I say tomato…

I’ve come to the conclusion that the Airport trances you get these days aren’t as entertaining as the Airport trances we used to get when I was younger.

It’s possibly because they’re actually of a better quality than the good old bad old days of routine delays and lost luggage. Not that the age-old art of random air-transport delays has been completely lost because Mykonos was still good enough to subject us to that old fashioned routine of getting us to accept a short thirty minute hold up which then gently eked itself out into a whole hour by the time we’d managed to actually board the plane.

The pilot, who had apparently been too busy to introduce himself in that customary EasyJet style eventually threw the real delay at us once everyone was safely strapped down into their seats and we were patiently waiting for take off. He even went so far as to thank us for our patience with the delay we’d just experienced before casually lobbing a further ‘We’ve just been informed that due to the delayed departure our next available  take-off slot is just over an hour from now’. Why did they have to wait until we were safely locked on board the fully fuelled aircraft? Ah well; extra helping of boredom here we come.

It turned out though, that the tactics being used were really to lull us into a false sense of the inevitable. I was waiting to use the toilet, as you do when trying to fill a random hour with nothing to do aboard a sealed Airbus 320, listening to the cabin-crew manager not-so-gently quoting rules at one of the cabin staff who’d been collared by an angry American lad concerned about missing his connecting flight to Scotland from Luton.

I’d happened to chat to the same lad in the departure lounge as the first delay was being re-announced in order to clarify the actual time of postponed take-off. The announcement was in crystal clear Greek-English right up until the bit which mentioned the new departure time which appeared to be at ‘tri-tompty’. Needless to say we were slightly confused. Especially him as he was really trying to work out whether he’d miss his connecting flight with which he had carefully crafted a very neat and somewhat tight ninety minutes from an on-time landing.

He was trying to keep the delay as low-key as he could so as not wind up his partner even further, seeing as he’d already quite successfully embarrassed her by having his cabin baggage thoroughly searched at Security by forgetting he had a litre of Ouzo stashed in one of the inner pockets thereby mildly breaching the 200 ml maximum fluid limit. The last thing he wanted to do was let onto to her that any substantial delay would bring about an unscheduled overnighter in Luton airport by this disruption to his delicately balanced connection plans.

As I was learning during my lavatorial queuing, EasyJet small print recommends an absolute minimum of three hours between scheduled landing and connecting departure times or they happily, and by the sound of it, gleefully, wash their hands of your problem.

As his luck would have it, this was the point where new style delay tactics met old and the captain happily announced that he’d secured an immediate slot for us and would everyone return to their seats. Time for me to hold on, if you get my drift. The relief belonged to my American acquaintance and I’d just have to wait a little longer. In the bad old days, we’d probably have sat through the full hour, had another delay slide itself in and probably a failure of the cabin air-conditioning to add sweltering heat just for good measure. But that was then. This is now.

These days with advanced computing and corporate fear of fines and squeezed profit margins, aircraft slot manipulation generally copes with everything except terminally bad weather. You just can’t beat the wrong sort of snow to bring an airport to its knees, can you? (That was a tag-question, just in case you’re interested). These days, airport trance generally seems to err on the side of good-natured boredom rather than the angrily stressed out multi-delayed trances of yesteryear’s holidays with small children.

Mind you, come to think about it, Gill and I now have the luxury of being able to choose our holiday dates more or less as we please and therefore have tended to choose flights which are less likely to have children on board. Don’t get me wrong here, I like children. I’m even told I behave like one every now and then but there is a time and a place and cooped up on a small aircraft is not a child’s natural Habitat, (a store which I think has lost its touch by the way, the designs seem to be trying too hard, if you know what I mean).

So perhaps airport trances haven’t changed after all, although I suspect the quantity of mega-delays we’re subjected to has tended to diminish over the years, unless of course you’re an avid watcher of any of the many flies-on-wall docu-dramas which thrive on passenger-airline conflicts.

The thing is, I think I’m experiencing the same airport lounge scenes as everyone else. I use the same language, the same descriptions, quite likely some of the same airports and airlines but the same words are being used here to describe different personal experiences. I say what I mean but this gets heard very differently because my co-conversationalist uses a different frame of reference to decode my meaning into their version of the reality.

We got know a couple who were holidaying in the same place as us in the last week. Nice people. We were staying in the same hotel over the same week, having travelled, as it turned out on the same flight, so part of what we discussed in our trivial holiday-maker way was our return trip home. Same airport; same airline; same destination. I thought we were on the same wavelength until I realised that they were going to leave the hotel a whole hour before we did, just to make sure.

They’d been talking about the small local airport and its small check-in area, small security and small departure lounge, as had we. It turned out that to them, this meant it would extremely congested because of its lack of space, so making check-in delays inevitable. I’d been talking about exactly the same words but thinking that we would be through check-in really quickly as there wouldn’t be the usual hustle and bustle of more active and sizeable airports.

Same language, different meanings.

This phenomenon threads its way into many therapy scenarios and is one that I’m constantly on the alert for in the conversation between my clients and I. I’d just taken my eye off the conversational ball, so to speak because I was on holiday.

This phenomenon is why Cognitive Hypnotherapy takes such care in uncovering not only the client’s underlying issues and solution states but also and in some ways more importantly, the actual words that each client uses to describe those states. After all, it’s irrelevant which words I’d choose to use and if I want to be able to talk meaningfully with a client’s unconscious mind, it will have a far more precise understanding of what I’m talking about if I use its very own programming language. This is why a thorough Consultation is such a key part of accurate therapy.

This is just one reason why Cognitive Hypnotherapy can be such a brief therapy in comparison to others, some of which apparently expect clients to buy into many months, if not years of working towards a solution.

This is why, if an interim recording would prove beneficial for a client, each one gets a specifically written bespoke download, tailored to each individual, using their words. No two clients would get the same.

This is why some chronic pain sufferers may hear ‘Cognitive-based pain-management’ as simply dismissing their pain as ‘its-all-in-your-mind’. Indeed, I’ve come across practitioners who’ve misunderstood their own training in the same way. To me it simply means this; Pain is very real but the mind is very powerful. Perception can be manipulated. Pain can be relieved.

This is also why some relationships founder, despite both partners trying really hard to understand each other. The same words are being said but different personal reality decodes the meaning into something else.

