iteration

Everything is an iteration

I launched my coaching business about a decade ago.

At first I knew nothing about the business of coaching.  Then I knew a little more.

And then I put my toe in the water and found out that I really could make a difference.  But the business of coaching is so different to the world of coaching.

I tried marketing and selling and fell flat on my face!

Since then I’ve tried a hundred and one different ways or models – none of which have lasted.

Some worked for a while.  Some I enjoyed.  Some I loved.  And with some I fell at the first hurdle.

But everything I’ve tried has morphed, changed, developed and evolved into something else.

Everything is an iteration.  Change is the only constant!

Everything is part of a larger process.

Even those things that work for us evolve and change in time; often into something better.

I’m excited about launching my new Online NLP School, but I recognise that whatever I bring to the world will be an iteration.

I have a vision but I know reality will be so very different.  Better!

We all have to learn, grow and develop on this remarkable journey called life.  Apple was path-breaking with the iPhone, but is now lagging behind the competition in many ways.  Not in profits however!  Yet.

There are so many unknowns.  Pioneers can reap rich rewards, but they also face the greatest unknowns.

What we strive for is not always easy, but it’s nearly always worth it.  In some way.  A key part of any journey is the ‘failure’.  That can mean things break, we lose our way, or our phones catch fire!

Failure, necessary endings and the dark nights of the soul give us challenges to grow, creativity to solve issues and empathy to understand more.  They also give us stories to share which deeply engage us in, and with the world.  They are the fuel to propel us to the next level.

But our success is only built upon our foundation of failure.

I’m sure you’ve heard Michael Jordan’s quote, widely recognised as the greatest basketball player of all time…

“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” 

Definition of iteration:  a procedure in which repetition of a sequence of operations yields results successively closer to a desired result.

Everything is an iteration.

So what’s the next iteration?

For me it’s the launch of my online school next month, then an awesome Retreat in Ibiza followed by trips to India and Africa for courses and an epic adventure.

What’s the next iteration for you?

Every silver lining

Every silver lining has a bloody great cloud

There’s so much to share since my last update… where to start?!

I had an outpouring of love and support from my last newsletter which triggered a couple of responses. First, a big thank you to all of you who got in touch with words of support.  It was actually quite overwhelming, but lovely to know that my blog on the Unexpected Gifts of Depression and update touched something in so many of you.

The other response was one of surprise and mild discomfort for the concern everyone had for me.  I had moved on and was in a great space when I sent the ‘Mega Update‘.  I often write what’s current or challenging for me, in a way that helps me process and move from where I am, to where I want to be.  Being vulnerable is a part of that process.

I used to hate being vulnerable (still do sometimes… oh there I am being vulnerable again!) but I realise that it’s not just me.  Humans are vulnerable. We all have our soft spots!

If you haven’t watched Brene Brown’s brilliant TedTalk on vulnerability I’d highly recommend you do sometime.  She shares a fabulous story about her own extreme dislike of vulnerability, followed by deep insight from her research; one that sent her on a personal quest to know herself as well as to understand humanity.

A large part of being coached is engaging with our vulnerability.  Simply put, this is the truth of our human frailty, imperfection; our experience of pain and suffering.  Once we do this, we can quickly accept and move beyond our limitations and perceived challenges.  Change can happen in a heartbeat when we accept what is, rather than resist or deny it.

We are all vulnerable. We all need help and support from time to time. And we all have our dark night of the soul.  But many of us try and hide our vulnerability and imperfection.  I know I have.

This is why I was so taken with NLP when I first came across it.  It gave me space to feel both safe and vulnerable.  To be human.  It was clearly a powerful framework for creating deep change.  I recognised that it wasn’t just positive thinking or some tool, but a way of enquiry into the truth.  And the more of the truth I saw, the more beautiful and compelling it became.  As they say, the truth will set you free.

