself be led by the twists and turns of a logic that lured me towards these nourishing streams. The logic was, if I make myself alright, my world, including my business and my relationships would be alright too.
So, coming for this course has been a leap of faith. And, the investment of precious money hurts so much that I feel the compelling need to make myself more accountable than I have ever been.
I had invested 4 days with Ramesh Prasad, participating in 2 NLP Foundation workshops lasting 2 days each. And I have read half of Sue Knight’s book, NLP at Work. This is all of my background and learning in NLP.
As soon as I reached Miami Resort around 7 am on Feb 6, I went to run on the beach for one hour. I remember rebuking myself for forgetting the persistent roar of the waves and the all pervasive, majesty of the sea – lost in the mind’s chatter inside, on puny matters.
My mind needs some cleaning! That was the first outcome I wanted from this training.
The conference venue at Blue Waters Resort is about 15 minutes from Miami Resort where I stay. A little before 10 am, I saw Sue Knight, who was going to be my teacher for 10 days. Tall, with an elegant frame, she moved around the hall, speaking to people – calmly, unhurriedly, gracefully, and with a smile that never seemed to leave her face. There was a mix of Indians and foreigners in the group of 29 people.
The first session started at 10 am and it explored what NLP is in a nut-shell – the study of the structure of subjective experiences. And about noticing patterns in the realm of behaving, thinking and believing.
In the afternoon, there was a group activity designed to bring out the type of ‘filters’ people use in relationships. ‘Filters’ are something like the glasses we view the world with. And we see the world through the limited world view imposed by our past conditioning. So, the map we look at with our understanding is not really the territory.
In the last session of the day, all of us participants sat in pairs, in two rows, opposite each other. One person listened to the positive feedback about him, while the other person spoke. I felt a little odd communicating positive feedback to people who I knew for less than a day.
That was when I decided to think again and come up with an alternate reality about the feedback exercise. The measure of my ability to share my feedback with people depended on how I interacted with them. If I invest enough time with people, I too can find out enough about them to marvel at.
To come out of my shell, I thought, is a great goal to aim for. On the second day, I shared about this during the morning session.
A few people, particularly Hari, thought I spoke with clarity and have a way with words. They said I come across as an authentic person.
About the aspect of clarity, I wasn’t too sure because I was the one who worried incessantly about my inner turmoil. Yet, after my new friends communicated about my clarity, the clouds inside my head began to recede or even clear.
Someone else’s map of me can become my territory if I choose to believe in their map of me. I can co-opt a friend’s empowering beliefs of me and make them mine – to turn them into my sacred territories and self-fulfilling prophesies.
This idea – that I have it within me to help change the way people think about themselves is very powerful. I can be instrumental in creating very congruent maps and territories for people. And see their worlds transform.
The session on the second day started in a strange way. Helen from the UK had come clad in a sari – for the first time in her life. She had her initial moments of feeling like a fish out of water. The simple, clean questions Sue posed to Helen gave her the confidence to ease into the saree, like a fish in water.
What was beautiful was, Helen’s decision to step out came about because Sue’s short and clean questions led her towards empowering realizations. That she has it in her to break her limiting thought patterns and develop the capacity to model herself on someone who is very elegant in a saree.
In Helen’s case, the the switch to a new realization and behaviour happened in a nano-second. It is comforting to know that I do not need a life time to learn important lessons. Learning is within my grasp any time I choose, at the very moment I decide to create new thought patterns.
The same ‘switch’ or anchor I use once to empower myself can be used again to change another limiting belief and behavior.
Sue Knight is a very special teacher. She has a soft voice – so soft I cannot hear her if I do not listen to her carefully. In a way, this aspect about her only aids in listening and understanding. To understand anything, I have to listen with intensity, with eyes, the body and ears. I have not seen a teacher who is so respectful of her students. She relegates herself to the background and let the learning take place from a space of freedom and truth. I am in awe of her.
Yet, confusion reigned within me at the end of the second day and I wondered whether I had made the right decision in coming to Cherai for learning NLP.
There was a determination that I should keep myself open and alert to learn from every conceivable experience here. And there was that desire that I would become everything that I paid attention to and received with intent. Like the child Walt Whitman wrote about in his poem.
There was a child went forth every day,
And the first object he looked upon
And received with wonder or pity or love or dread,
That object he became
And that object became part of him for the day or a certain part of the day……
Or for many years or stretching cycles of years.
I will become everything this wonderful teacher, Sue Knight, is helping me discover.