Tasting the future?

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

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

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

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

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

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

So here I am.

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

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

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

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

And there’s no time like the present.


An Alternative View © Tony Burkinshaw 2014

An Alternative View
© Tony Burkinshaw 2014


‘Relax’ – It’s my Xmas Present to you!

Read on : there’s a free gift for you inside!

[…and feel free to re-blog or share this post so that others can benefit too…]

Xmas is getting very close indeed and whilst many are looking forward to the celebrations, the preparations can feel frenetic and overwhelming. This was the topic of my latest article in Only Peterborough magazine in my mental health well-being column.

Rather than just giving advice, I included a Christmas Gift – a specially written and recorded Deep Relaxation mp3. It’s only 10 minutes long but can make all the difference and joins up well with the Mindfulness Meditation mp3 from earlier in the year. The link for the free Deep Relaxation mp3 is at the end of this post. Much as I’d rather you read the whole thing (of course), if you just want to skip to the end and grab your free copy, please hep yourself. You might find you come back to read it all anyway!

Here’s the article, I hope you like it.

Relax. It’s Only Christmas!

It’s Christmas-time again with fun and festivities taking centre stage. Relaxing with family and friends, for many this really is a magical time.

Despite this, relentless pressure and expectation comes hand-in-hand with the Festive Season. So if the thought of Christmas brings anxiety and stress, here are 5 practical steps you can take:

1. Split your Christmas tasks into three:

  • Must-do – give these priority
  • Nice-to-do –do these once you’ve organised your must-do tasks
  • Unimportant –If these don’t get done everything will be just fine!

2. You’ll probably be spending time with family and friends that you don’t normally see. Their ways may not be your ways and this can be difficult. Remember they’re probably feeling just the same so give them some leeway. Pat yourself on the back for being so understanding.

3. No matter how carefully you plan, thing do go wrong. Each evening counteract the day’s challenges by thinking about three things that were special for you; a smile, a song on the radio, frost on a leaf. They can be anything. Your brain loves positive things, big or small. If your brain’s happy, you sleep better.

4. Be good to yourself, especially if you’re playing an important role in Christmas. Whether it’s a walk, a good book or a trip to the pub, always keep yourself on your ‘Must-do’ list.

5. Find a good relaxation mp3/CD. There are many of them around and they’re really beneficial. Listen to it every day so you practice being relaxed. As a Christmas gift, there’s a free Relaxation mp3 on my website at tony.burkinshaw.co.uk/shop.

Follow these tips and you can look forward to a very Merry Christmas. And remember, some of the best Christmas memories are when things didn’t quite go according to plan…


As promised, this is the link to your free ‘Deep Relaxation’ mp3: Click Here

Other Only Peterborough articles: click here or here

The Only Peterborough website: click here

Relaxing, Hypnosis mp3

Relaxation is the key
© Tony Burkinshaw 2013

This time it’s personal

Having stoked up the fat reserves in preparation for the end of the world just in case it didn’t actually end but simply became a little more difficult to find adequate calorific resource and then of course as none of that happened, having to continue with the traditional Christmas over indulgence and not being one to flout tradition, I dutifully over indulged, now find myself sat at my laptop once more, overfull and under-creative.

Not in the least concerned as I’ve been in this position before at the start of one or two prior posts, I’ll let my mind wander and it’s good to wonder for those of you in the know, and type whilst the inspiration recovers from its festive pickling and wrests some semblance of continuity from the flow of words. Sometimes all you need is to warm up the ideas and let them flow.

The trick is to allow the creative mind to take over, welcome the ideas, give them space to grow and evolve and then once they’re fully in play, sit back and enter scalpel mode, poking, prodding and generally beating them into a pulp, subjecting them to the harsh conditions of re-readership to see how they stand up to the reality of providing a coherent communication of whatever it is that’s grabbed the current most-important-idea position to whoever it is that you want to believe the current importance you’re trying to communicate.

As this is now the fifth edition of that last sentence, I hope the tactic worked.

And here comes the thought. Every now and then you come across something that lets you know how far you’ve come along a road that you once thought difficult, if not impossible, to travel. As this is that somewhat nowhere-land space between the rush to Christmas and the re-start of the New Year, it’s as good a time as any to post about such reflective things. I’ve been lucky enough to have three of these float themselves past me over the last twelve months.

