The Wright Way

The Wright Way

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Avoiding eye contact - getting over a childhood shyness

Another great inner lightbulb moment lit up last week, thus:

Part of my very shy childhood (about 6 or 7 yrs onwards) was the looking down and turning my head whenever I made any direct eye contact with anyone except perhaps a relative or very close friend. Even then I seem to recall a tendency to do this. This was accompanied with a definite feeling of ‘being caught out’ looking at someone I (perhaps!) should not have been looking at.

One of the features of commuter travellers, especially those in London, is this habitual looking away – not making eye contact – as if it would invite a response, maybe open up the perpetrator to danger. The irony is – by portraying this habit, and all the accompanying body language of hung head, hunched shoulders, withdrawal into the self – the perpetrator is actually hanging a big label round their neck saying “I’m weaker, more feeble, I’m apprehensive, I’m vulnerable, I’m scared. So any predatorial person(s) seeing this will be invited to target the perpetrator!

So here I am, in a semi-busy train carriage gazing blankly in a general direction when a ‘gruff’ looking, ‘working’ man looks up from his newspaper and looks straight at me. Whatever the background intent of my gaze OR his look, I look away and drop my head to the right. Immediately I got the kinaesthetic surge back to my youth when I did this frequently and all the shyness and other associated feelings came flooding back.

That same morning our course delegates were working on some practical exercises of ‘mapping across’, so I took the opportunity to eradicate this eye aversion habit once and for all. For me it was about opening myself to all the possibilities, since I had no idea (at that stage) of the underlying structure of this behaviour. In the course of mapping (a) the submodalities of (behaviour 1) eye aversion and (b) an opposite behaviour 2 (strong eye engagement) – I had that moment of revelation well before my practical exercise partner was able to take me through the routine. Unconscious awareness I presume – I was Stanley meeting my own Dr Livingstone in the jungle of my behaviour patterns.

Happily I now know what trigger behaviour accompanies my eye engagement – and so on all the ensuing train journeys I practised this and it worked well every time. Praise be!

I could look at the anatomy of this behaviour as well, as there is going to be a ‘trigger for the trigger’ – or I could just integrate the trigger as a habit leading to an unconscious response and move on. The choice is now mine thanks to the structural revelation of the nature of the submodalities associated with two behaviours – one present, and one desired.

A wonderful ‘Aha!’ moment.

Trust the Unconscious! Especially when Metaphors are revealed...

You know how it is when you think after a conversation or (especially) a confrontation or argument – “Why didn’t I say that?” or “I wish I’d had the presence of mind to say that.

I had a moment like that hours after an in initial interview with a client, when I was just considering (in a period of quiet contemplation) some of the things said with regard to their presenting problem.

Normally, when using Clean Language, a client may well reveal the metaphor by which they unconsciously represent a particular behaviour. Generally, though, Clean Language questioning will facilitate this – however in the case of this particular client the metaphor emerged in the course of getting the client to make, in imagination, a short video clip of the particular behaviour from the moment the feelings that triggered it first started to happen and stopping the moment just after trigger had fired and the behaviour had taken place.
Essentially I was looking to establish the submodalities of the client’s experience of this behaviour – but what I got was the entire metaphor. Whilst this was most useful and yes I did utilise it, I did not entirely have my wits about me in terms of questioning – hence the “I wish...” thoughts later. However, the client has booked some further sessions so I will have the opportunity to more fully utilise what was revealed.

As a metaphor it was fascinating (aren’t they all?) – and as I began (hours later) to think more about it, more and more variations, by-plays, sub-plots, and little tricks, came to mind. These, however, have just been noted as investigative possibilities – as the client seeks to make positive changes.

I am really looking forward to the next session – and this time I won’t be fooled by restricting the number of routes to the outcome. This is what happened before, and I failed to spot at the time something I will certainly later rely on! I didn’t open myself up completely to every possibility at that interview – which is what I usually do, to be fair.
Advice to self: Always expect the unexpected and - as at all times – trust the unconscious!!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Dog Whisperer - Cesar Millan

I'm a big fan of the TV programme The Dog Whisperer. I watch it on many levels, especially for the changes he makes in the owners more than the dogs themselves - its watching psychology in action, week in week out.

Currently Cesar is on Tour in the UK to sell out and enthusiastic crowds. I caught up with his blog here:
and reading the first entry made me understand his ambition and what drove him towards his goal. I read a similar "moment of amazed personal fulfilment" in Tony Robbins' "Unlimited Power" where he was on his way to an event, got caught in traffic and then realised the traffic was people who were coming to see him!

Cesar writes it thus:-
"I am so honored to be here. Many years ago, when I said I wanted to be the best dog trainer in the world, I didn’t really expect that I’d end up touring the UK offering help to thousands and thousands of people. Selling out the first show with an audience of 7,500 people was truly humbling for me."

If you love dogs, then The Dog Whisperer is probably the best programme on TV - always entertaining, captivating, engaging, educational and inspirational.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Mapping Across - Bye bye to Jaffa Cakes?!

