I’m Moving Blog House – Please Follow Me There

Hi everyone,

I’ve moved my blog over to my new website here

I’d love to see you there. If all goes well, you might automatically find me anyway (assuming modern technology works as planned ūüôā

All the best

Tony

I'm listening... © Tony Burkinshaw 2012

I’m listening…
© Tony Burkinshaw 2012

False Hope: Is it really possible?

Hope.

Hope that Springs Eternal, to misquote a pope which, if you’ve read Dan Brown, is misleading.

It occurred to me today in between the coughs that are all that remain of the second-hand cold I’ve been fighting off since my wife caught it from my sister on Boxing Day, (a sort of genetically modified, festively duplicated cold-in-law perhaps?), that there oughtn’t to be any such thing as a false hope.

It’s a criticism levied at those of us who look positively at negative situations by those chappies who’s own particular stance and opinion is negatively tuned, often by the potential for litigious back-lash. For some, it is apparently better to accept that the worst is reality and that entertaining the slightest optimism for a better outcome isn’t worth the risk of massive potential disappointment if the worst then duly turns up and kicks you right in the teeth.

I get it.

But surely this is simply not hoping; actively deciding that Hope is not worth the risk of Hope being dashed.

This is not false hope nor is it actually making a case for hope to be ignored. It is simply weighing up the pros and cons of entertaining hope and opting for the downside of life as either it is pretty likely to turn up anyway, or grinding your way through yet another disappointment is more than you can bear.

This is not a nice place to be. Life throws some horrible things at us sometimes. Sometimes Hope can feel too big.

But my point I suppose, is that taking the risk of hoping for a better outcome is more than simply ignoring the obvious truth of your situation, as some naysayers would have it.

Taking the risk of hoping can bring some immensely powerful guns to bear on an otherwise hope-less situation. Not least of these is that by truly opting for hope; opting to believe that there just might be way beyond the apparent certainty you’ve been expecting; that one of the most complex and least understood mechanisms in western culture can finally fire up and weigh in on your side.

Those of your that follow me regularly will probably have guessed that I’m alluding to that not-so-mythical mind-body connection. That aspect of eastern philosophy that is being slowly uncovered and accepted as our sciences become more adept at measuring such ephemerous concepts.

Maybe there’s a reason that hope springs eternal. Maybe Alexander was simply expressing a deeply ingrained feature of our human make-up that is designed to get us to stoke up the fires of the mind-body connection and generate every last vestige of opportunity for the bad thing, whatever it that bad thing might be, to be overcome.

Hope really can change your destiny.

But what if it didn’t.

What if, despite Hope, the bad thing happened. Your illness didn’t go away? The pain didn’t recede? It really did turn out to be the death that comes to us all, scythe in bony hand depending on your local anthropomorph?

Does this mean that the hope was false?

Not at all. Hope is just that. Hope. Nothing more.

My point is that by hoping, you bring every last possibility to bear on the side of your own victory. By hoping, every last possible chance and opportunity has been taken.

And if hope doesn’t work, what’s the consequence?

Well, for the time that you were hoping, life had a more positive feel. You did what you could. You felt as if you were in control. You were in charge of your destiny, not the bad thing.

The disappointment of losing your personal battle is no more disappointing because you hoped.

The hope wasn’t false. It was just hope.

If you look at Hope and you decide that it is not for you, then I’d ask that you consider your decision having thought and felt a little more about what Hope might bring, if only you dared to entertain it. It brings so much more than wishful thinking. It just might turn the tide.

One of the key aspects of my therapy practice is enabling clients to find Hope in what they had previously considered to be hope-less situations.

It’s one of the key turning points in therapy.

Once that fire of Hope is lit, we’re homeward bound.

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They hope it reflects progress
© Tony Burkinshaw 2014

Networking with the other Plan B

It’s getting to the point where I need to step up the pace some more. If you’ve followed the story so far then you’ll be aware that I’d intended all along for this to be a slow burner. One where the momentum is gained gently but securely until it becomes self sustaining and with luck, which you’ll also know by now I don’t believe in so that means my start must by definition be unbelievable, unstoppable. That does scan. Honest.

I was thinking about the invisible trees, woods and which forest comment of my last post. It’s always a bit of a paradigm shift when you realise that the direction you’ve been heading in isn’t taking you quite where you thought. Slow burns are fine, especially if you really are developing a quality approach which will generate a flow of business in the future. But as is often the case, a couple of other seemingly disconnected paradigms went and drifted their shifty way across my path this week determined to make me include the word serendipity in this week’s musings. Apologies.

I came across an article, well not so much came across as got sent as a consequence of the marketing planners at my web-hosting web-hosts, about networks. It’s something I’ve been aware of for quite a while and as Albert-Laszlo what’s-his-face was integral to one of my Quest weekends last year, I suppose it’s more in the territory of my mindset than I realised at the time. The basic principle of the aforementioned A-L, (Barabasi), is that nodes in any network are by nature interdependent and the stability of a network when subject to attack or breakdown is based on the degree of randomness in its nodal connectivity.

