Tuesday, 9 December 2008

TFT - Tapping Your Problems Away

If I told you there was something you could do any time, any day, anywhere that would give you a natural high, that costs nothing, that has no risks or side effects, you would be interested to learn more, wouldn’t you?

I’m talking about tapping. Or Thought Field Therapy to be exact. In the 1980’s, Dr Roger Callaghan, a well respected psychologist, pioneered this technique which involves tapping with your fingers on specific points of the body located along energy lines, while focusing on the thing that is troubling you. These lines, or meridians, coincide with acupuncture points, and by tapping on them, you can eliminate imbalances in the body’s energy system and in the process, get rid of negative emotions and psychological distress.

Sounds simple, doesn’t it? And it is.
Tip – if you are sitting on a bus and don’t want to be thought of as the local nutter, just imagine running through the sequence. It will have the same effect. Alternatively, if you want to keep the seat free beside you, then tap away!

Tapping can help you deal with trauma, grief, anxiety, stress, addictive cravings (including cigarettes, food, alcohol and drugs), phobias, depression, anger and rage, guilt, shame / embarrassment, jet lag and physical pain, to name but a few.

But rather than reading about it, why not try it? Use the exercise below whenever you are feeling stressed or anxious. This same sequence also works on cravings. At first, you may have to run through the sequence a few times, but every time you do it, you are teaching your body how to relax, and you will get to the stage when you just need to start the sequence and the feeling of relaxation will flood over you.

It may sound funny to start with, but believe me it works.

Tapping for Anxiety / Cravings (as described in “Tapping The Healer Within” by Roger Callaghan)

1. Tune the thought field – i.e. think about the thing that is making you anxious.

2. Give it a rating from 1 to 10, with 10 being the worst you could possibly feel, and 1 being no trace of upset (this is so you can compare your rating after the sequence and see the change)

3. Using two fingers of one hand (I use the index and middle finger), tap five times under the eye. About an inch below the bottom of the centre of the bony orbit, high on the cheek. Tap firmly, but not hard enough to cause pain.

4. Tap solidly five times under the arm, about four inches below the armpit, using rigid fingers. In men, this spot is under the arm about even with the nipple. Women can locate this spot by tapping at the centre of the bra under the arm.

5. Tap the collarbone point. To locate it, take two fingers of either hand and run them down the centre of the throat to the top of the centre collarbone notch. This is approximately even with the spot where a man would knot his tie. From there, move straight down an additional inch and then move to the right one inch. Tap this point five times.

6. Perform the nine gamut treatments. Locate the gamut spot on the back of the hand, about an inch below the raised knuckles of the ring finger and little finger when making a fist. Begin tapping the gamut spot with two fingers of the opposite hand, about three to five times per second, and continue tapping while performing all nine steps below (tap five or six times for each of the nine gamut positions). It is very important to tap the gamut spot throughout all nine of these gamut treatments:

· Open the eyes

· Close the eyes

· Open the eyes and point them down and to the left

· Point the eyes down and to the right

· Whirl the eyes around in a circle in one direction once

· Whirl the eyes around in the opposite direction once

· Hum a few bars of Happy Birthday (Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday, Happy Birthday, Happy Birthday to you)

· Count aloud from one to five

· Hum Happy Birthday again

7. Tap five times under the eye again.

8. Tap five times under the arm again.

9. Tap the collarbone point five times again.

10. Rate your level of anxiety / craving again from 1 to 10. If it has gone down to 1, move to step 11. If not, repeat the process until it has come down.

11. To close the process, roll your eyes from floor to ceiling. Hold your head level and move your eyes down. Then begin tapping the gamut point as you move your eyes upwards.

When I teach this to people for the first time, they usually giggle. But the effect is amazing. You can use this technique as much as you want – the more you use it, the more you will want to use it.

For more information about TFT, case studies and tapping sequences for other problems, read “Tapping The Healer Within” by Roger Callaghan.

