One step beyond

I ran 5k three days ago. For the first time in many weeks I found enough time and energy, on the same day, to actually return to the gym. One step at a time, I ran 5k.

I thought I’d be struggling far more than I did, especially as it seems that I’m carrying around one or two more bags of sugar than last time I was there. Never mind.

I’m so tired that a good night’s sleep seems to make it worse, ramming home even more just how long all this has been going on.

Perhaps it’s time to call it a day; package everything up and rename it as the Past.

Perhaps it’s time to begin the future.

Another chapter. A different phase of the story I tell myself.

Life from another perspective.

I hope it involves sleep.

Anxiety

That’s not random
© Tony Burkinshaw 2013

Tears and Tantrums

This one might stay with me. I’m not sure if I want to publish how I feel right now, which is a little weird because that means this 100 words a day habit could end up being a journal and that’s something I’ve never understood the point of.

Until now, I guess.

Prognosis has moved three times in the last 24 hours so in terms of rolling with the punches, I’ve given up. This is more about how hard can you get hit and still get up again.

And again.

In large part the determination comes because I have a choice. It isn’t actually happening to me, it’s happening to Rachael. I’m just playing a supporting role.

Sometimes the cracks appear and it’s time for tears and tantrums.

Sometimes they’re not cracks at all and it’s time to let the emotions out to play until the pent up pressure is released.

Yet again, the final answer is surgery next week.
Or perhaps not.

Ah well. Publish and be damned.

what's down there... © Tony Burkinshaw 2012

what’s down there…
© Tony Burkinshaw 2012

Coughs and sneezes

I’ve been fighting a cold for 3 days and now that it’s at its peak, the central-heating’s packed up. Typical.
According to theory, this is an opportunity.

Really?

Difficulties are easy to find. My immediate challenge? I have to keep away from my hospitalised daughter. Heavily immunosuppressed, a cold ridden parent does not a welcome visitor make. Tough but there you are. Gill’s having to take it all on. Again.

What’s love got to do with it? Every damn thing.

Anyway in the work/cold balance of the last few days, I decided to let the slight-edge habits drift. And to keep doubling them up so that I would be on back track as soon as practicable.
It could have been the start of a long-term slide but in accepting it as my decision, the responsibility stays firmly in my own backyard and I keep control.

As it turns out, a bad cold (trust me, it’s pretty nasty) is an opportunity to practice. It provides essential feedback. An opportunity to find out whether I’m at least a little serious about my intention to be in charge of my own fate.
To accept the risk that I might fail despite my best efforts.
To take the risk that I might succeed even though I don’t know what success looks like yet.

And the upshot of all this?
Well, to paraphrase a good book:

Feel the Sneeze…
And do it anyway.

It isn't easy © Tony Burkinshaw 2013

It isn’t easy
© Tony Burkinshaw 2013

…and the plumber turned up in good order. We have heat.

Plan? What plan?

I love it when new learnings lend themselves to practical issues. (Note the nominalisation, a concept my spell check still struggles with).

Complex therapy took place today.

Not the event itself, rather the immense internal barriers to a meaningful reframe. So with new found skills in hand, a neat segway into gestalt flowed seamlessly into words being spoken and forgiveness being freely offered and accepted.

It was really interesting to watch the therapy unfold as it followed apparently carefully planned off-the-cuff statements linking directly into the brains unconscious algorithms. When the time for resolution, the barriers simply had no option but to collapse and allow the reframe in.

Sunshine and light.
Calm where there used to be broken chaos and hate.

I love it when a plan comes together.

And it wasn’t even my plan?

pain relief mp3

Somewhat Zen
© Tony Burkinshaw 2014

The Choice Option

There’s a glimpse of sunshine. Perhaps two.

Option 1:

Here we go again. Dare to hope or hunker down and wait for the punch that’s always turned up so far.
Every time it’s improved, it’s turned around and slapped us.
Hard.
It’s beyond us. Out of our control.
Life just keeps on happening to us.

Option 2:

Every time it felt like we can’t carry on, there’s been hope. Something has come along and lifted our spirits. A new fact. Uncovering a way of looking at the problem, which gives pause for thought. Get’s the medics thinking again. Trying something new. Adjusting the balance.
Whatever comes along, we’re up to it.
We have to be.
No. It’s more than that.
We choose to be.

