Waiting for the end of the World?


Is it a privilege or a curse to spend the run up to Christmas 2012 wondering whether the Mayans knew something fundamental about the sustainability of life on earth or whether they just got fed up building their equivalent of an Outlook Calendar running on into the future for ever. There’s only so much forward planing you can do after all.

To be honest, in some ways I’d deem it a privilege to be hanging around on this planet at the point it all comes to an end. It isn’t something you see every day and unless you were a dinosaur it’s probably something that nothing else has seen either, although now I come to think about it there have been several great extinctions, so perhaps it’s not that unique anyway. Not that you can be ‘that unique’. Unique is unique. This really is one of those black or white, no shades-of-grey concepts, unlike the politically expedient you’re-either-with-us-or-against-us war cry of the strong to coerce the weak into backing unjust violence but that’s outside the remit of this blog so others can pick up that particular baton and run off with it wherever they wish.

I would like to point out here that I’m not actually looking forward to the end of the world as such. That would be plain daft. I mean I’m a smidgen away from qualifying in Cognitive Hypnotherapy, full of that altogether optimistic outlook for future change and the particular future change I’m looking for is in career and lifestyle rather than a whole new set of blankness and nothing at all, unless you subscribe to some form of reincarnative spirituality. But then you’d have to take into account that your reincarnation experience might be somewhat or somewhere different to what you’d expected as, in that Mayan future, there would be no earth-world to reincarnate into. It would be a cryptozoologist’s paradise other than for the minor problem that you couldn’t reincarnate as a cryptozoologist anyway so I suppose you’d be as stuck for future ideas as the rest of us. I’ll be OK though, if of course my future me is real postulate holds any form of tangible connection to scientific reality.

There are several souls along with me on the Cognitive Hypnotherapy journey who are looking forward to our graduation in January, (Mayan calendar permitting), and we’ll all be there taking turns to stand looking happily embarrassed being photographed with HPD in hand, (note the positive hallucination of successful HPD completion), with stomachs rumbling in anticipation of the evening’s feast. If there’s any legitimate excuse for abligurition, then a new qualification and direction in life surely fits the bill although considering that we’re talking about Ask, perfectly good eatery though it may be, it possibly doesn’t truly fulfil the deeper meaning of the word. We’ll learn our final pre graduation learnings and then, post graduation, sidle off and eat and drink slightly too much and talk nonsense into the late evening.

This really brings me to the point of this post I suppose. What happens after that?

I find myself in mid ponder and goal achievement of what needs to be done if I want to take all this fascination and turn it into a serious income stream enabling me to be useful to a whole host of people I might never otherwise have helped along their way. There’s a lot to do. I’ve bought domain names. There’s a website construction process under way. Even this blog is forming a part of the overall plan as it provides a background presence out in that virtual world we all trawl through when we know we need something but might not be sure exactly what it is. Given my propensity for procrastination, I need to be careful about timing. As far as I can tell all is on course for procrastinative success albeit that Judgers would be having kittens at how much was left still to do and I guess some Perceivers would be wondering how the hell I’d managed to get so much done already but then that’s personality types for you.

This is where age progression comes into its own. What matters in life is where you want to be. Of course if you add a simple by when to the mix you step cleverly into Life or Business coaching because you then simply back track what has to be in place slightly earlier in the process timeline in order to get wherever it is you want to be by the time you want to be wherever it is. And in a true the-growth-is-in-the-journey-not-the-destination style, I’m keeping my end goal options well and truly open. This is going to be an iterative process of learning and development. I’ve acquired a basket full of useful techniques and a good working knowledge of how and when to apply them.

On top of that most of my working life has equipped me with the skills it takes to look beneath the obvious and identify the underlying patterns or issues of which the obvious is just a surface symptom. I’m leaving as much of my potential future to imaginative course correction whilst on the road to success so that I can adapt success’s definition as I uncover the what’s, whys and wherefores of this one direction futurewards, (and if anyone spotted a music reference there, I’m afraid you’re mistaken: it’s simply a media mirage).

One of the core concepts within Cognitive Hypnotherapy is that it is as short a therapy journey as is comfortable for the client’s recovery. There are many therapies which travel a longer road to success and equally many which subscribe to the underlying view that clients never really leave therapy they just evolve into a new therapeutic path. I have to say that the not quite ex Financial Services alter ego of mine can see the long term benefit in that approach but then that benefit would, from a Cognitive Hypnotherapy perspective at least, be more for the therapist than the client. And that just wouldn’t do.