And this is especially why so many issues have their roots in childhood. Not only is language and experience drastically different between a child and an adult, (particularly a parent; I recall leaving hospital as a first time father feeling completely different to the man I had been when I entered many hours earlier), but children also perceive the world in very dualistic terms. Things are either right or wrong, good or bad, on top of which evolution has  programmed them to believe that the world revolves around them. It’s how evolution ensures they survive such a long period of parental dependency. It’s why children can seem so demanding. They are. Pretty much everything a child sees or hears or experiences is in their mind entirely to do with them. This is why seemingly innocent comments or incidents can have such long-lasting effects.

This is why Cognitive Hypnotherapy can be so very effective and it’s why I’m choosing to spend the rest of my life using it to help clients.

And this is why, if your life is telling you that somehow, somewhere, something’s wrong, you just might find that Cognitive Hypnotherapy is exactly what you’re looking for, (but in your own words, of course). 

Why not get in touch? I’d love to hear what you have to say.

Mum's not in... © Tony Burkinshaw 2013

Mum’s not in…
© Tony Burkinshaw 2013

A Slice of Time and a Tortoise Kebab, Please

Sometimes it’s all you can do just to hang on. Choices vanish and you deal with whatever crops up next, whatever the consequence. The future is too far away to contemplate and the past sits there glaring at you. If you can just make it through the next ten minutes, maybe it’ll be better. You’re slicing time into thinner and thinner pieces because anything larger is too difficult to contemplate. Sometimes even ten minutes is too long.

Side-step into Zeno’s paradox, beloved of Terry Pratchett who masterfully combined two of the most famous ones, ‘the arrow in flight’ and ‘Achilles and the tortoise‘ leading to a puzzled philosopher whose particular bias was destruct testing axioms, to insist that it was impossible to hit a tortoise with an arrow despite his test-site being littered with broken arrows and testudo kebabs.

Here’s the theory. If you shoot an arrow at a Tortoise it will run away. By the time the arrow reaches where the tortoise was, the tortoise will have run even further away albeit not very far. But then the arrow has to cover that new distance in order to skewer the slowly fleeing reptilian and by the time it does, the tortoise will again have run a further distance which the arrow must then cover and so on. Reducto ad absurdum, as they like to say.

Common sense tells us that this is utter nonsense but then when did common sense have anything to do with philosophy?

Or indeed how we perceive our lives.

At the same time that you’re hanging on for dear life through a day that seems to have no end, friends, loved ones and total strangers are flying through time complaining about there not being enough of it because there’s so much they want or need to do.

Despite scientific evidence to the contrary, our brains appear to have invented the ability to control time eons ago, although it seems like just last week to me.

Welcome to Time Distortion. We all do it all of the, if you’ll pardon the over-use of the word, time. It’s a well-known fact that Time flies when you’re having fun, being sixteen seems like yesterday on your eightieth birthday and double geography takes forever. It would be superb if it were possible to share out time between those of us who don’t have enough and those of us who wish like hell that there were less of it to drag our sorry asses through.

Time Distortion is a key trance phenomena. We use it to get through our day along with the other standard eight. It’s a also key component of some of our difficulties such as stress, where whatever problems we face have way too little available time to be able come up with any sort of solution that gives us the feeling that we could possibly regain any control of our lives. An inability to perceive personal control of a situation is a key aspect of negative stress. And perceived lack of time to find a solution can be a key component of the lack of control. The ability to notice how much time there really is can rebuild the possibility of finding a solution. Regaining control. Overcoming the stress.

Time distortion is quite a flexible building block and finds its way into other key difficulties we face, particularly in that other focus area I work in, pain management. The more our environment shouts at us, the more it grabs our attention. The more attention we pay it, the more we focus on it and that vicious circle spins and dances around us demanding that ever greater attention be paid to those ever smaller slices of time. In terms of a something that grabs your attention by the throat, pain is up there with the best of them.

Pain is a core self-protection mechanism and as such has an extremely high priority in your unconscious mind’s list of things it wants to give it energies to. If you’re in pain, it reasons, (well not reasons so much as red alert all hands on deck), your life may well be in danger so bloody well sort it out now. All your senses and energies focus on fight or flight and survival. You’re dumped into protection mode and that erstwhile common sense approach to life with its inherent feeling of being in control goes on holiday for a bit or in the case of chronic pain, for quite some time and given that time is the issue here, that can feel like forever.

In terms of how our unconscious minds deal with negative stress and pain, an ability to change to perception of time can be a key ally in the fight to regain some balance. Our safety mechanisms are designed to give us the ability to survive and it’s an odd fact that when we are in fight or flight survival mode, we reduce blood flow to cognitive areas of the brain. High emotion makes us stupid, to quote a certain Trevor of Cognitive Hypnotherapy fame. From an evolutionary perspective it makes no sense to think your way out of a life threatening situation, it’s much better to have a heightened ability to react without thinking to your surroundings so you can deal with or run away from whatever is attempting to make you lunch in a non-delicatessen kind of way. And guess what goes along with heightened awareness? Time slows right down and whilst that is great in evading the sharp toothed beastie of old, you have to wade through it like sticky treacle in the concrete jungles of today.

Imagine this. Thinly sliced segments of time are heightening your pain. Dragging it out. There really is no other way to deal with it than to grit your teeth and work your way through this slice and into the next, waiting for the moment when this particular flare dissipates enough for some semblance of normality to return. Now, it’s a strange thing about our individual perception of time that each slice, no matter how thick or thin we happen to have sliced it in the moment, seems to have the same duration as any other slice. So what would happen if I could show you a way to re-slice time? To make it appear to take less, for the want of a better word, time?

Although the pain would exist in scientific time for just as long, your unconscious would perceive it as passing more quickly. And if it appears to pass more quickly, then maybe, just maybe, your unconscious might downgrade its importance in its hierarchy of vital stuff to pay attention to. And that can de-trigger a whole host of other pain perception mechanisms.

Not only can it help with pain perception, stressful situations which suddenly have the time they need to enable you to create solutions that bring back a sense of control may just seem more manageable and a manageable situation, let’s face it, isn’t stressful.

Now obviously life may be a little more complex than this but given that we only use nine trance phenomena to get through our lives, (check them all out here), and that I’m well versed in all of them, it just might be that a relatively simple combination of two or three of them, tweaked in the right manner, could thrust control firmly back in your direction.

To the point where not only could you start to see the wood from the trees, you just might find that you needn’t be in the forest at all.

Why not get in touch? I promise it won’t take long.

The wood from the trees© Tony Burkinshaw 2013

The wood from the trees
© Tony Burkinshaw 2013


When the Future-Trap Snaps

So I’ve spent all week waiting for that mythical particle of inspiration to strike a spark in my imagination. It didn’t.

