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The problem of good

 

Barely a week goes by without opening my BBC News app and reading of another mass killing or terrorist attack. I suspect many others are the same in their despondency and sense of hopelessness with the darkness we are confronted with. Berlin, Nice, Syria… where will it end?  Or perhaps it won’t?

I know I’m not alone in questioning what is going on and how on earth we respond. I’ve considered many ways of responding.  Often my preference is to say nothing on social media, but this passage I read the other day by Richard Rohr struck me as a very tangible and unexpected solution.

“We are made for transcendence and endless horizons, but our small ego gets in the way until we become aware of its petty preoccupations and eventually seek a deeper truth.

We have spent centuries of philosophy trying to solve ‘the problem of evil’, yet I believe the much more confounding and astounding issue is ‘the problem of good’. How do we account for so much gratuitous and sheer goodness in this world?  Tackling this problem will achieve much better results.”

I don’t believe that we have really understood what goodness is. Where does it come from?  Like love, how can we account for it?

Evil is very apparent. But are we focusing in the wrong direction?

Perhaps the answers to the darkness in the world is to turn our attention to understanding goodness. As Richard Rohr suggests; if we all took responsibility for answering ‘the problem of good’ this would achieve much better results.

So as we look back on what has no doubt been a challenging, traumatic and sad year for the world in many ways, we’re also now being invited to come together in the spirit sharing, love and understanding this Christmas.

If evil exists (which in my experience it clearly does) how and where are we now being called to choose good?  And what happens when we, as a species, choose good because that is our essential nature?

Just as teenagers grow out of those destructive and selfish habits, humanity now has the opportunity – in fact the responsibility – to grow beyond our selfish ways and understand our place in the cosmos.

As Jack Jezreel, founder of JustFaith puts it “personal transformation and social transformation are one piece.”

How each of us individually resolves the problem of good has enormous ramifications for ourselves, our families, communities and even the world.

learning-from-genius

Are you learning from genius (or settling for less)?

When one of the greatest financial genius’ of our time, Warren Buffett, said that “the best investment you can make is in yourself” he really meant it.

Admittedly the quote has probably been overused in marketing for years – with people trying to fill their NLP courses and coaching programs – perhaps even by me 😉

It’s so cliched and exhausted, it’s kind of lost its meaning. So what did he really mean by this, is it true and why should we sit up and take note now?

Given that most of us ‘invest’ in depreciating assets – cars, televisions and the like; and given that some of us invest in appreciating assets – shares, properties and businesses etc – why would it better to invest in ourselves?

What does it actually mean to invest in ourselves anyway?

As I’m sure you already know, depreciating ‘assets’ are those things we buy that depreciate in value – the majority of material things we purchase. When we spend more than we earn and we don’t invest any surplus (say in appreciating assets) we stay in what we all know as the rat race – with never quite enough to escape it. None of us want that.

When we invest in appreciating assets however, these can in time, give us an income that enables us to either reinvest, or spend the money as we like. This gives us a measure of freedom. The wealthy know this ‘secret’ very well. This is what Warren Buffett has done, perhaps better than anyone else alive today. So why would he say there are better investments you can make than the very thing that has made him a billionaire many times over?

Our traditional education system is not fit for purpose for the modern era. As a result, there is a ground swell of opportunity for adults to learn, grow and develop these days – to invest in ourselves – through online and offline training and courses. Never before have we had access to so much knowledge or opportunity.

As adults wanting to mature and develop into our full potential, we have to hunt out the best education we can get for ourselves, because it’s clearly not going to be given to us on a plate. This is what he means by investing in yourself.

But where to begin?open-your-mind

With an overwhelming array of information, content and courses to choose from, how do we choose the best of the best in terms of our own ongoing education?

The thing that has made the biggest difference for me in seeking out the best teachers and trainers in the world has been to match my desire with their genius. Not the marketing. I didn’t do this consciously to begin with, you could say I got lucky. In a way I stumbled across genius, rather than seeking it out in the early days.