Important but in 3rd place:

One of few pinnacles in the Financial Services Industry, which as many of you know is the dwelling place of my alter ego, is the status of Chartered Financial Planner. It takes many years and more than a few exams. Including, which is rare these days, exams involving actual writing at a fairly high level of knowledge, (UK QCF level 6, whatever that actually is). Many professional exams, particularly of the continuing professional development kind, employ that famously U.S. armed forces tactic of checking knowledge by multiple choice questions à la WWI Army Alpha tests. Whilst acceptable, they rely on your ability to recognise the correct answer amongst a set of similar distractor answers, although to be fair many of the distractor answers are either ambiguous or just plain daft, making the written reworking of actual application of deep knowledge quite important in the pursuit of the old Chartered watsit.

Just before Christmas, I received my invitation to the Graduation Ceremony in London for 2012 Chartered Financial Planners. As I have only ever taken professional exams that were necessary for my career, rather than just badge collecting as it were, I’m really rather pleased as I never thought that it was something that I’d end up achieving. Having taken my first professional exams in 1993, it’s been a long journey.

A comfortable 2nd:

Then again, whilst wondering what I was going to write about this week, I did re-read a couple of my first ever posts from eighteen weeks ago on this, my first ever blog. I’m averaging 7.5 new followers and 117 views each week from 41 countries. Now I know that many blogs are doing much better than this especially as I’m following some of them. Nevertheless this is far better than I’d believed possible when I started.

Other than a short story in a school magazine which was no more than a paper pamphlet in reality when I was thirteen and again at seventeen, this is the first time I’ve written anything that anyone else had the chance to read. One of these posts even managed to get itself published in Perception the Cognitive Hypnotherapy quarterly e-zine that I mentioned in the last post. Check it out by the way, it really is quite good – the magazine, that is; you’ve already read the article, (said he hopefully).

So, anyway, when I re-read these earlier posts, I was quite impressed with what I’d written and can even begin to see how I’m gradually developing a consistent, if somewhat unique, (according to Tina Shaw, the Perception editor), writing style. As far as I can see, I’m taking a little bit of my experiences, overlaying some hypnotherapeutic philosophy, mixing in a little science and subjecting them to the Hadron Collider that is my imagination.

However, when my over-confidence subsides,  it all feels like it’s just vaguely relevant waffle. Ah well.

Without a doubt No. 1:

The realisation which strikes chords that resonate right down to the core, where it really matters and ceases to be vague or waffle, is a dramatic improvement in my skills. As you know I’m aiming to specialise in both fertility issues and chronic pain management. Now the fertility aspect is just plain fascinating and appeals to the part of me that left biology behind at school and pursued engineering instead of medicine. If you’re going to help with something, I’m not sure how it gets more important than helping couples fulfil one of natures most basic drives. Apart from anything else, it means that I might spend the rest of my life helping people get pregnant. Nice.

However it was the other side which grabbed me and allowed me to realise how far I’ve come along this long and winding metaphor of choice, (well it was time for the next music reference wasn’t it?).

One of the reasons that pain management is particularly important to me is that my daughter has a condition which means she suffers repeated bouts of severe abdominal pain. Until two years ago we had no idea she was even ill although looking back now it’s a little more obvious. Gill and I were called back from my pre-redundancy holiday within twelve hours of landing as Rachael was taken seriously ill and was in hospital under threat of emergency major abdominal surgery. She’s been learning how to cope ever since.

It won’t go away. If the prognosis is correct, this is a life-long deal. Bernie Siegel‘s famous quote rings in my ears ‘accept the diagnosis, not the prognosis’ although somewhere deep down I find to hard to do either. Whatever the deal, however long it’s going to last, my daughter is in pain and there’s nothing I can do about it.

At least, that’s where I stood two years ago.

As is always the way when you think you know something new, what you actually know is only the surface. A little knowledge which appears to go a long way. A total ignorance of just how much you don’t yet know for the simple reason that you don’t yet know enough to recognise that you don’t yet know what you don’t yet know. Unconscious incompetence.

Partly because of this and partly because Rachael is holding on so tight to her hard-won control, she is reluctant to let me do anything that might upset her balance and it has been very difficult to practice my new skills with her.

There have been a couple of occasions where she was willing to let me work with her. When she was last on high doses of steroids, I wrote a carefully worded intervention tailored for her counteracting the effects of Cushing’s Syndrome, (not named after our dearly departed Peter but rather Harvey who as far as I know is no relative). Whether it worked or not is up for debate but the side-effects of the steroids were markedly less than before.

