A Life of Learning and Teaching NLP: The Student Experience
by Carla Camou
Written in 2007
“Once you know you have choice, your life is changed. Love becomes possible in all the ways we hope for all our lives. This is a miracle.” - Carla Camou
I’ve watched it happen so many times now, and every time, for every individual, I feel like I’m watching a miracle happen. On the first day, the students come in, curious, apprehensive, skeptical, hopeful and many times eager to learn. They seem so different from each other; I wonder how they will ever form any kind of a group. I know they will. It always happens, and that’s not really what amazes me.
In life, there are things that we are taught, facts, information, and data. We can learn them by listening, reading or seeing them. It is the things that happen between the facts that are the things truly worth learning.
So, the students are given information, put in exercises to try out what they have learned, to practice with each other. They get some of it right, a lot of it is awkward, uncomfortable, unfamiliar. We encourage them to persist, and they do. At the end of the weekend, they go home.
A few weeks later, they come back for the next installment. Now, after practicing and meeting in smaller groups, they arrive filled with stories to share, filled with a wonder about the way their life has intersected with NLP. This time, they want to talk, to ask questions to be together with others that have been integrating these new thoughts. It’s only been three weeks since they were total strangers, and already they are a group.
Over the next year or so, as they continue to learn together, a few dropout, and a few new ones arrive. Somewhere in all of this, each one, in their own time comes to realize what it is we are really teaching. It’s not as simple as a fact. It is a felt experience, felt down to the core of their being. It is a knowing that all that they are is perfectly fine, and changeable. This knowing comes over time; comes from hard work, from facing fears and learning to laugh at how amazingly silly we can be when we are afraid. It comes when we know, truly know, that we have done nothing in this world from a place other than love. That all the pain we have endured has been in the name of love.
These one-time strangers learn to see each other as the unique expressions of love and life that we all are. They are not giving these concepts “lip service” they are living this for each other. When they work with each other, they are curious rather than judgmental, and hopeful rather than cynical.
Then there is the most difficult hurdle they must clear. They must see themselves as they see each other, as perfectly ok and at choice. Each student has their own timing on clearing this hurdle. Everyone has their own style. And, it is not a one-time event. It is, for many of us, a daily hurdle, but, once cleared, we know we can do it again.
When I am witness to as a student clears the hurdle, I am honored. It is a moment of celebration for all humans, when one learns that they, that all of us, are simply expressions of love. This is not something I can tell them. It is not something any of us can be told. Life is full of opportunities for us to realize this, and we are stubborn in our attachment to our pain (and that too is a futile expression of love). Sometimes, it is important that we learn through others.
NLP offers a unique way to learn this. It is the study of the structure of human experience. As students learn to study exactly how the experience of others is structured, they can see that love motivates all that we do. Humans do not create in order to make pain, they create to alleviate pain, for themselves and for others. What creates the pain most often is our lack of a full understanding. With NLP a person can gain a fuller understanding, and with that they have the choice to re-create their experience.
When a student really gets that they can re-create their experience, they are on their way to mastery. This is a moment of true freedom. Once you know you have choice, your life is changed. Love becomes possible in all the ways we hope for all our lives. This is a miracle.