me kay cooke

Balance

A simple tip to balance your mind is to take a few minutes in your mind’s eye, to mentally scan your body and pay attention to it’s symmetry and balance. The two are connected.

Are you sitting/standing as straight as you can?

Notice how it feels to tilt your centre of gravity into the mid pelvic region. And straighten up your spine.

Are both shoulders as level as they can be – imagine a spirit level laying across shoulder, collar bones, shoulder.

What adjustments do you need to make in order to achieve symmetry (or close to) on either side of your spine?

Now check each side of your body for equal feelings of tension, imbalance and move small muscle groups to help you feel aligned. If you can feel tension, you can also feel the opposite. If you can feel imbalance, you can discover balance.

Are you breathing in regular pace, making sure both sides of your body receives air? Feel the expanding chest in different ways.

Working towards physiological symmetry is a ‘mindful’ activity and can have a profound effect on your thinking patterns, so why not give it a go and see what happens?

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its whole life believing that it is stupid.” Albert Einstein

Serendipity

It is easy to remind ourselves why and how we are connected to certain people, whether friends, family, colleagues or even strangers. Often this is because we have shared trials, tribulations, celebrations and times of endurance.

But do you ever just meet someone and ‘know’ them? How often have you felt that (sometimes misinterpreted) instant attraction?

I have often delighted my mind with the thought that when we meet kindred spirits, we feel a power surge, positive or negative (!). And as I’ve grown wiser, I am really beginning to understand how these soul mates offer us vital challenge, signposting and personal insight.

This morning whilst researching the internet, I discovered this ancient Chinese belief: “An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet, regardless of time, place, or circumstance. The thread may stretch, or tangle, but will never break.

Someone once told me “people come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime.” I like this idea.

Personally, I don’t like the idea of the thread being coloured, especially red, but I love the concept of connection this way.

I randomly opened a magazine just now, only to discover an adaptation of the very same quote:

An invisible thread connects those who are destined to meet, regardless of time, place, or circumstance. The thread may stretch, or tangle, but will never break. May you be open to each thread that comes into your life – the golden ones and the coarse ones – and may you weave them into a brilliant and beautiful life.” 

PEAS or Qs?

Have you ever wanted to sound a little more authoritative yet remain polite? Saying ‘sit down please’ when you really want to instruct the person to ‘just sit down’, maybe even through gritted teeth knowing the response you wished for was unlikely?

Perhaps saying please when asking someone to ‘speak up (please)’, ‘turn the music down (please)’, or ‘do your homework (please)’.

Yet when you think about it, please is simply a polite ‘request’ isn’t it?

Now hear yourself contrast ‘read this now please’ with read this now, thank you’

Because thank you suggests to the mind that completion has happened or is about to occur!

Make sure the intonation has a downward inflection too. In fact maybe the inflection may be more powerful than the words spoken …

 

BIC MIND STRETCH

Have you ever found yourself getting irritated with someone? Perhaps even saying ‘you really annoy me’ or similar? Then feelings and words escalate into friction, or worse?

Wouldn’t it be great to take a different perspective and maybe say something less inflammatory like “I am feeling annoyed by your loud voice, which is a shame because I’m always really impressed when I hear your calm tone.”

Can you imagine how using this skill might diffuse a difficult situation?

The following exercise invites you to stretch your communication skills, explore smarter ways to think, and therefore behave with options – if that would be useful?

This involves exploring (stretching) ideas about the information received through your 5 senses. It expands options through both positive and negative thinking frames and re-frames.

Many people find distinguishing fact from opinion a valuable stretch, as is separating intention from behaviour.

The exercise requires a thought field of both internal (with self) and external dialogue (with others).

BIC = BEHAVIOUR – INSIGHT – COMPLIMENT

Don’t read on unless you want to play!

