What We Believe is What We Become

One of the most valuable lessons I learned from my Feldenkrais Training is that what we tell ourselves really does matter. Our mind (our brain and our nervous system) is constantly listening and processing the information that it receives. What we tell ourselves is what we believe. And what we believe is what we become.

This became quite obvious during ballet class a few days ago when I listened to several of my barre buddies beat themselves down with negative self-talk. Our teacher had just given us a challenging and complex combination. A group of dancers stood around discussing their limitations, their short comings, their injuries, the reasons why they wouldn’t be able to do the combination and what would happen when they tried.

It was fascinating to see all of their dire predictions come true once the music started. It was a stark contrast to the group who quietly watched the teacher, marking the movements with their hands and in their imagination. They moved through the combination with an ease and grace that looked effortless. It wasn’t because they had more talent or technique. It was because they believed in themselves and invested all of their focus and attention on what they could do, rather than what they thought they couldn’t do. Yes….it is that simple.

I must confess, I used to engage in deprecating, negative self-talk myself. I wasn’t only good at it, I was a master at it, and I took it to a high art form. However, this self-defeating practice began to change once I began my Feldenkrais Training. The change was slow and subtle, but it was there. I felt happier, healthier, and more energetic. I even felt younger, and I discovered that I liked myself more. I became my own best friend instead of my own worst enemy. And I learned that life was a lot more fun than it used to be. What a gift!

What we believe is what we become. Be careful what you tell yourself, because your nervous system is always listening. Your mind does matter. And it will believe what you say. Be gentle with yourself, and give yourself positive messages. Soon it will become automatic, and effortless. And you may be surprised how good you’ll feel, and what you can accomplish. The possibilities are endless!

 

Groundhog Day, All Over Again

Here it is, Groundhog Day all over again. When you grow up in Western Pennsylvania like I did, Groundhog Day is very exciting, and a day we looked forward to with eager anticipation. Not only was Groundhog Day a huge event, it was treated like a National Holiday, even though we still had to go to school.

After all, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s were long gone and there really wasn’t anything special to look forward to. But then there was Groundhog Day. Now, that was a something to be excited about! Let’s face it, the days were dark and dreary, the weather was brutally cold, and even the most hearty of us were pretty sick of winter. 

By early February the fresh white snow that thrilled us a few short months ago was still on the ground, collecting dirt and piled up along the streets as large mounds of gravel-peppered bullet-proof ice. Icicles as big as a grown man’s arm hung perilously from corners of every building, threatening to impale a small child at any moment. The thought of Suzie Snowflake tapping at our windowpane one more time made everyone but the most hardcore skiers want to zap her with a blowtorch.

We were desperate for any sign of spring. So, we all looked toward the most notorious groundhog that ever lived: Punxutawney Phil. We watched and waited with baited breath for Phil to predict the weather for us. Would he predict an early spring, or would he see his shadow and sentence us to another six weeks of winter? Ahh, the power that finicky little rodent had over us and our future! 

As far as I can remember, Phil never once predicted an early spring, but we were always filled with hope that he would.  Every Groundhog Day I still look toward that small town in Western Pennsylvania to pay tribute to Phil, and see if he’ll release us from the clutches of Old Man Winter.  

Yesterday I spent ten minutes scraping snow and ice off of my windshield. I had to put my car in 4-wheel drive just to get out of my driveway. I spent the rest of the day watching Suzie Snowflake (along with all her friends and family) laugh at me through my windowpane as they tap danced their way to land in a soft heap on the ground. This morning, we’re digging our way out from a major snowstorm.  

It’s Groundhog Day, all over again. The snow is still coming down. The wind is howling, schools and businesses are closed for the day, and we are experiencing blizzard conditions. This morning Punxutawney Phil is very much on my mind, and I wonder what he will predict today. I have to admit, I sure hope he sees his shadow and burrows back in his den. Because I just love winter; don’t you?