In essence, if the nodes are evenly spread, with relatively even numbers of connections between them then whilst a breakage in one or two nodes may be overcome simply via bypassing even though there may be some overload to nearby links, if multiple nodes are affected then the percolation of overload from one to another reaches a critical level and can cause a cascade of overload to disrupt the flow. The overload becomes self-sustaining and Hey Presto! blackouts follow swiftly and we all end up without light and heating even though no further pressure is applied.

Interestingly, if nodes are concentrated in hubs where most nodes have few connections and a few nodes have many connections, then it is difficult for attack or breakdown to affect the the overall system unduly. As long a a signal reaches a hub, then the system will stay up because that hub passes the signal on to significantly large sections of the network and as the hub by definition takes a high load, temporary overload is more easily accommodated. This is why the original design of the World Wide Web was indeed the original design, and is still the basis of its current configuration, albeit quite a it larger in the nodal department if you get my drift. It ensured that global military and intelligence communication could continue throughout the network, even if multiple hubs were destroyed.

One of my strategies in developing my business along slow-but-certain burn lines, my aim is to find clients who are hubs. Clients who are willing and in a position to influence other potential clients into considering that I may be someone who can help. And my skills from my alter-ego world are invaluable here both in recruiting, in the nicest sense of the word, (though obviously that means grave-turning witch-finders are brought to the fore once more), them to the task and alerting them that they are both in the position and have the contacts to be those aforesaid hubs.

Bear with me, the relevance will turn up soon (ish).

The third idea to flutter past was in Skype conversation with Helen. We were talking about strategies, or ‘stradgies’ as an ex-exec of my¬†acquaintance¬†used to call them, (and¬†presumably¬†still does come to think of it), to build a successful practice and obviously a part of that is what actually determines whether you have indeed reached success.

One of my core drivers to achieve this success is not,¬†as some would propose, continuous focus on my goal and working ever harder in longer and longer hours with my eyes never off the prize on a style beloved of purveyors of the 37-habits-of-successful-people-who-I’ve-met-personally and the like.¬†I have to admit that at this point I went all Zen but then I suppose that’s bound to happen at a certain stage of working in any mind-based therapy so perhaps there’s some justification, however, the point I was making was that, as I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, success is pretty much ending up by ‘having’ more than I ‘want’.¬†I am a firm believer and level one exponent of the art of reaching the goal of having more than I want by teaching myself to want less than I already have. It does seem to be working although it makes it more difficult when it comes to summoning up drive to develop a business. I guess there’s a difference between wanting less and having to put up with less.

And then of course, there’s those emails and tweets you get every now and then that are from those purveyors of habitually successful habit-prone¬†entrepreneurs.¬†The particular tweet that sparked the¬†serendipity¬†flare-up, (that’s twice in one post so I’m genuinely concerned now), appeared to be saying that whatever you do when aiming to be successful, set the bar very high and when you do jump, do it without a safety net or a back up plan of any kind.

For magnificent success, apparently, all or nothing is the order of the day. If you have a back up plan, it seems that you are telling yourself that failure is not only an option but expected.

So where does this paradigm mash-up take us? It’s now taking up residence in my head as a metaphorical explanation of success of the techniques I use and the solutions clients are able to construct for themselves.

Whether we’re talking pain management, stress difficulties or fertility issues, the-wood-for-the-trees and network-hubs are acting as the same thing in reverse. At the centre of these issues there is often a a core idea or nerve gateway or situation that is triggering an overload of perception that results in stress, pain, or body-system levels that are not endurable by the client in a normal healthy mode. We are unconsciously driven to adopt self-preservation strategies which result in stress-breakdown, chronic pain, inabilities to conceive. In this hunkered down protection phase the trees close in and we end up looking at a level of detail which ensures that we can’t navigate our way out of the proverbial wood.

If we reversed this process though, the trees in the wood idea becomes woods in a landscape of forests and clearings, hills, rivers and mountains. With care, you just might find a way of noticing that you aren’t even in the right wood and actually you need to climb a hill just over there and find the woods on the other side. You might not even be a tree dweller and should be living high in the mountains. Or fishing in the seas.

And here comes the back-up-plan idea. There really is no going back once your core idea has been grasped and turned on its head. The point is, once your unconscious is put in a position where it notices not only the wood but the¬†entirety¬†of its landscape, it can never forget. The change is quick. And it’s permanent.

Once you know how to view anew the stress overload, it simply becomes a way of dealing with what you can do and what you can’t do. If a task really is impossible, you now know that it really is impossible. And if it really is possible, then you can now choose the time and effort you are willing to put into it. Until you see this, there is no choice. No way out. That’s what stress does. But once you see it. It isn’t stress. It’s choice.

Oddly, pain follows a similar pattern. Pain is very real. Even though much chronic pain has no apparent medical or physical cause, it is still very real. It, well, hurts. A lot.

Pain follows hubs. Physically, nerves coalesce into bundles and pass through ‘gateways‘ along the spinal cord where the various stimuli are assessed against other¬†stimuli¬† Stronger pulses get priority. If touch or temperature is stronger than pain, pain is relegated and doesn’t get through. If pain is stronger, pain wins.

