Yesterday I wrote about fallibility, and the tremendous impact that teachers can have upon their pupils, either for good or ill. Over the next three posts, I want to write about some areas that I think can help to make or break a teacher-student relationship. Get it right, and you have pedagogical alchemy. Get these wrong, and you are in line for difficulties! The first one is personality.
Separating teacher and subject
A teacher’s personality can make all the difference to the way a student hears a subject.
In my job as an Alexander Technique teacher trained by the Interactive Teaching Method, I use a pretty standardised introductory lecture who content and script is also used by many of my colleagues. But if you heard me give that lecture, then heard one of my colleagues, you may well experience that lecture very differently. The principles in the content would be the same, but the style, the emphasis, perhaps some of the detail, would be different.
You might prefer me. You might prefer my colleague. But without hearing both of us, it may be difficult for you to separate the subject matter from the style and personality of the individual teaching it.
Sometimes two people just don’t get on. As a teacher, I’ve had students whose personality just grates on me. And I have had one notable instance of a student who took an instant dislike to me. Teachers know they shouldn’t let personality clashes affect the way they teach, but the reality is that it’s hard for it not to.
As an ITM Alexander Technique teacher, part of the skillset required of me is that I am able to teach non-like minded people. And I can. But sometimes I do come across students whose particular personality and worldview just makes it that much harder for me to construct pathways that I think will be most effective to help them learn what I am trying to teach. And if I know that there is another teacher nearby who is more likely to be successful, then I think it is only fair if I suggest to my student that they give the other teacher a try. Just because you CAN teach anyone doesn’t mean that you SHOULD.
Of course, sometimes you find a teacher whose way of teaching just fits. My son’s guitar teacher Andy Warn is just such a case. My son loves him. Andy teaches with a combination of humour, technical finesse and insistence on discipline that is perfect for my son. I suspect that my younger self would have found him too lively - but I was a different child. My son likes humour and liveliness, so he loves the lessons and is prepared to practice outside of class.
If the teacher fits your particular psycho-physical make-up, you are more likely to want to work, and you will have greater success.
You never know…
Of course, sometimes a student that you think hasn’t fitted your teaching style at all can surprise you.
Two years ago I had a student in one of my classes at the acting school where I teach. We took an instant dislike to each other. He irritated me, and he gave every sign that my lessons bored him. We struggled through the term barely tolerating each other.
Last year, when I saw that he ws once again in one of my classes, my heart sank. Another troublesome term, I thought. But when the student walked in for the first lesson of the term, he came straight up to me. “I just wanted to tell you,” he said, “that I thought you were talking rubbish last year. But I couldn’t stop thinking about the stuff you’d said. And actually, when I tried it out, it really helped my acting. So I’m really looking forward to learning some more this year.”
Personality is important. In some circumstances it can make or break a student’s love for a subject. But it isn’t everything, and a teacher shouldn’t give up or despair - you never really know what impact you are making.
Do you have a story about teachers and personality? Tell me about it in the comments.
A couple of days ago I posted two blogs about a teacher I had in high school, a man called Dr Watson. I wrote about two of the elements that I particularly admired about his teaching: his ability to inspire, and his preparedness to take time to help a friend of mine.
So when another friend posted a comment on Facebook that told of an experience of our teacher that was very different, I was slightly stunned. My friend had indeed found Dr Watson’s first lecture inspiring, just like me. What she did not find so inspiring, however, was the comment he put at the end of one of her essays. She described it on Facebook as “full of venom and vitriol,” a view that was backed up at the time by a friend’s academic father.
It’s never a pleasant thing to discover that someone you have long admired has committed a misdeed. And as misdeeds go, this one doesn’t sound good, and directly contradicts everything I have so far written in praise of my former teacher. Perhaps you would suggest to me that I should revise my previous good opinion of my former teacher. And yet…
And yet…mideeds occur. How could it be otherwise? All of us, no matter how moral or ‘good’, have done things that were less than stellar. All of us have committed acts of which we have cause to feel ashamed. It is part of our basic human nature to do ill as well as good, sometimes deliberately and so often not. I have no idea why Dr Watson would have written that comment on my friend’s essay, or whether he later regretted it. But the fact that he did it demonstrates that he was human and fallible.
What struck me most about my friend’s comment on Facebook, though, was the fact that she said that his comment “still smarts” even after 20 or so years. It demonstrates, I think, just how powerful teachers are, and how much impact their words can have.