Thanks to Victoria, I have a back-up plan.

Module 7 of my training with Quest dealt with, amongst other issues, performance enhancement which you’ll know, of course, because you’ve read ‘You’ve Got The Power‘. On that particular weekend’s training course I worked with Victoria and the particular performance we worked on was my evolving writing skill. I’m still very new to this, having only really started any form of meaningful writing, (sales reports and technical bulletins don’t count), three months ago with this blog.

However in that short time, I’ve found that there are, on occasion, times when I just start writing with no real idea exactly what I’m going to write other than following that spark of inspiration that fired the post in the first place. I found a place of flow. On occasion.

To be fair, I also spent a lot of time not writing anything and wracking my brains to tease out the best next word for the sentence. There have also been more than enough sentences and, indeed, entire paragraphs that really should never have turned up on the screen in front of me at all.

So the performance enhancement became my Plan B, (yet another great musician – you should check him out but beware Strickland Banks is not representative of young Mr. Drew’s usual work, parental guidance most definitely applies). With Victoria’s help, I worked on being able to re-create that feeling of finding flow in my writing. Of not really knowing what will come next, just starting out and trusting to the knowledge that it’s worked before and will work again. This post will be the test of that. I haven’t a clue where I’m headed and to fair until 20 minutes ago, I didn’t even know that I’d get this far writing about the fact that I didn’t even know that I’d get this far. I’ve even managed to pull another musical reference in.

Moving on.

What is really taking up my attention this week is that HPD. Remember? That source of my mini rant about TLAs (Three Letter Acronyms) back at the beginning of September. A major part of my being able to qualify and practice as a Cognitive Hypnotherapist is the Hypnotherapy Practitioner Diploma. I need to gain the qualification and if I want that qualification to be in place by the time I finish my course in January, the HPD must be completed by the 1st December.

I have twelve and a half days to write 12,000 words. I’ve already done about 9,000 but that’s taken me since the beginning of September. Extrapolate that one out and you’ll find that my target completion date is 2nd of March.

I’m on track to miss my deadline by three months.

Fortunately my engineering education, (yes, I qualified as a Chemical Engineer, spent three years as a Brewer of beer, twenty-seven years in Financial Services and am now becoming a Cognitive Hypnotherapist, don’t you just love consistency), allows me to be appropriately disdainful of statistical projection. I’ve also learnt to embrace my innate tendency to procrastinate. After years of trying to manage it, of being told from early school   days through my adolescent and adult life that procrastination is just another version of laziness, I’ve discovered it is actually a talent that allows me to embrace the here and now.

It doesn’t work for everyone and annoys the hell out those who can’t do it. I simply work at my best when something is both important and urgent. If it’s just important, like the HPD, it’s not enough. It needs to be urgent as well in order to get me working at maximum efficiency. The HPD is a classic case in point. I know that I have the skill, knowledge and capacity to pass. I’m not at all worried that I can’t do it. I qualified as a Chartered Financial Planner this year and that took me many years and many exams to complete so the HPD definitely lies within the realms of a do-able thing. It’s taken me 11 weeks to write 9,000 words. I’ve got 12 days left (and a half, don’t forget the half, it’s important). Plenty of time.

Which brings me to the title of this post.

For years, I’ve managed both my propensity to procrastinate and my talent for forgetting anything important, (my most active auto-trance-phenomena is Amnesia), by setting myself traps for the future, to ensure that I really did deal with those important things that are not yet urgent or that I would quite like to avoid but absolutely had to prepare for. I would set up tasks or meetings or presentations which would walk me towards whatever the goal in mind would be. It was the only way I’d ensure that anything actually happened. I’d break down my target event into to trip-over-the-next-important-section style sub-events. Now you might think this sounds quite familiar, good time management practice and project goal setting. You should never forget that I once turned up five hours late for a time management training course. Honestly.

For me, though, what I was doing was setting a trap in the future, a trip wire that’ I’d fall over and fire a shot of deadline adrenalin into my system. I knew that I wouldn’t work towards those goals, I’d forget them secure in the knowledge that at some point in the not too distant, I’d fall flat on my face, pick myself up and deal with it. Efficiently. And always to standard. I’d set the trip wire so that it would give me just and only just enough time to get the whatever it was that had to be done done by the whenever it was it had to done by to whatever the standard was that it needed to be done to and meet the deadline.

Somehow, it turns out, I was aware enough of my trance phenomena preferences to move effectively into the future at my most efficient, even if I did have to do it by repeatedly tripping myself up. In effect, I’d become my own game keeper, trapping my effectiveness at appropriate points to prevent my amnesiac consciousness from wandering off and populating my future with a total lack of achievement.

In a clear demonstration of serendipity, which the more astute among you will recognise as nothing more than negative hallucination allowing me to ignore anything that didn’t fit in with the serendipitous trend, I’ve come across three totally independent rationalisations of why it’s important to embrace procrastination. Two of these were people my alter-ego works with and another was a blog on Psychology Today way back from April 2011. Somehow it turned up on my Twitter feed a couple of weeks ago which is very much a phrase I never thought I’d be using in the middle of a blog that I’d no idea I was going to write.

It talks about active procrastination. I’m an active procrastinator. I have always worked best under pressure, with just enough time to get something done. And I’ve always felt I had to treat this as a negative trait and strive to build in more ongoing work to try to counter act it, to be more ‘in control’. As it happens it didn’t make me feel in control at all. I’m convinced that all I was actually doing was giving a sense of control to my erstwhile elders and betters. Now those are two words should never be used together automatically, only sparingly and when really deserved. I’ve met a few elders who are indeed better and have a wealth of knowledge and experience to share.

However, I’ve met many more who don’t. They wallow in their thirty years of experiencing the same thing and mistake it for being truly thirty year’s worth of experiences. They’re wrong. And usually so fixed in their ways and so ingrained in their own world that they cannot see, let alone comprehend, anyone else’s point of view. You’ve probably met them. They are only older. If you suspect you might be one of them, it’s never too late for new experience. Try it. I’m loving it.

As an active procrastinator, I get to spend more time dealing with and enjoying the here and now than if I try to meet a non-procrastinator’s ideal of ongoing, manageable bite sized chunks.

You know that well-worn phrase, (sorry Trevor), about how to eat an elephant? Apparently perceived wisdom is one bite at a time. I prefer a feast. Stuff your face until you’re fit to burst. Accept the burst and feast again. In my mind, if you try to eat an elephant one bite at a time, your future is full of, guess what, elephant flavoured food. Breakfast lunch and dinner. Hey guys, what’s for dinner? Elephant – again. For four months in total, I’ve been avoiding the elephant. I’ve had a taste every now and then but it wasn’t cooked right. Didn’t quite have the right texture.