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

A New Day in India

We’re standing on a railway station platform in Madras, India, watching local women arrange their colourful baskets of flowers, ready to weave them into the hair of willing passersby for a few rupees
The platform is crowded. No-one takes any notice of the dead man lying in the corner, other than to step over him as the train pulls into the station.
On this day, life is cheap in India.
The train stops. First class is empty, second class quiet. The class with no name is overflowing, faces pressed at the bars of every window, hopefuls hanging out of the doors and climbing onto the roof. It’s a scene worthy of Michael Palin’s Around The World In 80 Days, only the book hasn’t been written yet.
We arrive at our destination. A beach hotel that we have swapped for three days in place of the crew hotel in the city.
We’re shown to our individual bungalows on the beach. The Indian Ocean is a stone’s throw away.
We’ve been told about the magnificent sunrise and decide to experience it. We order a wake up call for 3am and at 3.05am we carry some chairs down to the sand and sit.
We order tea and toast.
We sit.
The night is inky black but the stars are bright. It’s humid.
Our tea and toast arrives. The waiter seems unfazed by our choice of setting.
The sky is still inky black.
We sit.
We begin to yawn. Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea.
And then suddenly like magic, a tiny sliver of light appears fleetingly on the horizon.
It disappears as quickly as it had come.
And then it happens. Little by little, more streaks of light, slowly at first and then spreading quickly.
The sun begins to rise, the orange glow becomes stronger by the second. And then we see them. The fishing boats on the horizon. Small wooden craft, manned by father and son. One navigates, one casts the nets.
And from silence comes the sounds of the fisherman, shouting, laughing, happy at their work.
It’s a gorgeous morning. We go to bed and sleep.
Later that day, we walk along the beach. A group of local children come over and smile. They walk with us. We wonder if they are looking for money.
They lead us up the beach to their families sitting mending fishing nets in the sun.
The children indicate we follow them into their small village on the beachfront.

People wave. People smile. Their life is simple and yet so organised.

They take us into their church. On a beach beside the Indian Ocean is the most exquisite little church.
They escort us back down to the waters edge. Collectively they grin, wave and are gone.

They just wanted to show us their world. And for that short space of time, there was nowhere in the world we would have rather been.

To Fly Or Not To Fly

We were coming in to land in Rio. The cabin was secure, the passengers gazing expectantly out the window waiting for the first glimpse of Sugar Loaf Mountain.

I returned to the galley and was putting on my lippy when I suddenly found myself flat on my back. Through turbulence. I laughed, picked myself up and strapped myself into the crew seat with only my pride slightly dented. Thankfully the 747 had a separate galley to the rear so I hadn’t taken a dive in full view of the passengers.

Other times I hadn’t been so lucky, but more often than not my naivety saved my blushes.

Like the time I was standing in the front galley of a 737 adjusting my stocking tops when I looked over to see the man in 1a following my every move with a big grin on his face. He shook my hand when he disembarked saying it was the best flight he’d ever been on.

Or helping a father attach the extension seatbelt for his baby, totally unaware of the sniggers and lewd comments coming from the rest of the group as my hands hovered dangerously close to his private parts.

Or leaning over to the window seat to serve a drink and accidentally giving the guy in the aisle seat a boob massage.

Need I go on?

Life was fun, if hard work. I walked for miles during an average flight and was fitter than most of my friends, even with their gym memberships. The night flights were the hardest. Sitting in the galley at 3am with a hot water bottle stuffed down the inside of your pinny, trying to stay awake until it was time to serve breakfast. Yes we had bunk beds in the tail of the 747. But invariably on the flights long enough to allow you the luxury of some time off, the minute you hit the bunk and strapped yourself in, the turbulence would start. Here’s a tip – if you don’t like turbulence, don’t sit at the back of the plane. It’s always worse there. And of course, there was the frequent indignity of the airport security insisting that you open your case, surely just to give the surrounding passengers a boost as they caught a glimpse into the life of the air hostess... or at least of their dirty underwear. Having survived all that, I used to lose the last shred of dignity that remained as I fell into a deep sleep on the shuttle back to Edinburgh, drooling down the shoulder of the unfortunate businessman in the seat next to me.

Oh yes, I was glamorous, me!

Fortunately, my friends didn’t think so. In fact, their brains couldn’t compute my life, and so they ignored it. Completely. I would come home from Buenos Aires, buzzing at the things I had seen and done, and my friends would listen politely and say “That’s nice” and in the same breath, “Did you see we got our new curtains?”