Being a teacher is an immense privilege, and an almost overwhelming responsibility. I’m sure all of us can think of situations where just a couple of words from a teacher, whether kind or unkind, have completely changed our attitudes or thinking, and made a long-lasting impact. And all teachers reading this can, I am sure, think of instances where we learn that an offhand remark we have made has made a tremendous difference to a student. A teacher, mentor, or even colleague can completely change the way we think about what we are doing with just a few words, as this wonderful blog from Gillian Wormley shows.
Tomorrow I want to start discussing the different contexts and situations that can materially affect the interaction between a teacher and student. For now, though, I just want to ask: have you had an experience where just a few words from a teacher, mentor or colleague has completely changed your ideas, beliefs or commitment?
Last time I wrote about Dr Watson, the English teacher who inspired in me both a love of poetry and the beginnings of an understanding of what good teaching could look like. Here’s another story about Dr Watson, this time from my school friend, that speaks to another gift of great teachers.
At the time when we were being taught by Dr Watson, my friend was having a bit of trouble in English. She wrote an essay and only received 49% - a fail mark.
I think most of us would feel pretty down about receiving a fail grade. Thanks to Dr Watson, my friend never felt like she’d failed. After handing back the paper, Dr Watson spent time with my friend after class to talk through the essay. Paragraph by paragraph, they talked through the essay. Dr Watson praised what was good, and gave ideas on how to make what was good even better. He talked about where the essay hadn’t worked, and how my friend could change it so that it would be a more tightly argued piece of writing.
Put simply, Dr Watson took time. He didn’t allow his student to be discouraged by a poor mark. Rather, he took the time to help and encourage, and my friend has never forgotten it.
So here’s my marker of good teaching for today: good teachers are prepared to spend time with their students. They acknowledge the good, and give encouragement. They give ideas to help their students to be better, should the students be prepared to accept it.
Did you have a teacher who took time to help you be better? Please do tell me about it in the comments.
What is the mark of a great teacher?
This is a question that I have been thinking about a lot recently, especially since my son started having a tricky time at his last school. Well, I’ve been given some new information to add to the mix…
While on a trip to Australia recently, I was lucky enough to meet up with an old school friend. We fell to reminiscing about the teachers we had encountered - the good, the bad, and the downright strange! But the one that we remembered with the most affection was a substitute English teacher who took our class late on in high school for a term or so. His name was Dr Watson.
His name would have been a gift to those who wanted to make fun (and were smart enough to do Holmes references). But I have no memories of that occurring. What I remember most vividly is his enthusiasm and his love of his subject.
He arrived just in time to teach us a unit on poetry. We filed into the room, expecting to be given another slim dog-eared paperback that we would slowly learn to loathe, or at least find utterly numbing. Instead, we were treated to 40 minutes of a poetic tour de force.
Dr Watson treated us like adults. He gave us a lecture about poetry. He explained the themes of the poetry of the 20th century, and how those related to the previous century, to the political climate, and to the World Wars in particular. And he quoted poet after poet, all from memory, all with vigour and spirit. I can’t remember all of them, but I have distinct memories of Eliot, Hardy, Spender, Dylan Thomas, and Ted Hughes being part of the mix.
It was a whirlwind performance. At the end of the lesson, some of the class dismissed it as pointless and a bit embarrassing, frankly. He had shown his love of his subject, and the kids whose schooling had primarily taught them to avoid any emotional involvement with education found it too much to bear.
I loved it.
I wanted to be able to quote poetry the way he did. And I was fascinated by all the different poets he quoted. So I went to the library and got out a few poetry collections, and hunted until I found all the different lines he’d quoted. I’d be lying if I said I understood all of it. But I was enthralled by enough of it that I can truthfully say: that day, and that lecture, inspired a lifelong love of poetry in me.
And that’s what a good teacher does. A good teacher inspires. They won’t inspire everyone to love their subject - that would be impossible. But they will provoke a reaction. Dr Watson made it impossible to sit on the fence that day. Either you loved it, or you didn’t. It wasn’t an option to ignore it, or say it was just okay, or drift through the class. We students had to take a stand.
I still can’t quote poetry the way he did, but there’s plenty of time.
Sir Christopher Frayling, Former Rector, Royal College of Art; Former Chair, Arts Council England.” —
Since Gerald, my dear, lovely singing teacher died, I haven’t sung at all. I haven’t wanted to. Not a note has passed my lips since his death.