So, how does Cognitive Hypnotherapy achieve this move from therapy to independence so quickly? Well, in part, this is a journey designed to take a client from relying on the therapist providing a therapeutic solution, through to holding their metaphorical hand whilst they try it on their own and finally going out into the world with a sustainable paradigm, looking for the evidence which demonstrates continual improvement. You don’t need to be fully fixed once you learn that you can fix yourself along the way and once you’ve got the hang of it, you carry on improving as you go. Why would I need to be there once you’ve learned you can do it for yourself?

So where does the end of the world fit in to all of this? Well assuming that Declan MacMannus’ lyrics don’t come true to his aim, (double reference there for those in the know), the end-of-the-world metaphor is the experience of your own ending. There’s a technique which is superbly beneficial for cementing your new learnings, a new way of viewing your world. Age progression has a magic which allows you to look at the forest not the trees, to see the route you might have taken to get where you want to be and assuming that all that detail which bogs you down everyday has all been dealt with in a way which got you to your destination. If you remember correctly, this means that you will have grown along the way. The growth is in the journey, not the destination.

If you’ve arrived at where you want to be, you must have grown the way you’d need to have grown to have arrived there at all. Unfortunately  working out where this will be by looking forward into the future from the here and now involves metaphorically negotiating all the trials and tribulations as well overcoming all those little foibles which keep holding you back and which are currently preventing you from looking too far ahead in any case. By taking a leaf out of a cool sales technique my alter ego knew so well, it’s much simpler for people to imagine that they’ve already arrived and to look back at what they may have done in order to get there.

Many young single adults find it difficult to imagine when they will want to have children, if at all, and so on. But if you ask that same individual to imagine they have just retired and it’s their first Christmas family gathering after they’ve stopped work, they’ll quite happily tell you about having all their grandchildren around the Christmas table and how they’d like to have enough income in retirement to be able to spoil them rotten. The point here is they can’t have grandchildren if they didn’t have children in the first place. This overcomes the I-don’t-know-when I want children issue because you can back track the grandchildren to see that they must have a subconscious intention to have had children by the time they are in their thirties. It’s so much easier to look back at the imaginary journey to see how you got where you’d like to be than to imagine going on the journey from where you are now.

So the final gift in the Cognitive Hypnotherapy process, (other good therapies are available  so I’m told), works on exactly this principle. Take a trip out to that time when all is well and, looking back on a long and fruitful life sitting in your favourite rocking chair, consider what and who was truly important, what made you proud, what you really cared about, here at the end of all things, (as that small chap said to that other small chap whilst on location in New Zealand).

I’ve recently experienced this myself with the help of another colleague, (thanks Katy), and frankly it’s brilliant. It gives a long term perspective on those things which truly matter in way that’s hard to get hold of whilst in the grip of the present. It helps you to climb one of those metaphorical trees that obscure the wood and work out whether you’re actually in the right forest at all. And it plonks a great big lighthouse way out there in the future to help guide where you’re going when times get rough and your internal compass fails.

I don’t know precisely what my business will look like in a year from now but I do know what I want it to feel like. I know what’s important. So I’m setting things up in a way which takes me out in that general direction with enough flexibility to allow for those unexpected and unanticipated changes which, slightly ambiguously, I know will happen along the way.

Whilst I’m not exactly waiting for the end of the world, I definitely have much more of an idea as to what I’d want the end of my own world to feel like, at least in the few hours and days before the final curtain falls. It’s kind of comforting to know that what I believe I’d treasure then is what I’m now aiming to gather up along the way.

And if you find yourself at one of those end of the world parties on 21/12/2012, (or 12/21/2012 for those of an over-the-pond persuasion), especially if you wake up instantly disproving the Mayan hypothesis and finding yourself in need of a lighthouse, why not come and see me.

Between us we can build the perfect rocking chair.

* Today’s post included guest words from Kirsty, Helen and Chrissie. Many thanks. If you’d like to suggest guest words for next week’s post, please feel free to comment on my Facebook Page.

New beginnings© Tony Burkinshaw 2102

New beginnings
© Tony Burkinshaw 2102

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