“Vulnerability is the birthplace of connection and the path to the feeling of worthiness. If it doesn’t feel vulnerable, then sharing is probably not constructive.”
Brené Brown

Well that quote by Brené Brown puts that cats, swarms of them, amongst the bloody pigeons!

So I am going to share, be vulnerable and tell my story from last weekend , just like it was/is!

Maybe it can help someone?

Mum passed on 30.12 18

I miss her. She was truly extraordinary. 

Last Saturday, I went to a performance of La Bohème and it was dedicated to my darling Mother. 

I spent the day, well a sizeable chunk of it,  working myself up, unceremoniously, into a slight “tiz”.

I hadn’t listened to any opera since her passing. My grief was still so raw and Opera was Mum’s ‘thing’. It was a huge part of her life and as young woman she worked @ Glyndbourne. Contemporaries from that time, I guess 1950’s, were directing and creating the performance. This was going to hurt…obviously!

My thoughts re manifesting this maelstrom of mind F**k (and that’s some impressive alliteration) were:-

  • I haven’t be able to listen to any opera since Mum’s passing, its going to really stir up so much painful emotion.
  • Last time I went to this place I had a full blown panic attack. I was stuck at the back, hemmed in by people and only just managed to get out before the world crashed around me into a place of black, as it started to swallow me up. What if the happens again?
  • If they make an announcement re tonight being dedicated to Mum I am going to loose the plot and make a complete fool of myself
  • I always cry when Mimi dies.. this is going to be unbearable
  • Brain pandemonium!!!

Those are just some of the publishable ones!

Stop the drama and Breathe for the love of God!!!

 So I decided that I need to try and desensitise myself!  I listened to parts of La Bohème, that I genuinely feel to be amongst the most beautiful music in the world.

In my kitchen, looking out at the sea and I started to cry.  That ‘soul level’ crying, when the big fat round tears flow, they flow up from a place so deep that you wonder how they have remained restrained for so long, yup that one…. and wondered if I was desensitising myself or just bringing up fathoms worth of grief?  The dogs just assumed I was bonkers as they did “The Master’s Voice” as  Musette and Mimi sung their most beautiful arias.

On the third round, I was feeling a tad more capable!! A little less panicky. I could listen to La Boheme and it wasn’t going to kill me!!

I am so grateful I am a Life Coach, now certified by the astounding Brooke Castillo’s Life Coach School. My life has changed massively and is continuing to do so, day by day.

Dramatic? Yes of course!

True? Yes, absolutely!

Time to do some self coaching and  regain partial control over the monkey, animal, reptilian (or any other name you like to give it) part of the brain that was setting me up for a miserable evening and creating pandemonium, like a well meaning toddler, running about with a sharp knife! It has no idea of the potential mayhem it is creating!!

Then I seemed to unconsciously decide, to beat myself up some more and now add a whole supersized serving of self judgement too, for having all these crazy thoughts that I knew full well aren’t serving me!

Stop the drama and Breathe for the love of God!!!

Step back.
I want to share with you my thought process for my self coaching…maybe it can help you too?
Here goes…

Marianne have a word with yourself. (you can use a true East End London accent, at this point, if you so wish!)

You are a coach, you know YOU are creating this head havoc!
Self coaching is powerful stuff, when you sit down and actually do it!

So I did it.

My thoughts were creating havoc, panic and potential disaster for the evening. They were making me feel anxious, bordering on paranoid, to go to the bloody opera, my favourite opera, which was being devoted to my darling Mum!  So I emptied all the crazy drama out of my head onto paper. Imagine shaking a box full of thoughts out onto the paper. Think it’s empty? Shake it a  bit more and see what else has go stuck in the corners! 
This is the first step to actually witnessing what we are thinking. I am a genius at creating dramatic self destructive thoughts. Well I was, now I catch them and start to have word!
I love the notion of Default to Design. Default living…where we bob along in a world where we think we have no control, to Design living where we live, consciously aware, that our thoughts create the reality of our life experience. 
It’s a bit like the law of gravity. Step off a wall and you will fall. 
Think, consciously or not – we create our experience of life.

So I witnessed all my drama and decided that these thoughts were going to potentially release hell incarnate into my brain, which was likely to ruin my evening and reinforce the idea that I get claustrophobic in small closed in spaces when lots of people are present! 

Marianne, what a perfect way to spend an evening!

Stop the drama and Breathe for the love of God!!!

 Coach Brain, was regaining some semblance of control by gently and brilliantly directing my mind…Marianne how do you want to feel at the performance tonight?

 I wanted to feel proud that the evening was being dedicated to my darling Mother and enjoy the performance. Sounds simple enough…

Monkey Brain, Eric, was now leaping about, challenging every singe chuffing positive thought I could muster! Eric is always hellbent on creating a night of chaos and misery. He was finding evidence from my past, some panic attacks, Mum’s passing and anything else he can dig up, to prove to the rest of my brain that I will undoubtedly make a fool of myself and probably die.

Thanks Eric! Love you too!

To calm him down, I keep saying the worst thing that will happen is that I will feel like shit for part of the performance and that is OK. Feelings can’t hurt me. Allowing our feelings, just sitting with them, can be uncomfortable, really uncomfortable, but they won’t kill us. If I cry, thats fine too. After all, everyone cries when Mimi dies… don’t they?!

I decide to think, ’This is a  gorgeous way to celebrate Mum”

I imagined what this new thought felt like, as in really visualised the evening going the way I wanted. That felt much better and I started to see myself enjoying the opera.
I get some posh togs on, ensured my mascara was waterproof (just in case!)  and went to the Opera…

Sunday morning

Well I didn’t die! I was spell bound by their performances. I had the most gorgeous evening. The music was outstanding.There were several moments when I felt uncomfortable, my heart raced a little as Eric banged on his drum, but I just allowed him to be there.I

It was a gorgeous way to celebrate my darling mother!

So take that Eric!!

I think on the quiet, even Eric was rather impressed with La Bohème

Love. Marianne

PS I would love to know if this resonates with you and any similar experiences you and your “Eric” might have had?