Tuesday, 21 November 2017

What is REALLY important?

Recently I heard the story of ‘The Velveteen Rabbit’ by Margery Williams Bianco for the first time, and it got me thinking about what is REALLY important in life.

Two toys in a nursery are having a conversation. The Skin Horse, who ‘had lived longer in the nursery than any of the others. He was so old that his brown coat was bald in patches and showed the seams underneath.’ And the Velveteen Rabbit, a newcomer to the nursery.

"What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day... The Skin Horse replies,
"Real ... is a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real." 

"Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit. 

"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt." 

"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," the Rabbit asked, "or bit by bit?" 

"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time .... Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand.”

We often fail to notice some of the most important things in life, like the connections and love we have with people, because we spend so much time thinking about stuff like how we look, or what people think of us. This is when it is worth asking “What is REALLY important here?”

I also thought about the fact that this is what this story is saying to me, today, but the last time I heard it I took a slightly different meaning from it. Stories are very powerful, partly because they mean whatever we need them to mean to help us at the time. What you take from this story might be very different from what I take from it, but just right for you.

By the way, the picture is of my niece’s much loved rabbit, which went everywhere with her for many years!

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Tips for getting things done

I used to be a great procrastinator, saying things to myself like “I really SHOULD write that email / go swimming / sort out those boxes”! However, I have learned lots about how easy it can be to get motivated, once you know how.

So often we unconsciously use ways to try and motivate ourselves that simply don’t work.
Do any of these sound familiar?

*   Scaring yourself with what will happen if you don't do it: eg "I will be fat and unhealthy if I don't exercise". It means you tend to experience lots of stress and bad feelings. Also, you don't spend much time thinking about what you do want in life so you may not have very clear goals.

It is a good idea to add in what you do want.

*   Being a Dictator: eg giving yourself orders (in your head) in a stern, unpleasant voice, or saying "have to" or ‘should’. Most people react by putting things off!

Instead you can use a pleasant, inviting voice to say things like "It will be nice / useful to ... " or "I really want to ..."

*   Imagining what it will be like to do something, instead of seeing it finished. This works well if what you are doing is fun, but not so well if it is something like washing up.

What happens when you think instead about what it will be like when the washing up is all done?

*   Overwhelming yourself: eg. "To paint the spare room I’ll have to clear everything out and I don’t know where to put everything and then I’ll have to buy the paint and then…. " It all seems too big and we tend to put off starting.

You can break it down by asking yourself "What is the first step?" If that is still too big, break that down too! Then notice and enjoy each little step you complete, so you are motivated to do the next one.

Friday, 21 July 2017

Lightning Process embroidery!

I was delighted and touched to receive this beautiful gift from a recent happy (and very skilled) Lightning Process client, Nilu Ahmed. In case you are wondering, the duck represents our natural ability to float and be buoyant in life (in both body and mind): we were born with it, we can re-find it within us. Thanks Nilu!

Martine McCutcheon talks about the Lightning Process

Here is an article about actress and singer Martine McCutcheon's experience of the Lightning Process.


Tuesday, 30 May 2017

“300 days after the Lightning Process I climbed Snowdon!”

This was the heading one of my clients sent me recently. She did the Lightning Process course for fibromyalgia, and transformed the chronic pain that she used to experience.

She continued;

“That’s not just climbing Snowdon, that’s climbing with a smile! I really enjoyed it. I felt strong and healthy and amazing.
Proof LP works if you work really hard. So many things have changed, and I’ve changed so many things, and I feel great for it. Looking forward to my next 300 days.”


Isn’t it amazing that something as real and physical as chronic pain can be changed? Yet pain consultants and researchers now know that most of what we used to think about pain is wrong. They have produced this fun and interesting 5 minute video for clients, which shows how much of an overlap there now is between the medical profession’s understanding of chronic pain and what the Lightning Process does.

As I say a little bit more about the “p” word, I am going to call it “sensation” instead. This is because our brain understands words one at a time, by imagining what each word means and then releasing chemical messages in response: so if I use a word a lot of times, that is a lot of possibly unhelpful messages about that subject whizzing round your body! Also, the majority of what I say applies equally well to other unhelpful sensations the body experiences, like tinnitus and vertigo.

The video explains that all sensation is experienced in the brain, and that beyond 3 – 6 months, any tissue damage has healed as far as it can be. Sensation’s purpose is to communicate – warn – so as to protect cells from damage, so long term sensation stops serving its original protective purpose. It has become more about the over-sensitivity of the nervous system. Sensation signals are being sent when there is no need for them. Our brain is trying to help us, but sometimes it gets it wrong. “To change it, you need to retrain the brain and the nervous system.”

And retraining the brain and nervous system is exactly what the Lightning Process is so good at helping you to do. This 2 minute video by Phil Parker about neuroplasticity and sensation shows this very simply. Neuroplasticity, by the way, is the way in which the brain changes in response to how it is used.

Monday, 8 May 2017

Learning to go automatic

I was staying in a friend’s house for a few weeks recently (getting away from builders!) and I noticed how, for the first couple of days, I had to really think about lots of things I normally do automatically: like reaching to the right cupboard for teabags. I realised again how much of our lives are run on automatic pilot, and how brilliant our brain is at putting things into automatic mode. This is great news for our ability to learn to be healthy and happy automatically.