In the meantime, I got to eat all manner of mental flavours and concoctions. All my meals were and are different. And every now and then… guess what.

Bring on the Elephant feast!

Are they all the same?
© Tony Burkinshaw 2012

Everyone Remembers Amnesia (reblog)

I’m not sure why but when I published this post earlier today it appeared in the WordPress Reader as being published over 3 days ago! I’d hate for you to miss it, so here’s the link!

Everyone Remembers Amnesia

I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it. Let me know what you think.

You might have seen me before!
© Tony Burkinshaw 2012

Everyone Remembers Amnesia

She sounds like a heroine from a 1980’s Victoria Wood sketch, a plain-jane daughter that no-one remembers. You know the line, “Has anyone seen Amnesia? I’m sure I left her here somewhere” and all that slightly too slapstick Young Ones-esque hilarity that I loved at the time. Mind you, of all the alternative comedy from that era, a phrase which makes it sound like it was decades away, (which actually it was – damn I’ve aged), the sketches that survive the test of time best were the ones that relied on clever scripting rather than shock-humour . Blackadder was probably best of all, which now I think about it, rather neatly did both. Ah well.

So where am I going to whisk you off to on this week’s journey of discovery. Well, I’m still managing to avoid working on my Hypnotherapy Practitioner Diploma, (what, there are only 3 weeks left?), by pretending that improving my media presence will be beneficial when I get my website up and running in the New Year, thanks for helping me by the way, so that when I start my practice next year, there won’t just be me and my new website. The theory is, if prospective clients Google me, (other good search engines are available), then they’ll find a whole host of relevant and beneficial guidance about me which should instil at least some degree of confidence that I’m not a complete novice. So read on dear boys and girls, secure in the knowledge that you’re assisting my future and pleasantly keeping me from the real task at hand which is to actually get my qualification. And if you’ve been here before, you might remember that I’ve already done it. Sort of.

Anyway, all distractions over, we’re off on a whistle-stop journey through hypnotic trance phenomena.  It’ll be good practice for the diploma I’m about to get and I’m pretty sure you’ll find you enjoy it and if you happen to be one of those people who are currently studying for that self-same qualification, how many phenomena were hidden in those first two sentences? There are actually nine trance phenomena in hypnosis and which are used for therapeutic effect. Ask any student of hypnotherapy to name them all and they’ll usually recall 7 or so. They always forget at least one in the pressure of the moment.

Strangely, they’ll always remember Amnesia.

Weird isn’t it. It’s almost as though Amnesia is its own Post Hypnotic Suggestion, which as it turns out is the one most easily confused with Age Progression. In normal-speak that’s the difference between a happy-trap that’s designed to make you to trip over it sometime in the future in a ‘Wow, I didn’t realise it was that good’ kind of way and good old-fashioned daydreaming, that is, if you’re walking on the good side of life’s highway. Alternatively they become self-fulfilling prophecies or anxiety, if you’re veering off into the arena populated by those whose phenomena are conspiring against them.

Somehow, as if by magic, Amnesia comes tagged with, ‘just remember, you won’t forget’!

It’s that blue tree syndrome all over again. You know, whatever you do, don’t think of a blue tree. And what happens? Your unconscious rams an image of a blue tree right into the forefront of your mind so that you have something to compare not thinking of a blue tree with. Otherwise, so the unconscious logic goes, how the hell would you know whether you’re achieving not thinking of a blue tree correctly? It lives for pattern matching. After all that’s what it’s there for. It’s how the unconscious mind keeps us safe. But you know all that already.

‘So what?’, you shout, as you’re so fond of interjecting into my posts. You do, you know. Look, if you don’t believe me , just check back.

What? You’ve checked and it’s only once? Are you sure? It feels like its way more than that. Well, that does surprise me! I must be seeing things. This is starting to sound like a Positive Hallucination. I’ll just have to accept your word for it, I don’t have time to check right now because there’s way too much to do and there’s none spare unless you know how to slow things down, which as I’m sure you’ve guessed would be time-distortion. With all this disruption, I feel as though my mind’s not my own any more. And I don’t like dissociation, so that’s enough!

When I looked back at my career last year after my redundancy, I thought back in age-regression style, over the many occasions I’d found myself on holiday wondering if there wasn’t indeed a better way to earn a living. One which would let me find people as confused about their future as I was and help them point themselves in the direction they truly wanted to go. Many times, I found myself considering training in counselling or personal coaching but over the years the timing or the directions I was considering never came together.

Suddenly timing was on my side and my prompt towards hypnotherapy appeared as a matter of chance and both of them turned up simply because I was made redundant. Whilst I knew my mind was made up about the route I was taking in my Financial Services role, I was still offered redundancy counselling. It was actually really useful, so if you do ever get made redundant and have the chance of redundancy counselling, I’d recommend taking it up. We discussed lots of potential avenues but it always came back to the route I’d already chosen. Financial Services. It was only later in the year that I started to look for ways to help develop others. So was it chance that  I found hypnotherapy, or simply that I was primed to see the opportunity when it came? I just didn’t notice any options unless they fitted in with my unconscious view of my future. Now that’s a powerful negative hallucination for you.

So this leaves us towards the end of this post with one phenomenon left to uncover. I told you we students always forget at least one. This one’s mine. It may take a bit of exploration to find it, so here goes.

You might have noticed that this is a slightly shorter missive than most of my previous posts. This is partly because at some point there has to be shorter one, otherwise logic suggests that I’d end up posting an entire book but also partly because this particular post is being written through a mildly post-viral fog. We’ll get to that in a bit.

Now, as I’ve intimated before, most people use trance phenomena as part of everyday life just to help them get through and most people have their favourites. I don’t mean that they like them, more that they’re good at doing them. My speciality is amnesia, which is why she ended up as the title of this post. I thought you might like to know what reminded me. One of the downsides of doing amnesia well is that you don’t remember that you’re good at it. Unless it comes and bites you in the bottom and makes you feel like a fool.

Gill and the world-renowned Peterborough Peace Campaign have organised a talk in the city library’s John Clare Theatre, (named after a famous local poet, look him up if you like). The talk is on 17th November at 2 o’clock if you fancy turning up. It’s called ‘The Reality of War’ and has a couple of speakers coming in from other cities. One is an ex SAS soldier, Ben Griffin, who founded Veterans for Peace (UK) and Chris Cole who set up the Drone Wars UK blog and who appeared on BBC Radio 4 The Moral Maze last week. Gill met Ben outside the Ecuador Embassy a few months ago and asked him to come to Peterborough as part of the talk the Peace Campaign were organising, so she’s obviously concerned that it goes off well.

