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Are You An Embodied Performer?

Embodiment is the process of giving a physical, concrete form to an abstract concept like a principle, or quality. It is the ability to allow ideas and insights to root and take shape in our bodies, so they can find outward expression in effective, tangible actions.  What does this mean for you as a performer? Embodied performers don’t just live in an abstract trance of how they would like things to be, they take the bold action necessary to advocate for themselves as artists, and for their artform. They commit to practices that cultivate the qualities of presence, confidence and ease under pressure. They have the capacity to access a powerful source for physical and emotional creative expression. An embodied performer brings focus and meaning to their practice, and they have the resilience to thrive in the face of set-backs, mistakes, judgement and criticism. Embodied performers align body, breath and movement with intention, purpose and inspiration, supporting a life that is centered in integrity and authenticity. They are courageous enough to confront what is getting in their way, and to risk leaving parts of themselves behind, in order to pursue new habits and behaviours; an embodied approach to life holds that it is possible to release  ourselves from a chain of reactivity, and stay in closer touch with intuition and wisdom. The experience of being embodied arises through somatic and mindful practices – ways of bringing awareness to, and working with, the physical body and its sensations, feelings and moods. Because no matter how much we know something in theory, when we experience stress, it’s our BODY that returns to what it knows best. Because our deepest learning is rooted at a below-conscious level, we repeat behaviours and habits that are now dysfunctional for the job at hand. New research reveals what many enlightened souls have known intuitively all along… that working with the domain of the body is a powerful way to learn, change and transform ourselves. When we re-organize ourselves physically, we also change our state of mind, and ultimately the action we are capable of taking. That’s not surprising, since our physical experience of the world provides the pattern for how we reason about the world; our mind is constantly being shaped by the things we encounter in the physical world. And that’s why it is important that we don’t just understand what we need to do, but we also train our nervous system to support the learning and development of new actions and behaviours (for example, how to...

Why You Need Impossible Goals

I have just spent a joyful afternoon with a talented singer, helping her discover, and create an IMPOSSIBLE GOAL. But we all know that goals should be SMART, right? Acheivable, measurable, and all that? Well, yes, there are some goals in life perfectly suited to that model. They are the kinds of goals that build the bridge to that next place, the place where your impossible goal is taking you. Because when it comes to excelling in performance, staying committed and motivated in the long term, and mastering your passion, only big, audacious, impossible goals will do. A goal that is powerful enough to transform you, and reshape you, into the performer you desire to be. Leadership consultant and author Tracey Goss has influenced my thinking about creating impossible futures. In her book, The Last Word On Power, she asks a simple, but potent question,“What do you choose to use your life for?”  and its a similar question I put to my clients, What do you choose to use your instrument, your voice, your talent for? And after a little reflection or a lot soul searching, they almost always discover illuminating answers that help them move into inspired and focused action. Because you need to be committed to a  goal that is bigger than THIS  practice, THIS performance, THIS feedback.  You need a big, fat, juicy,  reason why you are choosing THIS kind of life, doing what you are doing now. Take a moment to think about your current goals. Is this goal going to get you out of bed in the morning over the next ten years? Is this goal big enough, impossible enough, that it depends on your full committment to it, and you are prepared to spend a lifetime in pursuit of it because it makes life – and your music – worth playing? A goal that you don’t turn your mind to just when you get to work, or when you get home. Because it encompasses your work and your home. It encompasses who you are being, and becoming. The goal does not, in reality, have to be impossible, but it does need to be bold and worthwhile.  And this is definitely NOT about wishful thinking or pie in the sky visions.  It needs to be purposeful, powerful and relevant. And its okay not know how you will get there, or even if you ever will.  You may fail. But accepting the possibility of failure does not mean you give up pursuing it.  Acceptance is...

Lessons in Life from Dancing Guy

Dancing is a wonderful metaphor for leadership. And here’s an example I stumbled across today, though it’s been around a while.  The inspired voiceover by Derek Sivers says it all, but I also saw  a really important lesson for performance (and life) that I wanted to add. Dancing Guy  ignites the sparks in others, from simply being in the moment, doing what he loves, because it feels right. He doesn’t seek anyone’s approval.  He honours them, sure,  when they choose to follow, but he nevertheless remains DETACHED from the outcome and stays COMMITTED to his course of action. Is it possible for you to remain committed to your passion, and your audacious goal, even during the times you are out there on your own and facing judgement? What are your underlying motivations for pursuing your passion? Does it bring you satisfaction and joy, or are you attached to the approval that accompanies it? Are you prepared to take a risk, and get into action?   Its good to know that if you do, wonderful things may follow…....