On reflection, my ‘Mega Update’ was, in a way, a mirror of a transformational coaching conversation.  You can go to my website to read a short blog I just wrote on The 7 Steps of A Transformational Coaching Conversation if you want.
When I sent out the Mega Update, I had already moved on in my thinking and emotions, but I wanted to share my process.  Why?  Because we all face challenges in life andI know that my pain and suffering can always serve to alleviate others.  So can yours.

It reminds me something Neil Gaiman said… “The moment that you feel, just possibly, you are walking down the street naked, exposing too much of your heart and your mind, and what exists on the inside, showing too much of yourself…That is the moment, you might just be starting to get it right.”

We all experience loss, grief, pain and suffering.  By sharing mine, my hope and invitation was to invite you into your internal world; your own vulnerability.  To accept that at some level there is a barrier to creating what you want in life.  As soon as we do that; as soon as we accept our own short-comings we can begin to move beyond them, rather than ignore or deny them.

These days, I don’t get stuck in my present state anywhere near as long as I used to. I still get stuck (in my thinking) but always find a way out.  How?  Well, these are just some of the strategies I have for profoundly changing my world:

  1. Lean in to my tribe
  2. Get coaching from my world class coach and mentor (thank you Gene!)
  3. Self Coach – we can all do this, anytime, rather than running on auto pilot or staying stuck
  4. Go for a run and ask myself (gratitude and transformational) questions
  5. Feldenkrais – this has been a life changing method for changing my physical experience and therefore mental and emotional state
  6. Meditation – watch this wonderful 2 minute video if you’ve struggled with meditation or want to do it more consistently
  7. Transformational Breathing – another game changer for me!  Check out Wim Hof who I trained with.  We have just begun talking about doing a retreat or workshop using NLP combined with the Wim Hof Method
  8. Re-organise my thinking through chunking and categorisation… and therefore re-organise my life.  Or re-organise my external environment and therefore my thinking and life :)
  9. Get into nature and soften – we are a part of nature and I come back to myself when I’m there
  10. Make an important decision and take action right away
  11. Visualise and feel deeply what my heart wants, until compelled to take action
  12. Stop trying, let go, chill out and wait for my energy and motivation to return

How do you change your state and life?  What are some of your favourite ‘go to’ processes for getting back into flow and creating change?

I’ve shared a truly amazing and inspiring TedTalk below which goes into very real and beautiful detail about the power of sharing our dream (desired state), what’s stopping us from achieving it (present state) and then how community can ALWAYS (and often in very unexpected ways) help us to manifest said dream.

Again, I’d highly recommend you check it out, but more importantly to do the work!  Where are you creating the space and time for YOU to:

  1. Share your dream
  2. Figure out what’s stopping you and then
  3. Get the support to bridge the gap?
My belief is that the Universe is designed to ensure this process, if only we will play our part.

Until next time!Love, Tristan

7 steps of a transformational coaching conversation

7 Steps of a Transformational Coaching Conversation

I was so taken with NLP when I first came across it because it was clearly a powerful framework for creating rapid change.

I recognised this wasn’t just positive thinking or some tool or process, but a way of enquiry into the truth.  The more of the truth I saw, the more beautiful and compelling it became.

The 7 Steps for a Transformational Coaching Conversation, in a way recognises and works with the vulnerability in all of us, to create lasting and powerful change:

1, We acknowledge there is learning or change to experience for us – to be all we can be.

2, We look at the barriers to achieving what we want (our present state).

3, We unpack that present state.  This is about going deeper into how we are creating our current situation (be that being stuck, depressed, confused, unmotivated, unsure, unhappy etc).

4, By unpacking the structure of our present state (beliefs, internal strategies etc) we can become aware of, and acknowledge that where we are is a) not where we want to be and b) not fixed c) a part of the natural journey of maturation and learning.  Like a child learning to walk, we all need to fall over to learn to do it properly.

5, If it’s not where we want to be or fixed, that begs the question, what do we want instead?

6, When someone answers this question, the frame of the conversation has shifted from ‘present state’ to ‘desired state’.  From what we don’t want – to what we do.

