2015: The journey begins with 100 words (or more)

100 Words

Almost without realising it I’ve begun the process. Habits come and go. Best intentions disappear and we move on.

The trick apparently is to find those smaller differences, you know, the ones that make all the difference. Choose them well.

Align them with your key character strengths and you end up feeding that part of you that yearns for flow. I can feel echoes of that future me who’s already found himself there, feeding those feelings back to me sitting here now trying to touch type.

I’m using one of those Stickies on my desktop. Usually they’re yellow but this one’s green. It seemed to be important at the time.

I have 5 new habits written on it in bold.

4 are ticked.

I’m just about to tick the fifth.

Day 1 done.

Fractal Tree? © Tony Burkinshaw 2012

Fractal Tree?
© Tony Burkinshaw 2012

The journey has begun.

2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,500 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 42 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Origami Space Travel

If you’ve just read Chaos Kindness & Satchmo, you’ll know why you’re here.

If not, take a look back. Context is everything… Jump Back

In keeping with our lyrical back-referencing, take ‘Fly me to the Moon’.

So if we were going to take up this challenge, how far is the Moon? Well for a start it’s not a constant distance. The average is 384,400 kilometers but it ranges from 363,104 km to 405,696 km and is actually drifting away from us at a rate 3.8 cm a year. [Now here’s a curious fact. In order to find this out, the drifting that is, we’ve known how far away the moon is since 200 BC, they fitted some tiny reflectors on the Moon’s surface and bounce laser-light off them. Guess how big the reflectors are? 3.8 cm. Coincidence? I think not…]

Anyway, lunar drifting aside, why are we looking at this? Well, you know that flimsy cheap and nasty printer paper you sometimes buy? The one that’s about 75 gsm and only just thick enough to use without ripping? It’s flimsy because it’s only a tenth of a millimeter thick.

Imagine a sheet of this paper so long that you could just keep folding it in half and then over in half again, for as many times as you wanted to. How many times would you need to fold it in half for it to become as thick as the distance from the earth to the Moon? A million? A billion? No.

42.

Honestly. Check it. (See below *)

It turns out that not only is 42 the answer to the ultimate question and all that Hitchhikers Guide malarkey, it’s how close the Moon is. The Moon is only 42 folds of thin paper away. That’s the power of doubling. Double it. Double it again.

Doubling 42 times turns a tenth of a millimeter into space travel.

Origami Space Travel:

  • 75 gsm paper is a tenth of a millimeter thick.
  • A tenth of a millimeter is 0.1mm = 0.01 cm = 0.0001 m = 0.0000001 km
  • The Moon is 409,696km from earth at it’s furthest away.

Folding Instructions:

  • Fold the paper in half. It is now 0.0000002 km thick
  • …and again = 0.0000004 km; …again = 0.0000008 km and so on
  • Try it on your calculator. It’s easier than real paper.
  • Type in 0.0000001 x 2 and press equals. Then press x 2 and equals again. Each time it calculates the thickness after one more fold. Do this 42 times.
  • You end up at 439,804.65 kilometers.
  • Further than the Moon.

Origami Space Travel.

hypnotherapy

At the end of your tether
© Tony Burkinshaw 2014

 

Kindness, Chaos & Satchmo

This could be good. Not only will you get the eponymous mash up triple bill, you’ll be thrown into the phenomenon of Origami Space Travel. Intrigued? Read on…

As you know, I write the random Acts of Kindness column for Perception, the Cognitive Hypnotherapy ezine and this particular missive was fun. I trust you’ll enjoy the ride.

Let’s kick off with a cliché.

When you’re smiling, the whole world smiles with you.

Clichés have cropped up more than once in this section and for good reason. Clichés become clichés because they’re phrases that somehow repeatedly best capture the moment and it’s rather pleasing to find out just how much this seems to be true out there in the land of reciprocating kindnesses and ever widening smiles.

This particular cliché comes from the classic song, ‘When You’re Smiling, (The Whole World Smiles With You)’. Apparently we have that renowned trio of songwriters Clay, Fisher & Goodwin to thank for penning this great piece of musicality. Of course without Louis Armstrong’s unique voice making it famous we may never have heard of it. He even managed to keep in line with our cliché theme because it was so good he did it twice. But then of course, as all Armstrong fans will know he went and recorded it again in 1959, so actually it was so good he did it thrice.

Whatever the case, this started me thinking and lead my tangential creativity to wander, (and it’s good to wonder, as all you Cog-Hyppies know). Just to make sure that this was absolutely going to happen, Editor Tina checked in and nudged me in the direction of Butterfly Effects and Chaos Theory.

So here we go: Chaos, Kindness and Satchmo. I did warn you…”

 

You can read the full article on page 14 of the following link: Perception ezine

Just in case you’re interested, you can jump straight to Origami Space Travel here: Click to Jump!

hypnotherapy mp3

Calmly chaotic
© Tony Burkinshaw 2014

Tasting the future?

I think there may be a need to re-assert some control. The last time I had a full week off, an entire week with no work, was September last year. I checked. That surprised me.

Now don’t get me wrong, several of the intervening weeks were by no means full and there have been plenty of days which have been entirely empty; some planned, some not. But I think the point is that if I am living and earning the way that I do in order to reap the rewards of partial working, then perhaps my work-life balance isn’t.

There’s too much randomness in the sections that ought to provide that balance and now that there are more consistencies in the success that’s bringing home the bacon, perhaps there needs to be a more deliberate part of my life which isn’t out there constantly hunting slices of cured ungulate, metaphorically speaking.

Perhaps my mind is wandering over these issues because today is the end of my third year of running my life as a business, encompassing therapy, learning and training. Another vaguely inspiring thought is that this phase represents 10% of my entire working life. That surprised me too. In a good way.

I’m also about to add Mind Coaching  to my skill set and I’m looking forward to it immensely. It should help to embed the three disciplines I currently embrace and weld them together into a more or less cohesive whole. Onwards and ever upwards, perhaps.

I find myself looking for a counterbalance and so am currently embracing more mindfulness in my daily routines. It appears to be paying off, although I’m still too close to it to be able to properly articulate how. Suffice it to say that sleep (which was generally good, though occasionally disturbed at peak workflow) is now a calmer and smoother pastime. I’m also more able to insert myself in that tiny sliver of time that exists between stimulus and response. Life is becoming a smoother and calmer pastime too. Mostly this was successfully addressed as part of my transition from full time financial services professional to my part time therapeutic self. Somehow though, I lost the focus on the slice of time which is the only bit that’s real. The Here and the Now. (Notice how I deftly avoided having to mention the FatBoy again)

So here I am.

Given that I intend to go and collect some Elder Flowers to convert into wine for later this year, I may just have to pause and leave you to ponder on what might be around the corner. I feel that there are some perspectives about to shift. The paradigms will just have to take their chances.

Time, subject of many such chance or deliberate distortion, is finding that I’ve become less its slave and more its coach, so there’s always the possibility of more being done in less which is helpful if you’re trying to get the balance restored. On the subject of more to do, the website is up for a revamp over the next few months and I may even have to review the how and the why of downloads. They are still being bought but I can’t help wondering how to encourage more people to use them. Those that do, really seem to find benefit. I just haven’t found the way to expand. Yet.

Technology could well have more of a part to play and I definitely get the feeling that Skype and Facetime have more ability to expand the quest for well-being than they are letting on to me at present.

Anyway, whether these changes that may or may not happen actually do or don’t, there’s an important job to be done the end result of which means that there’s a future me out there toasting your health and well-being with an aromatic semi-sweet swirling around a glass. It might or might not be Christmas. The vagaries of sugar and yeast lend an imprecise end to my alcohol based venture but time dictates that the start is pretty imminent, especially due to the inclement weather. So, being ever more mindful, it’s time to begin.

And there’s no time like the present.

 

An Alternative View © Tony Burkinshaw 2014

An Alternative View
© Tony Burkinshaw 2014

 

Banging the Paper Drum

Every now and then, you feel a sense of pride and wonder.

My daughter, Rachael, has just released her first EP ‘Paper Drum’. I know I’m biased but it is pretty damn good.

I don’t usually use this blog to promote music but there’s a nepotistic streak in us all, so I know you’ll forgive me; especially once you’ve listened. I’d love to know what you think of it & so would she.

Check out her promotional video below

The EP is available on iTunes or to stream on Spotify.

…I can’t stop smiling…

Musical Links

Click here to watch the promotional video: Devil Shoes Live

Click here to listen to Paper Drum on Spotify

Paper Drum © Vinum

Paper Drum
© Vinum 2014

Embracing the word of work?

If absence makes the heart grow fonder, then this is destined to become my most popular post, although there’s always the possibility that you’ve moved on because I’ve not been around for some considerable time and it is time, as the saying has it, which will tell.

