Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Lives of quiet desperation

I'm having a wallowing day today. Maybe it's because of the snow (five inches already and it's only 11.30am), or maybe it's just that I'm having an off day.

Last night I watched the incredibly thought provoking film Revolutionary Road and was reminded of Henry David Thoreau's quote "Most people live lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with their song still in them".

It's this hopeless emptiness that is portrayed in the film, and it's done so with the same raw emotion and sense of desperation that so many of us have felt at some time in our lives.

Other times, like today, you get up in the morning and nothing is wrong but nothing is particularly right either.

As Barry Manilow sings:-

"I'm doing okay, but not very well.
No jolts, no surprises, no crisis arises,
my life goes along as it should,
it's all very nice but not very good"

Every now and then I have these moments, and it's in these times of quiet evaluation and introspection that change usually happens.

Because in many ways I am singing my song these days. Metaphorically and physically. I love what I do, I have a wonderful family and some great friends, both new and old. And our all singing all dancing auditions for this year's pantomime by the Balerno Theatre Company kick off next month.

So it's time for me to start singing once again. To look to the future, because as George Burns once said, "I look to the future because that's where I'm going to spend the rest of my life".

But not today. Today is for wallowing. And for listening to Barry.

More about Balerno Theatre Company

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Monday, 15 February 2010

Why did Moses spend 40 years

wandering in the desert?

He refused to ask for directions.

And all because the lady loves ...

To prove his love for her, he climbed the highest mountain, swam the deepest ocean, and crossed the widest desert.

But she left him - he was never home.

Extracted from Why Men Don't Listen & Women Can't Read Maps

Friday, 12 February 2010

The power of storytelling

Stories are our best way of learning.


Because your unconscious mind identifies with the main character and assumes 'he must be talking to me'.

That's why we use metaphors in hypnosis.

That's why children learn so quickly through song and the art of storytelling.

Like all renowned public speakers, Richard Bandler (the co creater of Neuro Linguistic Programming and one of the top hypnotists in the world) is a master storyteller. You think he's rambling and going off on a tangent but in fact he's drawing you further and further into the story and giving you embedded commands along the way.

The best comedians do the same thing. They will always come back to the punchline in the end.

For the initiated amongst us, this practice is called Nested Loops.

When I trained with Paul McKenna and Richard Bandler, they told us, "Don't take any notes. You're in this room for the next seven (and subsequently, nine) days with the three top hypnotists in the world. You WILL learn!"

And learn we did. For that period of time we were immersed in story telling - true stories, fairy tales, I once knew a man who....

So next time you want your child to learn something, try weaving it into a story.

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Man who waits for roast duck

to fly into mouth must wait very, very long time

 Chinese Proverb            

Who's been kicking your cat?

Mr B called a meeting one day and told all of his people that the company was doing well but could be doing a lot better, and he felt he hadn’t been pulling his weight. From now on he would be there early and stay late. He’d take short coffee and lunch breaks. He’d be focused and available. He would set an example and he expected everyone else to follow his lead.

It was an inspiring speech. And he really intended to do all of it.

A couple of weeks later he was at the country club for lunch and forgot the time. Realising he was going to be late back to the office he jumped in his car and sped down the road doing 90 miles an hour. He was stopped by the police and given a speeding ticket and he drove to the office fuming. “Why aren’t they out catching criminals instead of picking on me? They should leave us peaceful tax paying citizens alone!”

He got into the office still furious and called in his sales manager.” What’s happening with the new account? You should have closed it a dozen times by now. You’ve been the sales manager here for 16 years but that doesn’t mean you’ve got a lifetime contract. If you can’t do it, let me tell you I’ll get someone who can.”

Oh, Mr B was upset.

But if you think he was upset, you should have seen that sales manager.

He was furious. Why, he’d worked for this company for 16 years, brought in all this business, and kept the place going. If it hadn’t been for him the company would have gone bankrupt years ago.

He called his secretary. “What’s happening with the account?”

She replied that she’d been working on three or four other things that he had told her took precedent.