Another “Aha!” moment from last week was perhaps submitting to my farewell to jaffa cakes.

During a mapping across exercise I meekly agreed to eliminating my, not so much desire for the little fellas, as opposed to the behaviour of eating a whole packet (or more) at one sitting - by pairing them up with my revulsion of kidneys. As a willing participant I ploughed forward, happy that I have most likely already eaten my last 'JC' – even without a video of me devouring them packets at a time to remember them by!

My image of them was pretty near and straight ahead, with sharp and glorious technicolor. Imagine my first surprise then as I located a white plate containing 3 plump raw kidneys. Most of us have no idea of where (spatially) we represent the things we detest – until we are asked that is! Mine were further away, below horizontal and off to the right.

So – off we went, mapping the jaffa cakes over to the right, down slightly and further away. The first thing to go was the brightness and the colour, drained away as if leeched of all vitality. Then came the unsavoury taste in the mouth as I kept a serious gaze into that location. The JCs became visibly grotesque and I really wanted to avert my eyes at this point. I was forbidden to do so by my exercise partner who was doing a really great job at keeping me hooked onto the full awfulness I was experiencing.
“Thank you so much,” I gasped at the end in utter sarcasm. “That was pretty vile.” Looking away was such a relief!

Next test is to get to a supermarket and confront the jaffa cakes on the shelf. I may actually buy them, just so I can go to the next step – although I may not even get that far. Suffice to say if I do buy them and get them out of the packet, then I really should put them on a white plate to really understand what kidneys are like – even though I’ve never eaten them for over 50 years!

Nice work so far – more to report later of course.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Winter Olympics - did we do enough?

To check out my thoughts on this and the way forward, read my posting on the Discussion Board of Inside Performance:!/topic.php?uid=156011635862&topic=13596&post=64291#post64291

Friday, March 12, 2010

Breathing through the Feet!

After another fascinating 3 days away for trainings with Inside Performance, I encountered more than my fair share of “Aha!” moments. (and not in the style of Alan Partridge either!)

One of these was during an exercise doing guided PMR (relaxation) – also adding in some unconscious affirmations and guidance while the subject was in the depths of downtime. We all had some scripted elements we had prepared earlier for the routines; and one of the other delegates had interestingly included in his the sensation of the breath coming into and out of the body through the soles of the feet.

On hearing this, my inner self said “I wonder what that’s like?” So I asked him to run the same script for me when I was the participating relaxee (if there is such a word!!)
My turn duly came and I lay on the floor (the chairs were not that comfortable) and was taken through the various relaxing stages. Eventually it came to the “breath coming in and out through the feet” and, although well relaxed and entranced I noticed a quite captivating change. I was aware of my normal breathing cycle, but it seemed that the autonomic breathing process was now functioning from the diaphragm downwards to my feet. Meanwhile the upper torso and head were quite independent of this. Plus, as the process deepened, I had a heightened awareness of all that was going on in and around the room...but unconsciously! And I was aware of my legs and feet (and that breathing) in an out-of-body kind of way.

It was a first-time experience, with a wonderful sense of detachment. Not surprisingly quite a few of us recounted afterwards some equally strange and sometimes bizarre discoveries. All of which goes to show that – (a) we are all capable of far far more than we think we are, and (b) the extents of the human body and the unconscious mind are wonderfully unknown to us.

Interesting Phenomena!

My daughter was cooking “spag bol” for supper, and we were just chatting about our respective days at work. And I mused, as we both were standing in the kitchen, “Now might be a good time to just have a go at the hand-stick routine as demonstrated by James Tripp”. There was an area of worktop free next to the hob, so I invited her to participate in an experiment with me on awakening and shutting-down various areas of the body and mind without going into trance. Essentially setting up and manipulating some very localised altered states, or as James describes them ‘altered perceptions of reality’.

So I set up the routine, all the while talking thus setting up a ‘hypnotic loop’. When suitably happy that she was fully engaged in this I invited her to lift her hand off the worktop. She started chuckling as her hand was firmly stuck and not moving. Her right hand was hanging quite normally by her side, so I said she might like to use it to stir the pan of bubbling Bolognese sauce. More laughter as she did this with her left hand still stuck fast.
We then moved the ‘stickyness’ in turn to her other hand – then her feet (which stuck to the floor) – then back to her left hand which I stuck to the top of her head – and so on.
All through this she was laughing with surprise and of course was moving quite normally everywhere else and was fully conscious.

The final stage in the experiment in this particular visit was to “un-stick your hand from the top of your head ONLY as soon as you no longer recognise the number ‘4’.” Having continually engaged her in hypnotic loops within the process, this was duly effected, much to her amazement – as her unconscious went in search of ‘4’ and her conscious, although it knew, was disengaged from the process.

In one of James Tripp’s demos, he elicits negative hallucination as the next stage which is fascinating to observe. I have some thoughts of my own to explore the next time I experiment using the technique – and so the interesting intrigue continues!

You can view some of James' video clips here: