The Death of NLP
By Pam Castillo – Clarity Institute, Los Angeles
The use of language and the application of NLP™ in the context of health and wellness has been something that’s fascinated me ever since my first NLP™ training back in 1999. And over the last 16 years of my private NLP practice and in my years of facilitating NLP™ certification trainings as an NLP Trainer, I have used NLP™ to help myself change both diagnosed and undiagnosed health conditions. I have also helped and taught others to use the tools of NLP™ for greater wellness, including training nurses, doctors, hospital technicians, acupuncturists, massage therapist’s, caregivers, mothers and fathers of ill children, and individuals both healthy and unwell to optimize their wellness with NLP, spread it to others, and support continued wellness with optimal language, thoughts, and actions congruently. I always deeply appreciated having this knowledge from my training with Dr. Bandler and The Society of NLP™… just never more than on February 4th of this year.
Just 23 days prior, I had celebrated with my uncle Elmer his 90th birthday. Uncle Elmer was more like a father to me, having helped raise me until I was 10 and he always played an integral part of my life. On February 3rd, I got a call at 3 AM that uncle Elmer was in the emergency room. My beloved uncle was in the process of passing from his physical body to continue his soul’s journey. I was privileged to stay with him and as I could see the effects of the physical distress he was in, I began to talk to him and I realized at that moment how very valuable my NLP™ skills were at this deeply, deeply personal level. I was both consciously aware of this value and in a continuous unconscious process of using it. Pacing and leading my uncle’s shaking body in the ER with my gentle touch, my soothing tonality of positive embedded commands, with steadfast confidence, absolute emotional control to be of service with love, over my own feelings (which was nearly effortless) made a real difference in both our lives. My NLP was unequivocally one of most comforting things to me to help my uncle. Over the next 42 hours, now in a private room, I sat with my uncle and ushered anyone away that had less than optimal language, and was reminded by listening to the many hospital staffers just how much work we NLPers still have to do to educate health care professionals how to best serve those in their care with language, beliefs, etc. I was careful to use well crafted language to neither urge my uncle to pass nor create any self-serving pressure for him to stay. Again, this was effortless for me in a time when one might think it understandable to forget all good sense of NLP™ and be an emotional mess. I knew that my continued training, my models of NLP, my years of practice, and my use of NLP for myself everyday, made these hours like a well practiced dance for me to help my uncle with my own personal grace, love, and skill in the most optimal ways possible for him. Along with his medical team, he was kept comfortable on his journey. I had no prior experience watching someone die or watching someone take their last breath, much less this man who meant so much to me. I heard someone in the next room saying to a relative “don’t be afraid” and I smiled inside, knowing I knew better, I knew NOT to use language that gets the wrong results. And again, it was effortless. The last thing to say to a dying person is “don’t be afraid!” Difficult and challenging situations are the times we are tested in general and specifically in terms of using our own NLP™ skills. Like the soldiers who train and practice their drills, train some more, and practice for endless hours for the moment their skill is needed most, that’s how I felt.
In the final hours of my uncle’s life when I sensed some distress from him, I sat on his bed and I read him well chosen NLP style metaphors right off my iPhone. I chose metaphors about courage, curiosity, and about peaceful states of being that allowed his other-than-conscious mind the freedom to use these metaphors in the ways that was most useful to him. It was about uncle Elmer, n0t me. Again, I was grateful to my skill and practice that I knew good metaphors that allowed his freedom to choose rather than sloppy metaphors with more specific agendas. My years of loving the many forms of ambiguities and practicing them again made helping my uncle effortless when I needed these ambiguities most. And the personal conversations I was able to have with my uncle despite his unconscious state, while holding his hand sitting at his side were NOT overcome with out of control, dramatic, self serving crying, or hysteria making for indiscernible speech. I knew I could be heard. My hours of talks with my uncle were lightly tearful and allowed me say the important things that I wanted to say to my uncle. It is most comforting now, to know that everything I wanted to say was said with love, joyfully. I held that state that was best for my uncle. With all the comfort possible, he seemed confident with my peaceful presence and nothing left unsaid, my uncle peacefully took leave of his physical body to continue his soul’s journey. Having been totally physically and emotionally available to my uncle at the time he needed me most was a blessing to me in that now, looking back, I see I had received many gifts in the way of life lessons and resources. Those lessons continue to come, build, and grow as a result of this experience. I see that it was not only possible, but a blessing beyond what I could have imagined to take enough control of my emotions to calibrate the needs of my uncle and provide them for him while taking enough gentle care of myself. Even at the time, I honored and acknowledged my feelings of grief, sadness, and loss and knew there was plenty of time to process them in the near future. Staying focused on the moment and taking all that was available to learn from this experience was the biggest gift of all and this was only possible with NLP. I am a different person and a better person. I’m processing my feelings of sadness and loss now, and consider tears and a lump in my throat as normal. When these feelings happen, I honor them and I’m able to associate into the gifts of the experience rather quickly and, again, effortlessly. Practice, practice, practice of running my own neurology had truly become a conscious awareness of an unconscious process. This experience revealed that to me in a new way.
In the days after the burial service, I remain surprised by how comforted I am by how much I know I was able to be of real service to my uncle during those fateful 42 hours and I have never been more grateful for my exquisite NLP™ training. I remain amazed at how much learning at the unconscious level during trainings and only made possible combined with the necessary practice, practice, practice after training allows for doing just about anything as happily as possible, with as much grace as desired, and to become as adaptable as one can become to keep moving forward, having more resources to do more things happily.
Rest in peace Unkie.
Dedicated to Elmer Beckman 1925-2015
Pam Castillo lives in Los Angeles where she maintains a private NLP™ Practice at Clarity Institute specializing in personal development issues, health & wellness and lasting loving relationships.
Clarity Institute offers NLP™ Certification Trainings, Workshops, and NLP Skill Builder Play Days. www.NLPClarity.com