Oh and trust me with the title. I know what I mean. Read on.

As with most events there have been reasons, some of them good, some of them not so good. It boils down to this: I got busy. Far busier than I had anticipated, so that by the time I thought about laying my next diatribe out in front of you, it was too late in the day. Habit took over from habit and I lost momentum.

Apologies, one and all.

On the other hand… I have been much busier than I had anticipated! Things seem to have come together this year so that I now find myself having to set aside time when I don’t work, rather than being content to let work happen in its own time. It’s lead to some interesting revelations.

One my initial tenets when I opted to accept redundancy and forge my own path was not to work for a living, rather I would do certain things with my life, some of which gave financial reward, others which gave other rewards. This was fine whilst I was under utilised. The problems came with increasing numbers of clients seeking therapy. I found that I was no longer getting time to rebalance. Whilst I’ve been reasonably skilful in keeping myself separated from clients’ concerns, I have nevertheless discovered that old joy (not) of an overactive nighttime mind.

In the past this familiar beast has been active in times of stress and anxiety, one of those work-related side-effects I had hoped to put firmly behind me with my new way of relating to the provision of income. I absolutely was not expecting insomnia to turn up when I was neither stressed nor anxious.

But turn up it did.

Over the last few weeks, I have been increasingly prone to waking up with my mind buzzing quietly over inconsequential nonsenses. I know well enough what the stresses and strains of employed sales management can bring and this wasn’t it. This was a new-fond version of lying-awakeness and I found myself at a bit of a loss.

It is especially odd and slightly galling because I’ve been successfully helping a number of individuals overcome their own insomnias whilst gradually succumbing to my own. Weird and confusing? It is to my befuddled senses, which even managed to consider for a short period whether I was becoming successful in this particular therapy by transferring the clients’ various insomnias into my own head and living it for them.

There seems to be a mismatch somewhere. An imbalance.

And then a thought occurred. I have many a client who want to achieve a particular goal but keep sabotaging themselves. Oftentimes with this there are underlying stresses and anxieties, patterns of behaviour learned long ago and thrown up on auto-pilot by the ever watchful unconscious mind. Standard therapy fare. Familiar territory.

Occasionally, though, this is not the case.

Occasionally, there is minimal stress or anxiety. Behaviour patterns are under conscious control. No comfort eating, no outburst of anger or embarrassment, no demons shouting to be heard over the metaphorical chocolate and slices of toast. Just behaviour which the client would like to guide elsewhere. There is,  as far as you can tell, nothing preventing the habit from breaking, it’s just that the toast tastes nice and the client likes eating the way that they do. Yet they genuinely want to be slimmer/calmer/happier/more outgoing.

Or so they think. Which is a clue, to those with an AD sensitive outlook.

It is very difficult to uncover your own deeply held beliefs. It’s akin to opening the box with the key that’s locked safely inside so no-one can open the box without permission. Including you. There are techniques which can help, deriving those beliefs from other sources, behaviours and feelings.

Occasionally you get to x-ray the box & make a copy of the key when no-one’s looking. When it works, it’s a real Houdini moment.

In my experience, such clients as these have been trying to achieve the wrong goal or have been trying to achieve the right goal for entirely the wrong reason. Trying to become slimmer and fit into clothes you used to be able to wear won’t work if what you really want is a future you that is healthy and fit and you don’t really care one jot what size or shape you are.

Getting yourself properly aligned can work miracles.

Which is where my sights are currently set. I’ve spent nearly three years trying to avoid work: (the word not the task).

I’ve been attempting to forge a lifestyle which involves doing some things that provide income and doing other things that don’t. A lifestyle where both carry equal validity in the scheme of, well, things.

I’ve been living in dream world. (Well, it is time Morpheus made another appearance and as I’ve been exchanging comments with someone who’s considering going a Quest, (Hi again, Sarah!), he’s fresh on my mind once more).

I find that avoiding work carries pitfalls. Work, it turns out, is not a dirty word. By avoiding ‘work’ I’ve also been avoiding the necessity of allowing myself the opportunity to recuperate from the intense interactions that occur with clients. Therapy is hard work and this needs to be acknowledged. If I don’t, the next stage on from casual insomnia beckons and to be honest, I don’t want to go there again.

So I’ve reinstated time-off. Days where I don’t ‘work’. I’m gently increasing the import of exercise. I may even practice what I preach and get some refuelling therapy as a part of routine maintenance, so to speak. I also need some time to let my mind assimilate and address all that I’ve experienced during the day. I’m mindful of the benefits of meditation so might even instigate some routine quiet time.