“Don’t give me excuses!” he raged. “I want the account taken care of, and those letters sent out today. Just because you’ve worked here for eight years doesn’t mean you’ve got a lifetime contract. If you can’t do it, let me tell you I’ll get someone who can.”

He was really upset.

But if you think he was upset, you should have seen that secretary.

“Why, I’ve worked here for eight years, kept this place running. If it weren’t for me the company would have gone bankrupt years ago. Who does he think he’s kidding, replace me?”

The secretary went to the switchboard operator. “Look, I know it’s not normally your job but I’m telling you right now these letters have to go out tonight and you’ll have to do them. You just sit around here doing nothing all day anyway. Just because you’ve worked here for ten years doesn’t mean you’ve got a lifetime contract. If you can’t do it, let me tell you I’ll get someone who can.”

Oh she was upset alright.

But you think she was upset, you should have seen that switchboard operator.

“Why I’m the glue that holds this company together. If it weren’t for me this company would have gone down the tube years ago. I’m worked to death out here and they’re sitting around drinking coffee and gossiping all day. And then they dump their stuff on me.”

She was furious.

She got home and the first thing she saw was her 12 year old son lying on the floor watching TV with a big rip in his trousers. “I thought I told you to change as soon as you get home. Have you done your homework? No? That’s it. No supper for you and no TV for a month.”

Oh she was upset.

But if you think she was upset, you should have seen her son.

“Why, here I am minding my own business and she takes her bad mood out on me. Why can’t she pick on someone else for a change? It was an accident. I didn’t mean to rip my trouser but she’s not even given me the chance to explain.”

He was mad.

And about that time, his cat walked in front of him.

Big mistake.

He swung his foot at the cat.

“You’ve probably been up to no good yourself.”


So folks, let me ask you.

Wouldn’t it have been better if Mr B had gone directly from the country club to that switch operator’s house and kicked that cat himself?

Ask yourself...

Whose cat have I been kicking today?
Or who’s been kicking my cat?

Next time someone peeps their horn at you the minute the traffic light changes to green, or your partner jumps down your throat the minute they walk in the door, or someone in a customer service post snaps at you and says “Can’t you see I’m busy?”, just remember It’s not your fault.

It’s just that someone has been kicking their cat!

(Paraphrased by yours truly from the book and audio self help program See You At The Top by Zig Ziglar)

How Your Mind Can Heal Your Body

Every now and then a book comes along that has the potential to change your life.

'How Your Mind Can Heal Your Body' by scientist Dr David Hamilton is one of those books.

But before I tell you more, let me tell you a story.

Neil* is 35 years old (name changed for confidentiality purposes). For eleven years he has suffered from chronic arthritis. He is overweight and walks with difficulty with a stick. His hands are twisted and painful. He comes to see me for hypnosis, willing to try anything to alleviate his pain.

When he arrives, he manages with difficulty to mount the steps up to my front door, and comes into the house out of breath and holding onto the doorframe for support.

We talk through what's going on in his life and it emerges that he has had a difficult childhood as an adopted child, in particular with his father, who is incapable of showing him love.

He is holding on to many painful memories and we take time to work through these and release them one by one using Mind Detox and tapping techniques (read 'TFT - tapping your problems away' article for more information).

I then use a technique called Quantum Field Healing, taught to me by Dr David Hamilton himself. QFH is a visualisation process where you imagine going into your body through all the layers. Through the cells(resembling a stone in a dry stane dyke, into the DNA (twisted strands of spaghetti), into the atoms and sub atomic particles until you reach your source, which looks like a starry night sky. You then ask to see the vibrations of your illness and you work through a number of steps to clear the illness.

At the end of the session, Neil* opens his eyes, flexes his fingers and says "No pain!"

He walks out my house standing straighter than before and without thinking, bends down at the doorway to pick up the mail, a feat which would have been impossible before the session. He doesn't even realise what he's done. I point it out to him and he says a simple "Wow!"

On days like this I really love my job!

I have been fortunate to attend a number of workshops with David, and the one thing that comes across is how normal, how likeable and how amusing David is. He's a cross between a modern day David Attenborough and a clean language Billy Connolly, and it also helps that he's rather nice to look at, which explains the large number of women attendees at his events.

