Friday, 8 June 2012

Small Fears

Listen to what you know instead of what you fear.
 Richard Bach

Sometimes I ask myself "what's the point of NLP? Has it really made a difference to my life? Or has it just been an expensive self-indulgence?'

I think it's a good thing to question and to listen to the answer. After all, what might have started out as a good idea, half way through, it might be the worst of all things. And there's no point wasting time about it, if it's not working, it's time to do something different. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different outcomes (a misquote from Einstein).

NLP's approach to phobias is perhaps one of the most effective and life-changing. I've seen a woman too terrified of snakes to even look at a picture of one in a magazine, within 20 minutes of being on stage with Richard Bandler stroking a patient boa constrictor. My Boy, whom I love dearly had the most awesome girlie scream when confronted with spiders. I've got pictures of him after his NLP training, holding a tarantula called Rosie, looking very pleased with himself.

But what have I experienced?

Well, I'm not a fan of heights or tight spaces. I tried camping once. It wasn't a success thanks to the slope we were pitched on, the chilly August and the fact that I couldn't sleep in the tent with it zipped up. I didn't freak out, or fall apart. I just made it very clear that the tent had to stay unzipped. Never mind the cold and damp.

I've not been keen on heights. Again, I don't freak out, or fall apart, but I let my general unhappiness be known. I have been to the top of Cardiff Castle, not an entirely happy experience.

So, when I was invited to go on a tour of Ely Cathedral, I was curious. I was asked if I would be worried about heights and tight places, because there would be both. There are about 170 steps in very tight conditions to take you to the top of the Cathedral which is about 120 ft. I said I was up for it. And I was.

Going up, it wasn't the very tight space which was the issue. Put it this way, if there is ever a space to elicit a freak-out response, heading up to look at the Octagon is it. It starts out reasonable, but on the third leg of the ascent, the staircase becomes a very, very small space with people above and behind you. No, the issue for me was my level of fitness i.e. the heaving chest and the burning calves. My Goddess do I ever need to sort out an exercise regime. 170 bloody tiny steps to walk up and down again!

Once up there, I looked out towards Cambridge and across the fens. I enjoyed looking down on a nesting dove and at the people walking around the Cathedral grounds. I was laughing and joking. In other words, I was fine.

I was comfortable and happy (a bit chilly, because obviously it's March weather in the beginning of June) and I had a lovely time.

Here's the thing: I had to consciously notice this difference in my response. Big deal? It's more like a little deal. It was something that I used to do, and now I don't do it any more. A bit like my smoking. So the answer is still a resounding yes, NLP is good for me and I still believe it's a great thing for other people too. 


  1. Well, from what I can see, its made a difference in you! You seem more self assured, less anxious and appear to have more of a daily purpose.

    I am claustrophobic too, with a fear of heights (some times) and while I've been able to get past some of the fear in order to enjoy things (as you were able to with the castle, the few moments of being uncomfortable you were rewarded with a gorgeous view) I have also found that I don't "need" to confront every fear.

    Before moving away from Sydney, I was asked if I wanted to do bridge climb on the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Now I know you are hooked on to the bridge with strong cables, and you see an amazing view, I know I would have been very nervous NOT to climb to the top of the bridge but getting down and I know it would have been really windy. I didn't do it. And I'm ok with that. I didn't feel a need to see that or do that to overcome my fear of heights. Why put myself through that in order to see a view? I've seen plenty of views, I lived on a cliff just east of the bridge and had a great view. I didn't regret not climbing it. Sometimes we should listen to our fears, they are there for reason!

    1. Hello Unknown!

      You hit the nail on the head, NLP has been great for me. And yes, I do feel more self-assured and less anxious. I'm not sure about the daily purpose, but yes, I'm certainly more able to get out there and do shit.

      During the phobia training day, when Richard asked whether if there were people who were afraid of snakes in the audience, a woman from Africa put her hand up. Richard refused to work with her on the basis that her fear response was appropriate. There were poisonous snakes where she lived; it was a good thing for her to avoid them vigourously.

      As for seeing Sydney from the top of the bridge, I would have held everyone's coats and waited as well.

    2. Hey I'm not UNKNOWN! It's La Diva!

    3. Oh no! Sorry darling (I thought it was you, but I was playing it safe).

      Blogger isn't showing that it's you!

      I'd never, ever blank you.

  2. (so I think I DO know you...a bit more each day!)

    1. Yes, you certainly do!


      And vice versa.

    2. I just didn't want you to think I was some lurker watching you and commenting on your progress! haha! loves you girl! ONWARD AND UPWARD! OXOX

  3. Controlling fear is a lifelong pursuit, often times accompanies by a heaving chest and burning calves. :-)


    1. As long as it's about controlling fear and not the other way around. :-)


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