Embodied Leadership Course

If you are interested in Wendy Palmer’s Embodied Leadership work there is a level 1 course happening in London next week Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd July. Led by Matthew Dodwell, an experienced somatics teacher with a black belt in aikido, this will be a fun and useful workshop. Wendy will be hosting a level 2 course in London in August. Here is the information from the website. To book go to http://www.embodiedleadership.co.uk/content/workshops or for more details, please email Matthew, or phone on 07732 859637   Leadership Embodiment Level 1 Experience yourself in a whole new way! Leadership embodiment gives us a level of insight into ourselves and our patterns that is revolutionary. You can’t change your mind with your mind alone. If you could of, you would have. Come and experience yourself at different level, engaging your somatic, or body based, intelligence. The level 1 course is the introductory level course. WeYou will work with a series of exercises that will put us just a little off balance, so that you can have a strong experience of coming back to ‘centre’ and back to a sense of being able to handle yourself. We will use ‘4 part centring’ as the primary method for coming back to full consciousness when our awareness is caught up something else. Using from a partner (it can be very soft and still take us off balance) to activate our patterns and then practice returning to a calm, relaxed state. When you have a strong physical sense of what it feels like to be balanced and centred under pressure in a workshop situation, then your body will remember and be able to duplicate this when you’re back out in the everyday world. You’ll experience how this can help with:   Meditation – learn how to be more relaxed and aware during prayer / meditation time (certainly has helped me stay awake and aware for at least an hour during our quaker meetings, even with unhelpful chairs!) Stressful situations – such as work and home stress, people giving feedback, being annoying etc! Giving presentations – how to stay calm, focussed and present Being a parent – our children (and pets) usually respond to what our body language is communicating, rather than our words and often we’re not aware they’re different! – Find out how to give a unified message that helps those around us to feel more relaxed and secure. Taking things ‘off the mat’ – if you do any other form of bodywork such as yoga, tai chi, meditation, chi gong etc. then...

Are You Truly Ready For A Leading Role?

Imagine you are the star of the show. Your name is called and you take your place in the wings.  You are alone, in the semi-darkness, waiting your entrance. With dramatic anticipation, the curtain rises and the lights illuminate the space, revealing the stage and your audience. What happens next? Do you trust yourself to step into the light, confident you will give a good performance (and equally secure knowing that, should you happen to fall flat on your face, you can smile and carry on) Or do you hesitate too long, miss your cue, and experience such fright that you give up those dreams of being the star and beat a retreat to the safety of your day job? I know countless women who have the talent, skills and knowledge to take their business to the next level. And  too many of those women have sabotaged their success just as they were on the verge of a breakthrough. Every year in the lead up to International Women’s Day on 8th March, I hear an increasing number of calls for women to take up more visible positions ; in politics, in business, in communities.  (Have you noticed how enlightened women entrepreneurs are being hailed as the next global economy?) But you know, it’s really not that easy. What is less frequently spoken about (at least in public), is that many women are simply not practiced at being ‘Visible’ Leaders.  It seems shameful to admit somehow, as if it’s a weakness that we are responsible for. We are not. There is no doubt that we are experts at what we do. But the truth is, a good number of us haven’t been awarded the opportunities or experiences that equip us to face the Leadership challenge in the long-term.  Too many training programmes fail to  provide the resources we need, when they ignore the  sticky issues that exist around attitudes and perspectives on women’s power and leadership, and don’t take account how our histories and experiences shape our performance.   And we were lucky if we grew up with the mentors and role models to show us how to we can take the lead without losing our heads, our integrity and our identities along the way. The thing is, achieving success inevitably brings demands and complex challenges. You know that, which is why you hesitate.  Even natural born leaders need to build appropriate resilience and reserves before they move out in front and risk being in the line of fire. That’s...

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