Special offer on ‘Now’

There was a time when I brewed and tasted beer for a living. If it weren’t for one of those forks in the trousers of time so to speak, then I might still be doing something similar to this very day. To be fair, I am, it’s just that I no longer receive financial reward for my efforts.

It occurs to me that there’s a difference between those far off days and my current more meagre brews and socially adapted taste buds. It’s not simply that back then I had yet to uncover the trials, tribulations, successes and delights that the intervening period was to bring. Nor that nowadays I tend to ferment fruit rather than grain, though on occasion the wine does actually taste pretty damn good, (although unfortunately every now and then, it tastes pretty damn poor and finds its way drainwards more directly than the circuitous route the good tasting stuff traditionally takes).

Which brings me to my point, unusually quickly it has to said.

It’s all a matter of taste.

Back in the day, when it was part of my role to join the daily taste panel in one of the largest breweries in Europe and pass judgement on numerous brews, I knew what I was doing. There are a stunning number of potential flavours in, well everything, when you know how to find them. And many of those potential flavours tell you a lot about what’s going on in the beer. So it pays to focus.

If a beer is good, it’s important to know what makes it good so that it can be replicated more often. And importantly, if it isn’t as good as it might be, what’s caused it. Especially as depending on the cause, it might be destined for those drains, (albeit far larger ones than my wines occasionally find their way into), or it just might be that the particular problem has an opposite in another brew, neither of which are perfect on their own but their particular deficiencies or excesses can combine to even out or enhance each other so that the blended result is, well, bang on.

This requires an attention to tasting detail that we seldom use unless we frequent some very particular taste-panel-esque environments. It requires us to concentrate our attention onto the extraordinary variety of experience that our senses really can pick up and alert us to.

A lot of the taste is in the aroma. And, weirdly, in the appearance. And the texture. It’s a proper multi-sense extravaganza. And yes, this is beer we’re talking about.

We almost always miss this. Unless there is a very specific requirement to do so, we prefer to go for the overall experience. The sum total of the tastes, rather than being interested in the underlying flavours which make up the whole. It tends to be the preserve of experts.

We don’t deconstruct flavours or aromas or music or painting  or plays or comedy. We just experience the effects that it brings as a whole. We like it or we dislike it. We want it again or try avoid it in the future. But we don’t really know why. We just do.

It’s like that with emotions.

We experience the emotion and react accordingly, shaping our lives and relationships. We rarely focus on the complexities that drive the emotion, so we miss what it is trying to alert us to. We treat the emotion as if it were a problem to be solved by our 21st century brain, existing as we do in a world of primarily cerebral rather than physical challenges. We seem to have lost the innate ability to, for want of a better phrase, deal with our feelings.

This is what mindful awareness, usually reduced simply to ‘mindfulness‘, is all about. Taking the time and effort to experience the different component parts of what we are actually experiencing. Not to pass judgement or to find a way to do something about it, just to become fully aware of what is going on with us at that very moment.

Emotions want us to feel. That’s why they’re there. Their purpose is not to drive us to think about how to solve a problem, rather they try to get us to experience the problem. It turns out that simply by learning to turn our attention onto Now, we dramatically improve our ability to cope, not just mentally but physically too. Even the structure of our brains can change as a result. Just by focussing on Now. By becoming aware. (By the way, did you notice the triple homophonic homonym? It’s surprising what you notice when you try).

It’s as though a fundamental part of us has been forgotten and allowed to atrophy through lack of use, drastically affecting our health. So I would highly recommend  that you spend some time learning how to reawaken your natural awareness. Getting back in touch with what is actually happening, right Here, right Now, [as an aside, those of you who are particularly aware and dedicated followers, you’ll know that both the Fat Boy and Mr Davies have been here before].

If you don’t re-awaken, you might just spend the rest of your life worrying about a future that hasn’t happened because of a past that is no longer there, falling foul of the Born Under Punches lyric: Don’t you miss it. Don’t you miss it. Some of you people just about missed it. You can always rely on David for a good turn of phrase.