7, And this is where as a skilled coach we create the space for, and offer feedback to the person to shift state; where they know (this is a belief change!) they can do whatever they want and have the strategies to achieve it.

If you would like to know more about these kinds of Transformational Coaching Conversations, or to have your own, send me an email here.

Love Tristan x

Depression

The Unexpected Gifts of Depression

Having suffered from depression, I’ve come to recognise the many unexpected gifts of this paralysing label.

Experiencing depression, hopelessness or being stuck gives us a choice, unconscious though it is for most. We can subscribe to the label and the idea that we don’t play a part in this very real and debilitating diagnosis; in other words that we are at the effect of and therefore unable to do anything about ‘it’.  

Or, we can acknowledge that we play a part in the process of being depressed or stuck and can therefore choose to do the work necessary to heal the causes of depression (which are undoubtedly within us) so that we can release the feeling of being ‘at effect’ of this terrible affliction.

Those are our choices.  Denial and debilitation, or taking some sort of action.  Of course this raises the questions of what do we do and how to we do it?  Before answering these questions (which by the way are multifaceted and different for each person and partly why it’s often not an easy problem to solve) let’s back up a bit and look at some of the gifts.

1) Learning and growth

One of the gifts that comes with depression is not just the learning, healing and the personal growth that we experience as we process and transform our depression, but how we can then share this wisdom and experience with others who are stuck in life or depressed.  We can help others with our very real gift, of being a little further along the journey of dealing with this ‘dis-ease’.  

Viktor Frankl wrote in his brilliant book Man’s Search for Meaning as he recounted his experience as a Doctor in Auschwitz, that when we find meaning in our suffering and are able to channel that into helping those less fortunate than us, we can find a sense of freedom and deep meaning to our existence.  

“Suffering has a purpose.”  Gene Early

Many people go through their lives never really finding a sense of meaning, purpose or contribution beyond perhaps having a family, a job, gaining material possessions, going on holiday or getting a pension.  There is nothing wrong with these things (they are gifts in and of themselves) but they are what you might call ‘surface level’ and can miss out on deeper levels of fulfilment, experience and wisdom.  Life itself!

This process of healing gives us a deep sense of contribution; of purpose and meaning to our lives where we can help others.  We simply wouldn’t be endowed with this gift, were it not for the fact we have ‘been through the shit’.

2) Sensitivity

Another significant gift is our hyper-sensitivity.  I will  use an analogy here to help explain:

I’m hyper-sensitive to what I put in my body these days.  Whether it’s alcohol, steak or lots of ‘bad foods’ like bread, I feel it!  On the one hand it’s a curse.  I love wine, steak and bread!  Too much however and I really feel the effects – lethargy, being bloated, tired or hungover.  

It can be extremely annoying, especially waking up with a thick head.  I can’t have more than a few beers without feeling the effects and hungover the next day.  I can’t consume much steak, bread or dairy without really feeling its impact.  What a shame!

The other side of this coin however, is that because I’m so hyper-sensitive (in other words I’m so open to the feedback that my body is giving me) that I know what to do in order to feel vibrant and healthy.  So I have a choice, again, to be at effect of this hyper-sensitivity or to embrace it as a gift – and therefore move increasingly towards (and be at cause of) a life of full of health, nutrition and vitality.  I have to say, I don’t always choose this!

To return to depression – our susceptibility or hypersensitivity to being depressed is a gift.  We rarely see it this way, but it’s a signal, a trigger or a message as we notice ourselves going into this stuck state.  

In the same way the effects of putting cheese, or steak or bread into my system is an indicator that I need to do something different, the stuck state or depression is a signal to ‘do the work’.  It’s the signal to change our thinking; to make a change.  As we do ‘the work’ of changing (which for people like me is an on-going process by the way) we become increasingly aware of the different kinds of choices we can make in our lives.

What does it mean?  It means that we become aware that at the deepest level, that we are always choosing.  And as we continue to choose, we create a life of freedom.

This is so far removed from depression it’s almost incomprehensible.  But it’s true.  Feedback and sensitivity are wonderful gifts and ours to resist, or enjoy, grow from and share.

3) The Fundamental Shift

In order to heal from depression, ultimately it requires a fundamental shift in the underlying presupposition or belief that “I’m at effect… I can’t… I’m alone… I’m not enough etc etc”. 

It is these kinds of presuppositions or beliefs, often set up in childhood (and certainly in my case) that still run deeply and unconsciously.  And the fundamental shift is that “I can… I’m never alone.. I can be present with myself.. I do have a choice in this moment.”

That’s a profound shift. A life changing one.  What a gift not just for us, but to those others who we can also help to wake up to the truth that we all have a choice; that we are not limited to or destined to live from our limited and distorted belief that we don’t.  

What a gift that depression – of all the curses we could suffer – could bring us to such a profound presence, awareness and joy of life and ourselves.

What do we do and how to we do it?

  1. Stay connected with your support network.  You’d be surprised how many people want to help, when we ask for it.  In the past, the last thing I wanted to do was to share my pain and vulnerability with friends and family.  Over the years however, I’ve found it to be utterly transformational.  For myself, and others.  We are not alone in being stuck or depressed.  It turns out to be a very common human experience.
  2. Get professional help.  There are a plethora of methods such as CBT and NLP which can address the underlying causes of depression.  For me, the vehicle was NLP.  Of course we all have different preferences when it comes to cars and the same is true with our healing journey.  Find your vehicle and get driving!  
  3. Stop being a passenger.  As I’ve said, we often we find ourselves at effect, blaming or resenting others.  This is an indication that the external world is affecting our internal world.  And yet we have a choice.  Stop drinking the poison and expecting the others to die.  When we resent or blame, we’re really getting angry for the mirror that others hold up to those parts of ourselves that we deny or won’t accept.  Do the work!
  4. Do some exercise.  It’s been proven to release chemicals called endorphins and thereby reduce stress, ward off anxiety, feelings of depression and to boost self-esteem.  In fact, Doctors are now prescribing exercise for depression!
  5. Understand that medication is rarely the answer, it’s normally a plaster for the symptom.
  6. Depression is a process, not a thing.  As a result, when we address the process for slipping into depression and change our behaviour (to for example exercising, reaching out for help, expressing truth etc) and things improve, the pattern will almost invariably come back around.  Be prepared for that gift.  It’s a sign for you to do some more work and go to the next level of awareness and freedom in your life.
  7. It’s our gift.  When we find a way to deal with our own pain and suffering, it gives us a unique perspective and experience to share with others.  My greatest pain and suffering now enables me to support others through theirs.  It has given my life direction and purpose and so can yours, for you.

If this blog has touched you, you want to find out more about my personal journey or feel that you could do with some support, then do get in touch.

Love, Tristan

goldfish jumping out of the water

Life is full of paradox!

Forest Gump said that “life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re going to get.” And boy, was he right!

For much of my formative years I battled with myself and life. I had an insatiable need to know, to have a sense of understanding and control. While we can create an internal experience of knowing (and we can control certain aspects of our lives) when push comes to shove, the opposite is needed for us to live fully.

We need to both know and paradoxically, to not know. We need to get comfortable with knowing and not knowing; with control and releasing control. Life is full of paradox!

Perhaps more now than ever we need to be flexible, to accept, to flow, let go and to forgive – ourselves and others – to release control of events outside of us (and even inside us!) and come back to what we can control. That is, to have some measure of control over the aspects of our own lives that we can actually influence – our breath, physiology, focus, language and way we use our thinking and show up in the world – all great NLP techniques.

My winter has been jam packed full of unknowns; of unexpected events in my business and relationships. Some deeply challenging! I’ve been back and forth to Goa three times, South Africa twice, the UK and Ibiza once. Phew… I need to breathe!!

I loved being back home in Ibiza a couple of weeks ago. But I’m now writing this on one of my favourite beaches in Goa… my second home.

