piano keyboard

I had my first piano lesson this week. My teacher is perfect for me. I’ve plonked around on our piano at home for a long time, and since I’ve sung in a choir, I’ve used it frequently to pick out my part in new songs. But I’ve never been able to play with both hands, and increasingly, I’ve wanted to learn.

A couple of weeks ago, I tried, again, to play a simple piece that I’ve toyed with, on and off, for several years.  Frustratingly, I still couldn’t do the left hand and the right hand together. ‘I’m definitely going to find a teacher’ I said to my husband.  But not just any teacher. One who can start from where I am, take me back to where I need to start and go from there.

The very next morning (really) I logged into TweetDeck. There among my new followers was a piano teacher who lives five miles from me on the Isle of Wight. I checked out her website (she uses our lovely piano tuner), ‘chatted’ with her on Twitter and email and my first lesson was soon in the diary. On the day, she quickly established what I know, understood what I wanted and set me to work doing things from scratch and properly.  I’m now playing my first little two-handed piece.

Knowing what you want

When the level of negative events in life overtakes the positive in our minds, it can be a bit difficult to see how to move on. That’s why Recover Your Balance starts from what you want to be different. I’ve seen so many people, in the midst of huge stress, redundancy, derailed careers or workplace bullying, who don’t know where to start.  My first question is “what exactly do you want to be different?” Answering that question moves you towards the possibility of change.

Things can really move quite fast when you make a commitment to change your circumstances. Allowing the possibility of creating a better situation completely lifts your spirits, and reduces the pressure of negative emotions on your body, mind and spirit. The mind-shift you experience can feel like a sudden ray of sunlight on a wet day. This ‘sunlight moment’ may be triggered by a specific event which wakes you up to the possibility of a different future, or it may come gradually. Ideally it will be something that begins to restore your sense of proportion.

Helping the Universe

I’m currently reading Mike Dooley’s new book, Leveraging the Universe. Mike has been much misrepresented after he appeared on the best selling video, The Secret. He doesn’t advocate sitting at home dreaming and waiting for miracles.  He’s very clear that you need to know what you want, visualise it in as much detail as you can, and then ACT. By act, he means start from where you are and take baby steps towards what you want.  When you act, he says, the Universe helps.

Now you will have your own beliefs about how change happens. I hold up my piano teacher as one example among many of what can happen when you’re clear and prepared to act. You judge.

Making a start

As a first step, think about some of these questions:

  • Accepting that things are going wrong, what, specifically, do you want to change?
  • How do you want to be responding to your circumstances?
  • How do you want to be feeling?
  • What personal and professional relationships do you want to benefit from your  recovering your balance?
  • How do you want them to benefit?

Here are some ways you can visualise what you want to change:

  • Draw a picture or a cartoon – it doesn’t have to be great art, just to show what you want to happen[1]
  • Make a collage. Spend some time going through old magazines finding images which will express what you want for the future. Cut them out and assemble them on a big sheet of paper.[2]
  • Write a poem, or a letter to yourself, or a letter to a loved one about the changes you want. Cover everything – your emotions, your health, your sense of yourself – whatever seems relevant. You don’t have to send it. Treat it as a commitment to recovering your balance.
  • Write a short story about how things will be for you when you are back in balance. A coaching client of mine wrote a story about her ideal working day, and went on to make it far more of a reality.

If these sorts of creative activity don’t appeal, find a way that does work for you. This might be writing a list of bullet points on a sheet of paper, creating goals, making a plan or drawing a Mind Map™[3]. Do whatever seems right for you personally.

Time to take that first baby step.

[1] For inspiration and encouragement about drawing and visual thinking, see http://www.creativityworks.net for articles by cartoonist Martin Shovel.

[2] CreativityWorks are also the inspiration for this suggestion.

[3] Mind Mapping was invented by Tony Buzan. See http://www.buzanworld.com/ for more information.