It means, of course, that I’m very definitely not going to reach one of my goals for the year, which was to focus more on my singing and institute a regular practice discipline. But not reaching this goal is the least of my concerns.
Frankly, I am feeling a bit lost, and filled with regret that I didn’t use my time with Gerald more wisely. I didn’t work hard enough. I didn’t make the most of the opportunity I had. I knew it was very special, and I knew that it wasn’t going to last forever. And I wasted it.
I know that I did learn a lot from Gerald, but at the moment I can’t access it directly. When I have thought about singing, and thought about the lessons I had, my feelings of loss and sadness seem to block me. It’s like being stuck in a fog. When, however, I am teaching Alexander Technique to actors or singers, precious pearls of wisdom gained from Gerald seem to rise to the surface, and leave my mouth before I realise what is happening. The knowledge is clearly there, but can only be accessed indirectly.
To summarise: I currently have no desire to sing, and the teaching that benefitted me so much can only be accessed indirectly or through impenetrable fog. I want to honour Gerald by doing what he wanted me to do - take my singing more seriously - but just at the moment I am lost as to how I will do this.
I’m afraid there are no answers in this post. Sorry. I just need to put down on paper (or electronic equivalent) the current state of things. If you have any advice, I’d really appreciate it.
Thanks for listening. :)
It’s a common thing for Alexander Technique students, whether novice or old hand, to have the experience that doing an activity in a new way feels better, but also somehow… wrong.
The old way of sitting wasn’t comfortable. The new way is. But it just doesn’t feel right, a student might say to me.
FM Alexander wrote about this in my all-time favourite chapter from his books, called ‘Incorrect Conception’. His example was a teacher asking a student to bend at the knees. The student does it in their old habitual way. The teacher helps them to bend their knees in a new, more mechanically efficient way. At this point, FM says, for the student bending the knees becomes
…to all intents and purposes, a new act, bringing with it a new feeling. This time the act is not what he is accustomed to, and so it feels wrong to him.*
In a lesson today I likened this to that moment in The Wizard of Oz when Dorothy looks around at the technicolor world of Oz and says “I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas any more.” Dorothy was a bit unhappy in Kansas - it was grey, life was hard, and people were giving hera tough time. But at least it was familiar.
Our bodies are a bit like that. We move in certain ways, ways that are familiar and normal. We may not always be comfortable, but at least everything feels normal and where it should be and, well, somehow right.
It is only when the joy of the feeling right becomes outweighed by the discomfort that people typically come to an Alexander teacher. They are taught how to conceive of and carry out activities in new ways. But no matter how comfortable the new way is, it isn’t going to have the same sense of familiarity as the old way. It isn’t going to feel right. Not at first, anyway.
The challenge for any Alexander Technique student is to recognise that they’re not in Kansas any more. There’s a new world, and it’s brightly coloured. There’s no map, and sometimes it might not seem the safest or most enjoyable place in the world. But it isn’t the same old same old. It has the thrill of adventure.
Are you willing to step out into the new? Are you ready to risk feeling wrong?
* FM Alexander, Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual in the Irdeat Complete Edition, p.297.
Image by Matthew Mackerras
I’m not going to bother telling you about how sad I am, or how much he meant to me and all the other students lucky enough to have had him as their teacher. All of that would be true, but it wouldn’t be particularly helpful, and would therefore be a very poor tribute to a very perceptive and engaging man.
I want to tell you, then, some of the things that I have learned through my lessons with Gerald. It’s a mixed bag of thoughts about singing, music, being a student, and the nature of teaching. And none of it is in his words, all mine. I was never organised enough, or far-sighted enough, to take notes either during or after my lessons. I now regret this deeply. However, perhaps it is for the best. The observations that I make are mine, and are therefore open-ended and dynamic. If I had written down aphorisms, perhaps I would have been tempted to stick with the words (divorced from their original context), and not moved my thinking on to new things.
Anyway, here are my observations, in no particular order. I hope there’s something here that you’ll find useful.
Gerald completely changed the way I approached music as an activity. Through my lessons with him, I rediscovered the joy of music making that I had when young, but had somehow mislaid along the path to adulthood. He gave me a gift of inestimable value, one for which I shall always be in his debt.
So. A whole term has passed since I had to move my Youngster to a different school. In the final week of his academic year, it seems like a good moment to reflect on the differences that a term has made, and to write down what I’ve learned about teaching in that time. First of all, I’ll give a Before and After snapshot of the Youngster.