Imagine her surprise when, as we were chatting over a cup of coffee in the kitchen last week I very convincingly told her that all her planning was wrong.

She happened to mention that she had arranged to meet someone next Thursday and I asked her, slightly smugly as I do every now and then, how she intended to be in two places at once because, in my amnesiac style, I was absolutely certain that her Reality of War talk was booked on that very same Thursday afternoon. At the moment of our kitchen conversation, I honestly remembered wondering, right back at the start of their planning, why it was being arranged on a Thursday afternoon. Surely no-one would come? I was convinced that I’d said so at the time.

And yet, when I checked my diary, which I’d updated only two days earlier, the talk was booked in on the Saturday. It had always been booked in on the Saturday. I had helped with some of the arrangements – for the Saturday. Interestingly, not only did I forget the correct day, which I do quite often much to Gill’s despair, I had also temporarily invented an entire suite of memories which backed up my mistake. My unconscious was so determined to maintain a congruent reality that it installed fake events to make sense of my incorrectness.

Looking back at it now, I think my capacity for amnesiac tendency was perhaps enhanced by my as yet asymptomatic weekend virus. It’s first indication was my feeling extremely tired on Friday, although as I didn’t feel unwell I still went to the 8th Quest training weekend as planned. We were focussing on the techniques of good old Milton Erickson, he of the gravelly voiced artful vagueness and purple jumpsuit fame, followed by a mild bout of arm levitation, stress and anxiety treatment and assisting with weight loss and an overview of dealing with eating disorders.

It only took fifteen minutes of Trevor’s training and an unfortunate reference to one of the students feeling sick on the previous weekend for my body to recognise that it was indeed unwell and that it was high time for me to experience proper symptoms instead of just a vague and disquieted constitution. Either that or my breakfast was disagreeing with me. Anyway, I must have looked pretty grey because even though I had my back to them, Bex and Chloe, (love you both, thanks for noticing), came and checked I was OK.

Chloe suggested that I try an adapted version of the headache cure we’d learned on that very first weekend back in April to reduce the discomfort, (although in my mind it was called pain not discomfort). It’s a great technique and basically uses submodality manipulation to create a complex equivalence between the sensory difficulty, (headache, pain, itching etc.), and an appropriate metaphor, usually a coloured shape. Done correctly, your body automatically links changes in the shape, (which you simply imagine into being and manipulate at will), and the sensory issue you’re experiencing. In essence, you dissolve the shape and the pain dissolves with it. It works well and, if you’re astute, you’ll have noticed it brings us neatly to Sensory Distortion, that elusive and concluding ninth of the trance phenomenon.

And so ends our tour. I hope you liked it and if so, do tell everyone.

But before you go, here’s something to try. Without reading back over the post, see how many trance phenomena you can name.

If it’s 7 or so, maybe you should study hypnotherapy.

Look into my eyes…
© Tony Burkinshaw 2012

You’ll soon be here coming back

As I write this, it’s just turned midnight and I’ve had a revelation.

Before we go into the meat of this post, or quorn for those of the veggie persuasion, can anyone let me know why oh why do revelations always happen in the middle of the night – and usually on a Sunday before work and yes, for those who know my current work status, I do have work on Monday, albeit unpaid. My alter ego has a complex preparation for an eight-hour training delivery on Thursday in Southampton about the Financial Planning Regulated Diploma case-study exam. I need my sleep and I’m not going to get it until I’ve laid this demon to rest.

So what’s the revelation, I hear you cry?

Just as I was drifting off to sleep, trying to ignore the nagging realisation that I’d Facebooked an effective promise to get my next blog post written, it occurred to me that I needn’t worry because, in the words of a previous post, a future me has already posted it on my behalf. All I have to do is get there.

That’s when my past rose up and slapped me across the face with a wet kipper.

Unbeknownst to me until now, I come from a long line of skilled conversational hypnotists who don’t have the foggiest idea that that’s what they do. Either that or my mother and my mother’s mother before her back into the mists of time, to continue the atmospherically obscured metaphor, are Antipodean shamen.

Unlikely! comes the retort from my apparently quite vocal imaginary readers.
Well let me explain. As a small child, there are always situations that you find yourself in which you wish fervently were not happening. Dentistry in the 1960’s, for one. A Christmas appendectomy, for another. Not to mention room-tidying and all manner of household chore. Well, my mother had a spell, learned for her mother, which made them all go away.

My fishy awakening came about as the ‘posts of hypnotic suggestion’ theme of my blog dragged itself away from my present and wrapped itself around my childhood. My mother, assuming for the moment that down-under sorcery is actually pretty rare, appears to have had a profound working knowledge of post hypnotic suggestion, time distortion and the induction of amnesia in small children.

How so? I hear… Look could you stop with the interruptions and let me get on with the post? I’m obviously over-tired and positively hallucinating an actual audience, which as a regular bloggee you’ll know about from previous posts, (not the audience, the hallucination), if you’ll excuse the blatant nudge to get another view logged on my blog stats.

The particular mantra, spell or induction was quite simple. ‘Don’t worry. You’ll soon be here coming back‘. As with all pattern interrupts, the incongruity of this phrase for a five year-old boy enabled it to slide straight into my subconscious and weave its hypnotic magic unnoticed.

In another link to earlier posts, this effectively stopped me taking the usual number of snapshots of now that would befit a traumatic experience destined for painful recall later. So, even though the dentist’s drill hurt like hell, by the time I was back in the waiting room I had fewer units of bad experience stored up and the intervening time pretty much collapsed into not very much, thank you. My appendix was removed and I was back home in time for Christmas dinner, to the annoyance of my younger sister who was admitted to the same hospital with the same condition half a day before me but who still missed out on the turkey. The post-hypnotic suggestion was triggered. Time was duly distorted and amnesia induced. Job done. Hoorah for my Mum. Or so you’d think.

Unfortunately, this didn’t really account for my over active imagination and a misguided determination to develop a skill which appeared to enable effective time travel into the future, avoiding all unpleasantness on the way. I may even have known that I was destined to become a hypnotist and called on that future talent to nurture my progress as a spotty and precocious youth. I started to use this spell to carve out longer and longer slices of unwanted or useless time. School Assembly? Gone in a flash. Latin? Couldn’t remember a thing. History became, well, history. So far, so good.

