Doctor Neha: Hi, everybody and welcome. I have a special guest, Didier.
Did I pronounce that right? Well, Didier is a coach. I met him at a workshop a few weeks ago in Boston. From the moment I met you, I just knew you were cool and I am going to move forward with you; I don’t know in what capacity we’re going to coach or do a video blog or whatever. So welcome.
Didier: Thank you for that sweet, generous introduction. The feeling is mutual, and I’m happy to just have one small chance to reconnect.
Doctor Neha: Yeah, well you don’t have one small chance. It’s going to be anytime you’d like. So I have a feeling we’re going to do a whole series of these. A conversation we had that I was wondering if you would be open to having here is: you’ve said to me when we first met was that you use your music in your coaching. And one of the questions a lot of people ask me is, “Can I really incorporate what I love and make good money at it? And I say, “You’re never actually going to make the money that you could make if you aren’t doing what you love. So you’ve got to figure out a way to put it together.” I love talking to you about music and how you do that. So will you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you merge your passions? By the way, I’m going to be drinking a little bit of tea here too.
Didier: I’ll be doing the same. Beautiful question. Thank you for that. I come across that question, too, in my work. That’s kind of the most common question that actually comes up in coaching engagements, if not necessarily about music. This question about what kind of alignment between one’s passions, one’s gifts or talents, and what they might perceive to be the needs of the world and what they need. Where is the alignment of all those things? So that question is right on point. That resonates.
Doctor Neha: If you work in an organization, the first question you have to ask yourself, “Are my gifts and skill sets meeting a need of this organization?” And if that’s not true, that’s when emptiness sets in and then burnout starts to happen. Because you’ve disconnected from the spiritual aspect of what matters to you. You’re just doing a job to get a paycheck. And in the end, after awhile there’s no meaning and no sense. But both of us work on our own. So we have a unique situation of being entrepreneurial.
Didier: Right. And we’ve done some work and we’ve received different types of support to also discern that very question of what it is we need. It seems sometimes that without having some support or clarity on that question, it’s difficult to discern the answer when we enter any organization or entity or any partnership or any relationship.
Doctor Neha: So tell me what you mean by that. Give me an example, like a particular example of something you need.
Didier: Yeah. So something I need is space and trust to bring my creative gifts and interests to everything that I do. For example, you asked about music, I don’t bring my prerecorded compositions or all my instruments—drums, bowls, flutes to every client engagement. It’s always available. But that is a discernment based on my perception of the needs of the circumstance, the client, the moment or the horizon. That’s something I need for me to be authentic. I also happen to view my instruments as nothing more than one tool. So if the client and I are having a conversation about self-reliance and the journey of moving from a self-reliant way of monologuing in one’s head to a partnership and dialogue with another, then maybe the drums offer some type of space for us to practice that type trust. That’s a more obvious example in how music could play in as a tool, but another tool could be watercolors. The point that’s been coming to me is to think about music as nothing more than a technology and a tool like any other that I use in my type of work. Does that make sense?
Doctor Neha: Yeah, that makes so much sense. I’m thinking of all the various uses—like when a group is out of sync, how cool it would be to get with a drum or some instrument without speaking and having the group get in rhythm with each other. I’m already seeing how this could work, when you say, “I use it to help two people get into dialogue.” Now my creative side has a couple thoughts. The first one is that sometimes it’s really good to get people out of their logical, linear, analytical thinking in order to come up with creative possibilities. So if we can get them in their body—sometimes I do it through guided imagery or drawing. People get nervous like, “Oh my God, I can’t draw well.” And I always say, “Can you make a mess because I am asking you to make a mess? Can you do that?” And they say, “Yes.” Then I tell them I’m going to say a phrase, and I want you to draw any way that your hand wants to move. Your job is to make a mess. All of a sudden it takes the pressure off.
So let me circle back here. Creative use of what you love—first of all, knowing who you are and what you love yourself. You can blame an organization or a community for not giving you what you want, but if you don’t know what that is, it’s like there’s a bunch of people walking around who don’t know what their passion is or what they love but they’re really mad. Someone else isn’t giving it to them. So know what your passion about; develop your own skillset there; have the courage to trust yourself to bring it into a setting that is different. And three is be open to the response and making a mess because it might work and it might not. But be willing to give it a shot and receive the feedback from the situation to see if it’s working for the client.