Always tired, but couldn’t sleep. Permanently in varying stages of grumpiness. Gradually stopping everything learning related - stopped reading in his spare time, stopped playing music, stopped drawing, stopped swimming. Then he stopped doing work in class too (though the teacher didn’t actually tell me that; I only found out once I picked up his school books after he finished). His only desire seemed to be to play with toy cars or watch movies, which he did with a zealous obsessiveness.
Still doesn’t always sleep, but now because he has sneakily been reading novels in bed after lights-out. Sometimes grumpy, but frequently cheerful. Reads a lot - sometimes two or even three of the school reading books a day, plus novels. Has started drawing lessons. Is teaching himself to play ukulele, and has taught himself a few guitar chords. Has developed a new fascination with developing rugby skills. Still plays with cars etc., but less single-mindedly.
I have, in point of fact, got my child back.
So what made the difference? I believe most of the change can be credited to the teaching at the new school. It’s funny, really. The curriculum and ethos of the last school should have suited him very well - lots of music and art, lots of teaching through story to appeal to the imagination. The new school does stuff I personally don’t particularly agree with, such as homework and weekly testing of spelling, maths and reading comprehension.
But it works.
I have come to the uneasy conclusion that teaching philosophy is merely a desirable extra. Good teaching is the necessity. If the teacher is good, it doesn’t seem to matter about the curriculum of the school or the prevailing philosophical bent - the children will still thrive.
- Gives praise when children do well, and sets goals with rewards for success
- Sets clear boundaries for what is unacceptable, both in terms of behaviour and standard of work
- Recognises that children move at different speeds and have different strengths, and finds ways of encouraging each child from where they are
- Inspires children to love learning so much that they are inspired to go beyond the boundaries of the curriculum
- Gives children opportunities to fail in a safe and supportive environment, so that they are able to pick themselves up and have another go
- Models the kind of interpersonal behaviour desired in the students.
- Occurs when there is consistency between actions and the values the teacher professes to hold
These are some of my markers of good teaching at the moment. What do you think characterises good teaching?
Why do some people ‘choke’ - have the experience while performing of being under such stress that they miss a note, a run or a passage that they ought not to have missed? And what does the Alexander Technique have to offer the performer to get around this variety of performance stress?
In his second book, FM Alexander quoted a student who said “I am always coming up against things that I know I can do, and yet when it comes to the point, I can’t do them.” And dismissing it as an attack of ‘nerves’ doesn’t really do the problem justice, because it doesn’t help us discover the root cause of the stress, and therefore an effective solution.
Uncomfortably for teachers and students, Alexander firmly lays the blame at the way we learn. He says that we “practise on the wrong lines, so that our successful experiences are few and our unsuccessful experiences many.” *
Reading this passage put me in mind of a recent blog post that mirrored my own experience as a musician and performer.
Piano teacher Dan Severino wrote a blog post about his experience of evaluating his success in trying to teach students how to practice. He asked some of his students to practice just as if they were at home, so he could give them tips and pointers on how to improve.
They didn’t use any of his tips or practice drills. Severino says: “To my surprise most students practiced the same way. They would play one piece and then go on to the next piece until they played all their pieces. A couple of the students would play through the piece a couple times; but always the same way — from beginning to end.”
That could be a description of me as a kid. When I was a young recorder player, I didn’t know how to practice. I would play a piece either until the end or until I got to a tricky bit and made a mistake. I would possibly repeat the tricky bit a few times - rarely more slowly, rarely improving - and then just play the whole piece again.
It was bad practice. It didn’t help me to build up confidence from successful experiences. It taught me instead where the scary bits were in the pieces I played, so that I would spend all my performance time dreading their approach. Small wonder I failed to get them right!
So how can we avoid ‘choking’? Well, according to Alexander, one key element is practice. By changing the way we practice, we can build up for ourselves a succession of small successes that give us confidence. But to do that, we can’t just play the piece through and feel like we’re done. Here are some ideas I’ve been trying recently:
- Each time you practice, work on one thing. Slurs. Breathing. Lifting the instrument to your mouth. One phrase from the music. Pick one thing, and try to make that one thing a little bit better.
- Play it slowly. Yes, I know it’s irritating. But do it anyway.
- Practice isn’t performance. Practice isn’t even about playing music. I’m playing with the idea that music is what is created when a performer is able to bring together successfully all the different single things they’ve worked on in their practice.
