An Article from
TTEAM® Connections Newsletter
Tellington TTouch Instructor
If I Were an Animal
by Tellington TTouch Instructor Debby Potts
TTEAM Connections Newsletter Volume 17 Issue 1 January-March 2015
In my 30 years of experience with TTouch, I have learned a great deal about fear, confidence and how to navigate the obstacles that inevitably arise and challenge us to learn and grow. When I find myself in these types of challenging situations, I think about the TTouch philosophy and how I might work with myself if I were an animal. The first time I had an opportunity to try this, I was in a really stuck place in my life. I knew that the key was to break things down into smaller pieces. I even knew what the small steps were; I just couldn't do them. It was a paralyzing feeling. The more stuck I felt, the more I beat myself up for not being able to move forward.
A friend asked me what I would do with me if I were a horse in a paddock. Would I go in and start beating the horse? Of course not, and I saw this as a great opportunity to shift my perspective and see other possibilities.
When I imagined the paddock she suggested, I actually saw an elk, one of my totem animals. It was standing there, unwilling or unable to move. I didn't go in attempting to force Elk as I had been trying to do with myself. I knew that the first step was to make a connection and work in a way that developed a trusting relationship.
Over the next several days when I had a few minutes, I would imagine being there in the paddock and working with Elk using various TTouch techniques. When it seemed like the right time, I gently asked it to take a few steps. Without fear, or force, Elk felt free to walk calmly away. I have never again been stuck in the same way.
This was many years ago. Since then, it has been exciting for me to learn more about helping people to overcome their own challenges. It is one of the reasons that I became a certified life coach in addition to my work as a TTouch Instructor. I believe that when I help people gain more confidence and clarity, the animals benefit too.
These are my 6 Steps for TTouching Success
1) What's happening now? Animals live in the present. Their life experience gives them information to know how to respond now. It's easy for us to get stuck in the past ("Why did I make that choice?") or in the future ("I sure hope this works!") rather than be in the present where we actually have control of what we do.
The specific TTouches are a wonderful mechanism to help you to be present and mindful. Pay attention to what that feeling is like for you and see how much you can carry that through your day. The animals can feel the difference. This awareness can be a huge part of your success.
2) What do you notice? Objective observation is the path that guides you in your TTouch process. How would you see a situation if you were looking at it from the perspective of a curious neutral observer?
Objective observation can be a great way to get your judgments out of the way and allow access to more information. Animals are always noticing changes in their environment. My cats, for example, notice anything that is new in our house and are eager to explore it.
Our limiting beliefs and judgments restrict our choices and opportunities. What would happen if you literally changed your perspective, imagining that you were looking down on the scene, or seeing it from some distance behind or in front of you? Seeing different points of view can open up more potential for change.
3) When does the problem start? If you are working with a fearful or reactive dog, you know that you want to help the dog to stay in a thinking state so that he can respond rather than react to triggers. It's important to notice when the changes begin so that we can help the dog to make a good choice.
Do you apply the same idea to yourself? Do you know when anxiety, lack of confidence or fear begins for you? Often, by the time we notice the feeling we're too far into the process to be in a place of choice. Just like the lunging barking dog, at that point you are managing the situation, not creating new habits that become thinking responses.
I recently worked with a practitioner who had a hard time asking her clients for money. She had been trying to make herself say the amount when the client asked her how much she charged. We found that the anxiety actually started when the phone rang. By the time she was ready to talk about her rates, her nervous system was already in survival mode rather than a confident, thinking mode. This was the place for her to begin shifting her perspective.
4) What do you want instead? Think about when you first begin to feel anxiety or an unwanted feeling. Now remind yourself of what you would like to feel instead. If you would rather feel confident, think about what confidence is like for you. How do you feel in your body? What do you say to yourself? Now imagine that desired state with the addition of your anxiety trigger. It's very hard to feel really confident and anxious at the same time!
Just like deciding what you do want rather than what you don't want from your animal, practicing the feelings of confidence, or maybe something like being capable, will transform that unwanted feeling. With the practitioner above, we practiced this process a couple of times and she was very surprised to notice that when she imagined the phone ringing, she was eager for it to be a client asking about her work and what she charged. In fact, her phone rang just after we hung up from our session and she was disappointed that it was a wrong number!
5) Can you chunk it down? The animals show us that they can learn something very quickly if we break it down into smaller pieces. How often do you do that for yourself? Can you break something down into the smallest step? Often what we think of as the smallest step is way too big.
A recent client was having a hard time writing her case studies, so we talked about the smallest next step. Even just thinking of starting to write caused tension in her body and tightness in her chest. I knew from her quick long exhale that this was too big. But if she thought about simply opening the computer, she laughed and said, "I can do that!" Small steps add up to big accomplishments!
6) Why is this important? It is important to decide why you want to do something because it enables you to build the resources to move forward. What is the motivation? Why bother? Maybe what you are trying to make yourself do isn't really what you want. Trying to motivate yourself to do something you don't want cannot be sustained for very long. Being inspired by something important to you provides it's own fuel and you can really enjoy the process.
We often start a new project full of enthusiasm and good intentions, but then struggle with lack of motivation or slip back into old habits. Maybe we have a hard time even getting started. Either way, take some time to work through these six steps. They will help you hone in on the cause of your blocks and clarify your purpose, enabling you to move confidently towards your goals and dreams.
Learn more about Debby Potts by visiting her website, TheIntegratedHuman.com