External Locus of Control vs. Internal Locus of Control

Simple.
Not easy.

I’ve made my choice.

Enough said.

It's a delicate balance © Tony Burkinshaw 2013

It’s a delicate balance
© Tony Burkinshaw 2013

The Certificated Wizard

Maybe the tides have turned. For the first time in many weeks, we had a day in the same city. The hospital visit was only 15 minutes away and we even had the space to walk into town for a well-earned coffee/Panini. The sun was shining.

Not only that, since 9.30 there’s only been us in the house. We might even make it to the pub this evening.

On a different note, I’m considering a re-think on the Slight Edge habits. It’s come to my attention that I’m not feeding my Humour & Playfulness key character strength sufficiently well.

Jan, god love her, sent my Master Practitioner Certificate with a fun twist playing on my daughter’s conviction that I’m now officially a wizard. It exercised my playful instincts as I sadly realised that I’m not the kind of therapist who’d have a Wizard Certificate on his wall. Not in this universe anyway.

With the limits of playfulness duly stretched and tested, it occurs to me that I’ve stopped listening to music. So I’m writing this post listening to Uptown Special at reasonable volume on the Mac. I forget how much difference it can make.

So if I decide to switch one of my Slight Edge habits for listening to out-loud music, which should it be? In no particular order, here they are. One of them has to make room:

  • Read 10 pages of something interesting
  • Meditate for at least 10 minutes
  • Exercise: raised heart rate for at least 5 minutes (I’m starting from a low base again)
  • Write 100 words or more
  • Keep a list of the day’s positive events

Which one gets shouldered out of the way so I can get to the front once more?

My life needs more noise.

stress anxiety depression

just waiting for the Pizza
© Tony Burkinshaw 2013

Gill just came up and closed the door…

Yoda, Tears & Time Travel

Role reversal is always interesting but when it’s an AD/K reversal it seems that the K demands more than one tear. It was time for hugs and more than one tissue.

Unheard of.

Yet again the brief respite was all too brief and the improvement turned out to be illusory. It’s hospital time again. At least this time we were able to use the respite to move her across country and she’s now only 15 minutes away. Two and a half hours each way had taken its toll.

In theory it was simply a visit to reconnect with the old Consultant once more to ensure continuity of care. They took one look and it was back to A&E. Yet another episode of Emergency Ward 10, for those who are old enough to remember.

On the other hand, I’ve made a discovery. We’ve been talking at cross purposes for a little while and it’s been really frustrating. I should know better and ought to have been able to think my way past it. In itself that was a signal. If I couldn’t think past it, it was more than likely an emotional barrier.

I even found myself recognising the limiting belief (well you’d hope so, I just got my Master Practitioner qualification, so in theory I have some skill in this arena).

I discovered myself thinking that now I had uncovered the belief, I possessed sufficient skill to try to find the way past it.

That got me going. Try.

Yoda turned up again, as he does when someone says Try.

Try not.

Do. Or Do Not.

There is no Try.

So armed with Jedi wisdom, I let the reframe in.

I have sufficient skill to find the way past it.

I haven’t yet worked out the how but given that I’m good at Age Progression and mental time-travel I know that when the time comes, as come it surely will, I’ll be standing exactly where I need to be.

I'm listening... © Tony Burkinshaw 2012

I’m listening…
© Tony Burkinshaw 2012

Journey’s End?

It occurs to me that the course last the weekend may contain more benefit than I had imagined. Even though life is more than full of its unfair share of challenges, I’ve still warily taken on, in a semi-volunteering style, the role of leader for the next period of putting learning into practice until the start of the module that I’m not certain I’ll be attending.

In itself this is an improvement because until recently, I was certain that I wouldn’t be attending it at all.

Anything more than nothing is progress.

Not only that, I posted yesterday’s 100 word habit on my PostsOfHypnoticSuggestion blog and got back comments from bloggers I’ve not heard from since writing went by the wayside just as last year’s turbulence hit.

It was really nice to know I’d been missed.

It seems that the end of my journey to Master Practitioner could be the start of something more than a qualification.

pain relief mp3

Somewhat Zen
© Tony Burkinshaw 2014

A Waste of Learning Space?

