My brother and competition

While doing a BrainTap session yesterday, Dr. Patrick Porter led me through a meditation to free up mental space. I was doing this to improve my memory capabilities, but ended up getting way more out of it than that! Here’s the NLP exercise he led me through:

  1. Think of the first positive memory you can consciously connect to.
    For me, I remembered my brother (who’s just a year younger than me) and myself sitting on the living room floor playing together.
  2. Add lots of color to the picture, making it active and bright.
  3. Add background music like a movie would.
  4. Enjoy your little movie for a moment.
  5. Bring that positive, happy moment in life forward to today.
  6. If you have any negative memories pop up along the way, take a black and white snapshot of the memory and place it behind you in your museum or library of experiences and refocus on the positive memory again.

This exercise allows you to keep your negative experiences where you need them (for conscious reference and learning), rather than being run by them subconsciously. It frees up your mind to move forward in a positive way.
This was my first time using this exercise, and I found it helpful. First of all, I felt incredible love for my brother. He recently moved to Pennsylvania and I no longer see him in person, but we share a special bond that this exercise brought back to my remembrance. As I pondered the experience of sitting on the floor playing with him, I also noticed how comfortable and non-threatening competition was at that age. We invented little games and races, played board and card games, just having fun challenging each other. Somewhere in life, I lost that. Today, I almost despise competition. What happened?
Now that I had witnessed a positive memory of competition, I asked myself what my first negative memory of competition was. I remembered an experience in 7th grade.

I was first chair clarinet in band and had been invited by my teacher to go to a district wide honor band. The best middle school musicians, including 8th graders, came together to audition for a seat in this weekend long band. This being the first time I had ever done this, and most others there being 8th graders, I was terrified as I entered the audition room. The auditioner seemed gruff and cold. I was asked to play some scales and perform sight reading, all of which I was normally good at. But my fingers were shaking and my breath was shallow from nerves. I didn’t do well at all. But I comforted myself that at least it was over. I didn’t anticipate the feeling of humiliation that would flood over me as they announced the seats and I was dead last. I had never experienced humiliation before. I had always excelled at school and music and did fine in sports. When my parents and grandparents showed up for the concert that night, I burst into tears, telling them that I was last chair. They did their best to comfort me, which helped some. Grammy said, “You know, when you’re at the bottom, there’s nowhere to go but up.” That stuck with me, but I made sure from then on that I would never be at the bottom again.

This small trauma in my life robbed me of the joy of competition. From then on, life was serious. I had to practice, prepare, and work harder than others to keep myself from “failing.” Now, as an adult who’s trying to raise happy, healthy, conscious children, I’ve naturally worked through some of that in order to counsel and advise them when it comes to competition. I think our culture has missed the truth about competition as well. But I also realize my gut reaction whenever there’s competition in an area I don’t feel good at. I rarely engage. I withdraw. Such protective mechanisms (that limit the humiliation, but also limit the joy)! But I think that with that positive experience with my brother anchored in mind now, I can retrain myself to look at competition in a healthy way.
The truth is that there is no bottom and there is no top, only progression. There is no failure, only experience. Time to do a LifeLine session on myself.