Wednesday, March 3, 2010

No More Singing Jitters!

Diane (not her real name) felt stage-fright singing in front of a huge audience. She knew she was a talented singer because she had received many accolades for her work. Yet, when it came to singing in front of a big audience, she would fumble, forget her lyrics or just feel ill with anxiety.

When we talked, she was a few days away from performing in front of an audience of 200. She felt nervous just thinking about it, with an intensity of about 3 or a 4. She said that perhaps if she was sick before the performance then she would have an excuse for not performing perfectly. I asked her what would happen if she “failed.” And she replied that it would be the end of the world for her.

With such a strong statement, I suspected that her intensity was in fact higher than what she reported.
I inquired into why she needed to be perfect, and she recounted the story of hearing her brother being hit by her father because he wasn’t “perfect.”

We tapped:
“Even though I feel nervous, I don’t know the words for the whole song yet, I deeply and completely accept myself.”
“Even though if I failed, that would be the end of the world for me, and that won’t do, I want to trust that I will be OK anyway.”
“Even though I need to be perfect, if I am not, I will be hit just like my brother was, I deeply and completely accept how I feel.”

The tapping about her brother brought up a lot of sadness (intensity level 9) and tightness in her throat. She felt fearful and hurt for him. Diane was surprised at how intensely she felt her feelings. So we tapped on the event where she remembered her brother being punished.

“Even though I can still hear his screams, I deeply and completely forgive myself for not coming to his aid, what can a little girl do?”
“Even though I can still hear his cries, I felt so sad and hurt for him, I honor how hard it was for us both.”
“Even though I have this ‘bedroom’ scene in my head, I choose to let it go. I was sad, scared and confused, and I accept how I felt.”

Then we tapped on the meridian points:
“His screams…”
“Still echo in my ears…”
“I couldn’t help him…”
“What could a little girl do…”
“I need to be perfect…”
“It’s not fair…”
“I forgive myself for not helping him out…”
“I would get hit too if I try to help my brother…”
“I forgive myself for feeling afraid of being hit and hurt…”
“I was confused, scared and sad for both of us…”

After several rounds, she reported that she felt lighter and her throat was less tight. The intensity had fallen to 0.

Then Diane suddenly remembered a specific event from long ago: she forgot her lyrics as she sang in front of her entire graduating class in her high school graduation ceremony. There were 400 people watching her.

“Even though I forgot my lyrics in front of my whole school, I forgive myself.”
“Even though I saw their eyes looking at me, and something in me got spooked that I forgot the lyrics I had practiced over and over again, I forgive myself.”
“Even though it was unforgiveable what I did, how could I let myself down in front of the whole school, it was so humiliating! I want to forgive and accept myself anyway.”

“I mixed up the words…”
“Hit three wrong notes…”
“In front of the entire crowd…”
“What an embarrassment…”
“I was a failure…”
“I had to compete to win this opportunity, and how could I let myself down this time…”
“Their eyes…”
“The look on their faces, I can’t bear it…”
“I was imperfect and I felt so humiliated…”

We did several rounds of tapping on this scene. Then I asked her to run the scene in her mind again using the movie technique, and asked if there was any remaining intensity. She said that it was all 0.

Again,  a new movie came into her mind. This one was a more recent incident where she sang in front of a crowd and again, forgot her lyrics. She felt that she had let herself and her singing teacher down. We tapped on this incident, which had an intensity of 6, and got it down to a 0.

I asked her what she would like to experience instead of the nervous feelings. She quickly answered that she would like to uplift her audience. She would like to be able to allow God’s gift to come through her so people can be in joy as they listen to her. She knew she has a gift from God, yet she was getting in her own way. As she spoke, her intensity soared again to a 10, and her throat became tight.

She burst out saying that she didn’t want to live up to her audience’s expectations. She wanted them to hear the sound of God without associating it with her. She would like the audience to just enjoy God. She would like everyone to be touched, to feel the message and experience the sound. She would like her audience to leave with the feeling of joy and light.

We tapped:
“Even though I feel nervous singing in front of a huge group, what if I forgot my lyrics again and embarrassed myself again, I choose to remember I am singing because I want to let God’s voice pass through me and uplift my audience.”
“Even though I feel afraid of letting myself down again, I choose to be the vehicle of God’s voice and allow this voice to bless my audience.”
“Even though I am afraid to forget my lyrics again, it’s easier to believe that I will just fail again, I am willing to be the channel of God’s grace.”

“I might forget my lyrics again…”
“Or I might not...”
“I invite the part of me that forget the lyrics to relax…”
“To be a vehicle of God…”
“To be a vehicle for peace…”
“I am wishing to be the channel of God…”
“I would like to let God’s voice to pass through me…”
“Letting me be the vehicle of grace…”
“Starting with me, being at peace with myself…”
“Allowing myself to feel light and joyful…”

We did a few more rounds of tapping on her intention to uplift the audience and allowing herself to be a vehicle for God’s voice. Her throat was open and relaxed by the end of our session.

A few weeks later, I emailed her to find out how her performance went. This was what she said: "The performance went well. I had little or no problems with nerves. I even had issues with phlegm in my throat and had to stop a couple times - which would have freaked me out before - but I was fine."

She sent me an mp3 of her performance, and what I heard uplifted my spirit indeed!

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