Along with the unexpected chocolate box of events and challenges that life has generously presented me with, I’ve been listening deeply. I’m very aware of a ‘next level’ for me which I haven’t yet fully stepped into. Like a game with endless levels, life is inviting me to the next one, but I need to hone my skills and my NLP techniques to get there.

As a result I’ve decided to take two sabbaticals – one this summer, another in winter. Tough life I know… but someone has to write this awesome book!

It’s a special time for me to reflect, read, write, focus on health, vitality and sustainability; integrating at a deeper level some of the changes I’ve experienced over the last few years. I’ll be sharing my journey with you through my writing and blogs over the next few months of course :)

A-way-out-at-last-blog

A Way Out At Last

When I was a kid, like many people I had dreams of a life well lived – a life of possibility, freedom and unlimited joy. However, as I grew up I discovered that life was often harsh, people couldn’t be trusted and feelings of joy were often fleeting.

As children we tend not to be aware of what’s ‘normal’ or dysfunctional.  The older I got however, the more I realised that my dad beating my mum or me up for that matter, was not right or normal; that my dad being a con-artist, drug dealer and in and out of prison was not normal; that living with my grandparents (who were both Colonels in the army) from the age of seven and being sent off to boarding school – was not normal.  As a result, I grew up with a ton of limiting beliefs. I became angry, scared and violent.

“Action will furnish belief, but will that belief be the true one? That’s the point you know.”  Arthur Hugh Clough

Over time, I came to learn that beliefs are nothing but a feeling of certainty about what something means.  They are not truth.  However, we operate from these ‘truths’ – from the limiting beliefs we grow up with – as if they are truths. These beliefs are like glue holding our internal worlds together, often very shakily, or unhealthily in my case.  And because we act as if our outdated and limiting beliefs are true, they often become self-fulfilling prophecies.  The world is dangerous.  People can’t be trusted.  I’m not lovable.  These become true because we believe them to be true.  As we mature however, we all come to realise a deeper truth – that the world is both safe and dangerous.

When I entered my twenties and begun to hear of ‘depression’ it dawned on me that I was depressed.  I realised that I had been depressed for much of my life.  That’s not to say I didn’t have fun and adventurous times with my parents, at school or University.  I did.  But I had this creeping sense of unhappiness; like a dark storm brewing in the distance, covering the sun and never quite passing.  Beneath the mask of being ok, was a sense – that all was not ok.  I’m sure that many people read through it.

When I discovered NLP techniques, I began to see that ‘depression’ wasn’t a thing.  It was a process. In other words, we have to do very specific things in order to feel depressed.  Yes, it’s a label.  But depression is more than a label, an idea or a disease.  We ‘play’ a part in it.  And if I played a part in creating my depressive states, then I must have some control over this ‘thing’ that had controlled me for most of my life.

There was a way out at last!  What I’ve learnt to do since (and this is the essence of NLP) is to understand HOW I do what I do (in other words how I got depressed) so that I could do more of what I wanted.

As Mosche Feldenkrais said “when you know how you do what you do, you can do what you want”.

I now understand how I get depressed, despondent or un-resourceful, so I go there much less often.  We have to do very specific things in order to get stuck.  In fact we are never really stuck.  We only ever think we’re stuck.

It is our thinking that creates stuck, unhappy or depressed states, just as it’s our thinking that creates joy and happiness.

We have to believe untruths in order to get into and stay in these kind of unresourceful states. I still have that capacity and to be honest, I still find myself in un-resourceful states more than I’d like to.  I’d like to live in perfect joy and harmony.  But if we’re human that’s a pretty tall order.

That said, I now have so many ways out of stuck states. I have choice.  We have choice.  The starting point is truth – that’s the difference between our distorted version of reality and reality in actuality.

This is the beauty of NLP.  It gives us a framework where there is always somewhere to go in our thinking.  And it is our thinking that creates how we feel, which drives our behaviour and ultimately the results we get in life.

