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My Left Foot & Transformation
by Sandra Zimmer
I’m writing my first article of 2008 seated next to a pair of crutches! Just after the New Year, I took a quick tumble down my staircase, spraining my left foot and cracking the ankle bone, Ouch! I remember thinking “Ooh! That’s not good!” as I felt my foot turn under.
So for the past month and two more to go, I am learning the lessons of being slow and deliberate, of balancing to try to keep my weight off of the left foot and of surrendering to what is. I would love to tell you I have this mastered, but I can not. It is a day to day process of making decisions on how to move, where to move, how to express myself while keeping my balance and how to stay happy that it is all happening. As a spiritual mentor once advised, I am experiencing it with awareness.
To experience with awareness means to go through the event being conscious of what one is feeling, expressing what is being felt authentically, making choices that seem best for the moment and choosing to accept the experience as valuable. This last sentence sums up everything I was taught about the process of transformation. And as I think of it now, all the classes, coaching, workshops and even corporate programs I offer are built upon the architecture of this set of activities.
The process of transforming stage fright and developing an authentic presence that commands the attention of others is a conscious journey through these same activities. First, one becomes aware of what tensions are stirred up in the body while being the center of attention. If you don’t become very conscious of the tension, you can’t transform it. But once you allow yourself to experience it with acceptance, the tension or anxiety dissolves into flowing energy. The very human feeling of fear can be expressed and shared with others to create a genuine sense of connection that everyone can relate on a human level. With practice, you can choose to share the feeling with humor or with a light elegance. As one learns that the tension is a natural part of humanity and that sharing it is acceptable to others, then self-acceptance begins. Self-acceptance is the grand prize of transformation and the internal foundation upon which we can speak, present and communicate comfortably. It gives us an inner sense of grounded confidence that frees us to take the risks to share our ideas, insights and expertise with the world.
So when life throws you a curve, like stage fright or an accident, consider the possibility that the seemingly unwanted experience might be a path to transformation. Experience it with awareness. Let yourself feel the feelings, express the feelings and choose your steps carefully. In doing so, you will perceive the value of the experience and be transformed.
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