Monthly Archives: July 2015

How are you going through life?

I heard someone talking on the TV this morning. They had been married to a man who was an outspoken atheist and was killed by religious extremists – she herself had been severely attacked at the same time. The interviewer asked her how she coped now. She relayed something her husband said to her – ‘when I’m travelling along in my little sail boat and the waters seem to big or to dark, I look up and I find you, ready to pull me along’. I just stay who I am, solid, and keep going.

As a hypnotherapist I’m very interested in peoples metaphors. It has been said that our metaphors are actually a direct line to our subconscious. The words we choose, the way that we express ourselves, often has little to do with a deliberate thought – we just say what we feel. When that expression comes in the way of a metaphor it can be very revealing.

So I ask the question – How are you going through life?

Are you the centre of your own universe?

Are you travelling through an environment? If so what is that environment like? Is it scary or friendly? Is it free or constrained?

Are you on the ground or on water or in the air?

Are you in charge of your journey?

Have you got things or people with you?

If you are stuck – how can you become free?

If you are let loose – how can you take a step in the right direction?

What is around you?

How does this relate to other things?

Is there anything else that you notice about your metaphor?

What does it mean to you?

It doesn’t just work with your journey through life. You can use this metaphor process for anything. Maybe you want to think about the blog you are writing, the relationship you are in, your work life or business…what ever you want to think about.

It’s worth thinking about this for yourself, but it’s even better to talk about these things with someone else to see what their perspective may be on it…maybe a friend, maybe a therapist….that’s up to you.

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The process of learning – going from I can’t to I can

So, I’m trying to learn a new skill.

Have you ever seen the film Labyrinth with David Bowie?

Did you see the bit where the crystal balls are moved around as though they were made of air and free from gravity?

Well that’s what I’m trying to learn to do.

It’s really hard.

But then almost everything is when you can’t do it – it only becomes easy, or relatively easy, when you can do it.

So that’s what I’m trying to do – go from I can’t to I can.

Now, I know that this process may take months.

I may lose my desire to achieve it before I ever master it.

I may decide that’s it’s just too difficult for me (I don’t have the best hand eye coordination).

I may get bored or super frustrated with my inability.

But then again – maybe I won’t.

Right now I can’t do it – I can barely balance the ball on the back of my hand.

Soon I will get better at that. Then I can move onto the next step.

Lots of little steps to get good at…then one day I will be able to do it.

I’ll have gone from I can’t to I can.

Next time you tell yourself you can’t do something ask yourself some questions…

…What to I need to do in order to be able to do it?

What steps must I learn along the way?

Is there some resource I could use to help me?

What support could I have?

If you get these things right there is almost nothing that you can’t do …. eventually.

Here’s a taster of what I’m working towards…

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What’s in a name?

What do you call yourself?

If you had to name yourself today what would it be?

What would it say about you?

What do you want to project to the world and what do you want to keep hidden?

What defines you?

What is ‘you’?

The same question can be asked when your naming anything – a child, a pet, a business or even a blog.

In T.S. Elliots poems of the Possums book of practical cats there is a poem called the naming of cats. In this poem he looks at the 3 different names all cats have…

The Naming of Cats is a difficult matter,
It isn’t just one of your holiday games;
You may think at first I’m as mad as a hatter
When I tell you, a cat must have THREE DIFFERENT NAMES.
First of all, there’s the name that the family use daily,
Such as Peter, Augustus, Alonzo or James,
Such as Victor or Jonathan, George or Bill Bailey–
All of them sensible everyday names.
There are fancier names if you think they sound sweeter,
Some for the gentlemen, some for the dames:
Such as Plato, Admetus, Electra, Demeter–
But all of them sensible everyday names.
But I tell you, a cat needs a name that’s particular,
A name that’s peculiar, and more dignified,
Else how can he keep up his tail perpendicular,
Or spread out his whiskers, or cherish his pride?
Of names of this kind, I can give you a quorum,
Such as Munkustrap, Quaxo, or Coricopat,
Such as Bombalurina, or else Jellylorum-
Names that never belong to more than one cat.
But above and beyond there’s still one name left over,
And that is the name that you never will guess;
The name that no human research can discover–
But THE CAT HIMSELF KNOWS, and will never confess.
When you notice a cat in profound meditation,
The reason, I tell you, is always the same:
His mind is engaged in a rapt contemplation
Of the thought, of the thought, of the thought of his name:
His ineffable effable
Effanineffable
Deep and inscrutable singular Name.