They didn’t keep in touch with me. I had to keep in touch with them. They couldn’t keep up with my busy schedule. But it didn’t bother me. That was just how it was. I slotted back into their lives as and when I could.

But after four years, I started to yearn for something more. And that something was normality. Perhaps it was the constant rounds of “Chicken or Beef? Tea or coffee?” Perhaps it was forever going on trips with crews I didn’t know and having to start all over again. At that time there were 10,000 BA crew members so the chances of flying with someone you knew were slim. For every trip on a 747, there was a crew of 14 between cabin and flight crew. Friendships were made quickly and just as quickly dissolved. You told people things you wouldn’t tell your best friend, knowing it was likely you would never see them again. You tended to drift towards likeminded people. Personally I preferred shopping and sightseeing over partying. Although, when we did party, we partied hard.

I longed for the chance to sleep in a bed, all night ever night.

So, when the Gulf War started and business took a nose dive (figuratively, not literally), BA offered us blocks of unpaid leave. Seizing my opportunity, I asked for a year off to go back to university to take a postgraduate business course with languages. BA said yes.

I was a student again and I loved it. I hadn’t particularly applied myself the first time around but this time I couldn’t get enough of studying. And of course I had the best of both worlds. Technically I was still employed by BA and had my staff travel perks. When most fellow students were heading home for Christmas to sponge off their parents, I was on the first flight out to Bangkok with my friends.

As the end of my sabbatical drew near, I was having nightmares of having to get back on a plane again and go back to my old life. I had changed too much. I had discovered a new life out there with a comfy bed thrown in for good measure. The bed won.

I look back on my time as an air hostess with affection. I have seen more places in the world than most people could ever imagine. I learned about life, I learned about people, I learned about myself. And as for the things I wouldn’t tell my best friend? As the saying goes, “What goes on tour stays on tour!”

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

The Road Less Travelled

I worked in the Royal Bank of Scotland (in the days when it was a respected profession). I had studied languages but drifted into banking. In my youth I had no clear vision of where I was going. I was definitely a drifter.

One day I looked closely at the bank customers with their stressed and tired faces, their stressed and tired children, their stressed and tired lives. And I decided there and then to get out before I turned into the same.

I applied to Thomson Holidays and received the Golden Ticket, sending me to work in Mallorca.

My work colleagues were aghast. How could I leave a safe, steady secure job for life with final salary pension (told you it was a while ago!) to go out to a foreign country on a whim and a six month contract.

“Because it’s a safe, steady secure job for life,” I replied, and went out to buy myself a suitcase.

Ha ha. I wish!

In those days, probably something more like this ...

I never looked back.

Life as a holiday rep was hard work and sometimes lonely, but never dull.

At the age of 22, I grew up quickly. Dealing with the general public from behind a glass screened counter had in no way prepared me for what lay ahead.

I was fortunate. After our training in Magaluf (which I swore never to return to as long as I lived – in the 80’s, Magaluf was Blackpool in the sun), I was sent up north to work in Alcudia and Ca’n Picafort, where the locals respected that I was learning the language. My business Spanish learned at college was a far cry from Mallorquin, but in time, I spoke fluent Spanish (castellano), albeit with a Mallorquin accent. I understood Mallorquin perfectly and could converse in everyday conversation.

As a rep, I experienced the best, and the worst, of humanity. And the worst was bad. The drunks, the rapes, the child abusers, the drug addicts, the verbal abuse, the medical emergencies. But most of all there were the deaths.

How many 22 year olds have sat on a beach holding the hand of a dying man while his wife was upstairs taking an afternoon siesta. Have been called to a hotel bedroom with the doctor to attend the double death of an elderly couple. Have argued with an ambulance driver who was refusing to take a body away, saying it had to stay on the hotel terrace until the judge pronounced the death (which incidentally would be in two days time because judges don’t work weekends).

People think the job of a rep is glamorous and a laugh a minute. That all we do is drink ourselves into oblivion and sleep with anyone who asks us.

I’m not saying there weren’t reps like that, but that’s another story.

The point to this story?

I took the road less travelled. Like Ruth Lorenzo from the X Factor I went to work in a foreign country. That’s when my life began.