It’s not just the results (the book, the business, the money, the stocks and shares or whatever else we are looking for and has tangible results) though that’s normally what marketeers will sell you on. It’s who we become as a result of the life changing journey we embark on – as we put ourselves and our hard earned cash in the trusted hands of someone who will hopefully teach us the ‘secrets of their success’.

I have sought out and continue to model genius I truly admire – leaders of the heart; exceptional coaches and mentors; people who have learned to love, to heal, to laugh, be real, open, ruthlessly honest and to make a real difference in the world.

Yes I’ve got tangible results – the business, the websites, the properties, money and more. What’s more valuable than any of this however, has been the person I have become. As they say, all you’re left with when you die is who you became. You can’t take any of it with you.

John Grinder, one of the founders of NLP (and a genius in his own right) once said that “the relationship between the model and the modeller [i.e. student and teacher] is so intimate that I wouldn’t consider [modelling] someone until I’d been in their presence, personally verified that I recognised genius in what they were doing… and there has to be some sort of movement inside of me at the unconscious level that says ‘YEAH’!”

My criteria for choosing models of excellence, trainers or coaches now – and I’ve chosen some very good and very bad ones in my time – is to choose those who have a congruent ‘why’ or purpose for doing what they do.  One that ‘oozes’ from their very being.

Ultimately this is almost always because it’s what they truly love doing; it’s their calling, their passion, their raison d’etre. Or all of the above! Very rarely do I choose someone because they can help me make money or a bestseller or whatever else it is. I’m sure they can. But when someone’s heart is not in the right place, I’m no longer interested. I’ve lost that gamble too many times.

I need to invest in people who are truly invested in me, themselves and life. Like Grinder, I need to be in their presence, to recognise their genius and have an unconscious pull which says “YEAH!” towards wanting some of what they have. Then it’s a green light. That couldn’t be further from the red light of marketing or sales or positioning that so many educational ‘systems’ or ‘experts’ promote. In fact, you’ll find that most genius’ don’t promote at all. They attract.

Who are you attracted by?

As one of my mentors once said, be careful who you model. You might get more than you bargained for.

Untying-the-Knot-blog

Untying the Knot

One thing I know for sure is that life is complex.  We are complex.  Of course the paradox is that amidst the complexity and confusion there is simplicity in life.  But just because it’s simple, doesn’t make it easy.

I sometimes liken it to untying a big knot.  At first it can seem overwhelming, hard work or even impossible.  As we persevere however, we find a way.  We can make make sense of, and unravel the complexities of life, which at first can seem daunting.  Ultimately the unravelling bring us great joy.

When you know what you’re doing, you can do what you want. Moshe Feldenkrais

We have strategies for everything we do.  When we understand these strategies, we come to know how we’re doing what we’re doing.  We can then do more of what we want.

One of the strategies I developed as a kid was having a sense of fearlessness in the face of aggression or violence. I unconsciously modelled that from my dad.  He was a violent man.

I learnt to have a fearless sense of adventure and willingness to take risks – some might say to my detriment.  I’ve nearly died on several occasions – while skiing, driving, riding motorbikes and even swimming.  I’ve set up and run numerous businesses, several of which ‘failed’.  I became a risk-taker, a real gift (and skill) I had learnt from my parents.  Thank you guys!

One of the many things that NLP coaching has given me is the capacity to understand and model out the strategies that create things like fear or fearlessness. That’s been life changing.

knot-5As I look back on my youth, more often than not my subjective truth (or experience) was informed by limiting beliefs and coping strategies set up in my childhood.  Along with fearlessness I learnt to be very fearful in certain contexts.  Context creates meaning.  However, from my very first NLP Practitioner course, through to my Master Trainer certification and beyond, what I’ve consistently done is to challenge and unravel those limiting, unconscious behaviours and beliefs. I’ve needed help along the way.