Unfortunately, working with her pain less successful. Back in module four we learnt some amazing techniques to manage pain and I did manage to persuade Rachael to let me work with her. The problem was that the more we worked the greater the pain became and the less she could cope. Overlaid onto this is that one of the few symptoms which let her know if her condition has worsened and needs attention, is the pain itself. It is a vital warning sign. Without it she may suffer harm. This makes managing her own pain relief a tricky topic.

She needs the confidence to know she can switch any pain relief on or off when she needs and that she won’t inadvertently mask underlying and important symptoms. As her medication does no more than mask the pain, she can rely on this to fulfil the task in the way she needs. Because of all this and my own inexperience, I left the next move entirely up to her as she needs to make the decision herself as to whether to use hypnotherapy for pain relief.

That was then.

Two days ago she had another bout of severe pain. The usual tactics, including her opioid analgesics weren’t working and Gill tried persuading her to let me work with her. At this point I was going through my usual internal conflict of wishing I could step in whilst also giving her the space she needs, standing apart and trying to engross myself in whatever else was going on at the time. This time the whatever else was Knight and Day, a movie I had yet to watch which is quite unusual for once, so there was definitely a small part of me assuming that Rachael wouldn’t be up for it and I’d finally get to watch a movie that had been on my watch list but had never got high enough up for me to want to part with actual cash for the privilege. As I said, trivial but distracting.

Then Rachael decided that now was indeed the time.

Everything changed. I was working with a confidence that came from having had success managing chronic pain with my volunteer clients. She was still very sceptical but at least she was willing to try.

Hypnotic trance comes with a fixation on a particular thought or sensation. A focus that blurs the link between the conscious and the unconscious, removing the filtering of input and allowing a more direct communication. The trance doesn’t need to be deep, just deep enough.

Rachael’s fixation, her point of focus was, of course, her pain.

Make the pain the centre. That must mean that everything which isn’t the centre, isn’t the pain. If it isn’t the pain, it can relax without affecting the pain. If the pain isn’t under threat, it doesn’t fight back, get worse. It just is. Eventually, all that is left is the centre of the centre. Drop through that and there’s nothing. A kind of truce.

With nothing left, her body decided that it needed rest. She fell asleep before I’d finished. I let her quietly sleep for two hours and then, at midnight, we got her up and into bed. She remembered nothing at all until she woke later.

Of course, for Rachael the hypnotherapy was now cast as just plain weird. The apparent loss of control was too much, falling asleep recalling nothing. I pointed out that her meds would have kicked at that point and that I nothing I had done had hypnotised her into memory loss. Of course again, this just meant that it must have been the meds and not the hypnotherapy which had done all the work. We’ll never know which was more potent or effective.

For me, whether the hypnotherapy was the cause of the relief or not is irrelevant. All I care about is that she was hurting and her meds hadn’t worked. I talked to her for twenty minutes and she slept comfortably right through the night.

With sufficient practice, she could replicate this at will for herself.

I’m intending to replicate it at will for a living.

Bring on 2013.

I’m ready.

and the clouds parted © Tony Burkinshaw 2012

and the clouds parted
© Tony Burkinshaw 2012

Oh my God! It’s 1984…

There seem to be two trends in Yuletide blogging for 2012. The first is a recap of the respective blogger’s adventurous achievements during the year and the second is a variety of musings on the topic of the end of the world and the accuracy of Mayan prediction.

I’m more than happy to leave the second one to work itself out and propose to jump skilfully past it by writing this post early and scheduling it to publish at 9.30 a.m. on Saturday 22nd December 2012. If it did publish and you’re sitting here on Saturday morning reading it, then either the Mayans were wrong, you’re an alien or more likely, interpretations of the implications of the end of the Mayan Calendar sequence were quite simply way over the top and worthy of the exaggerative tendencies of modern media.

If you’re not reading this, then maybe the world did end as per. Even more likely though, you quite simply don’t know that this post is here and are happily getting on with your pre-Christmas weekend, [please be aware that other good religious/non-religious Festivals are available], blissfully unaware that there is a sentence in this post specifically written for people who will never read it. Unless the Mayans were right and all of this post was inadvertently written for multiple unseeing eyes.

In terms of achievements there have been quite a few, at least in my eyes, which are still all-seeing for the moment, although those who’ve achieved these same achievements before me probably just see them as steps on the road. For me, the journey has not long begun and there’s still a heck of a way to go.

So, where to start? I’m told that lists work well in blogs and as I’ve not used one yet, now seems as good a time as any.

