Learning To say No…and Yes…And No….

 

killer-duck

(‘I Quit– Episode 3)

So I had quit everyday life, gone home and put up the do not disturb sign.

I had created a space for myself. Phew….

Knock, Knock. Ring, Ring…

It began almost at once and came usually in the form of those irritating and pressure-laden “question-mark words”..why? when? what if….??? followed by helpful (doom-laden) unsolicited advice delivered with just a tiny undertone of judgement to help get me back on track…. Toot!!

I realised I had to learn how to defend my “Telene Space” and to protect myself from everything and everyone “out there” who wanted to pull me back into the collective comfort zone…. (where everyone wears sensible shoes and carries umbrellas for rainy days.)

I could not bring the outside in with me. In essence, I had to create a sanctuary for myself without the pressure, (no matter how well-meaning.)

After all, I could do pressure well enough from the inside, thank you very much.

I had to change both how I thought and the way in which I did things and I couldn’t do that with society’s “shoulds “ raining all over me like lava bombs.

 

Hmmm. Defend the space. Time to select my weapons of choice…

Rotten tomatoes? (Fun but messy.)

Unleash the killer duck? (Nah, he was too busy loving everyone’s shoes.)

Good old avoidance-and-hope-they’ll-go-away? (I can only hide in here so long and pretend I’m not home..)

I had to step up and to learn to speak up, to find my voice.

(Use your words Telene, use your words..)

Feeling a little bruised and vulnerable (with a fair smattering of “scared shitless” tossed in for good measure), I kept it simple. It became almost a survival strategy for those first few months and I made it a focus.

I practised learning two words: Yes and No.

Generally speaking, the Yes was for me and the No was for othersContinue reading

Creating A Space For Me – The Story Begins…

Gone fishing...

 

(“I Quit” Episode 1)

One day I woke up and decided that I was never going to go to “work” again.

Ever.

I guess most of us have toyed with that dream at some point or other, hiding under the blankets and spending a minute or two lost in a blissful fantasy world where words like boss and deadline and cheap office coffee don’t exist and imagining 500 creative ways to utter those two simple words that unlock the gate to liberty and freedom – I Quit.

But instead of following up with the usual Oh yeah, I wish, and getting up and putting the kettle on, this time I did something different…

 

It was the end of 2012 and my life was going wonderfully. Five years of hard work and my coaching/therapy practice had taken off. I had scored a couple of bonus days a week working with children in a great workplace.

I’d completed five more years of study and just finished an intensive (and expensive) 12 – month course (The Use Of Clinical Hypnosis In Strategic Psychotherapy – impressive huh?) that was about to launch me into bigger and better things.

In short, life had finally come together in all the right ways.

Just like I’d planned…. Continue reading

Are you Finite Or Infinite?

William Blake

 

 

We create our world and “who we are” through thinking.

There are two types of thinking – finite and infinite.

One is the thinking of limitation.

The other is the thinking of possibility….

 

We think our reality – we have beliefs and understandings around how the world works, how things are, how we see ourselves, how we think others see us and what our role in the world is. We have firm ideas about what is changeable and what is out of our hands.

 

Finite thinking is easy and familiar. It should be, after all, we’re trained to do it from birth.

When we think finitely we limit ourselves to what we know, what we are comfortable with and what we can logically understand.

Finite thinking fools us into believing we’re safe and secure by keeping us spoon-fed with what is trusted and true. It is structured by what is known, can be proven and is a fact.

It keeps us enclosed, encapsulated ……and imprisoned.

Finite thinking is rooted in fear. It is generated within the mind and it is driven by an ego that is desperately afraid of failure and of losing control.

It relies on the misconception that identity and beliefs are one and the same. Therefore, it feels threatened anytime its beliefs are challenged. Continue reading

What Is Truth?

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Truth is a funny thing.

It seems to be as malleable as plasticine, able to be bent and twisted into any shape we require. What is true one day can be found in the bottom of the trash bin the next. Truths we’ve held dear and built lives upon can come tumbling down like a house of cards with a mere puff of wind. A truth that seems as solid as rock can turn to dust beneath our feet.

So, how do we know what’s true and what’s not?

Quite often we believe something is “true” simply because it is convenient to do so. This “truth” fits our agenda and serves us in some way. It aligns with our story about ourselves and about others. It matches up with what we expect from ourselves or others.

We literally pick and choose our truths, keeping what fits and doubting or dismissing what doesn’t. Continue reading

The World Is Full Of People Who Will Tell You That You Can’t….

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I once found myself, through no fault of my own, in the way of a giant corporate organisation.

They told me to run.