Untangling a big knot is very difficult, if not impossible to do instantaneously.  Over time however, if you pick a little here and a little there, it can become an easy process, even rewarding if we take it (and make it!) easy. This has been my NLP journey.

While I’ve had amazing and instantaneous breakthroughs and life changing experiences; while I’ve come away from courses and NLP coaching sessions with a profoundly different sense of what is possible and how I can make changes in my life – actually over time – many of the changes have happened at an unconscious level; easily, naturally, without having to even think about them or try.

That’s pretty amazing.  To think, that the human experience or evolutionary process has been designed to enable progress, learning and change.  In a way – less is more!  So the big knot has been untied over time with a lot of effort at certain points and much less so and more enjoyably at others.  As I look back and see how radically different my life is now, I can begin to understand and truly appreciate that the journey is significantly more important than any destination.

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.” Steve Jobs

I still have that capacity to slip back into depression or play the victim from time to time.  However, I recognise these patterns and address them much sooner than I used to.  I now know how I create these states, so I can do something different.

As Robert Dilts said – having multiple options is flexibility and having multiple perspectives is wisdom. This is accessible to all of us.

That’s our knot to untie – in a way to let go of the effort and our way of doing things and wake up to new possibilities, options and perspectives that free us to be fully ourselves; to be who we were born to be.

Most of us are not who we think we are. We are so much more that we could ever imagine. Yet who we think we are dictates our behaviour and how we show up in the world. Behaviour is an expression of identity.

The fullness of who we are stretches far into the past, the present, and our future. It ripples out into eternity without us ever really being able to fathom.

I’m still unravelling and accepting the mystery of who I am. Despite (and perhaps in part because of) the many challenges, it’s a pretty cool journey!

Will you join me on it?

If you’d like to, why not click the help button in the bottom right of your screen and we can have a chat…

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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

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

Beginning-my-NLP-Journey-blog

Beginning My NLP Journey

I remember the first time ‘I got it’.  I was sitting with a new friend called Dom, on my NLP Business Practitioner course.

It might have been the second day, I can’t remember exactly.  However I do remember that in the space of about five minutes, doing nothing other than asking him some simple questions, his whole state and physiology changed.  He was beaming me a smile.  He was so grateful for me helping him figure something out and I was so grateful for being able to help him.

I had just seen with my own eyes the power of NLP; the simplicity and beauty of it and I wanted more.  I finished my NLP Practitioner a few months later and was a changed man.

A few years prior to this however, I’d never even heard of NLP courses.   I was in a horrible job, selling corporate videos to CEO’s around the world.  I say selling, more accurately trying to sell.  Imagine a London call centre, grey cardboard booths separating people like cattle and lots of falsely impassioned young men and women trying to convince high powered executives at the other end of the phone to part with £16,000 for a corporate video that would be beamed around the world on satellite television channels.  Sales.. sales.. sales… I couldn’t stand it.

Previous to this job I had been running a film production company, fresh out of University. I had no idea what I was doing, but me and a couple of friends thought it would be a fun and good idea to make a film. Fast forward a year and we had produced the most expensive short film of ’97 and a couple of music videos.  I was heavily in debt, so felt I had to bail out and get a job. And this is where I ended up, in a goldfish bowl unable to get out!

Long story short, my friend Alex called me up one beautiful sunny day as I was sat inside my grey cubicle.  The contrast couldn’t have been more stark.   I felt unable to find a way out of my physical, mental and emotional prison. There I was inside my goldfish bowl looking out onto a beautiful and sunny world. I could see and almost touch it, but from my side of the window I couldn’t have it.

In that moment, Alex asks me down the phone “Stan, you fancy going to work in Ibiza for the summer?”  My immediate response was something like “Yeah.. for sure mate.. Let’s get out of here!”  At the time, I had no idea how we’d make it work, I just knew that we would and could and the vision of being in Ibiza selling music was infinitely more inspiring than sitting in a cubicle for the summer doing some incongruent job.  I had been to Ibiza on holiday the year before but truth be told, I had no real idea of how it would work.  I did however see other people making it work when i was on holiday and I knew the pain of remaining in London, was waaaaay more painful than following what felt right in my heart.

