In the performance world, the dress rehearsal is close at it gets to opening night. The many hours of preparation and planning, practicing lines and going over scripts have paid off. The hard work and consistency have formed into a special experience for the star, stage hands and those witnessing as well. In getting ready for this final curtain call, an actor does not rehearse lines they don't want to say or practice scenes that don't belong in the script.
Like actors in a play, we become what we repeatedly do. Thinking about what I don't want, gearing up for what I hope won't happen and imagining disasters is a way of dress rehearsing pain. This not only robs me of the joy in right now, it also turns my plot full of victories and adventures into one of pitfalls and tragedy. If what we think about creates our reality, thinking about what's working will bring more of the same. When the pesky fear, worry, remembering of how things went wrong before, or playing small enter the picture, how do you flip the script? How do you dress rehearse victory rather than tragedy?
Someone just told me about learning to ride a motorcycle, the philosophy is the same here. Look where you want to go. If you look at the one ditch in the road, you'll end up there. If you acknowledge it is there and focus on the road ahead, you'll steer clear and get where you want to go. Simple enough, right? Then why do accidents happen? Why does anybody end up in the ditch? Why do dress rehearsals become nightmarish when the script is lined with success and satisfaction?
Fear. Simply stated. Fear of getting hurt, making a mistake, being judged, missing out, being rejected, the list goes on and on. Right? The "what ifs" can have a hook, I know and there is another way. Moving from tragedy (fear) to victory (faith) can begin now.
How are you living? What are you consistently thinking? Have you been dress rehearsing tragedy? Here are a few tips to shift that tragedy into a victory, pronto.
1. Asking "what do I want to experience?" paves the way for a worthwhile performance in anything I am doing. There is a place for acknowledging what I don't want, namely that is guides to find out what is desired. Staying in the "I don't want" breeds more of the same so use this practice sparingly as a jumping off point into visioning.
2. Play with the imagination and explore the big dreams. Really go for it here. Make lists, take photographs, grab some paint, make a collage, look to the people who inspire and take note of what it is that is appealing about their life. Draw from every area for inspiration, motivation, and joyful reminders. What were the childhood visions and musings?
3. Get clear on the vision and imagine the details: thoughts, feelings, relationships, work environment, etc. What stands out as the main points from step 2? Identify what really inspires and elaborate on this. Expand on what feels good, inspiring, playful, motivating, fulfilling and see where it leads.
4. Make choices that bring about these good feelings often. Why wait until "opening night?"
What are you dress rehearsing now? How I know I am reading from the right script is that I feel a baseline of contentment, am making choices that feed the spirit, soul, body and mind in healthy ways. As I let joyous details fill my life inside and out, I am living a victory. And who doesn't want to witness that?!
"Many people seem to live their lives as if this were a dress rehearsal. This is not a dress rehearsal. This is the real thing. The curtain is up and all the stops are out. You are alive. Start living!" These words from an unknown philosopher serve as a reminder to begin now.
It's your turn so have at it: Write the lines, rewrite, edit as you go, roll with the plot twists and step in. Dress rehearsal or not, I say choose victory.
...and from the audience come the cheers, can you hear them?
Darcy Helene Meehan
As an advocate of Reinvention + Recovery, I work with clients to achieve balance, alignment and purpose in all areas