As you might expect, I’d love to help. So, if you have 10 minutes a day to spare (yes that’s all you’d need – that and an mp3 player), simply click on the link below and take your first steps into the world of mindful awareness. There are two Mindfulness mp3s. One is a first step into Mindfulness Meditation, the other is Mindfulness for Anxiety. They’re both good.

To save you having to choose, the ‘bundle’ of both mp3s is available at half price to WP readers for the rest of this week (until 18th May). Just use the code WPMAY50.

If you have any questions at all, don’t hesitate to ask me.

Live life in the moment…

LINKS

Mindfulness MP3 Bundle: (Use the code WPMAY50): Click Here

Related Post: Be Mindful of what you know

Mindfulness mp3

Keeping It All Inside
© Tony Burkinshaw 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…

Be mindful of what you know.

Progress can be frustrating.

Not in an anti-technological tirade of how humanity is losing touch kind of way, although there’s some merit in that sentiment, more that the progress I know will have been made at some point in the not too distant future has not yet been made by this moment, now. There’s a lot to be said for mindfulness and let’s face it, I’ve said some of and will shortly be saying even more if you get the October issue of Only Peterborough but when you know something ought to be happening but has yet to come to fruition, I think it’s fair to say that progress is, well, frustrating.

A case in point. Learning to learn, that middle road of enlightenment in my journey, is being well received verbally but hasn’t gained traction. Yet. I absolutely know that it will. Without question. It is such a vital aspect of today’s education and qualification system that is missing perhaps because so many of tomorrow’s adults are being taught by so few of yesterday’s children, overseen and over-tasked by the politically inspired so that it is all but impossible to teach any of them how to learn.

After all if Albert of E=MC2 fame defined education as ‘…what is left when one has forgotten all one was taught at school’ then this is hardly a new phenomenon.

We’re all led to believe that proving we know what we know is vital to our progress so that we never really see the end of that road filled with yet another qualification. Fortunately in the UK there is a small move towards accommodating the fact that we learn differently because there’s been a mini return to apprenticeships, catering much better for those who’s preferred style of learning is intensely practical. People who need to move, touch, feel, manipulate and, yes, hit it hard with a hammer in order to learn. People who do things; real things; who make things, repair things. Vital work but insufficiently recognised as vital because it lacks the more highly prized academic badge.

Even here though, there is a need for written proof.Study days. College attendance. Exams and course work. I find myself believing that this is more of a political employment statistics manoeuvre than an understanding of the learning environment. Maybe I’m just a cynic.

Whatever you found you could deal with last time around educationally speaking, there is, somewhere in your future, yet another exam. More study. Usually at a time when you’re trying to hold down and progress a career and have far less time to devote to learning.

In a pressure situation we tend to revert to type. So unless you’ve been lucky and found a new route through the quagmire, you do what you’ve always done. Just harder and for longer and with less free time to give it. In essence, we all study and learn using the techniques we picked up to do homework and tests when we were in our early teens. Often these were learned by accident or if by design, by the design of someone we trusted. We learned to learn the way that our parents or favourite teacher had themselves learned to learned.

We find ourselves sailing in wrong direction, putting up more sails and fighting the wind because we think it will get us there quicker. Instead we drown in the storm of things we can’t remember and don’t understand.

For many this is enough to get by. For a few, it is exactly right for them, the born sailors so to speak. For a significant minority it hardly works at all and they disengage with education, believing that in some way it is their inadequacy. Not a bit of it. The system, entirely because it is a system, let them down. It simply doesn’t have the capacity in its current form to deal with individual learning needs at that level.

It could do. Absolutely it could do. All it needs to do is to recognise the benefit of teaching individuals how they themselves like to learn. Coach them in developing that skill and how to apply this new-found skill to anything they wanted to learn. Anything.

The educators themselves would require a pretty good heads up on what’s going on too. Recall that age-old cry of teachers? ‘Stop looking out of the window! The answer’s not out there!’ Well for some particularly visual learners, that’s exactly where the answer is. Not in reality but in their internal visual recall field. Actually looking in that direction might be exactly where they need to look to allow their memory to ‘see’ the information they are trying to recall. Forcing them to ‘not look’ is the same as asking what’s on page 43 of a book you haven’t got. You’ve effectively blinded their ability to recall.