- When you practice, it’s allowed to sound terrible. That’s because you’re not performing, you’re practicing, and they are completely different activities.
How many more different ideas or tips do you have that have helped you change the way you practice? Has it helped you feel more confident on stage? Tell me about it in the comments!
* FM Alexnder, Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual in the Irdeat edition, p.340.
A couple of weeks ago in my post on why belly breathing is bunkum, I suggested that students often misinterpret their teachers. The teacher says something apparently innocent, like “breathe down into your belly” and the student comes away from the lesson convinced that their lungs are down near their navel!
Today, using the wisdom of Stephen Sondheim and FM Alexander, I want to explain why we need to watch what we say to our students, and to offer some advice on how to get around the difficulty.
The finale of Stephen Sondheim’s musical Into the Woods has these wonderful lines:
Be careful what you say
Children will listen…
What can you say that no matter how slight
Won’t be misunderstood?
FM Alexander talks about this, too. He says that “in every case, the pupil’s conception of what his teacher is trying to convey to him by words will be in accordance with his (the pupil’s) psycho-physical make-up… these fixed ideas must inevitably limit his capacity for… receiving the new ideas as the teacher is trying to convey them to him.”*
In other words, the big problem with students is that they aren’t the same as us. They don’t know the same stuff.they don’t think the same way. They have different backgrounds from us. And they have different ideas and beliefs from us, and their view of the world is filtered through those ideas. Not ours.
And that means that when I give a recorder pupil an instruction, for example, they don’t hear me. They hear their version of me. Which may bear no relation to me or what I actually said at all.
Sounds pretty grim, doesn’t it? So how do we teach and make ourselves understood?
- On one level, give up! Sounds mad, but… We can’t always be responsible for the strange ways our students interpret us. We don’t have control over their brains. We only have control over ours, and the output from it, hence the other tips below.
- Remember the problem as we are teaching. This will help to prevent us from floating off into language and description that is more likely to be misinterpreted.
- Recognise the common traps. There are certain traps most students will fall into. For example: they’ll want to please you; they’ll try to do things their way, even if it never works; they’ll set perfection as their minimum standard for improvement! I’m sure you can think of some specific to your subject disipline.
- Don’t bother arguing. Dale Carnegie said “A man convinced against his will Is of the same opinion still.” Thee teacher’s job is to try to design a situation where the student changes their own mind.
- Be patient. Learning takes time. Students can only ever move at their own pace. They’ll get there eventually!
If you are a teacher, whether of music or acting or languages - or even of the Alexander Technique - what is your experience of working with students? And if you are a student, how do you navigate your way through your teacher’s attempts to teach you?
*FM Alexander, Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual in the Irdeat Edition, p.293.
Image from FreeDigitalPhotos.net
So I went to the Spike Island open weekend, and realised that I don’t feel like I am using all of my creative potential. I am not completely satisfied with my lot in life.
What to do?
The answer was obvious. Use my Alexander Technique toolkit, and bring my reasoning processes to bear upon the problem. Make a plan.
Analyse the conditions present.
This is where I am at just at present. I have been thinking about what it is that I currently do, and what thngs I don’t do that would be good for me.
To begin: things I am doing.
1. Recorder. I am playing in my quartet Pink Noise. We meet and rehearse most weeks, and are preparing new music.
2. Singing. I am having singing lessons, and loving them. They inspire me.
3. Writing. I am writing my main blog every week, and this one occasionally (more occasional than I would like or had planned, sadly…).
Things I am not doing, or not doing enough.
1. Practice. I don’t do enough of this, either with voice or recorder, and it isn’t systematic. I read a wonderful blog post on practice recently by a sports psychologist who specialises in working with musicians. What I have come to realise is that, while my music teachers taught me how to play my instruments in a moderately technically correct manner, I was never taught how to practice. I was just told to do it. I could write more about this now, but I have a feeling it is a whole blog post in itself.
2. Writing. By which I mean, writing that isn’t related to Alexander Technique. From childhood, I have written. I have felt compelled to write. Poetry, plays, tv scripts, puppet shows… I dabbled in lots of stuff when younger. Then I wrote a dissertation and stopped writing a,together afterwards. Ouch.
3. Visual art. I consider myself to be truly rubbish at visual art. But when I was in high school we were introduced to Lino and screen printing, and I loved them. I’ve always had a lingering desire to do them again.