In my other blog article 'The Mind Body connection' I explain how David got to where he is today. Today he is a respected author and internationally renowned speaker from the Hay House stable. But he's still David. Funny, informative and captivating.

But I digress.

'How Your Mind Can Heal Your Body' is a book for everyone.

The first section is jammed packed with the scientific evidence behind people who have healed themselves using visualisation techniques. But although full of scientific content, it is an enjoyable read, written, as David says, "so that even my Auntie Jean can understand it".

The second section contains true life stories from people who have cured themselves of everything from cancer to heart disease and makes for fascinating reading.

The final section is a step by step description of the techniques and visualisations used. An A to Z from Acne, Ageing, Allergies, Cancer, Depression, Low Self Esteem, Parkinsons, Stress and Weight Loss to name but a few.

David also explains the Quantum Field Healing technique which I demonstrated at the start of this article and again walks you through the entire process.

Many people have changed their lives with this book.

I recommend that people of all ages read it for a better understanding of how their mind and body work and how they really can use the power of their mind to heal their body.

Watch this clip to hear David explain how it works.

Incidentally, David is launching his new book "Why Kindness is Good for You" on Thursday February 25th in Glasgow.
He also has a number of workshops coming up throughout the country, so no matter where you are, he'll be coming to a place near you.

Check out his website for more information.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

What label are you wearing?

Sometimes a lack of self confidence can date back to our childhood.

For some, it may be as simple as a label someone gave you. When introducing you to others, your parents may have said “This is my son. He’s the quiet one in the family.” If you heard that often enough, chances are you took on that label and became the quiet one. Or a school teacher may have said you were no good at art because you drew a tree different to hers and now if someone asks for your creative input, you’ll automatically say “But I’m no good at art”.

The following story, extracted from Chicken Soup For The Soul, says it all.....

The Little Boy

Once a little boy went to school.
He was quite a little boy.
And it was quite a big school.
But when the little boy
Found that he could go to his room
By walking right in from the door outside,
He was happy.
And the school did not seem
Quite so big any more.

One morning,
When the little boy had been in school a while,
The teacher said:

"Today we are going to make a picture."
"Good!" thought the little boy.
He liked to make pictures.
He could make all kinds:
Lions and tigers,
Chickens and cows,
Trains and boats -
And he took out his box of crayons
And began to draw.

But the teacher said:
"Wait! It is not time to begin!"
And she waited until everyone looked ready.

"Now" said the teacher,
"We are going to make flowers."
"Good!" thought the little boy.
He liked to make flowers,
And he began to make beautiful ones
With his pink and orange and blue crayons.

But the teacher said,
"Wait! And I will show you how."
And she drew a flower on the blackboard.
It was red, with a green stem.
"There," said the teacher.
"Now you may begin."

The little boy looked at the teacher's flower.
Then he looked at his own flower.
He liked his flower better than the teacher's.
But he did not say this,
He just turned his paper over
And made a flower like the teacher's.
It was red, with a green stem.

On another day,
When the little boy had opened
The door from outside all by himself,
The teacher said,
"Today we are going to make something with clay."
"Good!" thought the little boy.
He liked clay.

He could make all kinds of things with clay:
Snakes and snowmen,
Elephants and mice,
Cars and trucks -
And he began to pull and pinch
His ball of clay.

But the teacher said,
"Wait! It is not time to begin!"
And she waited until everyone looked ready.

"Now," said the teacher,
"We are going to make a dish."
"Good!" thought the little boy,
He liked to make dishes,
And he began to make some
That were all shapes and sizes.

But the teacher said,
"Wait! And I will show you how."
And she showed everyone how to make
One deep dish.
"There," said the teacher, "Now you may begin."

The little boy looked at his teacher's dish
Then he looked at his own.
He liked his dishes better than the teacher's
But he did not say this,
He just rolled his clay into a big ball again,
And made a dish like the teacher's.
It was a deep dish.

And pretty soon
The little boy learned to wait
And to watch,
And to make things just like the teacher.
And pretty soon
He didn't make things of his own anymore.