One of the most common issues I come across whilst coaching professionals in enhanced Learning Skills is a tendency to create copious volumes of notes. As a learning technique, it’s counter-productive and quickly overloads the brain.

There is another way.

Voluminous note-taking is a technique I often used before I learned how the human brain receives, stores and recalls information. Like many others, I would make detailed notes, brighten them up with judicious use of highlighter pens, realise that there was still too much information to learn and proceed to make notes of my notes. I think I expected the act of writing and rewriting to embed the knowledge for me.

In the end my brain would jump up and down and protest, insisting it was an impossible task and why can’t we take a break and go for a coffee.

It seems that there are two common drivers for this route to tortuous revision;

  • We’re taught at school that using too much paper is wasteful (and these days leads to global warming). We’re encouraged to leave as little white space as possible – it’s a visual representation that we have to ‘cram the knowledge in for exams’.
  • A more elusive driver is the fear that if it isn’t in our notes, we’ll miss that one vital piece of information which makes the difference between a Pass and a Fail. If it’s in the book, it has to be in the notes.

Paradoxically, our brain is beautifully designed to collect, store and retrieve information. We do it all day, every day. Our children are experts at it. Our brain loves learning so much that whilst we remain uninhibited by adulthood, we even call it play!

You see context is everything. We can remember pretty much unlimited amounts of information if that information has context and connections. The trouble is if we try to store more than 7 bits of information in one go, we hit overload. There are simply too many connections for us to hold in one place.

But we can store as many of these sets of 7 as we care to. If we create notes that contain only 7 pieces of information then each of those 7 can connect to 7 more, over and over again. In fact in only four layers of 7, you can effectively store over two thousand pieces of connected information in a way that your brain will be perfectly comfortable with. If you tried to cram that all into one long set of revision notes, you’d hit overload pretty damn quickly.

So if you want to create usable notes for effective learning, leave loads of white space and only have 7 key pieces of information on each page. You’ll use far more pieces of paper; but surely it’s more of a waste to write notes you’ll never learn than to write notes you’ll remember forever?

Like most core strategies, this is a simple concept but old habits can be hard to break, so if you’d like some help, get in touch. Enhanced Learning Skills are only a couple of clicks away…

Related:

Tony Burkinshaw Learning & Memory Coach: LinkedIn Profile

Tony Burkinshaw Learning & Memory Coach: Website

Study Skills

Effective connections

Kindness, Chaos & Satchmo

This could be good. Not only will you get the eponymous mash up triple bill, you’ll be thrown into the phenomenon of Origami Space Travel. Intrigued? Read on…

As you know, I write the random Acts of Kindness column for Perception, the Cognitive Hypnotherapy ezine and this particular missive was fun. I trust you’ll enjoy the ride.

Let’s kick off with a cliché.

When you’re smiling, the whole world smiles with you.

Clichés have cropped up more than once in this section and for good reason. Clichés become clichés because they’re phrases that somehow repeatedly best capture the moment and it’s rather pleasing to find out just how much this seems to be true out there in the land of reciprocating kindnesses and ever widening smiles.

This particular cliché comes from the classic song, ‘When You’re Smiling, (The Whole World Smiles With You)’. Apparently we have that renowned trio of songwriters Clay, Fisher & Goodwin to thank for penning this great piece of musicality. Of course without Louis Armstrong’s unique voice making it famous we may never have heard of it. He even managed to keep in line with our cliché theme because it was so good he did it twice. But then of course, as all Armstrong fans will know he went and recorded it again in 1959, so actually it was so good he did it thrice.

Whatever the case, this started me thinking and lead my tangential creativity to wander, (and it’s good to wonder, as all you Cog-Hyppies know). Just to make sure that this was absolutely going to happen, Editor Tina checked in and nudged me in the direction of Butterfly Effects and Chaos Theory.

So here we go: Chaos, Kindness and Satchmo. I did warn you…”

 

You can read the full article on page 14 of the following link: Perception ezine

Just in case you’re interested, you can jump straight to Origami Space Travel here: Click to Jump!

hypnotherapy mp3

Calmly chaotic
© Tony Burkinshaw 2014