Sunday, June 8, 2014

Delving into Dreams! Another endearing session with Maheshwari Jani...

On the 25th May 2014 we had our fourth Sunday morning session with Ms. Maheshwari Jani, visiting behaviour analyst and neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) master. We explored the fascinating topic of ‘dream realization’ and ‘goal achievement’. In the 2-hour long session attended by both residents and staff, Ms. Jani implemented ‘Neuro-Linguistic Programming’ exercises; to prove that our dreams are much more closer to reality thank we perceive them to be. The power of positive thinking and lucid visualization is immense!  
In active addiction, we shut our eyes to the opulence of the world around us and refused to acknowledge the bountiful wealth of opportunities thrown in our way for our personal growth. We became apathetic and our mentality grew weary and hopeless. We simply did not feel we could escape from the vicious circle of substances and feeling of uselessness. In our drinking and drugging haze we frittered away precious time and resources that we could have put to good use to lift ourselves out of our self-inflicted quagmire. Due to this, we never reached out and embraced these golden opportunities to realise our dreams. We never mustered up courage or discipline to take steps into creating them as real and tangible achievements for ourselves.
…That was all about to change when Maheshwari Ji stepped foot into the ‘asha grah’ hall!
She livened up the drab and dreary Sunday morning atmosphere with her winning

enthusiasm and emphatic personality. To start the session, she asked us “Did we have dreams?” initially there were blank looks plastered across the majority of residents faces as many were a little confused. “Dreams…What dreams? The ones that come at night?” one young member asked his neighbour. She asked us again, this time more fervor and passion, with her signature beaming smile and direct gaze. “Did we have dreams of who we would become in the future? Did we have goals and targets we wanted to achieve?” Yes…Yes we indeed did! Finally the penny dropped for our residents…Today we would explore our ambitions and aspirations.
Maheshwari Ji took no time in setting our eager family members to work. They split into groups of six and discussed their individual concepts of dreams. At first members  were apprehensive to speak, it was clear by the demeanours of many this was a emotional topic to delve into – of course they had hopes, goals and dreams to achieve but substance addiction had brusquely shoved these all aside. After 5-10 minutes the icy atmosphere warmed up and family members cheerfully and conscientiously dived deep into the topic to explore all areas. …The mood significantly became more optimistic and energetic when Maheshwari Ji circulated around all the groups to check how we were doing. She was impressed with our residents’ creativity! Even our staff on duty; Ravi Sir Ji interacted with our keen participants and was moved by their sincerity to openly express their thoughts and feelings. So far the session was proceeding ahead brilliantly!   
Maheshwari Ji then called on one brave member to stand before his fellows and share his dream. She utilized a Neuro-Linguistic programming exercise called “Timeline Stepping”. This exercise sought to project the individual’s dream from a mental image to a physical representation by employing  the use of all five senses in the process. Our member closed his eyes and was told to consider the time it would take before he achieves his goal – “2 years”. Then he had to close his eyes, stand on an imaginary line and root himself firmly in his surroundings. Then he mentally cut the timeline into 5 segments of 4 months. From 24 steps he would walk to his first 4 steps. He had to vividly visualise the scene; what could he see happening around him? Who was he with?
What sounds could be heard? Etc. Basically the aim was to start with the end goal in mind and concentrate on the precise details during the dream-realisation process. It was obvious to see that our resident was passionate about his dream from the elaborate details he expressed. Residents and staff alike commented that there was a definite increase in his confidence to make his dream a reality. Great success!   
Next we would set the cogs whirring in our brains by embarking upon a writing task. Maheshwari Ji then told us we would complete a ‘dream depiction’ exercise using the ‘SMART’ model of thinking.  Residents took pen to paper and considered 4 pertinent goals and dreams they had. These had to be specific (i.e. precise), measurable, approachable, realistic and time-bound. Our participants were instructed to write starting “I AM… [a happily married author etc]” rather than “I WILL BE…[goal].By a mere alteration of the words residents used, they increased their level of certainty that the dream would actually happen. The writing task placed huge importance on creating an actual plan-of-action to use in order to make their mental dream vision a concrete reality. After 15 minutes, several members were chosen to give their feedback to the group. It was clear to see that despite years of addiction, our budding residents still had the real possibility of a shining future ahead of them!    
As the session wound to a close, Ms. Jani left us with a
motivational message: No matter what went wrong in the past, we need to forgive and be patient with ourselves. We only have today to improve on ourselves. We can and will meet with our dreams. Our happiness should be for today. We are physically, mentally and emotionally growing stronger. We are overcoming our self-limiting beliefs…We are one step closer to achieving our dreams.   
 All in all, this session was another resounding success from Ms. Jani’s genius. The clear reality is that if we want to succeed, we cannot afford to just have a vague direction of where we want to go. We need a clear-cut vision of what we want to achieve. We also need to be willing to put in time, effort and dedication otherwise our goals will undoubtedly gather dust. The successful way to embark upon projects is with the end in mind. In addition to this, we should continuously fill our minds with positive self-affirmations. If we do this there are no boundaries to the success we can achieve! 
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