Then it happened
That the little boy and his family
Moved to another house,
In another city,
And the little boy
Had to go to another school.

This school was even Bigger
Than the other one,
And there was no door from the outside
Into his room.
He had to go up some big steps,
And walk down a long hall
To get to his room.

And the very first day
He was there, the teacher said,
"Today we are going to make a picture."

"Good!" thought the little boy,
And he waited for the teacher
To tell him what to do.
But the teacher didn't say anything.
She just walked around the room.

When she came to the little boy,
She said, "Don't you want to make a picture?"
"Yes," said the little boy.
"What are we going to make?"
"I don't know until you make it," said the teacher.
"How shall I make it?" asked the little boy.
"Why, any way you like," said the teacher.
"And any colour?" asked the boy.
"Any colour," said the teacher,
"If everyone made the same picture,
And used the same colours,
How would I know who made what,
And which was which?"
"I don't know," said the little boy.
And he began to make pink and orange and blue flowers.

He liked his new school,
Even if it didn't have a door
Right in from the outside!
                                                      - Helen E. Buckley

Just for today - ditch your old labels, release your limiting beliefs, believe in your abilities and get out there and draw the flowers!

Sunday, 7 February 2010

How many minutes have you taken for yourself today?

It's official. Superwoman is dead!

Not from overwork or stress related illness, but apparently from apathy. According to a recent report, we just don’t care about being perfect anymore!

So why do I still feel guilty most of the time? Guilty if my husband doesn’t have a clean shirt to wear (couldn’t he have told me his stash of shirts were about to stage a coup in the laundry basket); guilty when I don’t cook from scratch; guilty when I have to arrange a play date to cover my work date; guilty that I don’t have a fresh batch of muffins in the oven (okay, that’s never going to happen).

The English language is designed to make us feel bad about taking time for ourselves. Steal a moment? Robbed of time? A quick cuppa (is there such a thing?).

Most women I know never take a moment for themselves. We seem to be on an endless quest of cleaning, tidying, cooking, tidying, ironing, tidying...and yet my house still looks a mess! Add work and work related activities to this maelstrom and it’s no wonder that we barely sit down from dawn till dusk.

So what would happen if we took the time to ‘just be’? Would the sun fall out the sky, would the waves refuse to come up the shore, would the whole world stop turning?

Of course not. So is there any harm in putting our own world on hold for a little while?

Actually, we do our best work when we take the time to ‘just be’. It’s in moments of peace that inspiration comes to us. If we quieten our mind then the unconscious has an opportunity to bring to the fore the answers we’ve been looking for and the tasks that we should give more importance too.

Sometimes, it’s a case of taking some time off, in the words of Colin Firth in Mamma Mia, “quite spontaneously” ...
(read my blog article ‘Sitting waiting for inspiration’)

So if you get a call from a friend inviting you round for a quick cuppa then GO. I know there’s no quick cuppa but what’s the worst that can happen if your husband doesn’t have a clean shirt for tomorrow or the family have to eat takeout for a change?

Spontaneity and time out are my gift to you today.

And if your other half gets on to you, teach him how to work the washing machine.

One For The Girls

Do you promise to love, honour, clean up after, cook meals for, live with foul smelling farts, give away your share of the bed cover, give up control of the remote and wipe pee from the toilet for all the days of your life?

One For The Boys

Once upon a time a man asked a woman to marry him.

She said “No!” and so he lived happily ever after, played golf a lot, drank beer, went fishing and farted whenever he wanted.

Body Image – men versus women

My husband (god love him) gets up in the morning, stands in front of the mirror, sucks in his stomach, puts his arms in a bodybuilder pose and says “My god, I’m handsome”. Not to me or anyone else, but to himself.

I get up in the morning, look at myself in the mirror and immediately notice all my faults, reciting them in my head as my eyes travel down my reflection.

Which one of us is going to start the day in the right frame of mind?