And yes, now in later life, I may not be in a safe, secure job for life with a final pension on my ever increasing salary. But by god, I have LIVED and seen more than I would ever have thought possible.

And am a better person for it.

The Road Less Travelled

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveller, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the  other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood,
and I-- I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference...

Robert Frost

The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow

I used to have an identity. I used to be someone. I was the one everyone wanted to talk to at parties. I was glamour personified. I was fun and perceived to be maybe just a little naughty. I was ... an air hostess.

In those days, the place names of Rio, Johannesburg, Nairobi, Caracas, Vancouver, Sydney, New York, Bangkok and Hong Kong tripped off my tongue. I jumped on and off planes like most people jump on the number 44 bus.

And then one day I hung up my uniform and became normal. I had a normal job, a normal life and I holidayed in Florida.

Ten years later and many several pounds heavier, I looked at myself in the mirror and saw someone else.

I saw a beige person. I was dressed in beige. What had happened to the brightly coloured clothes I had amassed from all over the world? My hair was beige where once it was fiery red, dirty blond or rich mahogany, depending on the whim of the moment. My life was beige. I had turned into a mum, a wife and a drudge.

Don’t get me wrong. I love being a mum. I love the chat at the school gates. I love the sense of community. And most of all, I love the love that comes from that little person. The smile that melts your heart. The chubby arms wound tightly around your neck.

But something was missing. I needed colour, I needed life. I needed to find the old me.

I took stock of my life. I was working in my husband’s business, living his dream, not mine. I was living in a place I hated, which made my heart heavy every time I drove into the village limits. I had lost my enthusiasm, my sense of adventure and worst of all, my self confidence.

They say that inside every old woman there is a young girl wondering what the hell happened. That was exactly how I was feeling , and I’d only just turned forty!

Little by little, I turned my life around. I retrained in Reiki and began helping others. We moved away from that ugly village where, if you weren’t born there, you were an “incomer”, an outcast, a social pariah. We moved to a vibrant village, full of like-minded people, community spirit and fun.

Then I met Paul McKenna at a seminar and my life changed for the better. I lost weight using his system. I decided to train as a hypnotherapist.

And I auditioned for the local theatre company. I was a closet karaoke queen. I had never sung in front of anyone in my life and suddenly I found myself standing in front of a panel of four with nowhere to hide. I opened my mouth, took a deep breath and sang louder than I had ever done in my life.

“The sun will come out tomorrow...”

And I knew that the sun would come out.

That if I was stuck with a day that was grey and lonely, I’d stick out my chin and grin and say tomorrow’s only a day away”.

Sitting Waiting For Inspiration

In his book “You Can Have What You Want”, Michael Neill suggests taking time out to sit in a chair and only move when you feel absolutely inspired to do so.

So, I put aside my busy schedule. I choose my chair and I sit, waiting for inspiration to strike.

A vision of the laundry basket piled high with ironing hovers above me. Desperately necessary, yes. Inspirational, no.
I continue to sit.

Check my emails? Tackle online banking?

Suddenly I get a strong urge to get up and empty the dishwasher. I do it. I go straight back to my comfy chair.

It feels good.
I sit. I’m happy just to sit.

I look around the room. I take in all the bright colours, the shapes.

I look out the window at the trees blowing in the breeze. It’s a gorgeous day. I study the shape of the branches, the leaves. I’ve never noticed how tall the trees are. How each one has its own individual characteristic that makes it unique.

I sit.

I watch the brightly coloured grouse make one of its occasional appearances in my front garden. I follow it with my eyes till it disappears around the corner.

I sit.

A million thoughts come into my head and, as quickly as they come, they are gone.

I sit.

Inspiration hits me hard and propels me out of the seat. I switch on the TV, I hook up my karaoke machine and I spend the next two hours singing at the top of my voice. Other than the postie giving me a wave of amusement, I’m in my own world and it feels good.

Work can wait. The house can wait. The outside world can wait.

Sometimes life is just about sitting.

Mallorcan reflections

I’m sitting on a rock with warm sunshine on my face looking out at turquoise waters lapping gently into the cove. The beach is brilliant white.... and empty. It’s November, and it’s Mallorca. Cala Mondrago to be exact.
The memories wash over me of happy times in my 20’s when I worked on this magical island. Long, lazy days in the sun. Alfa’s discotheque at night. The boat trips. The horse riding. The friends.