If the teacher/trainer knew what they were doing, they’d move that student so that his or her visual recall field was at the front of the room. That way, the answers are somehow ‘there’ even as they were asked the question. The student finds themselves already ‘looking’ at the answer whilst still being asked the question. Imagine the confidence that would build. Instead of embarrassment and failure.

This skill, or lack of it gets carried through into adult life where the insistence on written proof continues. Qualifications abound. I sit here at the age of 53, difficult thought it is to believe and my alter ego, the Chartered Financial Advisor is heading off over the next three weeks to train a variety of already qualified Financial chaps (a multi-gender term these days) to even greater levels of prowess helping them achieve the ‘coveted’ Chartered status themselves.

Consider how much time it would save if for the next exam you had to take you could study and revise in a way that, whilst not effortless, would really engage you. Demonstrate results quickly. Prove to you which parts you already knew and which you needed to revise a little more. Focus your attention. In a style such that once you had learned, you would remember. Even after the exam itself was passed long ago (pun intended), you would still remember the information.

Imagine how much less stressful it would be to know that you would learn and recall over 80% of everything you would need to know for your exam. Especially since most exams which rely on recall, that unprompted recollection and application required of the written answer, have pass marks around 55%-65%. Those which rely on recognition, multi-choice to you and me, have much higher pass marks but if you have 80% unprompted recall, your ability to recognise and choose from four or more options is vastly greater. In essence, you are being asked to recognise the right answer, not recall the right answer. Multi-choice is, quite frankly, simple when you know that you know. When you revise for recall, recognition is a walk in the park.

It’s much easier to dedicate time to something when there are tangible results you can see and it just screams out to you that you really have learnt it. (Did you see what I did there? Hands up if it made sense and it sounds as though I’ve got it all covered? (Heard it all before? I did it again… and so on in infinite loop…so I’ll cease and desist before it crumbles)). Apologies if that didn’t make sense. It will once you’re in the know.

So there’s a need for learning-to-learn at every level. In every walk of life. At every age.

I find it frustrating that educators and training departments aren’t biting my hand off. The sales training of my relative youth tells me that there’s more to it than this but I lack marketing experience and drive. Whilst teaching people how they learn is important to me,  I’m not about to try to lead the UK education and qualification system out of the darkness and into the light. I’m more interested in creating change one person at a time. Which is slow to gain traction. Frustrating.

However, I do know that this will work. The future is out there, waiting.

Despite my current work with mindfulness, appreciating the reality of the moment, I find that I am brought up short wondering why that Future doesn’t get off its arse and do something. Now.

 

Learning coach, and Mindfulness

Where to next?
© Tony Burkinshaw 2013

Related

Only Peterborough Magazine

Hypnotherapy mp3 tracks

 

Be mindful of the moment. That’s life.

There’s been a bit of a lull in the proceedings. There’s been a lot of time and a lot of effort put in although looking back quite a bit of that effort wasn’t productive. You know the sort of thing. Thinking about what to do. Considering options. Mindful about which option to act on first. Getting anxious because the options that have been pursued haven’t come to fruition yet.

Too much talk. Not enough action. Not like me at all, is it?

But if what I’ve earned is anything to go by, what I think is going on isn’t what is really going on. It’s what my brain has let me see, carefully filtered through its multiple reality tunnels to ensure that the view of the world that I get is the view of the world I expect to see. By the way, having spent the earlier part of last year thinking my preferred rep systems were Audio Digital and Kinaesthetic in equal measure, you might have noticed how my long winded diatribes tend to err on the visual. The more I peel off the layers, the more I see. See what I mean? Weird. I guess it’s what you might call growth.

Anyway, much of what I’ve done has been behind the scenes, deep level groundwork for the future. And it’s revealed some really interesting aspects of my work which I guess are going to change the structure of what I do.

