It is no secret to anyone who knows me that I am a Trekker. For those of you who might not know, a Trekker is a bit more serious than a Trekkie. The latter seems most content exchanging trading cards at Star Trek conventions or gazing at dazzling lighted "space walls" with little shrines of metal or plastic starships designed to sail into deep space at a moment's notice.
A Trekker is something more, I think, and denotes an adventurous spirit who dares to go beyond the great and "final" frontier of outer space. This hero or heroine treks into and perhaps beyond the very tiny (or not so tiny) inner spaces into the vastness of waiting, undiscovered worlds inside. The Trekker is one who dares to go beyond what time, space, and imagination forgot; beyond our miraculous and acclaimed super-information highway into something new, something even more wondrous, perhaps, than we have begun to even dream.
I have trekked off many times alone to explore in places I'm sure angels fear to tread, and lived to tell the stories of great adventures filled with spine-tingling suspense, of daring and sometimes harrowing death-defying escapes from dragons' lairs and magicians' courts. I know firsthand of magic spun (and not spun); of princes, loves, and rescues (usually my own); of dark, enchanted nights and laughing, sunny days; of portentous joys, jubilant celebrations, and hints of majesty. Life for me has also included my share of running to the grocery store at midnight for an emergency bag of dog food and traipsing through business meetings with the greatest organizational plan yet left lying on my desk on the "other disk" at home.
These things taught me that the adventurer need not be perfect, only diligent. The true adventurer need not always be so serious, just capable of going there between the laughter and the fun, between the exhilaration and the dreams. We are flexible enough to swim through all our wondrous human emotions, allowing them to become the rich landscapes they were intended to be; willing to fall down, and more willing still to stand back up again.
Very recently, I came upon the promise of a new adventure, an adventure so great that I sold most of my personal belongings and a well-established and thriving company, kissed my barely grown-up children, and hugged my friends goodbye. I put my little dog, Jean Luc, under my arm, climbed onto a Delta DC9 with three suitcases, four umbrellas, two books, a few clothes, and my favorite pen. With my beloved journal clutched in hand, I flew halfway across the world, bound for the Pacific Northwest.
My journey to Seattle was made in anticipation of a long-awaited dream, a dream I had all but forgotten until I felt the restless stirring of my soul combined with a magnitude of daily synchronicities that clearly began to tell me that it was time. I left my home of 18 years in Atlanta to take a Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) certification training. (I had seen the ad for the training, which took place at More Choices in Seattle, in a copy of The New Times that a friend had "just happened" to send me.) "More choices: how perfect," I thought, as I made that incredible and spontaneous commitment to change everything in my life all at once. I knew in my heart that NLP was what I wanted to do. More importantly, I knew it was what I wanted to be.
As a certified hypnotherapist and rebirther, workshop facilitator, seminar leader, speaker, and writer, I believed that this added certification would be invaluable to the work I intended to resume in Seattle. Yet, curiously enough, although I was convinced that NLP was what I had been looking for, I had no real understanding of what it really was. I had no idea how valuable it would be to the whole of my life and, more importantly still, to the lives of every person I would ever again meet.
I had heard about this ingenious communication tool many years ago. Intrigued, I sponsored NLP trainers to conduct weekend workshops in the Atlanta area, and had witnessed firsthand accounts of amazing and profound changes and healings, and witnessed gestalts of spiritual awareness occur within the lives of many people. During this time, I was also hearing about the almost unbelievable transformations occurring, at some of the deepest levels of change, within the framework of one-on-one client/therapist NLP sessions.
I became more curious, intrigued, and mystified by the day, and began to wonder what greater place NLP might hold in my own life one day. Good questions deserve good answers; however, the only answers that came back to me at the time were contained within my own observations, understandings, and desire to know more.
Part of my greatest intrigue was that there was something about those "NLP people" that I seemed to keep mysteriously "bumping into" that I couldn't quite put my finger on. They looked ordinary enough; they said what all the books I read were saying; but there was something more. I was sure of it. After spending more time around them, I became convinced that they had found some sort of magic. This "magic" made their lives work; made a difference to every person they came into contact with. It somehow changed things without all the effort, sacrifice, and struggle that seemed to be required of me in order to accomplish almost anything.
NLP'ers are very easy to spot. They are the ones laughing uproariously at something mere mortals might easily dismiss. They'll do something completely outrageous one moment, and the next can be so quiet, still, compassionate, gentle, and lovingly 100% present with you you'd swear you were in the presence of a human chameleon who genuinely cares about you: your feelings, thoughts, ideas, and innocence; your total sense of well-being. The most outstanding gift they brought to every interaction I experienced was the sense of my being fully known, valued, appreciated, and respected by another. It was this beautiful elegance that I loved and admired so much; it took my breath away.
