Special offer on ‘Now’

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

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

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

It’s all a matter of taste.

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s like that with emotions.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Live life in the moment…

LINKS

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

Related Post: Be Mindful of what you know

Mindfulness mp3

Keeping It All Inside
© Tony Burkinshaw 2014

 

Embracing the word of work?

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

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

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

Apologies, one and all.

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

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

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

But turn up it did.

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

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

There seems to be a mismatch somewhere. An imbalance.

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

Occasionally, though, this is not the case.

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

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

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

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

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

Getting yourself properly aligned can work miracles.

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

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

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

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

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

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

And for the first time in a while…

…I’m back.

hypnosis mp3

No more work…
© Tony Burkinshaw 2014

 

Related Links to interesting things…

Cognitive Hypnotherapy & Quest

Tony Burkinshaw Cognitive Hypnotherapy

 A damn fine meditation mp3…