It’s not about being self centred. It’s about being kind to yourself and focusing on the positive. Do you think I speak nicely to myself when I’m taking in all my bad points? Of course not. If anyone else spoke to me in that tone I’d either be very hurt or I’d tell them where to go. And yet, we mentally beat ourselves up all the time for not being good enough, not being smart enough, not being thin enough…

My son has recently taken up rock climbing at the indoor centre in Ratho and during one of his first classes I bumped into an old boss of mine whose son, it turned out, was also climbing. I happened to mention that I fancied a shot myself, and my boss volunteered to meet me the following week and teach me the ropes so to speak.

So I duly turned up and got myself kitted out with shoes, harness etc. It was only on the walk down to the arena that it struck me. Not only was my boss going to have to hold my weight on the end of the rope (no mean feat) but he would also be seeing me from a completely different angle than he had ever seen me before.

Bridget Jones sliding down the fireman’s pole came into mind.

Oh my god! Had it occurred to him that he was about to study my posterior from angles you would only expect to see in the most intimate of situations? It didn’t seem to have registered with him as he quite matter-of-factly got down to demonstrating how to tie the knots and got me climbing the first few feet of the wall. Or if it did he was gentleman enough not to mention it. Nor did I hear him grunt when he took my weight on the abseil.

Yes, men definitely look at things differently from us.

Take showering for example.

How to shower like a woman

1. Take off clothing and place it in a sectioned laundry hamper according to lights, darks, whites, man-made or natural.
2. Walk to bathroom wearing long dressing gown.
3. Look at womanly physique in the mirror and stick out belly.
4. Complain about getting fat.
5. Get in shower.
6. Look for facecloth, body cloth, long loofah, wide loofah and pumice stone.
7. Wash hair once with cucumber and avocado shampoo with 83 added vitamins.
8. Wash hair again with cucumber and avocado shampoo with 83 added vitamins.
9. Condition hair with cucumber and avocado conditioner with enhanced natural orange-blossom oil. Leave on hair for 15 minutes.
10. Wash face with crushed apricot facial scrub for ten minutes until red raw.
11. Wash rest of body with ginger-nut and Jaffa Cake body wash.
12. Rinse hair, taking at least 15 minutes to make sure that conditioner is all off.
13. Shave armpits and legs. Consider shaving bikini area but decide to get it waxed instead.
14. Scream loudly when husband flushes toilet and water loses pressure and goes red hot.
15. Turn off shower.
16. Squeegee all wet surfaces in shower.
17. Spray mould spots with Exit Mould.
18. Get out of shower.
19. Dry with towel the size of small African country.
20. Wrap hair in super-absorbent second towel.
21. Check entire body for remotest signs of spots. Attack with nails/tweezers if found.
22. Return to bedroom wearing long dressing gown. Spend one hour and a half getting dressed.

How to shower like a man

1. Take off clothes while sitting on the edge of the bed and leave them in a pile.
2. Walk naked to the bathroom. If wife seen along the way, shake penis at her, making the “woo-woo” sound.
3. Look at manly physique and suck in gut. Admire size of penis and scratch butt.
4. Get in shower.
5. Don’t bother to look for washcloth.
6. Wash face.
7. Wash armpits.
8. Blow nose in hands, then let water rinse it off.
9. Crack up at how loud farts sound in shower.
10. Majority of time is spent washing privates and surrounding area.
11. Wash butt, leaving butt hairs on the soap bar.
12. Shampoo hair. (Do not use conditioner.)
13. Make a shampoo Mohawk.
14. Peek out of shower curtain to look at self in mirror again.
15. Pee in shower, aiming for the drainage hole.
16. Rinse off and get out of shower. Fail to notice water on floor because curtain hanging out of tub the whole time.
17. Partially dry off.
18. Look in mirror. Flex muscles. Admire penis size again.
19. Leave shower curtain open, wet bathmat on floor, fan and light on.
20. Return to bedroom with towel round waist. Pull off towel, shake penis at wife, go “Yeah, baby,” and thrust pelvis at her.
21. Throw wet towel on bed. Put on yesterday’s clothes.

I rest my case!

Anyway, I caught the bug, took a climbing course and am now licensed to view my boss's posterior from any angle. Retribution.

I'm also hoping that the exercise will take my bum from


(How to shower… extracted from Why Men Want Sex & Women Need Love)