Monday, 21 June 2010

I Dreamed A Dream

Is there anything more joyous than singing your heart out with a group of talented, like-minded people?

My new experience for the month of June has fulfilled one of my longterm (and previously believed impossible) dreams ... to sing Les Miserables on stage. Not only did I achieve that on Saturday night but we were on stage with the Beyond The Barricades professionals.

It's quite incredible how challenges have begun to present themselves since January when I first decided to grab the bull by the horns and try out one new thing each month. It's true that when you focus on something and send your intention out into the universe, opportunities start to show up. My experiences started off quite tame but are becoming more challenging and out of the ordinary with each passing month (wait 'til you see the next couple...).

Over the last few years, as you will know if you have read some of my other posts, I have re-discovered my voice and a passion for performing. So when my friend and I read about the Les Miserables Masterclass taking place in the Alhambra Theatre in Dunfermline, we sent off our applications with a mixture of excitement and a large dose of trepidation.

After all, this was to be a masterclass in acting and performing the songs from Les Miserables with none other than Andy Reiss, a longterm cast member and director of the West End show, and co-creator of the Beyond The Barricades touring show. A masterclass from the master! Wow!

A few days before the workshop, we received pages of lyrics in the post and discovered that we would be singing the numbers on stage behind Andy and the Beyond The Barricades stars to a sell out audience that had paid full price tickets to see the Beyond The Barricades show.

Cue a panicky three days of trying to get the lyrics to sink in (it normally takes me a few weeks of rehearsal to be word perfect).

Saturday was incredible ... mindblowing ... extremely hard work ... and all too soon we were standing in the wings of the stage, awaiting our entrance music. And then it started. The lights dimmed to a red glow, the familiar haunting intro began and we walked onto the stage, nervous and excited. Andy nodded his head, we opened our mouths and the most incredible, beautiful, universal sound came out, word perfect, our well rehearsed harmonies resounding around the theatre. A wave of elation surged through me and the realisation hit me. My god, I was on stage singing songs from Les Miserables with the original cast members!

All too soon it was over, but Sunday was still to come.

On Sunday, Andy taught us how to stage two numbers. We worked on and performed At The End Of The Day in the factory where the girls find out that Fantine is hiding a child and have her sacked.

And then we staged One Day More - complete with marching!

There is a reason why Les Miserables is the most successful musical of all time. I challenge anyone to sing these songs without being swept along on a wave of emotion. It may be quite some time before I come down to earth!!

Thankfully I have time before my next challenge. In the meantime, you'll find me floating above the atmosphere. 

"Earth calling Susan?" ....

Thursday, 3 June 2010

How far will your burger fly?

During my training with Richard Bandler, the co-creator of NLP, Richard told us the following story.

“A man in New York bought a burger from a street seller and was crossing the road eating it when a car knocked him down and killed him. His burger flew out of his hand at the moment of impact and landed about 30 yards further down the sidewalk. The next day, the newspaper article was all about how far his burger flew.”

Not about his life, his achievements, his contribution to society. About how his burger flew 30 yards!

Now, I don’t know about you, but I would hope that people would have something a bit more interesting to say about me when I’m gone.

Writing about this today reminds me of a workshop I attended last year with an amazing public speaker and corporate trainer called Richard Jacobs.

Richard has written a book called “What’s Your Purpose?”, and his workshop was designed to work through seven questions which lead to understanding your purpose in this lifetime.

One of the questions we worked through was “If there was one word that describes how you would most like to be remembered, and which would be etched on your tombstone forever more, what would that word be?

So, if you are interested, here is how you work it out.

You choose 7 words that best describe how you would like to be remembered and then you group together the words that instinctively go together. In my case I chose:

Gracious and caring

Inspirational, passionate and determined

Joyful and fun

You then choose one word to represent each group:




The next step is to merge your 3 words to get one that says ‘Yes’ to you. Trust your instincts and ignore any cynicism or internal criticism you may encounter.

After a long deliberation trying out various words, I word I chose for myself was “Teacher”. I first thought of ‘Leader’, but ‘Teacher’ just somehow felt right.

Because in my role as a hypnotherapist and seminar speaker, I am teaching people all the time. Teaching them to listen to their inner voice, teaching them that they already have all the answers, and teaching them techniques to draw those answers out.

You test your word out by running it through your head. Ask yourself ‘How happy would I be if this were etched on my tombstone after my death?’ If the answer is 9 or 10 out of 10 this question is complete. If not, keep trying other words until you find a 9 or a 10.

Test it again.

‘Here lies (your name), “Teacher”. Rest In Peace’.

Once you have your final word, write it down in a little RIP tombstone sketch.

Remember that this process is about determining your values and aspirations. By choosing a word, you are not saying “This is the way I am all of the time, or even most of the time”. You are simply saying “This word stands for something which is important to me. I would love this word to be a constant theme in my life.”

I have a line I would like to add to it. Over my life so far I have had different jobs, been to many exciting places, met many wonderful people and had some truly incredible experiences. I hope to continue with more of the same, and so I would like to add to my epitaph the following phrase:-

A Life Well Lived!

Now THAT feels GOOD!