BEHAVIOUR

5 behaviours I have enjoyed – seeing/hearing/feeling/tasting/smelling – in the past month:

E.G. “I like to -hear – you humming …”

 My own

A loved one’s

A colleague’s

5 behaviours I have not enjoyed – seeing/hearing/feeling/tasting/smelling – in the past month:

E.G. “I don’t like to – hear – your shouting voice …”

My own

A loved one’s

A colleague’s

INSIGHT

Looking behind each ‘behaviour’:

Ask yourself “what might the intention be for behaving like this?”

E.G.

Calmness may underpin humming

Frustration may underpin shouting

My own

A loved one’s

A colleague’s

COMPLIMENT

EASY COMPLIMENT

Consider one ‘compliment’ you could give to each of these people – stated as personal opinion (not as a fact) and set in kindness, directing the brain towards a positive filter. E.G. I like to hear you humming …

Myself

A loved one

A colleague

SMART COMPLIMENT

Flip the behaviour you don’t like the (sensory) experience of (e.g. “I don’t like to hear you shouting”) into a compliment.

E.G. “I don’t like to hear you shouting” BECOMES “I do like to hear your calm voice”

Myself

A loved one

A colleague

I’m wondering how many more layers of communication you can perceive and stretch through in order to think-feel-do better results and expand your range of responses to the world around us?

words AND music

Just watched an early episode of Friends, very funny – where they all get locked out of the girls’ flat and argue in the hallway:

“You said YOU had the key”

“No I said ‘got the key’ (inflection up as in a question ‘got the key?’)”

“No, you said ‘got the key’ (inflection down as in a statement ‘got the key!’)”

And so the row went on in typical Friends’ style and of course they found a spare key in the boys’ flat.

Don’t you just love how intonation can make such a difference in communication?

Have you ever noticed how easily conflict (at home, work or play) is simply the result of people’s over-reliance on words alone.

Where do we teach our kids that they can become more precise with the ‘music’ that accompanies words?

I’m thinking of all those fun word-song games on long car journeys.
Just a thought.

Little Devil in the Classroom

What a devil of a job I had a few years ago, dealing with a young lad who thought he was a “bad kid”.

Adrian was one of the first kids in class 5 to catch my attention. He displayed unruly behaviour, shouting out and generally disagreeing with everyone, and anything. Physically he was loose toned and head down off to his left shoulder. His physiology was one of poor control yet quite tense. Verbally he was quick and articulate for his age though his vocabulary was negative and reactive. Emotionally he seemed upset defensive/offensive and unable to deal with unfairness. Energetically he seemed to be hurting.

Throughout the day he was uncooperative and vocal with a prevailing attitude of ‘I can’t do this, that or anything’. ‘I don’t like this, that or anything’. I asked him to be one of the demonstration subjects for a confidence/power game (One Point) and whilst he came up to the front, he polarity responded throughout and used literal interpretation as a means of obstruction i.e. “thank you Adrian, you can sit down now” so he simply sat down on the very spot he had been standing. He then preempted any (anticipated) disapproval with a challenge of “well you said sit down”. I suspected this was a learnt behavioural stance rather than true literal interpretation, which of course some children do have.

The final session activity of the day in class 5, was to have the 9 year olds imagine first, and then draw a picture of what they thought their brains might look like inside – metaphoric, creative, expressive and a celebration of uniqueness. Children love this drawing activity and this class soon got busy with colours, shapes, patterns, compartments, words, and other illustrations.As a general observation, girls generally draw lots of hearts and ‘love’ compartments and boys draw pulleys and levers.

Adrian drew a spiky brain (around top – outer) and then sat back in his chair, crossed his arms, and announced “I can’t do this”.

Curious as to his sense of ‘this is not possible’ I sat alongside him for a while, chatting about his ‘brain’ under the mantle of being a brain specialist. Building rapport, I stayed within his reality at first, building to enquiry using hypnotic language, pacing and leading. “What, until now, has stopped you drawing your brain?” I gently asked.

“I have the devil inside me” he replied.

Note: at this stage many parents, teachers, adults or friends would tell him not to be silly or that he was wrong. “Coooool” I said and he looked at me with suspicion “so where on the paper will you draw that?” I wanted to validate his belief in his belief without applying any meaning to the words he’d spoken.