Didier: Totally. All those resonate with me. After doing a bit of practice and making messes all over the place, then we start to develop some criteria for how we make choices about when and where we make messes. Part of my journey and in learning about this kind of practicing, coaching, facilitation, and training has involved doing a lot of reactively going along with whatever circumstances bring. In the past, in organizations or jobs I may find myself in, kind of numbing or neglecting my own truth, really it’s a reactive cobbling through life. And that often comes up from the clients that I do with coaching with. I wonder if you’ve seen this too. The work that people can do to build their own capacity for choice making and build their own criteria for “What it is that I want and what it is that I need.” The mess-making seems to be helpful in learning about the choices I want to be making and what my variables and criteria might be.
Doctor Neha: The idea of making a mess is really the idea of allowing ourselves to put something on the page or make a mistake and have grace for ourselves. We won’t take any risks if we aren’t willing to get it wrong. There are areas of my life that I take great risk, and there are areas of my life that I don’t take risks. It’s usually based on my past experience and my ability to trust myself in navigating that space. So in medicine, I have been willing to take great risk. I have been willing to deviate off the path of being a traditional doctor in a hospital, in a white coat, seeing patients. So I’ve now created a creative practice where private clients pay me outside the system. I work with them for a year. I communicate with their doctors and help facilitate getting them off meds, not on them. Now that’s a different kind of doctor, right? Then I also go in and take toxic cultures and turn them into healing organizations. So it’s not just executive coaching, it’s not just team and culture coaching. I address the physiology and the stress that we’re all under and how our inability to communicate makes us physically ill and makes us less able to perform. So I’ve been really creative in those realms. But I’ll tell you in love, I’m not so creative. I’m protected, guarded. I have my own realms where I’ve been hurt so I have an elaborate system of guarding that goes on.
One of the questions that I’d ask anybody watching is: In what arenas of your life do you trust yourself and trust yourself enough to make a mess? Metaphorically and maybe physically? Where are you willing to take risks and in what areas of your life have you figured out from a young age that it wasn’t safe? Maybe that’s part of what stops you in your career and in your world. So your thoughts on that?
Didier: Beautiful. That’s a great question. And to tie in music for a second—practice with music in group settings might make possible—certainly something that I’m super excited to always offering and create space for—is creating a pulse. Everyone in the space can engage with a pulse. They may say I don’t draw it right or I’m not musical or I can’t do music, but I say, “Well, you have a pulse. So how about we start there because that’s actually all that we need? It’s a reminder that we are held in a pulse. So we established a pulse with music, and it’s amazing. You would be able to explain this better than I could. I imagine there’s some type of process happening with that beat that we’re telling our brains I’m safe. I’m safe. With each beat.
Doctor Neha: So let me tell you something about that.
Didier: Yes, break it down please.
Doctor Neha: I gave a talk at TEDx San Luis Obispo called “The Community Cure.” What it’s about is, first of all, we only heal in community. Getting healthy is a team sport. If somebody’s feeling burned out or exhausted, the only way we get rid of shame (this is Brene Brown’s work) is by speaking about it in a trusted space and letting it out. Shame only grows in darkness. The other point is we only reach our full potential in community. Now, I don’t think everyone is the right community. You have to surround yourself with the right community, especially when you’re taking risks, especially when you need trust around you and within you.
So I talk about the physiology of it. Why is it that, as a doctor, I can put the leads of an EKG on the top of your skin and get a reading of the heart inside of it? It’s because the electrical rhythm of your heart is emanating out. Actually, the rhythm is emanating out vibrationally. We’ve only been able to measure it about three feet of a radius around us. So when you’re with people, within about 10 minutes, you can either feel like you don’t like something or you don’t like the energy here or you don’t like the way you feel or you want someone to back up because they’re in your space—that is often that our hearts didn’t go into rhythm together. And when you’re close to people, your hearts start to beat in rhythm not necessarily at exactly the same pace, but in a frequency in rhythm together. So the entity studying all of this is called Heart Math. It’s a thing.
Didier: That’s awesome. It seems that in the realm of sound and music, we often describe that as entrainment.
Doctor Neha: Exactly. You feel it. You feel when you’re in the flow with yourself; you feel it when you’re in the flow with everybody else. So Didier, thank you so much for bringing your passion, your talents, your gifts, and incorporating them in what you do to make it possible to heal you, serve others, and impact the world in a more aligned and creative way.
Didier: Thank you. You called it me, you, we.
Doctor Neha: Heal me (meaning heal yourself). The music must heal you totally. While it serves we, so now collectively others can feel that as well and get the benefit of tapping into something, the pulse or the rhythm. They get to feel it in their body as you then align and impact the world in a way that is more unifying and beautiful.
Didier: Yes. That’s what we’re here for. And so thank you. Thank you for that mirroring. Thank you for creating this space to amplify and proliferate all this work, and I’m grateful for you.
Doctor Neha: Thank you so much. It’s been a pleasure. So see you later.