Then I found I could do entire weeks, even entire school terms. Don’t get me wrong. I wasn’t daydreaming my way through my education. I was just getting to the end of it quicker. Before I knew it, my A-levels were done. I suddenly found that I’d left with good exam results but very few memories. You see, the problem with this particular spell is that it is designed for short-term use. Not an entire childhood. I had unwittingly time travelled right through my youth with the intention of editing out all the nasty bits, of which there were many as with any normal, hormone ridden adolescence. However, I now found myself at the other end of the time tunnel having forgotten to remember the good times as well as the bad.

I still have very few memories of my childhood. Come to that, I have very few school friends that I keep in touch with. It wasn’t until I graduated from University and sobered up that I finally cottoned on to the fact that life is about what happens to you as you grab the next piece of the puzzle and struggle to find out how to make it fit. Now is important. Now is what the past is made up of and what the future will become. Now is the only thing that’s real. And it’s gone in an instant. All that’s left is what you’ve logged and stored to ponder over in your older ages. Store more. Life is fuller that way. Whether it’s good or bad, lead a full life.

I’ve spent years de-hypnotising myself from this particular trance. I now spend most days firmly in the present and I hope I’ve successfully modified the family spell for my children. Despite its drawbacks, it really is useful to be able to reduce the impact of negative experience. It’s just that it shouldn’t be used out of context. It shouldn’t delete them entirely. Apply this skill with care.

So, is my mother a master of Hypnosis? Personally, I prefer to believe the mystic shaman theory of my ancestry. She certainly had eyes in the back of her head and knew exactly what we were thinking or planning as children. She could tell at a glance who had struck the first blow and doled out punishment accordingly. She was always right. Well, mothers always are.

There is of course another possible explanation for my lack of schoolboy mental scrapbook.

Maybe I just wasn’t the sort of kid that other kids liked very much. Maybe I don’t have many long-term school friends because there weren’t many friends in the first place and the reason I don’t remember much is that actually I don’t want to. I’m sure if I thought about it for long enough, I ought to be able work out whether my mother was a gifted caster of spells or I’m trying to forget that I was a snotty oik. The problem is that I can’t, (or won’t), remember enough to decide. So I leave the decision to you. Here’s how;

If you suspect I deserved my apparent lack of school friends, then ‘like’ this post, (I won’t take offence, honest)…

If you’re a fan of matriarchal magic, leave a comment and a request for the spell of your choice…

If you’re undecided, why not follow this blog. You never know, future posts might shed more light…

…and if you’re already following, thank you. I’m hopeful that clarity will eventually emerge.

A moment of magic
© Tony Burkinshaw 2012

Déjà Vu? Never heard of it…

Gill and I spent a day at Anglesey Abbey last week which, as you’ll know if you’ve found me on Facebook, isn’t in Anglesey and is no longer an Abbey. (That’s not the Déjà Vu bit by the way, it’s coming along later). It was a nice day out.

I now find myself mentally apologising to my deceased English teacher who held the view that use of the word nice constituted such a pinnacle of linguistic laziness that all prose containing the word was automatically red-lined in full, no matter what other redeeming qualities it may have had. I still try to avoid nice to this day out of schoolboy respect to the man. He had bona-fide credentials for a 15-year-old O-level student. Not for his English teaching ability, I hasten to add but because he played Franz, the Witch-finder General, in the Hammer House of Horror film Twins of Evil. It doesn’t get much better than that for an adolescent lad: vampires, sleaze and semi-naked twin sisters.

But I digress.

In this instance however, nice was probably the right adjective. A good day out? Good enough. A glad-we-went-but-probably-not-going-back-in-a-hurry sort of a day. You know, nice.

So we sat in the cafe after we’d wandered around the gardens and debated whether the suspended willow-woven anemones in the woods were better, though less permanent, sculptures than the graffiti adorned lions guarding the entrance to the yew hedge enclosing a copy of one of  Bernini’s many David’s. Is it just me, or does this particular David have a look of grim determination that closely resembles a man about break wind in the defence of his nation? If you visit, let me know.

There was plenty of chatter in the cafe in a variety of languages, confirming Anglesey Abbey’s status as a National Trust multicultural attraction. People of all ages were having a good old natter over their cups of tea and clotted cream scones. Suddenly, as clearly as if the background hubbub had been sliced apart with a razor, someone said ‘Sheffield’.

Not a particularly eventful thing to say you might think and I’m sure you’d be right. I only noticed it because I was born and bred in Sheffield and my mother and brother still live there. It’s one of those words that I’m be tuned into. Like when you hear someone say your name in a pub and you know your immediate future holds yet another conversation with that bloke who insist on believing you love talking about websites and networking coffee meetings. I need to be less polite.

I don’t want you thinking that I’m particularly obsessed with the word Sheffield or even the place itself, as I haven’t lived there for many years. There are indeed several other words which could have set me off down this apparently blind and time-distorted alley. It just happens that this was the time, the place and the word which that fired my blogging imagination.

What got me really thinking though, is that I’m convinced I heard the whole word. From start to finish. In its entirety. Yet how could I possibly have known that that person was going to say Sheffield until after it had been said? She could have been going to say anything at all and there are several words I can think of that begin with Sh… But I was apparently tuned in and listening from the moment the word began.

The point is, I suppose, that the word can’t have existed as a recognisable entity until after it had been uttered. So I must have heard it first, then recognised it and then tuned into it. Nothing else makes sense. Nevertheless, I am absolutely positive that I heard the word as it was in the act of being spoken. Or did I?

Is this the source of that elusive Déjà Vu?

Philosophically speaking, I think this is where one of Benjamin Libet’s famous half-seconds might be kicking in. The more I think about this, the more I reckon Mr Libet has a lot to answer for with his time-delay theory of cognition.

Do you recall those late night radio talk shows in the 70’s and 80’s when they encouraged people to phone up and have a rant about nothing in particular? When the anti-swearing bleep machine came into its own? They even brought in a time delay so that a man (or woman) with a good knowledge of blaspheming and swift digital responses had their finger poised over the bleep machine button to edit out inappropriate language. It became a matter of pride to see who could outsmart the time delay and the bleep machine operator and slide a profanity into the show.

Well, according to Ben, this is how your conscious mind works. Not the bleep machine, the time delay. Although, now that I’ve written it, I think the bleep machine has a part to play as well. What you perceive as everyday reality actually happened half a second ago. Now, despite appearances to the contrary, is not ‘Now’. It is, in fact, ‘Then’. Every single thing you recognise, see, hear, smell, taste or touch actually happened before you notice it. Your whole world is half a second out of date.

