silence

Why-Silence-is-So-Good-For-Your-Brain

A friend of mine, recently reminded me…

Silence isn’t empty;
If it were, we wouldn’t hear it so loudly

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who do we talk to?

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In today’s busy world, who is there to listen?

It seems all around the world ordinary people don’t feel heard by their politicians. The people they elect to listen and respond to concerns, to basic social needs, seem not to be listening. For large groups, the church might historically have offered an ear, but many no longer look that way.

There seems to be a void.

In extreme cases it seems terrorism and extremism offer a solution  but what about the masses? The everyday struggling human being seeking something more mainstream? Who will listen to them?

I wonder what new roles might emerge to fill the gap?

Is there a role for business? A role for health professionals? A role for charity? A role for new forms of social collective? A role for individuals?

Someone needs to listen. Society needs to listen.

We all need to be heard.

tortoise beats hare at top trumps

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At a recent coaching session, my client turned up late.  Having arrived, they immediately downloaded a lot of story.  This, that, this, that.  Fifteen minutes. I was overwhelmed by the speed and complexity of thought.  Momentarily disabled by a wave of recounted experience, judgement and self questioning by my client.

My client has a map drawn on a piece of paper.  We created it several sessions ago. It maps out their pattern of stuckness. The behaviours, thoughts, feelings, values which interconnect to create how they are.

I asked them to bring it out so that we might look at it again. We notice the pattern repeating in their story that began the session.

I then notice that there is a pattern in our coaching. We have been here before. We meet in the same room. My client, although not usually late, begins with a high octane cognitive download of what has been happening, their difficulties, their thinking and judgements of self. By the end of the session, they are calmer. They are more balanced and more present in what is true for them. Less in their busy head. Then they go out into the world and return a few weeks later so that this pattern can repeat, alongside their mapped pattern of being.

We have talked previously about mindfulness.  My client has a book. They have attended some sessions with a qualified practitioner. My client accepts they are useful, but has found it hard to find the time in their busy world. Irony of ironies.

I tell my client we need to break the coaching pattern.  So I offer the opportunity for them to practice their mindfulness now, without me. They look taken aback. I leave the room.

I return some minutes later.  Already they are calmer.  I invite them to walk with me.  My client sets off out of the building at pace. I walk with them but slightly slower, drawing them back a little. I explain we are going to be mindful walking for just 30 seconds, then talk. Then mindful for thirty seconds, then talk.

We practice paying attention to the physical movement of limbs as we walk. Then we talk about the experience and its relationship to their pattern. Then we walk noticing how sound and light are around us. Then we talk about the experience and its relationship to their pattern. Then we walk noticing the sound of footsteps and explore correlation to heartbeat. My client puts their hand on their chest and calibrates. Then we talk about the experience and its relationship to their pattern.  Walking the talk.

Throughout, my client walks more and more slowly. Bit by bit. Finally we pause and notice this.

Returning to the room to end the session, my client is completely different. Their experience as they reflect on the map, still on the table, is more deep, more profound, more embodied. They remain slow.

They have quietened their thinking. They have more awareness. They can see what needs to be done. They know they can achieve mindfulness in many ways in just a few moments. They discover motivation. And… they aren’t bombarding my senses with cognitive verbiage.

A top trumps victory on all fronts.  Tortoise beats hare.

 

the mischievous monster in your head

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Roald Dahl’ first children’s book was The Gremlins.

The term gremlin refers to an imaginary mischievous sprite lurking in the electrics. World War II pilots coined the phrase when their engines, mechanics or electronics developed unexpected faults. In Dahl’s book, written in the 1940s, the gremlins’ motivation for sabotaging aircraft is revenge for the destruction of their forest home, which was razed to make way for an aircraft factory.

As human beings, neurons in our brains fire electrical impulses. This is how we think.

Often however, we have glitches in our own electrics; our thinking engines. For many of us, annoying little programmes have infiltrated our thinking process. This unwanted code, this inner voice, runs despite our wishes. The inner voice becomes a habit. It becomes something we routinely tell ourselves, in our heads. This self talk sabotages us. Derails us. Causes us to detour or to crash land. Often these little subroutines of code take the form of “I can’t…”, “I shouldn’t…”, “If only…”, “I’m not good enough to….”. They are self judgements and limiting beliefs.

The familiar friends of these little inner voices, the ones who speak up most regularly, become our gremlins. Mischievous little sprites lurking in our thinking.

In Roald Dahl’s book, the gremlins are persuaded to change their habits and are retrained to repair aircraft rather than sabotage them.

Maybe we need a gremlin retraining school?

 

 

the pain of living and the drug of dreams

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T. S. Eliot wrote in his Animula poem of ‘the pain of living and the drug of dreams.’

Dreams can be like that, can’t they? Addictive.

And like a drug, somehow drawing us away from reality. Taking us to another world.

We speak of them quite lightly. We talk about such things as ‘our dream holiday’, ‘my dream job’. We speak about ‘a dream house’ or ‘a dream car’.

Dreaming about material things seems easy. Dreaming about things we might do, almost as easy.

Dreaming about who we want to be, often harder. So we avoid it. For the most part.

We  just plough on with life. With living. Same routines. Same thoughts. Same feelings. Same pain.

But dreams bring about change. Dreams inspire. Dreams provide hope. Dreams enable. Dreams motivate. Dreams create reality.

What I dream matters and for that moment the world exists that way

Benjamin Zander

can you imagine…?

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What if Brussels sprouts were square?
What if turkey meat was blue?
What if parsnips tasted of coconut?

Believable things? Maybe, maybe not. But you can imagine them.

What if next Christmas you were more aware of what you do and why?
What if next Christmas you knew your purpose in life, why you are here?
What if next Christmas you understood more about your unconscious beliefs and motivations; what made some things possible and some things hard for you?

What if knowing these things gave you more choice, more freedom, more joy?

Imagine that.

Merry Christmas

image by t1na (deviantart.com)