In no particular order;

My Pre/Post End-of-the-World Top Ten list

  1. I got published yesterday! Only in a small way, but I’m still chuffed to bits. The Quest Institute has published the very first issue of its quarterly e-zine  ‘Perception‘. As far as I know, this is the only therapy magazine focussing on the public as its readership. Check it out. It’s really good, not least because I have an article in it!
  2. I passed my Hypnotherapy Practitioner Diploma, which has been a recurring theme of this blog, so the World had better watch out if it survives.
  3. I created a Facebook page for the blog which now has 49 likes. Not a huge number but I’m still proud of the fact that it’s growing steadily. Feel free to join in. There’s a button to click over to your right…
  4. I have readers in 40 countries! I have no idea how you all found out about me but you’re very welcome!
  5. Nearly 2,000 views since the blog began in August. By the time you read this, I hope to have surpassed the 2,000 mark. It is actually 1984 at the time of writing, lending itself neatly to the title spot in this post and allowing a literary and musical reference to appear in one go, albeit that neither author of the aforementioned title actually used their real names. Maybe I should go all pseudonyminal as well. Apparently my daughter’s friends are calling me Tony Snake-Eyes – what do you think?
  6. Over 1,000 view from the UK alone. Now this makes sense as I live in the UK but as WordPress is international, how does anyone else know where I live?
  7. Over 130 readers are now following the blog on WordPress. This is one that I am especially proud of. The face that so many of you like what I’m writing enough to want to find out when I publish something new is pretty damn inspiring. Thank you.
  8. Not directly connected to the blog but I have finally joined in with Social Media. I now have 71 Twitting followers and 260 Facebooking friends. I’m thinking of becoming a cult. (Is that something I need therapy for?)
  9. My best ever viewing day was last Thursday, when for no apparent reason, the blog got 90 views. Somehow loads of my previous posts were picked up and read by someone(s). If I could replicate that, this blog would really take off.
  10. Probably the most inspiring of all is that I have found volunteers to help me practice the skills I’ve spent the last 3 months telling you about. I’ve helped people overcome hayfever, chronic back pain, migraines, neck pain, shoulder pain and more. Somehow, when people talk to me and I talk to them… they get better. If you’d like to join in, I’m turning professional next year!

Anyway, assuming that the Mayans let us get there in one piece, 2013 is looking good. Why not keep in touch and let’s see how we all get on?

I'm listening...© Tony Burkinshaw 2012

Keep talking…
© Tony Burkinshaw 2012


Time to change lanes…

I’m now fully in transition mode although I can’t yet tell if this is metamorphosis or hemimetaboly. For those lacking an entomological education, that’s the difference between a full blown change of body type, (caterpillar to butterfly), and a final maturity phase, (dragonfly nymph to dragonfly). Strangely, for those that know me and suspect that a final maturity is way beyond me, I favour the hemimetabolism route combining my alter ego’s talents with my newly won skills and knowledge as a qualified Cognitive Hypnotherapist. Well, qualified in every sense other than actually having the certificate – that’s January’s welcome to 2013.

I know too much to let go completely and the Yorkshireman in me recognises that the ability to earn should never be put down lightly. Much as I’d like to walk away from the highly regulated world of Financial Services at some point, experience and knowledge together with a knack of cutting through the rubbish to get to the core issue places me firmly in the mix for reasonably well rewarded short term contracting. That world is moving on again next year as the latest layer of regulatory influence comes into effect and most of the upgrading of knowledge and qualification beds in. Of course this means that the numbers who require further learnings, tuition and assessment diminish rapidly and a new emphasis is sought by those who provide that ubiquitous CPD of modern professionalism.

One thing I do know about the world of prolific regulation, nothing stays the same for long. With a new regulating body about to birth, you can be pretty sure that another layer of attainment will be required of the qualified adviser in the none-too-distant. And yet another round of learning and development which requires, well, me. Hopefully.

There is a problem though. As you may be realising from these multi-posts, I’ve developed a cacoethes for Cognitive Hypnotherapeutic blogging although to be fair, given the nature of the therapy, it’s probably more healthy than the phrase may imply. There is a part of me that would cheerfully ditch the world of my alter ego and step gleefully into an unknown future reliant solely on the premiss that if you have to succeed or starve, then you can only choose to succeed. This sounds exciting. But then so does bungy jumping and parachuting and I don’t do adrenalin overdose. I can almost hear those Cognitive colleagues spreading their hands in preparation to squash their visuals.