How did they do it? What magic, what knowledge did they posses? What source of power so great that they seemed to look past all my masks, beyond my secret hidden shames, and beyond those things I feared the most let them so quickly, clearly, and without judgment see, hear, and touch the contents of my heart? That would have been terrifying for me with most people, but every time I felt this instantaneous connection occur with the NLP-trained, I was met with such tender care, sincere respect, and gentle and exquisite patience that I knew I was safe to be whoever I really was with them.
They were also the most fun people I had ever worked and/or played with. They were humorous, energetic, excited about life, full of a thousand possibilities, optimistic, upbeat, happy, honest, and integral, and their lives (and those of the people around them) seemed to work all of the time! I watched them carefully, asked a zillion questions, tried to listen to the answers they gave, and wondered what it was they had found that made such a difference in their lives. I still didn't know what it was exactly, but what I did know was that I wanted it, whatever "it" was. I hungered for it. I had tasted just a tiny piece of their magic, and I wanted more.
Over the next twelve years, I read everything I could get my hands on in attempts to gain a better understanding of what had actually taken place during those magical NLP days and nights that seemed to be just below my conscious understanding. However, the books I pored through weren't explaining what I had seen, heard, felt, touched, or what I knew to be true beyond the words I read. There was something more that no one "out there" was telling me, and I was determined to discover what it really was for myself.
I looked into the possibility of taking NLP trainings on the East Coast, but for one reason, then another, it didn't happen. Eventually, I put my NLP dream on the dusty shelf where so many of my other dreams were stored, going on to build companies, to wade through the trials and triumphs of raising two children, and saturating my life with greater and greater spiritual focus and attention. I told myself this was probably "as it should be," and resolved to be content with a different direction and purpose for my life. Little did I know it at the time, but those twelve milestone years were the preparation and foundation for my date with destiny.
Then, just like magic, the doors swung open wide through a series of unexplainable synchronicities that changed my life so dramatically that they simply couldn't be ignored. Just as my children packed up for their grand new adventure with the world, I realized that, for the first time in my life, it was my turn to explore in a new way now a way I had not been fully free to try before.
I could offer you many technical and accurate definitions for NLP, but I'd rather try to communicate what I've found NLP to be beyond its technical and intellectual definition. It's true that NLP is a tool for greater rapport, connection, and communication with others and with ourselves. I want to skate on out to the middle of the ice pond and tell you a greater truth I know, and dare to go beyond what all the books and brochures have tried to tell you.
This will be my best attempt yet to describe this miraculous technology, this tool. Even so, it is just the faintest hint and whisper of what I have unearthed. It has changed my very neuronal structure. It has rerouted, redistributed, and rewired through the synapses of living light throughout my working brain connection points and opened me to the depths and mysteries of my soul. I know now of the music of realms I didn't even know existed, and of the beginning unraveling of mysteries to that "something more" beyond my self. Here goes:
NLP is a most potent and powerful tool for accelerated change that provides for heart-to-heart, mind-to-mind, soul-to-soul, God-being-to-God-being connection. A depth of understanding and communication ensues from beyond the words, beyond the depth and breadth of all the pictures, around and under and between the most exquisite notes of sound, and deeper still, beyond our human emotions/mind. It reaches deep into the stillness: into the arms, the mind, and the heart of God/Goddess/all that is/self/soul/infinite intelligence/infinite wisdom/infinite love/life for which I have no greater name. It is not an end-all or a final destination point, but rather a most elegant and beautiful beginning, a door, a window to that something more of self that waits ever so patiently for us, when we are ready, to come home.
The practical applications of NLP are limitless. These range from ease in everyday ordinary interactions with others to designing effective management strategies, and from resolving any type of conflict imaginable (inner and outer) with greater finesse, compassion, and care to harnessing the future and re-designing a past that no longer serves us. They encompass abilities from teaching team-building skills within corporate structures to soothing a frightened child. Their scope includes capabilities from accessing powerful resource states in an instant before exams, interviews, or potentially uncomfortable situations to changing our own emotional states at any given moment in time, in any given situation, without regard to outside circumstance. These are but a very few examples of what is possible using just a small number of the skills, techniques, and underlying principles and presuppositions of NLP.
And, yet, NLP is still on the cutting edge of new discoveries and new horizons. There is still so much to learn about what is has to offer beyond what has been found and tested. NLP is leading us into a new future, into a new creative genius beyond what we have known before. As for me, I have heard its music, have felt its call from deep within, and have lived results I couldn't even dream which continue to grow and expand beyond my conscious comprehension. My life will never be the same; everything is different now.
If you dare to reach, to stretch, to go beyond, into that place that has no name or description or definition, you will begin to see, to hear, to touch something so phenomenal, so awing, so inspiring that you will know there truly is something more. Finally, together, with tools in hand with which to communicate our deepest ideals, goals, and passions, we can make a difference in our lives, in others, and in our world. Everything is different now. Welcome to a whole new beginning; welcome to a whole new world.
For more information about NLP, upcoming weekend workshops, NLP Practitioner & Master Certification Training programs, free NLP evening workshops, and other NLP-related events, please contact Kay Ries at More Choices, Inc: (206) 365-4209.