Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Getting in the Green Room - The Zen of Surfing and Speaking

I originally decided to call my company Green Room Speakers because of its theater definition:

From Wikipedia:

A green room is a room in a theater, studio, or other public venue for the accommodation of performers or speakers when not required on the stage.

In other words, the green room is a place for performers to prepare before they get on stage.

Yet I recently learned that green room has a second definition.

In surfing, the green room is the inside of a barrel that is produced by a wave. This term was coined due to the color of light reflected into the barrel.

This moment of being inside the barrel of the wave is described as the ultimate zen surfing experience.

The Utne reader just published an article called The Zen of Surfing. The article describes how understanding the wave is the key to enjoying it:

If you understand the wave and how it moves, you don't have to be afraid of it (or at the very least, you can be less afraid). After all, when you break a wave down to its basic nature, it is just cycling energy moving through water. When the conditions are right, when the water is shallow enough, the wave is born.

When I realized this on an experiential level, the waves lost their ability to paralyze me. I began to see through them and enjoy riding them.... And when a beautiful wave comes,... we can catch it, maybe even get inside the hollow tube and see its beautiful emptiness.

This is what it means to be inside the Green Room.

At Green Room Speakers, I help my clients learn now to master their anxiety and get in the zone - the green room - each time they get up to speak. For many speakers, the experience of being in the green room is one of pure connection to the audience.

This is a learned skill and one we can all cultivate.


Anonymous said...

What a serendipitous discovery -- a second green room context that perfectly captures the essence of your mission.
If you're even half as enthusiastic and imaginative on the job as you are in your blog, you must be a very fine coach indeed.

Sarah Gershman said...

Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Who among us has not seen those sports channel videos of surfers in the green room of monstrous waves, and not suffered slivers of jealousy. It's a bit too late for me to be a champion surfer, but the basic idea of yours is wonderful for speaking. Keep it up. Looking forward to more green Zen thoughts.

Sarah Gershman said...

Thank you for reading!