I did so tonight, for the first time in a while.

And for the first time in a while…

…I’m back.

hypnosis mp3

No more work…
© Tony Burkinshaw 2014

 

Related Links to interesting things…

Cognitive Hypnotherapy & Quest

Tony Burkinshaw Cognitive Hypnotherapy

 A damn fine meditation mp3…

My Future. Your vote counts:

I need your opinion!

These are 3 mock-ups of leaflets that I’m considering using.

I’ll use them to promote what I do when I give talks & perhaps to use as flyers to go through letterboxes.

They’ll be printed on postcards with some fantastically intriguing text on the reverse (which I haven’t written yet!).

It will be amazingly helpful if you could vote to let me know which is your favourite.

Check out the 3 leaflets below and vote using the Poll at the end of this post

Feel free to share this far & wide so I get as many opinions as is possible.

 

Leaflet #1:      ‘Stones’

'Stones'

 

Leaflet 2: ‘The Future’

The Future

Leaflet 3: ‘Vertigo’

Vertigo

 

Click one of the radial buttons to vote in the poll below!

Thank You!

See tonyburkinshaw.co.uk to find out what all the fuss is about….

The Turn of the Century? A bit of a pain…

Unless WordPress is very much mistaken, this is my 100th post so maybe it’s time to begin to accept that blogging has become more than just a passing fancy.

If all is indeed as it seems then on average, every time I post, twenty people make the decision to follow this blog, so by the time you get to read this one, there should be over 2000 followers. Check out the stats to see if I’m right – I know I will. After a comment like that, I have to make sure, really.

It all started off for me with a couple of long term marketing objectives in mind, prompted by the training I was undertaking and in particular, the use of looped metaphors, which as time has gone on you might find I’ve woven into the fabric of one or two posts you might have read previously. Check them out, they can be quite powerful because you lose track of what’s on the surface and hidden meanings somehow emerge without you really even thinking about them.

Given that pain management has turned up a few times in these one hundred posts, I figured it was about time I put some of the pain management techniques to a proper test and volunteer myself to myself as it were, as a guinea pig. As if on cue a great opportunity presented itself when one of my molars broke on New Year’s Eve.

We went out for a meal and the very first bite came with an unexpected crunch, as it does sometimes. So, to ensure that the rest of the evening wasn’t spoilt in any way by sensitive teeth, I quickly went through a couple of rounds of dissociation, and Escudero, as you do and duly spent the remainder of the evening eating, drinking and generally making merry.

As is always the case, my dentist couldn’t see me for three weeks, unless it was an emergency and as I was happily controlling cold and pressure sensitivity, I booked in and waited. Of course, by now, my cynical inner voice was telling me that the pain control techniques I was using were only being effective because the tooth didn’t actually hurt anyway. A bit of a Catch 22 seeing I wasn’t going to stop using them because I really didn’t want to risk proper tooth-ache either. So I carried on and periodically argued with myself about whether I was being effectively skillful or plainly self-delusional.

Anyway, off I went to dentist, practising pain relief techniques so that I could truly test them out and found myself following habit and protocol and quietly going along with the dentist’s “OK, let’s numb it up then shall we?”. I felt a bit of a fraud.

Mind you, being no stranger to fillings, I can honestly say that every single filling I have ever had, ever, has been pretty painful even with injections. There have always been those moments when I find myself groaning as drill bites harder and wishing it would all finish ten minutes ago please.

This time, I genuinely felt nothing at all. It was almost pleasant. I’ve never had that before. But then again, as Gill said afterwards, maybe this dentist is particularly good.

Obviously this left me with no option but to test it out for real. So I did.

As is appropriate with these things, I started with the easier option, stole a pin from the sewing basket, sterilised it and, yes, pushed it slowly through the back of my hand.

I have to say it was odd. Three things stick in my mind.

1. It didn’t hurt. Really. Not at all.

2. Watching the point of the pin reappear was fascinating.

3. It was surprisingly hard to pull it out again. And it didn’t bleed. Not one drop.

Now in the scheme of things, especially in the era of YouTube videos of well known people pushing skewers through their arms, this is small time stuff. But it’s my small time stuff. And when I can figure out the best way to do it, I think it might make a really good video convincer about the power of the mind. Maybe even help potential clients make up their minds about just how powerful hypnotherapy really is and perhaps help persuade them to get in touch.