Suddenly, he jolted forward into drawing mode, released from whatever thoughts had been holding him stuck, and busily detailing a red devil-like figure carrying a pitch fork surrounded by black cloud, rain and lightening. For the first time all day, he was totally clear and focused on this task.

Once finished, he sat back and gave me that look of ‘told you so …’ I then explained to Adrian some basic brain science in that all brains had opposite/balancing bits in them, and I wondered what this particular opposite/balancing part might be.

His little face lit up, “a golden angel” he said, “with golden sunshine beaming down” and I gently tapped (anchored through touch) his left shoulder in his moment of delight to discover something that had previously escaped his awareness. Freely, he drew his ‘balancer’ with great focus, care and attention.

Together we admired the new picture right in front of him showing two equal sized compartment of balance inside his brain, and he was now free to draw a full and complete drawing, just like the other children were busy doing.

For this who understand the process of stacking kinaesthetic anchoring, I gently touched his left (nearest to me) shoulder in exactly the same spot, each time he laughed, realised something new (insight) or spoke positively.

I explained to Adrian how we all had our own personalised version of these opposites inside our minds, but have a choice about how much attention to give each. I shifted my language into dissociated past tense when referring to ‘that little red guy’ (devil) and into associated present/future for this ‘golden angel’. He seemed calmer, less tense and asked if he could show his drawing to the class – first time all day he offered positive contribution.

So when the class was assembled on the mat, I asked Aiden to be my first ‘sharer’ at the front of the class and gently released the stacked anchors on his left shoulder as he began to quietly and methodically describe imagined workings of his mind. The children and teachers listened intently as he described the devil and the angel as opposite parts.

I asked the class to “put your hand up if you have ever experienced something just like that little red guy (pointing to devil) inside your mind” (leading with my hand in air) and almost all the class put their hands in the air, a total belief busting moment for Adrian. His faced flushed and he beamed a smile. I suspect that until that moment, he believed that he was a little devil, a menace, and had adapted and identity to fit the belief.

The class teacher and I also shared our experience of feeling that little red guy inside our heads sometimes too – even as grownups. Then we chatted as a class about the idea of an angel or some other balancer inside our heads – again the class  shared their experience of something similar.

I asked the class who could ride a bike (most) and who could ride a bike when they were 2 (none). So how did they get good at it …? And they replied loudly – ‘practise’. So I asked Adrian which of the little guys (behaviours) he might consider practising most and he beamed ‘the angel’.

I explained to the class that it’s quite ‘normal’ to feel pop up ideas of naughtiness and that’s OK – you have a new choice now – decide which behaviour you want to ‘practise’ through balancing. I gently fired the shoulder anchors that had been established earlier as he discussed his new choices.

Adrian was now, upright, symmetrical, smiling and appeared much stronger and happier and I asked him if I could come back in two weeks to check out how well he will have done by then (temporal language). He was happy with this. We waved the magic wand around Adrian and he pressed the sound buttons that said ‘easy’.

At the end of the day when I said goodbye to the children they all came up and gave me a hug – as did Aiden, only his hug lasted an eternity and I think he was getting used to feeling connected and good about himself.

I have more than total belief in the power that the tiniest of changes we can affect each day and today was about belief busting for one little boy.

Of course in this situation, I didn’t get to influence the system he lives in, home, school, family, friends, teachers and others. But I did get to challenge a limiting belief that was until that day, holding him back. I like to think that a little more resilience is now available to Adrian.

Why Worry?

Old Irish philosophy:

There are only two things to worry about – are you sick or are you well?

If you’re well, there’s nothing to worry about.

And if you’re sick, there are only two things to worry about – will you live or will you die?

If you live, there’s nothing to worry about.

And if you die, there are only two things to worry about – will you go to heaven or will you go to hell?

If you go to heaven, there’s nothing to worry about.

And if you go to hell, you’ll be so busy shaking hands with all your friends that there’s nothing to worry about.