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Gillian Florence

What is your experience with nervousness as a mindfulness teacher? How do you address nervousness when it arises?

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This week's question asks:

What is your experience with nervousness as a mindfulness teacher? How do you address nervousness when it arises?

It is incredibly natural to feel nervous as a new mindfulness teacher or as a teacher in a new setting. What is your experience with nervousness as a mindfulness teacher? Do you have any tips for others on how to address nervousness when it arises during a teaching?

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Ahhh....Great question, Gillian.

Here's mine:  Simply acknowledging it, be with it, no fixing, explore where in the Body it is present, maybe soften some and/or even find some comedy in it, and wait for the next sensation. We all have it, with consistent practice, see if that changes over time. If any, I welcome it as part of our Humanity. 

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Speaking of nervousness..... I logged in here this morning (7/18/2022) and saw that it's been over a year since that last time I had logged in!!! I think I might be ready to put myself "out there" (or "in here," as the case may be) a little more.  I get nervous every week when my partner and I lead our weekly Sangha meeting. I'm nervous about taking over a twice weekly Mindfulness group at the local VA hospital.  It's just there, sitting in my chest, making my breath shallower, my shoulders tight..... I'm sure y'all know the feelings.  And that's the thing, it's a universal feeling. Knowing it is "part of our humanity" makes it easier to walk through it.......And breathing always helps 😃

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I visually see the nervousness as another version of myself and embrace it. When I love that side of me and bring awareness to it, it starts to dissipate. Yesterday I gave my first live workshop to 50+ and this is what I practiced to get into a nice flow state. After the workshop I was truly happy and all the students where very happy. It was a beautiful experience. 

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I have noticed that when I am nervous, it is for a new audience or a workshop/training that I have not done before. My process for responding to this is I first always remind myself to “Trust the Process” which Sean taught me to do. I then invite curiosity. Why am I nervous? It is usually my need to be liked, or to make a good impression. I associate this with my personality and I smile at those traits and let go. Of course I also take a couple deep breaths.🙂

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Thank you everyone for sharing your reflections on this! Some of the key themes I am picking up in your responses are:

non-judgment, common humanity, embrace, self-compassion, trust, curiosity, and the breath

I resonate with all of that. Additionally, one practice I'd like to share that helps me when I feel nervous before a session is to close my eyes before beginning and to sense into or visualize the people I will be guiding (whether I already know their faces or not). Sensing into others in this way helps me to shift from my inner critic or fight-flight-freeze mode and into connection and shared humanity. This helps the nervousness to naturally dissipate and reminds me that it's not about me or how I'm perceived or my ability to be 'perfect'. It reminds me we're just here to connect and to support others as best we can.

 

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