Have you ever felt a sense of unease, that there's more to life. Or maybe a sense of adventure or opportunity, and it keeps nagging you like a wee voice, to do something about it?
I felt like that towards the end of 2012. I'd studied really hard and completed a CIPD Diploma in HR Development Management, so there was a lot to celebrate. I still value and use the learning from that today.
But there was something missing. I felt out of balance, a sense of mis-alignment. Working towards an HR qualification to take me towards my next career opportunity should have felt great, but there was a part of me that felt empty.
I wanted to understand this, and not one to rest on my laurels for long when it comes to development, I started looking into coaching and development programmes. My friend had done an NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) Practitioner programme in Edinburgh with Lesley Mcdonald, and when I heard about the transformational experience she had, I knew this was the route for me.
I asked Lesley about her next programme and when she said it was the following spring, internally I whimpered "I don't think I can wait that long!" Luckily, Lesley set up a 1-day Introduction to NLP and I booked myself on.
It was an incredible day. Insightful, inspiring, emotional, informative, and most of all I noticed a shift in me. These structures, and Lesley's gentle yet powerful way of facilitating the experiences individually and as a group, had profound effects for the people in the room. I am very grateful to have learned so much from Lesley over the past few years, and on-going, and to experience first-hand how working in this way changes so many lives.
In just one day, something inside me had woken up again.
Being fully present.
Feeling like ME again.
With peace of mind to 'just be'. Nothing else to do, nowhere else to be but right here. I had been lost in a world of distraction, my mind wandering into the past to wonder if I'd waited too long to follow my passion - I had! - and make a bigger leap to follow what I really wanted to do. Or being concerned about the future and what to do next.
When we're like that, we often lose the essence of who we are, and with that we no longer bring the best of ourselves.
Instead, my mind was now still. With clarity, hope, and belief. Renewed energy.
And creativity. I had forgotten - and now remembered - how amazing it felt to draw and paint, doodling and colouring, so that's exactly what I did the next day. I went from feeling overwhelmed and feeling like I had no time for myself, to spending a whole morning lost in creativity.
I enjoyed the experience with all my senses. Sensory awareness is a significant part of being present, and one of the building blocks of NLP. I was captivated by the vivid colours and lines of black ink, the woody smell of the pencils, the squeaky scratching as I added colour and shading to the page.
The shapes and letters seemed to flow freeform, as if they knew where they wanted to go, so I followed them. This is a style I hadn't used before, and I was so absorbed in it I just kept going till it felt 'done'.
Still with a flow of creative energy I moved over to the piano and played a piece by Bach called 'Prelude in C', which I learned when I was 8 years old and the tattered brown-paper-covered music book still sits in my dining room.
My fingers seemed to dance across the keys, expression flowing with the loud and soft notes telling a story. It is by far the best I've ever played it. With no sense of effort or trying.
Unaware he'd been standing in the hall outside, my husband Alan's head slowly emerged round the doorway. He said:
"Listening to you play like that, I feel like I can run again"
Those of you who know a bit about me already will be aware that Alan has MS, a debilitating disease which affects his mobility significantly, among other things. To hear him say this was deeply meaningful and moving, and a moment I will never forget.
So from taking one step forward to explore the uneasiness I'd been feeling, it unlocked something in me that brought a dramatic shift and built momentum for what followed.
That year I went on to do Practitioner and Master Practitioner qualifications, and have since trained with Sue Knight to become a certified NLP Trainer. There's a whole lot more I could tell you about those wonderful experiences, like my trip to India, what I have learned from such a remarkable woman, and all the amazing learning in between.
For now I wanted to let you know that I will soon be running an 8-day NLP Practitioner Programme in Linlithgow, near Edinburgh. Will you join me to experience it for yourself?
Contact me to find out more.