On the other hand it might put them off. I’d love to know what you think.

Oh, and I took a picture of it on my phone. I didn’t post it with this as I’m not sure this is the right forum. Good call? Or would you like to see it?

Anyways, the longer this ride goes on, the more pleased I am that I made the decision to get on the Cognitive Hypnotherapy train and follow the tracks on the slightly weirder side of life.

I have no idea how far it might take me but I keep meeting fantastic people, helping a few others along the way and more and more folks seem to want to talk to me about it.

Long may it continue.

pain relief mp3

Somewhat Zen
© Tony Burkinshaw 2014

Related:

Pain relief mp3: Click Here

Resolving to change. Better?

Its appears that all the work I’ve been doing these last many months in order to create an effective background awareness is beginning to bear fruit. The balance is shifting.

New clients are finding out about me and more importantly, getting in touch. Training is beginning to shift towards Learning: Who you are affects how you Learn. It seems obvious when you think about it but until you think about it isn’t. People are beginning to think. I’m even coaching and therapising (made up word) via Skype as I have long hoped to do. It really is coming together.

There have been some really tricky issues to help client find their solution to. It’s challenging and very rewarding.

And sometimes amusing. The capacity of the human brain to find sideways metaphors to communicate with itself is astounding. Imagine sitting in the therapist chair as a client opens their eyes and smiling hugely, declares:

‘You will NEVER guess where I’ve just been! I’ve just been in a wheel-barrow, being pushed across a high-wire strung perilously above Niagara Falls by a world-famous hire-wire dare-devil!’ [With kind permission of the client]

Why? To learn trust, apparently.

And who was the world-famous hire-wire chappie? Jesus! Well why not? After all, He’s probably got a great sense of balance and a head for heights. And not a bad teacher, by all accounts.

And the truly astounding part? The client came up with the imagery entirely unprompted. That’s the fascination with non proscriptive hypnotic language. It frees the client to work with their own imagination. It’s incredibly powerful. All it takes is a carefully crafted and somewhat skilfully applied nudge in the right direction. Nudge theory? Maybe.

You’ll no doubt be aware that a slice of the work to create fertile ground to enable clients to think of me when they need help is my monthly mental-health well-being column in one of our city magazines, ‘Only Peterborough’.

January’s article focussed, a little traditionally perhaps, on that phenomenon of New Year Resolutions and why some work and others don’t, sometimes because the timing is wrong or the resolution is just too big. Sometimes they fail because of a lack of support through the inevitable self-sabotage that goes hand in hand with best intentions.

Here’s what I had to say:

Changing for the Better               

It’s that time of year again. Christmas and New Year have been and gone, the fun and festivities are over and the world is full of opportunity. It’s the traditional time to start afresh with life-changing resolutions, which some go on to achieve with envy-inducing ease.

But for many of us, New Year’s Resolutions fade away into best intentions and we carry on just as we were before. So why are some New Year Resolutions successful whilst others fail?

Perhaps it’s the type of resolution you choose. Adding good habits can succeed more often than stopping bad ones. Maybe this is why the most popular 2013 Resolution was reading more books but stopping smoking was only 26th.

Another trick is sharing the effort. To change a habit, your free-will has to wrestle your Unconscious mind. Given that your Unconscious controls your habitual decisions, this is a tough fight! Exercising with a friend or taking that lunchtime walk with a colleague can make all the difference, sharing the mental effort as well as the Resolution.

Be precise. If you want to ‘lose weight’, how much do you need to lose? By deciding to ‘lose 10 lbs in 4 weeks’ you can measure your success. If you only manage 7 lbs, that’s success too. Think of it like passing with 70%. All progress is positive.

The key point is this: Your Unconscious uses habits to keep you safe or bring you comfort and it really doesn’t want to change. So if you don’t keep your New Year Resolution, it’s just that your Unconscious stills needs to be convinced that you’re right. If this you, then the support of someone trained to help is invaluable.

And once you look, you might be surprised at the help you can find.

See you soon?

RELATED

Only Peterborough magazine: website

Tony Burkinshaw Cognitive Hypnotherapy: website

Learning Coaching: What’s it all about?

Hypnotherapy MP3 Downloads: Pain Relief; Migraine Relief; Healing; Relaxation; Mindfulness

If you want to talk to me or ask any questions about what I do, please feel free to email me at: tony@tonyburkinshaw.co.uk

hypnosis mp3,

Next Steps?
© Tony Burkinshaw 2014