Feathers and Gadgets and the Return of the Light


Sleep eludes me.  My flat is cold.  I cuddle in to my mini hot water bottle and resign myself to another beautiful dawn.  There is no place to go at this hour.  All is quiet.  No passing traffic or freight trains.  No squeaking gate.  Even the facebook news feed rests;  no updates on Vegas or the new gerbil pets.

A friend pinged me earlier.  Asked how I am.  OK I answered without even knowing what that meant.  Does it mean getting through a day without crying?  Or without any physical symptoms of illness?  Does it mean going through the motions of life and holding yourself together?  Even though sometimes it’s as if a pillow has burst and the feather’s of your life waft in the room, stick to your hair and escape out of the open window never to be seen again.

Life happens like that, every nano second changes into the next one and always something is displaced.  A teacher once said;

“It’s like when you buy a gadget and it comes with an acre of packaging, and once the gadget is out of the box it arrived in, try as you might, you can’t get that packaging back into the box exactly the way it was originally when you picked it up at the post office.”

Or words to the same effect.  Ah! Yes.  Change can be desired as a commodity these days.  There’s a whole self help, therapy, alternative healing industry out there telling us all that change is a good and that if we haven’t got it in our lives then there must be something wrong with us.  Every one wants it.  Until they get it that is!  Usually it’s having got the change you signed up for, only to realise that actually I’d rather have my packaging back how it was when I picked it up at the post office.  Thank you.

What these change merchants often underestimate are the far reaching effects of change on first the individual and then on connected and interrelated sub systems of that individual i.e.  Life.  The Universe.  And Everything.  (Yes, I know this an old and almost worn out quote cliché, but I like it and I liked the book).

I’m not saying that change is “bad” nor am I saying it is “good.”  Change is what it is and it’s happening right now in a house and a village near you.  People are born and people die.  Some one falls in love and someone falls out of love. Breathing is a gaseous exchange, there it is- Do you see it?  Ex/change?

What do you exchange on a daily basis?  Food, money, love, air, words, communications, fluids, ideas, greetings, energy……. feel free too continue the list and tell me what else there is that I haven’t thought of yet.

I’ve done the “Change” circuit.  I’m talking about NLP here…specifically.  I went on lots of NLP and NLP style courses.  I got “Change.”  Hmm!  Interesting.  I speak of it as if I went and bought it like one of those previous gadgets in the packaging.

“Change happened to me”…this makes it a passive process, “The Change” happened to me, as if I had no part in the process. And here the product becomes a process.  Meaning there’s a movement of sorts going on, only here “The Change” is doing the moving and the “me” is kind of passive or still.

What about, “I make Change happen?”  this sounds more like I have a stake in the “Change” product.  Putting the verb before the noun means someone:- the “I” is doing something to instigate  “The Change.”  The end product being the “Me” rather than the end product as previously being the Change.  Therefore:- “I change”  and this is the dynamic-“I change me.”

And now I wonder of all the possible connotations of, “I change”:

I change myself, (much better with the reflexive).

I change myself into, (This suggests movement into some sort of container; a container metaphor).

I change myself into a size 14 British women’s dress size.

And before I realise, I’m making outcomes again.  So, by it’s very nature change induces change, whether you like it or not.

I’m not against change, after all it is natural and necessary, I raise an eyebrow of concern for how “The Change” is managed in some of the Change Merchant’s training .  Some trainers of NLP manage “The Change” in their course participants with care.  And other trainers of NLP couldn’t give a flying F***k about the Change effect on the afore mentioned sub systems of the individual.  I speak from personal experience and after “doing” NLP for 15 years I am qualified to give an opinion.

Often “Shit Happens,” or in other words, “Change Happens.”  Poof, as if by magic, or more accurately because of the Change Inducing exercises involved in an NLP course environment.  All kinds of hidden demons can be reserected, often inadvertently, (and possibly maybe), sometimes deliberately.  Suddenly a course participant enters into an NLP exercise in good faith, travels up or down a time line to future pace an outcome, only to discover “The real blockage” of why they have not achieved their dream lifestyle outcome yet.

It may, (in the long run), be good to have this information, as a means to unblock the way towards the outcome.  However, does the participant have the skill, internal resource, knowledge and more importantly the right support network to cope with and manage the new and unexpected information?

Contrary to the operating belief system; “You have all the resources you need within you or you can access them.” This may or may not be so, (indeed NLP does not claim this to be true, only that it may be useful for you to believe this and if it is useful then act as if it were true).

Would a depressed person be willingly depressed if it were only a simple matter of accessing the internal resources to become undepressed.  Similarly with BiPolar, would a sufferer simply have to access the internal resources to overcome an illness.  What some NLP trainers do not know or choose to ignore is that human beings have multidimensional problems.  And HOW would that person find these jewels?  A teacher, a doctor, a health care worker, a friend, a mentor, a library, a internet google search, a spiritual epiphany, by a chance random meeting with an NLP evangelist.

My first NLP course opened up whole new worlds for me and sadly my two trainers at the time were neglectful and incompetent when things went wrong.  It was the NHS Mental Health Service that picked up the pieces.  The two trainers were then and still are now completely silent about the whole embarrassing matter.  I am not the only one either, I have since heard other anecdotes of NLP disaster cases, (different trainers).  A man had a stroke after leaving his wife and his job, only to find that life was not greener on the other side.  True, it was his choice to “Change” some things in his life, but the subsequent bankruptcy, loneliness and stroke were definitely not what he had signed up and paid his money for.

Which brings me almost full circle to the dilemma of “Change”, life is fairly constant at throwing curve balls.  I outcomed for changes to happen in my life.  I was in a terribly restrictive situation.  I felt trapped and stuck.  My learnings are that inevitably you will get your “Change”, because what you ask for usually comes to you, however don’t be surprised if the “Change” comes at you like a hurricane.

My brother died and my mother was admitted to a nursing home.  These events “Changed” my life categorically.  I wanted/needed “Change” in my life, what I seemed to have very little control over was the HOW of change.

Now before you all jump to the wrong conclusions, I do not “blame” NLP or anyone for these events in my life.  What I am saying is, Change happens in ways you least expect and to be honest I think it is human conceit that makes us think/believe we can somehow influence all of those external variables to our advantage.

It’s nearly morning and I marvel at how the punctured pillow feathers waft around my room.  Try as I might, they will never fit back into that same pillowcase.  Maybe the local birds will line their springtime nests with some of them.

I have also just closed a deal on e-bay and I am so looking forward to taking my gadget out of its packaging.

Imbolc is upon us, the festival of awakening, the stirring of life forces as the light returns to the land in the Northern Hemisphere.  The potency of our actions should never be underestimated.  Change is always.

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