As time has passed, I find myself less engaged with fertility issues. This is both from a personal perspective in that my initial interest in this area, ringing bells from as far back as my human biology O-Level, (as those exams used to be called back in the dim and distant), has waned somewhat and whilst I would still love to work with fertility clients as and when they come along, it isn’t something that I now feel any passion to actively pursue. There is also the not-so-minor factor that very few clients seem to want to talk to me about it. Maybe one feeds the other. Quite likely really.

On the other hand, I find more and more that the things I think, say and do around pain, especially chronic pain, persistent migraine and so on, resonate with people around me. And it seems to be having an effect. The neuropathy of pain is fascinating as are the psychological issues that can both cause and feed it. It seems to me as if Cognitive Hypnotherapy was designed to wrap up the science together with each individual’s personal experience and re-work it, re-programming the various unconscious minds involved to re-think their position, if you’ll pardon the multitudinous use of re, until the need to use pain as a protective warning bell becomes redundant. It takes some persuasion to convince the unconscious mindset but time is one our side. An unconscious that’s convinced itself of chronic is in it for the long haul. Small steps. Big changes.

I’ve posted a couple of times on the combination of Hypnotherapy and NLP techniques and my many (many, many) years of experience developing people in Financial Services. Isn’t it strange how with all this education, people quite simply haven’t learned how to learn. In my own small way, I aim to change this. Oddly, the next most active person I know of in this field lives only a few miles up the road from me. I initially thought this was a distinct disadvantage but the more I let it ferment in my sometimes fertile mind, the more I think this could be an invaluable opportunity. I have no idea how as yet but it sits there smiling at me. Perhaps we should talk. What do you think?

I’ve also found myself speaking with some inspiring individuals. Sue made an appearance here last week and in between times I’ve been to see Kate, an ad-hoc acquaintance from the gym who, as it turned out is not only a hypnotherapist but teaches people to fire-walk of all things. All of a sudden, one of those ambitions that never really was an ambition just a something that you might have done had you lived another life has slammed itself down on my time-line. I just can’t picture it yet, thereby giving more confirmation of the visual, just in case you felt the need for more. Sounds good, doesn’t it? (Did you notice what I did there?)

So now that the 4 year old with the fear of rejection has made himself heard again, thoughts keep spinning their way around and every now and then I hear the distinct clunk of important changes slotting themselves into a more secure place.

For reasons which will become apparent in a few weeks, I’ve been looking more and more at mindfulness.It has been a useful piece of research. The shouts from the past are getting quieter and I can pay them attention much more on my terms rather than theirs. It is also more noticeable that the scenarios my quite active imagination was in the habit of playing out around how my future could fall apart at a moment’s notice have quietened down too. They’re still there and they’re still stronger than I would like them to be but day by day, the focus I place on the now is taking hold.

By pure coincidence, right at this moment, my headphones are singing to me that;

‘It’s hard to imagine

That nothing at all

Could be so exciting

Could be this much fun…’.

Mindfulness. All those years ago. No wonder they were (and still are) my all time favourite. Not only that, my daughter Rachael went to see David on Tuesday. Jealous? Who me?

Actually, much to my surprise, I wasn’t. I was delighted.

With new views on life I sat down with Katherine and re-worded the website last week. It should go live within a couple of days. I can’t wait. The wording is less, well, wordy. I haven’t found the visuals I want yet but I’ll keep looking and they can get added in later. I’m trying out a different take on fees as well. Times are tough and I want to be more accessible than perhaps I have been. First session free. Discuss fees when potential clients have had a chance to talk to me and find out more about what they would actually be paying for. It might put the fee more into context. Words on screens are less able to achieve that.

All in all, much change is afoot. There are things to do. Fears to overcome.

The past has had its go. The future is out there, waiting.

And after all I’ve learned, I find that I’m happy being right here, right now.

Enjoying the present for what it really is:

My life.

Related Websites:

Tony Burkinshaw Cognitive Hypnotherapy

Hypnotherapy mp3 downloads: Relief for Chronic Pain Conditions / Migraine Relief

How effective are these mp3s?

Mindful moment, hypnotherapy mp3

Is this now or was it then?