Sounds bonkers? I know. Until you think it through. It just isn’t possible to know what a word is going to be until it is said. I mean words heard at random, out of context, from a conversation you weren’t listening to. Hearing something where anticipation cannot be part of the mix. Obviously some words can be easily predicted. You know. Like “Alas, poor Yorick, I knew him….well”.

Actually, it isn’t ‘well’, it’s ‘Horatio’. Look it up, if you don’t believe me. But you get my drift. With Libet’s delay, this all makes sense, (other than misquoting Shakespeare, that is). Effectively, you have the mental equivalent of global CIA surveillance going on, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Your brain is a fully functioning, highly complex pattern recognition machine, running multiple algorithms that computer science can only dream of, at speeds that are unimaginable. All day, every day, your unconscious takes in everything that goes on around you and runs simulations based on patterns of events that have already happened to you and extrapolates them into multiple futures and makes pre-programmed decisions to guide to the most beneficial version those futures that it can identify. Most of your decisions are made without the you that you think of as you even knowing.

Depending on what is going on around you, your conscious mind, the part of you that you recognise as you, is allowed to be aware of some 7 or so pieces of information at a time. Which of these items are the ones which arrive at the forefront of your mind will depend on a combination of your current surroundings and the most likely multiple futures that your unconscious comes up with. The less threatening the environment, the more you can consciously direct your own thoughts.

However, faced with real or perceived threats, your unconscious takes over and runs programmes which are designed to keep you safe, based on previously run simulations and patterns of experience. They are so important that they don’t allow for your conscious mind to intervene. Thinks about it on an evolutionary level. By the time you’ve consciously considered the current threat level of the sabre tooth tiger, you’re already lunch. Your unconscious had you legging it in the nearest available non-leo direction one critical moment earlier. People who were good at this survived. Those who listened to their conscious thoughts to work out the most appropriate solution may have been intellectually superior but still ended up as prehistoric Kit-e-Kat.

But what has this got to do with Déjà Vu, you’ve already asked. (See, I am prescient). If the  Libet Delay is designed to keep you safe whilst your conscious mind deliberates on higher matters then maybe, on occasion, by the time you have become consciously aware of an event, word or sight that you’re especially tuned into, (like my word Sheffield), your unconscious mind auto-recognises it’s importance and has already begun to store the event in your short-term memory. As you concentrate, you become vaguely aware of echoes of that same event from your memory. Voilà. Déjà Vu.

This concentration could create a loop like your own internal Sky+ box. You’re no longer watching life live, as it were. You’re watching a re-run that your unconscious is storing only moments before you experience it. And because you’re concentrating so hard on the Déjà vu experience, your unconscious keeps storing it. However, your unconscious isn’t stupid. It soon spots what’s going on, realises that someone saying Sheffield isn’t life threatening unless you’re in Chesterfield on a Saturday night and it breaks the magic. Déjà Vu over.

So, when you get Déjà Vu it really is something that has happened before. It’s just that it happened only half a second ago. Good old Benjamin.

Or actually bad old Benjamin. If he hadn’t invented the Libet half-second Delay, then we wouldn’t run all those out of date auto-programmes to keep us safe. We’d have the opportunity to update our Spider Phobia, Anxiety Attacks and Fear of Public Speaking before the unconscious took over with an auto-programme that throws you into a reality tunnel and flatly refuses to let any outside information interfere until you’re safe again. Remember the bleep machine? Unfortunately, ‘safe’ for your unconscious equals ‘still alive’. It bleeps out anything that doesn’t fit because changing something that has kept you safe and alive so far would be daft. It doesn’t really care what degree of social suicide you commit on the way.

Then again, good old Benjamin. Reality tunnels can be broken into. You can update your auto-algorithms. All you need is someone to guide you.

I know just the person.

Lindisfarne. In reality, a tunnel.

So who is narrating my life?

The 18.26 is trundling along, taking it’s time as these trains do in a not quite all stations North kind of way. It’ll be another two and a half hours before I arrive and it’s at this point that I realise I’ve been talking to myself about time distortion and is it really just a mental representation of the time/space/speed continuum of Einstein fame.

Not actually talking out loud, I hasten to add. The voice in my head has just pointed out to me that would be way too weird and I’d have been asked to shut up or leave the train by now. What would be really interesting is finding out the split of readers who are pretty sure that voices in heads should also result in automatic train defenestration and those who nod as if it’s the most familiar thing in the world and feel relieved that someone else has taken the plunge and put it into words so they don’t need to admit it in public themselves.

To be fair to them though, feel is probably the wrong word. We of the internal monologue persuasion tend not to go in for feelings per se. We know they’re important but they should be saved up and used sparingly and most importantly, privately. Emotions should be stifled, squished and forced into a small box to be metamorphosed under the intense pressure of life into the diamond strength of the soul. At least that’s the theory behind the AD mind, (Audio Digital, one of the categories of NLP’s Rep system).

The reality, of course, is that the metamorphosis doesn’t quite work out, resulting in a procession of AD clients beating a path to the CogHyp door. At least it would if they had the slightest notion that such a move might be beneficial. Anything except emote.

Why do some people want to bare the soul with the least provocation and others wouldn’t know an emotion if introduced itself and gave references from previous owners and satisfied customers. Which persuation do you belong to? A trouble shared is a trouble doubled? A friend in need is bloody nuisance? Listen to that inner advice? Probably AD.

The crazy thing is that once you get an AD on your side, you have a friend for life – even if you never see them again. These guys are foul weather friends. You won’t hear from them for years but when something goes wrong, really wrong, they’ll roll their sleeves up and deal with the mess.

My problem, and I always have at least one to avoid self-therapeutic atrophy, is that my AD is closely supported with K which, as you all know, stands for Kinaesthetic of all things. It’s pretty much the exact opposite of AD, leaking feelings all over the place. This leads to my spending most of my inner monologue mopping up spilt mental milk and other metaphoric wetness.

But how does all this have anything to do with Einstein’s less well known theory of of mental time distortion? Now, the real theory pretty much says that the faster you travel relative to something else, the slower time passes. This really does happen. Most of us use it every day.

It’s an integral factor in GPS systems. The effect in percentage terms is so tiny as to be almost infinitesimal, or infantismal as Robo-Warrior would have put it. But don’t forget we’re dealing with the speed of light here and on a human scale, light covers a significant distance in an infinitesimal slice. About 10 meters a day to be precise.