Before I left that job, the sales manager mentioned a book that forever changed my life.  He said to me that if there is one book you ever read, make it Awaken The Giant Within by Anthony Robbins. Funnily enough I didn’t read the book for about 2 or 3 years (I’m a slow learner!) but when I then decided to set up a clothing label (which would become my second ‘failed’ venture into business), I thought it might be a good idea.

It was a page turner. However, it didn’t help me to shift any of the core patterns I’d had from growing up in a highly dysfunctional family. I believe that these things run deeper than any book can fully address.

At the back of the book was a card which I posted, requesting more information. Before I knew it I’d reluctantly signed up for a seminar by Anthony Robbins.  The salesman was very, very good!

That weekend changed the direction of my life forever. Funnily enough, things actually took a turn for the worse after the event, but it had awoken something within me; something I knew to be true, but that had eluded me until then. That within all of us are the seeds of greatness and possibility; that we can all awaken the giant within us.  Until then I had been plagued by self-doubt, low self-esteem, insecurity and more. Yet somehow I knew that life had to make sense somehow. I couldn’t just be destined to a life of limitations and unhappiness.

The experience opened the floodgates of possibility; it gave me an experience of believing that anything was possible; I had a vision and I was determined to achieve it. I had begun my NLP journey without really knowing what it was or how it worked. I just knew there was something in it, in me, that was special, worth exploring and moving towards.

As they say, all great journeys start with the first step. I had taken mine. And my life has never been the same again.

I am often reminded of how profoundly life changing that choice was and how, as a result, I keep on finding deeper levels of personal, emotional and financial freedom that I once deemed impossible.

I’m also reminded of what Bob Gass said. “What we see and hear is what we think about. What we think about is what we feel. What we feel influences our reactions. Reactions become habits and it is our habits that determine our destiny”.

I had a new vision; I was thinking differently; I had control over my destiny because I had begun to see, hear and think about a different possibility for my life. The future was bright and it was mine for the taking. As long as I was prepared to continue doing the ‘inner work’ and removing the barriers I had created through my thoughts, I could create the kind of life I wanted.

Continue the journey… A Way Out At Last

The view from my ‘Lighthouse’ in Ibiza :)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Holy Shit!

In the book Necessary Endings, Henry Cloud shares a very simple and effective way to create success in any area of your life.

He says that there are three things we need to do in order to grow, flourish and be successful.

Our lives and businesses are just like the rose bush. We may have a lot of really good strategies, products, activities, relationships, or ideas that we’ve poured our resources into. But if we pruned some of the good stuff back, we would enable the best parts to get all that they need to thrive, making our businesses and relationships even more productive and happier.

holy-shitThe book is outstanding. Henry’s take on how we do this? You have to make decisions about what to prune by asking the following questions:

1) What is “good but not best?”
2) What is “sick and can’t get well?” and
3) What is “long since dead?”

I’ve got a slightly different take on it now. My grandparents used to have a rose garden.

Like a rose bush, in life, you first have to get rid of anything sick or dead. You have to get rid of anything that is not going to become the best. Then, you have to nourish the best.

When I explained Henry’s model to Sarah, who works with me, she said what about the manure… Surely that’s the most important thing for roses to flourish?

Seeing the truth in her question I immediately thought, what a great point! Where does putting shit on roses play a part in our lives?

I saw my grandparents do that religiously. It was clearly very important to creating a ‘perfect’ rose garden.

I responded by saying that she was absolutely correct; this completes the truth and metaphor for me. In order for us to become the best we can, we have to go through suffering and pain. Like roses, we need some shit to really thrive.

I instinctively said to Sarah that “it’s the suffering and shit we go through that informs our gift to the world.”