I refused.

They were so big and powerful that they knew they could intimidate and bully – and get away with it.

They told me to give in or they would crush me like a walnut.

I said no, I was prepared to fight them.

They laughed and threatened to destroy me.

 

I sought help from a lawyer.

He laughed too, told me I was insane, charged me for the advice and went sailing….

 

I went searching. Everyone told me the same thing – give in, you can’t win.

I had to make a decision – to believe the “truth” that everyone knew as fact or to believe that I could do this.

One choice would make me a victim and the other would honour my integrity.

There was only one option for me.

 

I stood in front of them and called their bluff.

When they realised that I was serious they became irritated and began to push and shove.

The harder they pushed the firmer I stood.

Was I willing to lose everything I had? they shouted angrily.

You bet, I replied.

I was.

 

I kept searching and, with help, found the right people.

They were at the top of their field. I would have to borrow (lots) to pay their bill.

They heard me and believed in me.

I hired them.

 

The bully was most annoyed and very surprised. It brought in the big guns. It had to be very sure of itself now. I had become more than a simple irritation.

It offered a deal- the chance to walk away with something rather than risk it all.

I’ll take the risk, I said.

At the courtroom door they towered over me and said:

You may win the battle but you’ll never win the war….

 

I won the war.

 

The world is full of people who will tell you that you can’t.

They are wrong……

When you believe in yourself anything is possible.

 

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Climate Change? I Don’t Believe it…

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I’ve been fortunate over the last 6 months or so to have the opportunity to study with Michael Yapko  Ph.D.

Dr. Yapko is arguably the world’s foremost expert on hypnosis. He has made it his life’s work to uncover all there is to know about hypnosis and how it works. He has written the textbooks on teaching hypnosis and authored many other books.

Despite all of this, he is the first to tell you that the more he comes to discover about hypnosis, the more he realises how little he actually knows…It is a journey without an end point. Along the way he has had to constantly change his thinking in light of new evidence and scientific findings.

Hypnosis is an incredibly powerful tool. It allows people to make profound and lasting change. But the truth is, we are still a way off from understanding how hypnosis actually “works.”

It has been a challenging, enlightening and sometimes difficult experience of being thrown headfirst into a course as demanding as Yapko’s, especially when it has meant that a lot of ideas and facts that I held to be “true” have been turned upside down and inside out. (Some days my head feels like someone has taken an egg-beater to my brain!)

Some of my long-held beliefs have had to be tossed in the rubbish. Some things that I had been taught in the past were “100% fact” (and had passed onto others in good faith!) are simply untrue. Other old beliefs had to be mulled over for a period of time before I finally conceded that they too may be wrong…

(Then there are a few points we will agree to disagree on…and that’s okay too!!)

As I was reviewing some notes today and realising how much some of my “truths” have changed, I thought about how important it is to have flexibility in thinking. How important it is to be able to change your thinking in light of new information or new ways of seeing things- and of how so many of us are unable or unwilling to do so.

Sometimes we get so caught up with what we “believe” that it actually begins to become part of our identity, part of who we are. Sometimes our beliefs become so important to us that we cannot tolerate the thought of anyone not agreeing with us, of not “thinking like we do”. People who have views that do not match our own become threatening to us. We become more determined to hold onto our “truths”, to defend them and to keep them close.

It reminded me of a presentation I went to on climate change about 12 months ago. In our small group there were those who believed, those who disbelieved and those who were neutral on whether climate change existed as a phenomenon. Some held very strong views.

The professor who presented did not tell us at any stage what he believed but some had “guessed” and were already either resistant or supportive of him before we began! The professor simply shared information with us- some information took us in one direction, some in the other. We were able to ask questions, to clarify data and to discuss as a group. Each of us weighed up every piece of evidence for and against. One person however offered the same mantra which grew more and more strident and peturbed: “Well, I don’t believe in climate change and I never will!” By the end of the talk this person reminded me of a small child with their hands over their ears shouting “No, no I don’t want to hear that it’s my bedtime!!”

They identified as a “Climate Change Denier” and they were going to hold onto that no matter what. It was important to them.

When our group met a few months later each of us had experienced some sort of personal change in what we thought, what we saw happening and how we acted in relation to climate. We still all held different beliefs, although they were now not so far apart and they were all continually changing as each of us considered new evidence. The exercise had opened our minds. Even though we still had differing beliefs, all were open to the possibility of our viewpoints continuing to change in light of new information. Our “Climate Change Thinking” had become flexible.

All except one who was proud to announce “Well, I don’t believe in climate change and I never will!”

And in that, of course, they are 100% right.. :)