As Michael Neil said, we feel our thinking.

This has profound implications. If there is always a way out of our stuck state, limiting beliefs or emotions, what then becomes possible?

Continue the journey… Untying the Knot

img_7586

As they say.. there’s nowhere quite like home

Spring Shoots

Beyond The Clouds

 

 

I’ve been supporting some people through very challenging times recently. At the same time, I have also been experiencing some very real challenges; more emotional and psychological than anything else.

Sometimes, no matter the process or the theory, the challenges just keep mounting. The clouds just keep descending and so I, or we, have to take a new perspective in order to make sense of our experience in the world.

Yesterday, as I was walking back to my hotel room, I was reflecting on the seemingly unavoidable suffering in the human experience, of how remarkable, but how scary and unsettling life can be at times, and then I thought of it in another way:

Just as there are seasons in nature, we also have seasons in life.

Some of us are in winter right now. It can be a dark, cold and unforgiving place. A place of confusion and seemingly eternal suffering. It can appear that there is no end to the darkness. Even when we have one of those beautiful crisp clear days we get in the UK, in a flash we can be plunged back into the gloom and depths of winter; the sun hidden from sight again for days on end.

Spring ShootsHowever, just because we can’t see the sun doesn’t mean it’s not there. And the clouds do come and go, eventually. This is the truth. Eventually, as surely as autumn turns to winter, winter in turn releases its grasp on us and we find new shoots and life in the hardened and seemingly desolate ground beneath us.

In the old days (and perhaps still today) people used to pray for protection and guidance through the seasons, especially the long dark winters. They’d build fires, gather with others for love and support, or hunker down and hibernate until the inevitable thaw returned and their job of planting for a new season and harvest was upon them.

They would light fires, tell stories of hope, come closer to one another to share physical and emotional warmth through the challenging times. Squirrels would have buried nuts to keep them going through the winter; bears would be underground sleeping through the worst of it and all around, nature would find a way to survive and make it through to the new season.

We all have our winters. It can seem like it drags on, indeed we can make it drag on ourselves, but ‘this too shall pass’. I know there is a great deal more to my winter. In fact, there’s a great deal more to life than we can ever imagine.  It’s there for all of us – beyond our thoughts – no matter what season we are in.

It can help to see past the seasons, beyond the clouds and up into the unfathomable reaches of the Universe. Thinking about how vast the Universe is and how small I am, how small we are, I find it humbling and somehow comforting to know where I live. I sometimes have this experience of zooming back in from the beauty and enormity of space.  All of a sudden I have a very different sense of myself and my connectedness to the cosmos. I can trust  the clouds in my thinking will pass in time, and gain a whole new perspective and sense of purpose in my life.  I hope you can too!

Universe beyond the clouds

Coffee

Awakening Each Day

I was getting a coffee this morning, which I don’t do every day (though I have been know to!) and noticed something which I’ve never really seen in this way before.

It’s become a tradition – a way of life for us here in the UK – to have our morning coffee.

On the surface, there’s nothing wrong with this. I love starting my day with a cafe con leche when I’m in Ibiza. In the UK, its more likely to be a cup of tea… or two!

What’s interesting to me when I stop and think about it is, that it has become normal to start our day is with a stimulant. The long-term side-effects of this are pretty apparent, but what are the short-term effects? Well for me, apart from being an artificial way to change my state, after the initial delight of having warm caffeine soup, laced with sugar and milk slipping down my throat, I then start to feel a kind of transparent film descending over my pure consciousness. I’m awake, but not with the same kind of pure energy or consciousness I had as a kid.

Isn’t that an interesting way to start the day?

I recently rediscovered that reading and even writing in the morning, is such an energising way to start my day. It sets up a whole series of events, circumstances and states I experience, that replicate and expand that vibration or energy throughout my day. It doesn’t have to be writing, but for me – reading and writing transform my thinking and energy. Fundamentally. What does that for you?