Perhaps after all, holy shit really does exist.

I’ve found myself reacting to the shit that life has thrown at me as a burden, something I wish I didn’t have to deal with. I’ve hated having to go through much of it! But it’s there. The Buddha said that suffering is a part of life. Go one further and as Gene, my mentor would say, suffering has a purpose.

We need to prune but we also need manure to nourish, grow and experience beauty and the true depth that life has to offer. To take Henry Cloud’s questions – which by the way are brilliant – to another level I’d ask…

roseWhat’s has been or is your most significant pain or suffering?

What painful lessons have you learnt or are learning that could help others along their path?

What has to be true for you to commit to sharing your learning with others in ways that profoundly open up and enriches your world and theirs?

What’s the next simple step you could take right now, to begin moving towards this vision and calling today?

For me, I’ve experienced excruciating emotional and physical pain – through having a broken home and a broken back.

That’s where I now get to use the ‘shit hand’ I was dealt in life – to embrace the ‘gift in disguise’ that it undoubtedly was – to grow, flourish and to use NLP Coaching help others to do the same.

This is done by helping others go through similar shit – until they realise that it’s the very fertiliser that they need (and probably don’t want) to make sense of their pain. It’s their gift from and to the world.

Ultimately it’s the difference that makes a difference we were put here to make. How cool. And paradoxical.

Like a rose, we were all born to be beautiful, but we need to prune what isn’t working or isn’t the best. And we get to grow from the shit put upon us by life.

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

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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!

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Magical India – The Art Of Happiness

I’ve just ambled lazily back across the pristine white sand of a deserted beach in Cherai having been swimming alone in the Arabian sea – a beautiful luke warm bath with surfable waves apparently induced by the solar eclipse. Being back in India is like coming home!

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Having grown up until the age of 7 with with my parents who were hippies, and having lived in more houses that I have lived years its pretty much indisputable that I’m a born nomad. And I normally feel very much at home wherever I am. I have been living in Ibiza since last summer which I consider to be my spiritual home, despite the reputation it has among many in Britain! But India feels as much a home if not more than anywhere else, and coming back here this year for a couple of months reminds me of how utterly special and unique this country is and how I want to keep coming back here each year – to this most rich, vibrant, beautifully alive and special place.

Today, the day of the solar eclipse, is a special day. Not just because of the eclipse but because I have committed to recognising and changing a pattern of mine which I know will have a profound impact on my life, and perhaps more importantly the lives of others around me.

In NLP there are what’s known as meta-programmes, or filters, which are our way of filtering information and making sense of the world… well I have added a new one today, an important distinction for me, and that is the notion of ‘input’ versus ‘output’. I love learning, in fact I am addicted to learning. A much better addiction than some things, but nonetheless an addiction. I love input, I love learning, I love finding out what others do, say and think and modelling their success. But today I believe its time that I reverse this pattern and now ‘output’ more than I ‘input’.

So my new blog and websites are being built and I am in the process of designing products and workshops to give others this rich, peripatetic, vibrant and fun life that I am so privileged to have, or whatever it is that they truly want!

Riding along the dusty roads today on my Enflield Bullet, the thud thud thud of the 350cc single cylinder engine attracting attention as if it were a pink tractor I realised just how lucky I am to have designed my life this way and I know have the desire to give others the gifts and leanings I have had along my journey.

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Its paradoxical in some respects that I am entirely responsible for creating my life in this way and yet at the same time there are unseen forces in the Universe that have helped conspire towards me following this path, to open up to and awaken to all the magical coincidences and synchronicities around me…. around us all!

And so riding along on my Enflied thinking about all this today, I became very grateful and excited. I also became aware of how I can tend to overcomplicated life. Life can be very simple. I know that from watching how simply people live out here.

The other day I asked Sajeen, an amazing and young yoga teacher in Cherai, “is life good”? to which he smiled and replied “of course” as if it could not be any other way and my question was absurd. Now, that is simplicity, finding love and joy in everything because you choose to!

