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Making the best of your life

8 Jan 2014

Can we be the author of our own medical states?

This week, we're doing quite a lot of planning for the next few months, and one of the things that we will be offering is a roadshow of free clinics to support people with health management, and particularly  to be able to influence their health conditions and experience.

The theme is thorny.  Basically, we are suggesting that to some degree at least, we can author and change our experience of health, illness and well being.  A number of beliefs  underpin our approach. That mind and body is a useful conceptual dichotomy, yet not fully real - we are one entity. That we can influence our thoughts and emotions by where and how we focus our attention.  That we can therefore influence the quality of our own experience. That we can make choices about how or whether we do this.

So, we aim to support people to be `at cause' of their own experience.  Yet we are not suggesting that their experiences are not real, or that they have purposely caused them, or that there are not other factors at play. Neither do we think that because we choose certain paths, choices are easy.

3 Jan 2014

NLP Course for February

Three days into a New Year sees me sitting at the large oak table in our Algarve retreat, and enjoying gathering some momentum in my work. Work blends easily into my life, particularly when I'm designing courses, getting ready to deliver, and so on.  For me, there is a high degree of integration  between the two - after all, we live every minute of work, and work is part of the purpose of my life, given what I do.  

Today it's a case of sending some e-mails and publicity regarding the next NLP course - Neuro Linguistic Programming  . It's a bit of a mouthful, isn't it, yet l it describes what it does on the tin - our neuro and physiological processes link to our language link to the behaviour that we produce, or programme. I love this notion because it means I have some choices - I can change how I programme myself - whoopee dooh!   I would say that over a number of years, I've increased my confidence, dropped unhealthy or incongruent habits, and fulfilled a lot of my potential in ways that twenty years ago I wouldn't have dared think possible. Moreover, it's a privilege for both Graham and I to work with others who learn how to manage and change the path of an illness, discard unwanted flashbacks, make the best presentations ever - whatever is important in their values. So it's fun preparation, on this occasion aided and abetted by the audio version of Sue Knight's excellent NLP at Work - I can recommend it highly, easy to listen to, an eloquent rendition of her ethical and experienced take on the application of NLP.

Sun's shining here now, and nearly time to go shopping - friends round for dinner tonight, a jigsaw to be worked on with my father.  Years since I did one, am amazed at how obsessive they can be. Hours of being in flow, the delight when an elusive piece of the puzzle is found.

1 Jan 2014

Weighty Matters for the New Year

Happy New Year,  1st January 2014 and the doors of possibility, as ever, open wide. Interesting isn't it how we mark out time with symbolic twists and turns on the hero's journey of life. Someone once said to me imagine how differently we might conceptualise ourselves if we didn't know when we were born - which is of course some people's truths. I thought yes, and imagine how it would be if we had no New Yyear, no ritualistic space to leave behind that which we don't want, to consider what we do.

As my birthday is New Years Eve, for me it's a double whammy - I turn a year in the markings of age, and wake up next day to a new Year.

My take on life has not changed overnight, I remain an entity of  integration between thought, mind, body, deed, desire, determination, and so on. A comment made at my dinner table last night did stay fresh with me, however. I'd been eating my supper and washing it down with the Moet when I commented that I was looking forward to dropping a little weight (obviously not while swallowing the food and the bubbly!) when my dear friend and daughter said to me `but you don't want to start yet, after all there's another week or so here (Portugal), start when you get home.'

Although I totally get this, I found myself pondering the messages we send ourselves and each other about issues of weight and fitness. In truth, I had a very busy year last year, culminating in a complicated aftermath of a surgical intervention, which meant that for the last three months, I stopped exercising regularly or planning my eating well. Truth be told, I can't wait to be feeling a little fitter, so the thought of having time and application to eat the foods that I know give me great energy, and to exercise regularly, is highly appealing.  Yet the habit of thinking that can easily prevail is that losing weight is a trudge, a bore, a deprivation.  I might add that my weight fluctuation is not massive - I'm not obese, and I'm far from skinny, more somewhere about average at a 5'9 size 14 slightly plus.  So for me, when I am managing my calorie input and output well, when I'm in a regular routine of exercise - which I love - and eating the foods that I ADORE - this is very much part of a treating myself, not depriving.

It's an important switch, isn't it, and it struck me how we are brainwashed about attitudes to good, bad, desirable, treat foods and habits. I know from my life and work that these attitudes are at the root of  a lot of habits which keep some people trapped in the vicious circle of weight mis management. So for what it's worth, we're pleased this week to be offering a free download of a book we wrote a year or two back with our colleague Jayne Hildreth, Who's Broken My Scales. You'll find it on
It's free until January 6th, so do help yourself.

Anyway, I did make the gym this morning, had a lovely chat with Monica the Pilates teacher, ate a great lunch and finished it with a cup of tea and a mince pie.  Bliss. 

So our first wishes for 2014 are that you are able to find the ways to create the year that you want within the possibilities that you have.  A very Happy New Year to you all - enjoy, and remember to be kind to yourself, because wherever you go, there you'll be.