Our brain does this because, research shows, our conscious mind can only focus on about 7 things at once. Ever tried to remember your shopping list if you have forgotten to take it to the shop? You might remember it all if there are only 5 things, less likely if there are 20! So our brain is very keen to put things into autopilot, because your unconscious mind can handle far far more than your conscious mind. Your automatic (unconscious) brain deals with things when you are not consciously focused on them: like breathing, driving or walking.

It is amazing how quickly you can learn to do something automatically. By the time I had been in that house 3 days, I had acquired hundreds of new automatic patterns, and my body knew where the teabags, sink and kettle were without needing to involve my conscious brain at all!

My mind and body learned these new automatic patterns because it made sense and seemed a helpful thing to learn. In the same way, when we decide to learn new ways to be healthy and happy, after a little bit of practise our brain gets the idea and carries on with them on autopilot.

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Get creative about what you want

When I ask people what they want in their lives, so often they say “But I don’t KNOW what I want!”

This is sometimes because we don’t realise that there are two stages to finding out what we want. First we need to access our creative, imaginative brain, and allow ourselves to explore possibilities and ideas. Then, AFTER we have done that, we bring in our logical, analytical brain and refine it, decide what is practical, plan, and problem solve.

Mostly when we are having difficulty with knowing what our goals are and achieving them, one of these stages is being missed out or not working properly.

For many people it is the creative, imaginative stage that gets missed out. When we ask ourselves “What would I love to do?”, immediately thoughts like these come up:
·         “That won’t work because....”
·         “You’ll never be able to do that.........”
·         “That sounds like it will take too much hard work / money”
·         “I haven’t got the skills........”
·         “Yes but.........”
·         “I can’t....”

Doing this is a bit like if you planted an acorn, then, as soon as a green shoot poked above the soil, you pulled it out because it didn’t look like an oak tree! Being reasonable and practical is a valuable skill, but it is only half the story.

Creativity and imagination are abilities we were all born with: just watch and listen to any small child playing! These abilities will still be within you, whether or not you feel like they are, and with a little bit of practise and uncovering you can remind yourself of them. I recommend this exercise:

Give yourself a set amount of time, an hour, a day, even 10 minutes is a good start. And promise yourself that in that time you will let yourself be as wild and creative and impractical as you like! Then allow your mind to wander freely, accepting, exploring and playing with EVERY idea that comes up. Personally I like to get a big sheet of paper and put my question in the middle, then write down whatever comes to mind all over the sheet (like a spider diagram). You can use different coloured pens or pencils, draw or paint your ideas, make them in clay......   I also like to let my mind wander as I go for a walk, or even while doing ordinary things like washing up.

All of these things help you to access and encourage the creative side of your brain. Once you get away from the need for things to be logical, to make sense, you will be surprised what comes up.  If at any stage your logical brain wants to get involved, promise it that it will have time later to make these ideas practical, and then gently but firmly put it to one side. Set aside a different time to look at practicalities; I would recommend having a gap between the two activities. It is good go off and do something different in between, or to “sleep on it”, to allow your unconscious mind to process what you have done before involving your logical conscious mind.

For further tips on answering the question “What do you want?” see my previous blog "What do you want?"  

Friday, 6 January 2017

A FREE opportunity to get help with resolving addictions

Do you know anybody who is struggling with addictions and really wants to find a way out? Or maybe you recognise that this is you? At this time of year, with a new year starting and resolutions made or already broken, we often identify big changes that we want to make in our lives, but we may not have a clue how to do that successfully. We don’t always have effective tools: after all, if all you have in your hand is a banana, it isn’t easy to put a flat pack together!

An amazing opportunity is available over the next few months: to learn some powerfully effective tools to help you make change for FREE, as part of a research project.

Phil Parker, the designer of the Lightning Process, has also created a course called The Rediscovery Process (or TRP), specifically aimed at people wanting to move on from addiction into a full and rewarding life. Phil is currently leading research to establish the effectiveness of TRP in the field of addiction, through the London Metropolitan University. A preliminary trial has been completed and produced exciting results, and the research has now moved on to the main trial. 

Gary, who took part in the preliminary trial, said "I knew everything about drugs - but not how to stop - until now." Gary was a poly drug user, and is now abstinent, 6 months after TRP

Over the last two years I have been involved in this exciting project, as part of the Bristol and Bath Team. One of our previous TRP clients gave us permission to share her feedback about doing the course:

“The TRP taught me to believe in myself. When I came to the TRP course I was existing, I wouldn’t have minded if I died. The very first day, I got a key, that I’ve got a choice. I can learn to change the neurones in my head. I wanted to live again after your three day course. Now I literally enjoy life.

I loved how you learned us, because you accept me for who I am, treat me equal, gave me choices, and explained things. You taught me how to think of things in a different way. I don’t get myself wound up. The way I am communicating has changed. And a million more things. Your way of working is the first time I have ever had that type of input.
The follow ups were absolutely amazing, I can see the magic happening in front of me. It’s been such a gift, honestly.”

We are currently recruiting people to take part in this research from around the country, including the Bristol and Bath area. While TRP works with any addictions, the research project is focused specifically on drug and alcohol addictions. We work with people at all stages and levels of recovery and drug use. So do pass this on to anybody that you think might be interested, or get in touch with us yourself if you would like to find out more:

020 7374 0233