It’s funny that somehow in the so-called civilised West many of us have come to believe, or been conditioned through advertising and cultural norms – that if I get x I will feel y. Whereas in fact we can feel any way we want whenever we want. And then enjoy the journey as well as the destination! Perhaps that is the secret, but of course knowing something and doing it are two very different things.

I heard Gary Vaynerchuck say earlier today “love what you do and if you don’t then STOP. There is absolutely no need to be not enjoying yourself in this day and age.”

And I concur. There is more technology, money, opportunity, information and wealth than at any other time in the history of humankind. If you are pursuing making money or a 9-5 and you’re not enjoying it, then you are doing yourself and humanity a disservice and going after success rather than fulfilment. And that to me is failure.

There are so many people with apparently so little who manage to be happy…. who manage to just be, and be happy, and I believe we can all learn the distinctions which enable them to live in that place. For me one of those distinctions is a commitment to daily practice every morning, which at the moment is yoga. As I sit on the beach now writing this blog, I am looking one way and then the other as far as I can see and there is not a soul… not a single solitary soul. I could be lonely but I am not. Because deep inside I am connecting to a place of love, joy and inspiration and that is open to all of us at any moment in time. And I’m outputting 😉

And it is in that connecting, that desire to connect into the bigger system, to output rather than input, that I believe is one of our greatest sources of sustainable joy. That is where we find happiness. The question then is, what do we need to focus on, to believe in and do in order to be in that place of joy? What do you need to focus on now?

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Looking above me watching the eagles circling in the dense heat of the Indian sky, with nature all around blending seamlessly into an enticing array of colours, cows, cats, cockerels, ducks and dogs, I feel humbled as I reminisce on the rich and varied day I have had. I am humbled by the smiles of nearly every person I passed earlier today on my motorbike; by the simplicity and pace of life; by the acceptance that all is as its meant to be.

As I recall – the three smiling middle aged ladies in vibrant buttercup-yellow dresses, the pink and orange houses that I passed and the cows grazing peacefully by the side of the road – I am reminded that happiness is all we want. Happiness is all we truly want. And that is success.

Go follow your bliss!

With love
Tristan x

Influcence

Who do you want to be influenced by?

Here’s a little story. I was sat in the pub many years ago sharing the trials and tribulations of life, and especially thatInflucence of my relationship. My friend, well call him Oli, says “why don’t you do this…? You should do that… Oh you’ll be alright… don’t worry mate. You shouldn’t be so hard on yourself… It’ll work out…” etc. etc.

I love my mates and I love their honesty, truth and how I can be totally relaxed with them. Truth be told – their advice, support and ‘coaching’ back then didn’t really help. Their love of me did.

Fast forward a few years and imagine this. I discovered that as an NLP coach I needed an NLP coach. Not only did I need a coach, I wanted one. Because NLP coaching is life changing. We are in the miracle business and my coach consistently creates miracles in my life and thinking, just as I do for my clients.

So now, instead of sitting in the pub and chatting to my mates to get advice and support I bring a challenge, question or relationship issue to my coach and I say ” I can’t… How can I…But if only…?”

And he shifts level; by responding with something like “you’re not who you think you are Tristan. You’re the purpose for which you were created.” Or… “the real question is… who does Tristan want to become?” or…. “what would it meant to you having already moved beyond this?’

The stories he shares, the frames he sets and the questions he asks can be challenging, revealing and liberating.

The truth is that we become who we surround ourselves with. We can’t not influence and we can’t not be influenced by the world around us.

I love being influenced by my coach now. He is consistently raising the bar, expanding my vision and sense of what’s possible in my life.

Who are you being influenced by? Who you being coached by? Who are you coaching?

Are you getting your advice input from magazines, TV, Facebook or your mates? Or are you going to the best and transforming from the inside-out, at the deepest level?

It’s your choice. And it makes all the difference. You make a difference!