If we ignored Einstein, your SatNav would drift 10 meters every day. So would every one else’s. Maps would slowly become useless. We’d all be driving down alleyways and into fields. Maybe that’s what happened with those trans-continental Euro-trucks in the Nineties. Come to think of it, maybe that’s why EasyJet think their planes are going to land somewhere close to the cities they claim to be flying to.

Meanwhile, back to time distortion. If acute awareness of your surroundings were measured by the number of snapshots of now that you take when you’re really stuck in one of those can’t get away from it moments of total boredom, anxiety, stress or anything you wish wasn’t happening and were to equate to the speed-relative-to-something else that Einstein was always banging on about, then one of those lucky sods who’s really enjoying themselves and completely missing the now in everything would equate to the slow thing you’re mentally travelling next to, so maybe that’s why time passes so slowly for you and that other bugger can’t fit enough hours in the day. Not to mention the weirdly long sentences you can construct that still nearly make sense.

When you’re bored or stressed or anxious then your mind is wringing out every single thing it can find to confirm to you that you really are as bored, stressed or anxious as you thought, if not more so. You are fitting in many more units of nowness per dragged out second than someone who is engrossed in an anything of their choice, be it work, a movie, a book or a blog.

If it’s this blog and you’re still reading, you’ve either got some serious stamina or an odd sense of the interesting. Thanks for sticking with it.

So if the mental passage of time is actually controlled by your unconscious replaying the now-based snapshots at normal speed, then concentration on nowness makes time pass slowly and focus on otherness causes time to pass more quickly, (fewer units if nowness in each second: boy doesn’t time fly?), then what is Time Distortion? Presumably it turns one into the other without the you that’s experiencing the distortion being aware of it.

If your unconscious gets prompted to take snapshots for recollection later but at a different rate than your current mental state would usually do it, then once the events have passed, whether quickly or slowly at the time, when you look back your mental instagram will have different numbers of recollections than you were aware of along the way.

It would turn a speeding life-journey into a slow one from which you recall more and would prime you to take more notice next time.

And it would turn 3 hours of a boring train journey into a momentary slice of time and a hopefully interesting Post for you to read. The last two hours only felt like 20 minutes.

It’s 21.08 and I’ve only got 20 minutes left until I arrive. With nothing left to do…

…so according to my units of nowness theory…

I hope I haven’t finished this post too soon.

Shining a light
© Tony Burkinshaw

The future me with the H.P.D.

I’ve just taken my first proper look at the HPD, (that’s the Hypnotherapy Practitioner Diploma), which I need if I’ve going to register with the NCH, (the National Council for Hypnotherapy). The NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) part is assessed throughout the course.

Why are there always so many TLAs, (that’s Three Letter Acronyms to you and me)? Why do Organisations, Government and Trainers love TLAs? They’re all over the place. Think about it; NHS, GDP, FAQ, BBC, PDQ, JLS (Peterborough reference!), SUD, CIA, FBI, BFG, OMG, WWW, the list goes on. Apparently there are 17,576 possible TLAs.

They came into their own in the 70s with computer science, until by the 80s no self-respecting organisation could have a meeting without at least one TLA appearing on the agenda. They were supposed to make  long and complicated names easier to remember and use. In fact they just create confusion and an odd esoteric internal language that no-one outside the ‘club’ understands. Strangely, probably the  most frequently used TLA ‘www’ is 3 times longer to say than the phrase it replaces!

Anyway, enough of that and back to the HPD (sorry). I’m familiar with tests and exams and questions because my alter ego has been in financial services for years and I’ve passed far more exams than I care to remember. I’m also currently training and assessing the new Regulated Diploma in Financial Services, required by a thing called RDR – see? So this is familiar territory, or so you’d think.

I find myself putting it off. With a deadline of December, it’s just too far away to be scary enough to get the blood racing and the brain in gear.

Now this set me thinking. Somewhere out there, according to Quantum Physics and Hypnotic Trance Phenomena, there’s a future me who has already passed the Hypnotherapy Practitioner Diploma. This is known as Age Progression and if true, then I needn’t worry because I know that my HPD has already been passed by the future me by time it matters.

This is where Age Progression gets a bit weird.

As I’m reasonably confident about exams and essays, then the thought of the future me taking an HPD doesn’t create a hurdle I can’t get past. That’s an aspect of Age Progression that leads to anxiety if the fear of something in the future gets so great that you react as if its happening now AND you can’t cope with it. Fortunately for me this isn’t one of those Age Progressions.  But it is a problem.

If there’s a me out there in the future with the HPD, then do I actually need to start work yet? The other complication is a technique that Cognitive Hypnotherapy uses to connect you with that future you that’s already done what you’re thinking of doing and learn what you’ve found out by then, so you can use what you’ve achieved in the future, now.

So if I do that, then how do I know when I would have started the HPD? If I completely ignore the me in the future with an HPD, then I have to do the work from scratch all on my own without my future me helping and so will need to work harder. So I’d start sooner. Right?

But if I do connect with the future me, then I’ll know that I’ve passed, so I’ll stop feeling as concerned about the HPD, (its only 21,000 words – what’s the big deal…!) and start work later. Now if that future me is really the future me, then that future me would already have connected with his future him at the point when he was sitting where I am now, pondering about whether to time travel in my present mind to have good old chat with the future him about his HPD.

And if he gets to the same conclusion as me, which surely he would because at the point he was here he was actually the present me, then surely he would have started even later than the me that’s sat here now not yet having had that HPD debate with the me that’s sitting smugly in the future gloating about having done all the work and why not just go down the pub anyway.

So if you follow where this leads, (in which case you’re better at this than I am – are you a Questie graduate?), then either me and the future me AND the future him that he connected with when he was the me that’s sitting here now, are going to have a great time just chilling about the HPD and the course and all things vaguely hypnotherapeutic until the HPD magically writes itself, or I’m just going to have to ignore Age Progression as a means of revision and just knuckle down and do the work myself.

On the other hand, I’ve just spent the afternoon bottling last year’s Elderberry Wine, (very reminiscent of a good Port, even if I say so myself), and adding the yeast to this year’s 4 gallon mash. Now this would be good point to engage in some useful Age Progression and compare next year’s brew with year’s to see if was worth the effort. In reality the only way to achieve this is to sample this year’s brew tonight and rely on Time Distortion, otherwise known as alcoholic amnesia, to carry me through to next year and try next year’s vintage then. Or is that now?

Anyone for a glass?

…and it all became clear…
© Tony Burkinshaw