I recently wrote a list of things that change my energy and therefore life – in 5 minutes or less – things like doing a bit of exercise, deep breathing, walking in nature or asking myself powerful questions (if you want some ask me and I can send you some!).

I’m not suggesting that we all wake as the sun rises and meditate or do yoga as some do in the East.. and even the West. What I am suggesting is that we meet somewhere in the middle. Rather than relying on stimulants and artificial ways of engaging in the world each morning, there is an alternative. There always is :)

Sunrise in Ibiza!

Sunrise in Ibiza!

TristanSoames8

My life position as a victim

From almost as young as I can recall I’ve been a victim. I remember rushing out of the house, aged about 4 or 5, blunt butter knife pressed into my belly and threatening to kill myself in response to being ignored. My parents laughed, knowing not only that I couldn’t, but also that I wouldn’t.

When my parents vanished without trace a year or two later, I ended up living with my grandfather and step grandmother who were both Colonels in the army. I found this experience heart-breaking and debilitating on many levels. My response was to shut down emotionally, to stop trusting people and to get angry. I became a victim. I entered what you might call the drama triangle of Victim, Persecutor and Rescuer.   Drama Triangle

To this day I recognise this pattern underlying many of the experiences I find frustrating, challenging or unexpected. It’s a default ‘safe’ state to go to when I feel ‘at effect’ by what’s going on around me. I unconsciously choose to respond with anger if I’m playing the persecutor or despondency and depression, as the victim.

My personal development over time has helped me move out of the victim role. I live a blessed life. I run my own business, have a property portfolio and a large degree of financial freedom. I live in Ibiza, travel the world and help others to unlock their potential. On the face of it, I’m anything but a victim. I’ve created my life with a remarkable degree of freedom.

But at the deepest level I’ve still been playing a victim.

This recently surfaced in the way I was feeling ‘at effect’ in my relationship; unable to share how I was feeling without creating conflict or feeling despondent and unhappy with ‘no out’.

So my work now is to rise above the victim which I developed in childhood and carry with me to this day. It served me as a child and of course brings with it benefits which I must now be willing to let go of. Ultimately this is a decision that means the outside will not rule my inside world. It means I must move out of my life position of being a victim at the deepest level. But how?  How do any of us do this?

Like many others, I’ve learnt to compensate for my victim-hood very well. I found NLP techniques, Feldenkrais and any other number of methodologies that have given me hope. The hope is essential, but it doesn’t solve the problem.

The problem is resolved when we make a decision at the highest level that we are responsible. We choose how we respond and feel in each moment. We make an overall decision to this effect, that is irreversible.

This could be one of the single most important decisions of our lives. It has far reaching implications for us and the world around us.  Of course we’ll go ‘off track’ sometimes, that’s normal. But to recognise it and get back on track, that’s the work.

One way of doing this is to change the internal dialogue from that of the victim to “I have chosen this feeling of… despondency, stuck-ness, frustration, anger” or whatever it is. At the deepest level, this is owning that every thought, word or action is our choice.

The truth is that we are not at the mercy of our environment unless we allow that; unless we subscribe to and agree to live as victims.

As Jack Jezreel, founder of JustFaith puts it, “The world cannot be changed by love to become just, unless we are changed by love to become whole. But we cannot be made whole without engaging in the work of making the world whole. Personal transformation and social transformation are one piece.”

I believe that my questions are in fact our questions…

So, when will I take full responsibility for every thought, word and feeling I experience?  What will it take for me to take responsibility and commit fully to my personal transformation (through love) and that of the world?

As David Orr said, “the plain fact is that the planet does not need more successful people. But it does desperately need more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers, and lovers of every kind. It needs people who live well in their places. It needs people of moral courage willing to join the fight to make the world habitable and humane. And these qualities have little to do with success as we have defined it.”

Perhaps it’s time to redefine success as engaging in the work of making the world whole as we make ourselves whole; as we learn to love ourselves and the ‘inner’ and ‘outer worlds’ beyond our own.