Another wonderful example of naming comes from Doctor Who. In one episode the Doctor talks to a baby. The parents have named the child Alfie Owens, but the Doctor tells the parents that the child prefers to go by the name Stormaggedon, Dark Lord of all. He calls his mother ‘Mum’, hid father ‘not Mum’ and the doctor ‘also not Mum’.

So what might your name be?

I think I’ll go with Sue Imagineerer ….. as for my last name – well, that would be telling.

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Summer time and the living is easy

In the northern hemisphere we are now well into summer and it is glorious.

I’m not particularly a summer person – I don’t like to be too hot, I’m not a big fan of sunbathing, I can live without ever going near a bikini – but it’s still glorious.

So what is it about summer that makes us feel so good?

Well, obviously a large part of it is the sun. Longer days means more hours of daylight. Our bodies naturally respond better with more light as it makes us feel more alert and energised. We feel that we have more time to enjoy ourselves and do things. Also, because the weather is warmer, we can do more outdoor activities which means that we feel less cooped up and closer to our environment. There’s an old saying that you should spend at least 20 minutes a day in nature – unless you’re busy – then you should spend an hour! Being outside without the distraction of TV’s and computers gives your brain a chance to rest and recharge, which in turn helps you to be more present and happy.

Try taking some time to look at what’s around you – in detail. I know the old cliché of taking time to smell the roses, but seriously take the time to smell them, to look at them, each petal, each leaf, the construction of the stem, the shape of the prickles…think about the ecosystem it lives in and what lives on it….see where that takes you. This is all part of being mindfull – being in the moment. It is becoming increasingly significant as a form of therapy and self help as research evidences more and more the beneficial outcomes of this kind of thought process. It reduces stress, anxiety and helps to prevent relapses in depressive episodes. All of these help to increase mental health which in turn promotes physical health. It really is worth taking the time to smell the roses!

On the same theme, another thing that summer tends to provide us with, is holiday. Most people will take at least a portion of their holiday during the summer. Unlike other times of the year like Christmas, where the ‘break’ actually comes with a lot of other pressures and work, the summer holiday tends to be a time to relax and have a rest. If you are taking a holiday this year, make the most of it by ditching as much technology as you dare. At the very least avoid calls and emails from work. By staying in contact you aren’t letting your mind and body get the full benefits from being away. Your subconscious doesn’t know that the office is 2000 miles away. If you’re thinking about it, you may as well be in it!

I’m a big believer in ‘you are what you eat’ so another advantage of summer is the abundance of great seasonal fruits and vegetables. Salads are an amazing way of giving your bodies a variety of nutrients without too many calories. If you want to stay healthy (and younger looking) make sure that you eat the rainbow. Certain Buddhist traditions say that you should have at least 5 different colours in every meal – I love that idea. Not only does it promote variety in what you are eating, but it also means that you have a beautiful tasty meal to look forward to.

Enjoy your summer – whether it’s short or long. Eat well, take time to be and get some (but not too much) sun while you can.

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Do your best

Have you ever done your best?

Have you ever tried as hard as you possibly can?

Have you done all of the preparation work that you possibly could?

Have you trained as hard as you could have?

Have you reread and rewritten your work enough?

Have you been focussed enough?

Have you tried every possible way to get it done?

Have you sought professional help or expertise?

Have you eliminated distractions?

Have you avoided all temptation?

Have you given it everything you’ve got?

Chances are that the answer is a big fat NO.

That’s OK.

(almost everyone else will say no to that too)

Stop beating yourself up. Accept that your not perfect and be a little nicer to yourself

There are, of course, exceptions – maybe you’re one of them – and if you are – Well Done.

I’m very impressed and all that but seriously – get a life!

Smile, relax, have fun, eat a cake, daydream, watch silly TV, make up stories in your head – it’s all really cool stuff 🙂

So maybe do your best, but then again, maybe don’t.

Try to be happy…

…but don’t try too hard!

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