Why jump out of a perfectly serviceable aeroplane with nothing but a piece of silk or indeed an adrenalin junky strapped to your back? Leave the do or die risks until you truly need to do or die. It’s a maxim that’s served me well so far. How do I know? In true behavioural psychology fashion, I’m still here aren’t I? I neither did nor died. What better proof do I need. It’s on such fundamental complex equivalence that the future of all therapy is assured.

Fast forward to the Festive season. It always arrives sooner than I expect and leaves me feeling under-prepared to enjoy myself to the fullness that is customary at this jolly time of year. Under-preparation seems to haunt me in December. There is always more work to be done than I plan for. That gentle drawing to a close that others seem to find leaves me wondering how come I’m always on a sprint finish as the year draws to a close. I leave well thought out gaps in my diary which I know I can fill with trips to see family, shopping for presents, buying the obligatory feast worthy fare and taking pre-emptive jaunts down to the gym, trying to get ahead of the crowd that always turn up in January. Somehow it never happens in the gentle way I feel it should.

In my own customary style, even though I am working less than I was two years ago, I am still managing to fill my diary much more fully than I had anticipated. Yet again, I’m trying to catch my breath as we speed towards roast turkey and indigestion. I’ve yet got to don that ancient hunting mantle and sally forth on the dangerous quest to track down a suitable tree to decorate in our traditionally eclectic style. To be fair though, we always wait until Rachael has had her birthday, especially as it was so auspiciously dated day this year, falling as it did on 12/12/12 and we all wonder whether Christmas will really arrive at all or were the Mayans right and the turkeys will all be free again.

So where am I in that headlong rush to a new future? Well, assuming that those indigenous South Americans were off the mark or possibly just lazy when it came to writing calendars that outlasted their civilisation by a mere 700 years, then I’m on course to start helping actual clients during January 2013. Watch out world, here I come, albeit quietly. I’m aiming for a soft launch, as my erstwhile marketing colleagues liked to call it. I’ll storm onto the therapy stage by quietly taking up position and gently working to generate a client base. If all goes according to plan, it’ll look like I’ve been there for a while and you just didn’t notice how good I was before.

I’ve managed to develop a background e-presence, of which you are all a vital part and you have my thanks for joining in and hopefully enjoying the joining in whilst you’ve been doing it with me, so to speak. With the slowly increasing blog community followers, now up to a stunning one hundred and twenty three, which I still don’t quite believe and a smaller but growing Twitterati clan of 67, there won’t just be a Website when I get searched. By Google that is, not some random nightclub doorman from past Christmas frivolity. Hopefully, if all this goes to plan I help prospective clients to avoid that e-nyctalopia that occurs when you look someone up on the web and only find one reference.

Sometimes you need that extra light that shines from multiple results in order to get noticed at all and although I’m unlikely to generate the sort of controversy reserved for proposals for the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square I am taking care that what I write, whilst mentally provocative is not actually controversial. My biological conclusions have been called into question though, being described as ‘frankly wacko’ by, oddly enough, Frank. I really hope you’re still reading these posts Frank, as someone has to keep me on my toes and I reckon you’re the best man for the job.

I have a draft of the text of my not-yet-website home page. My advertising guru, the aforementioned Rachael, thinks it’s pretty near the mark and has started encouraging me on other pages and promotional ideas. Katherine is starting work on the site itself so with luck and good nepotistic judgement we should arrive sometime during January, partially fledged and straying from the nest formerly known as The Quest Institute.

The future is out there, beckoning. I might just jump.

Will it last? © Tony Burkinshaw 2012

Will it last?
© Tony Burkinshaw 2012

* This week’s post featured Guest Words from Mike, Chrissie, Helen and Victoria. Thank you for your help?

If you have an idea for a guest word for next week’s post, either leave a comment below, on my Facebook Page or just send me a Tweet.

Same time next week?

Over 1000 views from the UK !

I’ve just reached over 1000 views from the UK alone

Many Thanks, I’m really pleased and grateful for your support! It feels like an early Xmas present and it’s good to get there before the Mayan calendar runs out!

Just so you are up to date:

  • 1712 views in total
  • 38 countries
  • 115 WordPress followers
  • over 200 likes
1712 views38 countries

38 countries

Waiting for the end of the World?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Between us we can build the perfect rocking chair.

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

New beginnings© Tony Burkinshaw 2102

New beginnings
© Tony Burkinshaw 2102