once upon a time…

illuminateddandelion.com

We love stories.

Not just stories told in books, or on film, or in conversation. We love our stories about ourselves.

We don’t speak them out loud often. We don’t act them out on stage or on screen. We don’t share them with the world, in our workplace or at home. Rather we tell them to ourselves. Quietly. So quietly they are merely whispers. To those around us, these stories have no discernible words, no beautifully drawn pictures to admire, no compelling narrative to hook our attention, no plot, no beginning or end.

Instead the stories play out in our thinking, in how we behave, in how we are in the world. They show up in what is possible and what limits us. They control us. They become a self fulfilling prophecy. We become the actor, the main character in our pastiche of ourselves.

And we run our stories over and over. Day in day out. Week in week out. Inside.

Your past is just a story…
and once you realise this, it has no power over you

Chuck Palahniuk

What we need is freedom from the story of our past.
Freedom to write a new story of our future.

does every question..?

questions

Does every question have a presupposition?

Well it seems that one does. It’s worded to suggest they do. It presupposes all questions, without exception. It presupposes you know what a question is, or a presupposition indeed.

Some coach colleagues and I were discussing this. Playing a game if you like. Who can come up with a question that is presupposition free? We couldn’t.

Even the simplest questions do.  For example, ‘When?’  The question presupposes you have a language for date and time. It presupposes you know what I’m talking about in relation to ‘when?’. It presupposes that I want to know, that you know, and that you want to tell me.

So if every question has a presupposition (and I welcome suggestions of ones which don’t), does that mean that we, the questioner, have a view, a plan, a judgement, a perspective even before we phrase the question? Maybe conscious, maybe outside our awareness?

Does it mean that the question is really in service of us?

The questioner’s need. Could it be that it’s about confirming our prejudice, our view as the questioner? Or could it be about filling in our gaps in knowledge, or about extending our knowing? Or about confirming our map of the world; fitting your world in, for congruence? Or about our belonging or our sense making?

We think of questions as ways in which we expand the perspective of those we throw them at, but maybe they are instead a means to reaffirm our already held perspectives?

 

coned off mentally

 

image

Last week we were in London. We sat near the river. In front of us was an area of grass, taped off so that it could recover from its well worn state – presumably picnickers, sunbathers and walkers like us had rendered the grass threadbare. To the side, was an area marked off by linked metal barriers – the kind that are used for crowd control. Behind this protection were some pallets of building materials, a pile of some sort of mixed aggregate, some bags of waste and general rubbish – an adjacent building site suggested its purpose. Later we saw a newly laid concrete pathway, blocked by traffic cones, linked with tape.

Cones, barriers and tape to block areas off where we shouldn’t go. Areas that are out of bounds.

Do you think it’s like that in our heads too?

Memories marked out as ‘no go’ areas. Blocked by our unconscious mind as it considers them dangerous places, where we might get hurt; just like a building site. Our subconscious taping off parts of our personal history that need to be left to recover, like a worn out lawn; vulnerable, fragile and otherwise exposed. New experiences coned off, whilst we make sense of them, give them perspective and meaning; allowing them to set into our map of the world like newly laid concrete pathways.

 

the discombobulation of Monday…

patterns

Today I have been discombobulated.

I feel a visit to the Recombobulation unit is required.

Bank Holiday Mondays do this.  A longer weekend, a shorter working week, my internal calendar all askew and confused.  Tomorrow should be Tuesday but it’s Wednesday.

Patterns in our lives, conscious and unconscious – we cannot escape them. Somehow I am conditioned to believe today is Monday, because I have returned to work.

When is a pattern constraining and when is it useful?  The pattern of the week helpfully allows me to unconsciously orient myself, but what do I lose? Do we lose sight of possibilities, tied down by the pattern? Does a pattern that becomes a habit make us lazy, rigid, stuck?  Maybe there are many more unseen patterns in our lives, driving us down certain pathways?

Recombobulate.  Recombobulate. Recombobulate.

Now I’m a Dalek !

the curse of three

teaspill

I threw a cup of tea over myself today.

This afternoon I nearly did it again, but this time only a few splashes landed on the same shirt I had dried out only hours earlier.

That completes the curse of three. Earlier this week I tripped on the stairs carrying a tea without a lid and the hot tea cascaded over my hand, burning me, as well as creating a slip hazard on the stairs, which I limply attempted to mop up with the remains of a toilet roll from a nearby facility.

Three teas – one week.  Impressive huh?  They say ‘bad luck comes in threes’.  I don’t know who ‘they’ are in that sentence.  But whoever ‘they’ are, that’s what ‘they’ say.

I wonder if, unconsciously, the existence of that ‘rule’ creates the reality. Having spilled a tea, does my brain go – hang on a minute, one isn’t enough, we need to comply with the curse of three rule?  Let’s make the body stumble twice more, that way this dope can continue to believe in that rule about bad luck coming in threes…

I wouldn’t put it past my head to do that.

Or maybe it’s a form of that thing we call confirmation bias?  The notion that I will notice only the things that confirm my beliefs or hypotheses. Maybe dropping my first tea creates a hypothesis that I’m getting clumsy or a belief that teas without lids are dangerous?  So I notice the other two tea incidents. Maybe there was a fourth episode or a near miss I’ve somehow deleted?

Anyhow… everything is fine now.  In case you cared.

I have done it thrice. My curse of three is done.  I now believe it won’t happen again, so whether it be confirmation bias, or the bad things rule, I’m done.

Cuppa anyone?

work or play?

image

I must finish my work before I can play

or

I can play anytime I like

Which of these is more you?

Often when I ask a room of people to make their choice, the room divides.

Those choosing the former, talk of not being able to enjoy their relaxation or play until the work is done. The list of jobs needs to be ticked off. Completing the work is in itself enjoyable. The play is a reward for completing the work. They sometimes mention responsibility or duty.

Those choosing the latter, talk of performing better when they have had down time, play or relaxation. They speak of choice. They describe making work into play, to increase their enjoyment.

Occasionally someone stands between the two, recognising a different stance in different circumstances, such as work or home.

I’ve never experienced someone not knowing.

I don’t recall the lesson in school where we learned this? I don’t recall the conversation with mum or dad, where they explained the pros and cons or the virtues of each approach?

It seems we just know. Somehow in life, we have learned through experience. That learning is often so well ingrained we don’t even see a possible alternative. It just is.

There are many opposites like this, not just work and play, where we have a position, a life stance. Many, I suspect, we have never been consciously taught which is best, we have just absorbed this into our existence, our way of being.

Weird eh? Enabling sometimes, disabling at other times. Strange that such life impacting choices seem invisible, out of conscious awareness. They just are.