I lost my way for a while (seventeen years to be exact) while I travelled the world and then settled down to have a family.

But of all the places I have seen in the world, and there have been many, in my heart of hearts, Mallorca has always been the one for me.

During my long absence, she called to me many times but there were always good reasons for postponing the trip.

And then one day, two years ago, I finally boarded the plane that was to bring Mallorca back into my life forever.

I touched down on the runway in Palma and felt an inexplicable happiness and sense of pure joy rush through every muscle, every fibre of my body. I had finally come home. I opened my mouth and a flood of spanish and mallorquin came out. My brain kicked into gear and I was thinking, living, breathing the language.

I met my friends again after seventeen years. They looked exactly the same (if a little older). They sounded the same. I looked into their eyes and I was catapulted back in time. The passing years were not important.

In the past two years I have been back to Mallorca six times.

My life is in Scotland. I am Scottish, I’m proud to be Scottish and I love Scotland. The sound of bagpipes brings a tear to my eye and a lump to my throat.

But a part of my heart has been lost forever to that little island in the Med where for me time stands still and we are all still 20 years old.
Dedicado a Toni, Toni y Monserrat.

Far From The Madding Crowd in Mallorca

Finca Ca'n Corritx, Ca'n Picafort 26.11.08

I sit on my vast terrace looking out over the lush Mallorcan countryside. I’m 3kms away from the hustle and bustle of touristville, but it feels a million miles away.

I watch the horses in the field. I hear the cockerel crowing and fussing over his girls (it’s midday but he’s never quite got the hang of the early morning wakeup call).

I gaze over to the Tramuntana mountain range rising majestically in the distance, far beyond the line of pine trees that signals the extent of my world.

A soft thud comes from behind me. Another juicy orange is ripe and ready for eating.

A warm breeze sends ripples over the surface of the expansive swimming pool and rustles the leaves of the palm trees bordering the tennis courts.

I fleetingly consider hitting a few balls, but decide to go back to quiet contemplation.

Finca Ca'n Corritx, 3kms from Ca'n Picafort, North Mallorca

Typical farmhouse sympathetically extended as “agro turismo” hotel
Friendly owners live on site
4 two bedroom, two bathroom apartments
3 one bedroom apartments
All with large private terrace and barbequeAir conditioning / Central heating
Fully fitted kitchen with ceramic hob, oven, microwave, toaster, washing machine, iron and ironing board Maximum 22 guests
Magnificent swimming pool with children’s section

Shaded seating area
Private tennis court
Orange and lemon groves
Landscaped gardens
Extensive farmland and stables to explore
Tel and fax: 00 34 971 53 84 00
Contact Bernardo

Open all year round.
(Please note the owners don't speak much English. Contact me if you would like me to help you with your communication. Happy holidays. Cheers, Susan.)

Inspired Reading

Books are one of my passions in life. I have spent many a happy hour in bookstores, and libraries, browsing the shelves of the travel and self help sections. The delicious feel of opening a pristine cover for the first time, the smell of the pages.

Here are a selection of the books that have either brought me enlightenment, got me through the bad times or just made me laugh out loud.

In no particular order:-

Travels - Michael Crichton

Dare To Win - Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen

Chicken Soup For The Soul series - Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen

Awaken The Giant Within -Anthony Robbins
You Can Heal Your Life - Louise Hay

You Can Have What You Want - Michael Neill

How Your Mind Can Heal Your Body - Dr David Hamilton
Change Your Life In 7 Days - Paul McKenna

It's The Thought That Counts - Dr David Hamilton

Neither Here Nor There - Bill Bryson

Happy reading!

Inspired Listening

Okay, I admit it, I am a junkie! A self help junkie that is.

Over the years I have read many books and listened to many audio programs. Some were amazing, some not so great. But if you can take one thing away from each one, it's been a good investment of your time.

Here are a selection of audio programmes that I would thoroughly recommend:-

Positivity - Paul McKenna
Get The Edge - Anthony Robbins
See You At The Top - Zig Ziglar
Effortless Success - Michael Neill
The Power Of Clarity - Brian Tracy
Great Communicators - Peter Thomson

Happy listening!