Wood for the trees turns up here too. Gateways are not only affected by upward flow but by what is normally expected. If you are constantly in pain, the gateway is set to give priority to pain, even if other stimuli are stronger. This is one theory as to why simple touch can become painful and why chronic pain becomes less responsive to pain killers.

Again, having no Plan B, (which would after all be a pity, musically if nothing else), can be useful here. It is possible to teach your unconscious mind that gateways can be manipulated by downwards regulation. Once this is learned, and let’s face it, if any technique knows about teaching the unconscious, it is Cognitive Hypnotherapy, then you can consciously takes steps to get your unconscious to reset the gateways for you.¬†Without a Plan B, the gateway can’t reset to pain because your unconscious has no doubt that the gateway should be set to give the sensations of touch or hot and cold the priority. If you doubt, it’ll re-open the gateway. Once again, Cognitive Hypnotherapy is adept at giving confidence in techniques you learn. You won’t want a plan b.

Without Plan B and with sufficient training, not only can you downgrade chronic pain, you can effectively¬†anaesthetise¬†the body. You can even carry out operations solely under hypnosis. It’s been undertaken for many years.

The unconscious can re-set how it is running the automatic functions and balances of the body. It can flip the core precept from protection to growth, allowing us to function in a healthier more fulfilling manner, allowing hormonal cycles to flow uninterrupted, increasing the potential to overcome unexplained fertility difficulty, reducing stress hormones and allowing the para-sympathetic nervous system to have a larger role leading to a sense and belief in your well being.

I’m pretty sure these days that I’m heading through my own wood to the mountains beyond. I haven’t quite left the trees behind yet, though. Maybe I need to find a quicker path. That’ll need some thought.

I¬†definitely¬†need to review the plan B situation. I can’t yet tell whether I’m currently running a well thought out exit strategy, or a whether it’s actually unconscious permission to fail. More pondering required.

As for hubs, I’m working on it. Right here, amongst other places. So if you know people who might be interested in reading this blog, why not let them know. And if you write your own blog, feel free to re-blog this one too.

If any of this particular post rings true for you, I’d love to know your thoughts and feelings about it.

And if it’s time to sort out the networks in your own tree laden landscape, you don’t need a Plan B.

Just come and see me.

It's a delicate balance© Tony Burkinshaw 2013

It’s a delicate balance
© Tony Burkinshaw 2013

…and Greece makes it 50 !

OK. I admit it. I check my stats every now and then.

Sometimes they’re not so hot.

And sometimes they really make me smile.

Greece has now joined the party that is Posts of Hypnotic Suggestion and I’m really proud to welcome them as the 50th Country to be involved!

WELCOME TO GREECE!

Thank you to everyone (2,880 of you!) who has read this blog and especially to those 170 of you who have joined up as Followers. It’s what keeps me blogging.

That and my over-active imagination.

And if you think your readers/friends/tweeters or FB buddies might like what I have to say, feel free to re-blog or share any of my posts. The more the merrier!

...and Greece makes 50!

…and Greece makes 50!

See you soon.

HOT OFF THE (Word)PRESS

P.S. Since I drafted this post this afternoon, Nepal & Kenya have joined in making it 52 countries, I have had 5 more followers, bringing the total to 175 and I’ve just been informed by WordPress that this is my best ever day for new followers! A good day.

I have therefore dutifully applied the ear-to-ear grin! 

you might be surprised… I was

Isn’t it odd how Saturday nights can turn out.

There we were, Gill and I, sitting outside burning my mother‘s bird-table as you do. The red wine was good. It was a peaceful night spent putting the world to rights and watching the flames in the fire-bowl. I know it’s not very eco-warrior but there’s always the current-carbon and global-dimming argument to help you feel a little more self-righteous. (There are far too many hyphens in that last sentence, I’ll try to keep it down from here).

The peace was broken only by that late night alcohol infused sound of red wine hiccups. Once Gill’s hiccups had started that was it, they just wouldn’t stop. There they were, butting into the conversation for the rest of the night.

We climbed into bed, Gill hiccuped yet again and looked at me in exasperation. There was only one thing for it.

I stared fixedly into her eyes in that well know 80’s Wolinsky style and said with authoritative overtones, “You might be surprised to discover that the gap between your hiccups just seems to get longer and longer and soon you might find that you forget to remember to notice that you ever had hiccups in the first place.” There was no way I could have floated that sentence past her so fluently were it not for the Budweiser. “There you go”, I said, “all gone”. You could hear the scepticism and doubt behind the hope.

We looked at each and waited. And waited. The next hiccup simply did not come.

Now explain that one to me. How on earth could that have worked? No trance. No induction. No complicated healing pattern. Just one semi-serious sentence of wishfully woven words, with a good bit of accidental time distortion and amnesia thrown in for good measure. I understand the theory.

According to the sceptic in my head, it should never have worked. But it did.

Once that sceptic in me starts to believe, the world will be the crustacean of my choice. After all, why restrict the future to Oysters.