4. Exercise. Seem like an odd thing to put on a list of creativity? Maybe. But I think it’s really important to have some sort of physical outlet during a day. It’s a great way of taking your brain away from being stuck and allowing it to range free. And it helps me feel good too. In those erodes where I have done regular exercise, I have been generally happier and more productive.
So that’s the list so far of all the things I do and don’t do. The next step? To think about why I want to be creative in the first place. What is it that I want to achieve? What is my goal?
And what about you reading this? Have you done a creative audit lately? If so, tell me about it.
One of the highlights of the year, creatively speaking, in Bristol is when Spike Island has its Open weekend.
Spike is an old tea factory that got turned into artists’ studios. Some truly amazing people work in that building, like Richard Hames and John de Mearns. This year we took the Youngster along, and he absolutely loved looking at all the amazing works of art on display.
Yep, I loved it too.
I have to confess it also left me feeling, frankly, a little down. A bit creatively frustrated, I guess.
The clincher came when one of the artists told us that he loved his job, and couldn’t think of anything he’d rather do. He loves coming to work each day.
I came away from the day wondering about my relationship to that sort of statement. Don’t get me wrong: I love teaching Alexander technique. I really do love my job. It gives me great joy to see students expanding their horizons.
So why do I feel so envious of that artist? What am I missing in my life?
It leads me to think that , though FM Alexander said that teachers of his work should have “the eye of an artist”, sometimes one needs to do more than teach to satisfy that eye. And when, as I believe, doing Alexander’s work actually enhances your creativity, it seems logical that it would become necessary to explore other creative outlets.
So I now have an interesting problem to ponder. How am I going to deal with this creative frustration?
This is a series about conquering stage fright. First, we talked about the importance of knowing yourself. Then, we talked about the fear factor. Third, we talked about creating positive experiences to help fight the panic. Fourth, we looked at the importance of knowing what you’re doing. Last week, we examined how our general state of wellbeing (use of ourselves) affects our performance.
This week, we’re giving ourselves time.
Today in my singing lesson, I was reminded of what is possibly the greatest luxury any performer can give themselves.
Time is a slippery customer. It can seem to move so quickly. It can feel as though it is in someone else’s control. When I asked my students at Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama what they found hardest about doing auditions, feeling rushed came high on the list. My students felt as though they were not able to give themselves the time and space to give the calibre of performance they were capable of giving.
Note this: they felt as though they couldn’t give themselves time.
No one said they couldn’t. No one told them not to take a second to breathe. It was a choice that they made in reaction to the given circumstances (such as the general atmosphere in the room).
Allowing oneself a moment to stop is a fundamental tool within the Alexander Technique. When FM was trying to solve his vocal hoarseness, he realised that:
“if ever I was to be able to change my habitual use … it would be necessary for me to make the experience of receiving a stimulus to speak and of refusing to do anything immediately in response.”*
FM realised that if he didn’t give himself this pause, he was far more likely to speak using his body in the more habitual way that caused the hoarseness. If he received the stimulus but refused to do anything immediately in response, he gave himself the chance to put his new reasoned process into action.
So give yourself time.
Stand up. Pause. Then begin the speech.
Finish the sentence. Let it be finished. Then start the next.
Finish the musical phrase. Stop the breath. Allow the body to breathe in. Then sing.
If you stop, you give yourself a priceless gift: the chance to choose what happens next. So what will you choose?
*FM Alexander, The Use of the Self in the Irdeat Complete Edition, p. 424.
In my original post, I suggested that when your goals get swamped by life events, you should try:
1. Deal with the crisis as best you can
2. Rest a bit
3. Be prepared to reshuffle your goals, and even to re-evaluate them in the light of what has happened.
Upon reading this, my lovely friend and colleague Karen Evans said:
This was an entirely new thought for me. I am ashamed to say that it had never occurred to me that surviving a crisis might be a really good thing to celebrate. I have even seen other people do it. A work colleague of my husband recently held a party in part to celebrate the fact that she is winning her fight with breast cancer. But it had never occurred to me that crisis survival was something that I should celebrate.
Needs a point 2b - celebrate achivement in dealing with the crisis in a constructive manner.
Now that I think about it, it makes really good sense. But I also know that I am really lousy at celebrating. So I am wondering… What do you like to do to celebrate? I would really love it if you could tell me in the comments, so that we can create a list of great celebration ideas.
Then we can really begin to be kind and loving to ourselves.