The Wright Way

The Wright Way

Friday, October 19, 2012

Will You Shut Up! - Can't You See I'm Thinking?

I was en route to an appointment and this journey involved 4 sub-modes of transport. Car – Trains – Bus – Shanks’ Pony.

Now - who is in control to make the journey smooth, and the outcome favourable in ‘goodtime’? Of course it is Me – Them – Them – Me. The inner movements of this symphony of travel are out of my hands in terms of driving the vehicle, but like all good planning I built in a good buffer or cushion to allow for the improbabilities of ‘cosmic alignments’.
Now if a large ? has just appeared above your head then feel free to erase it. My improbabilities of ‘cosmic alignments’ is merely a euphemism for random delays caused by circumstances beyond my control.

Here’s the scene on the train journey –
The train arrives for me to get on almost twenty minutes late. “No problem,” I think because I’ve built in that time cushion of safety. “Well done,” I congratulate myself, “and the driver may make up some of that time as well.
In the set of seats in front of me are four young women on a day trip to London. I can tell from the sounds of their conversations they are excited and animated. Two of them have a style of giggle that might lend itself to possible criticism, and they all have their voice volumes set to the “eleven” button.
The journey continues, and as I watch in silence the countryside, stations, towns etc go flashing past, and their conversations continue unabated.

All is well – I feel good and looking forward to the appointment, everything’s pretty much on time, and I’m listening softly to their conversations, not at all bothered or irritated.
An hour has gone by and the train slows coming into a station we are not scheduled to stop at and, after going through the station, it comes to a complete stop. And for a moment, their conversation and all other sounds stop as well. It’s like one of those “tumbleweed” moments in a ghost town when only the breathing of the wind is audible.
And then the chatter returns – ONLY now along with the young women’s chatter is the sound of my own “brain chatter”. That internal dialogue or, as I sometimes call it, that infernal dialogue has suddenly kicked into the foreground of my mind.

And it is telling me, “Oh dear. I am going to miss my connection to the second train on my journey.” My brain chatter doesn’t just say this once – no, it keeps repeating it. I keep looking at my watch – time distorts. Seconds become minutes, minutes elongate. I do the maths and even if I catch the next available connection I’m sat there thinking and trying to just work out how late I’m going to be for this appointment. “Grrr, how irritating – is this train ever going to move?”
I then become aware that over the clamour of my own chatter I can hear these wretched voices and their stupid and meaningless conversation, and those infuriating and inane giggles. And I nearly, very nearly say,
Will you just shut up – can’t you see I’m thinking?

At that moment the train lurches into motion just as I start laughing at myself. Not loudly you understand – just an audible chuckle – but enough to hit the reset button inside my head. Clarity returns, answers emerge and the train gathers momentum. Plus – the conversations and giggles fade back into the background of my consciousness from whence they came.
The train arrives at Reading and I get off, make enquiries and catch a connection about five minutes later. The first train continues to Paddington, spiriting the young women to their day out, complete with their continued chatting and giggling.

I eventually arrive at my appointment early, imbued with the wisdom of having recovered from the visitation from a particular gremlin called “The Purveyor of Errant Thinking”. He’d shown me his wares for about five minutes and I’d almost been convinced that I’d buy some – because they looked SO real and just fitted my circumstances to a T.
When I arrived I imagined for a moment turning up to my appointment wearing that T-shirt I nearly bought, feeling uncomfortable, flustered and not in a good place – and chuckled again!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Falling Out Of Loving

I was talking with a young friend with regard to some issues he was encountering in his life – issues that I understood to a degree, and issues that resonated with me in that I too had previously encountered those self same issues.

One of the biggest loves of my life is music. Now my relationship with music is not just as a listener, but also as a musician. I had no formal musical education - it was all out of having a really good ear for the resonance of sounds. It helped that I could sing as well and, in the ‘do-your-own-thing’ climate of the 60’s I taught myself the guitar. People showed me shapes, and I learned basic tab, and from there I could accompany myself.
As a listener I cultured and developed what I thought was “the only” way we, as human beings, listened to music. I’ve discovered over the years that my way of listening was, like everyone else’s, quite unique!
And part of this particular pathway I’m wandering down reaches out from just the musical and sonic experience, into many other areas of life where we tend – until we know – to think that there is only one way to go and this is the way we all do it.
So to cut a long story short – I’m talking here about love and loving, and what it means, how it is, the notion of falling, and how we can bounce back!

Music as the food of Love

Music is a resonance - and the music we like, what attracts us to it, is that resonance and where it impacts upon our experience. We might describe it as “it just sounds nice” without really being able to describe it any more than that. Rather in the same way that we might describe someone we resonate with (and I’ll describe that as ‘vibrate’ at the same frequency) – as “nice”. At the time, knowing why doesn’t seem half as important as that “niceness” that we are feeling. We might go a little further and use words such as “attractive”, “adorable”, and “lovely” and others in a similar synonymous context.
When there’s enough “niceness” and other internal descriptions about something, or indeed someone, we move into the next level of feeling. There’s a deepening here, where the resonance is not just on the surface but reaches down into the very depths of our being. We then venture to label it in terms of “love”.
Now music, for me, is a constant. I love it all. I have preferences of taste at certain times, and in certain contexts, but in essence I love it all – because it IS a constant, because it all has a resonance, and because it is a deep and meaningful language beyond words. It has been my companion for most of my years, and I’ve always loved it.

Except – for the time when it let me down. Or at least when I convinced myself it had let me down. This was the time I used to describe as “when I fell out of love with music”.
Now we all have things we love and for some of us, when we abandon those things – for whatever reason – we describe it as “I fell out of love,” or “I stopped loving”. There’s an ambiguity here, a contra-diction so to speak and it’s this – we actually fall out of loving. We fall out of the act of loving, and the falling out is our action.

Put it this way - if it’s the experience of resonance in the music that I love, then, when “the love goes” the music hasn’t changed – I have changed my perception of the feeling that resonance gives me. That’s what lies behind the “falling out of loving”.
Now you might say this all semantics. There is some linguistic trickery going here! Love, loving, falling into, falling out of – they’re only words; and words are all I have to take your heart away. **
Love is a noun and a verb; loving is an adjective that we also use in a non-adjectival way. We describe love in a metaphorical sense, as some container, receptacle, we fall into and out of. Yet loving is an act we can engage in (in a variety of ways) without necessarily being in the receptacle, the thing, called ‘love’.

In truth, love and loving are a lot more than just usage and semantics. They are one of those eternal mysteries that our Minds endeavour to solve for us.

Programmes we run

When I fell out of love with music, I had nothing to do with it for about six to nine months. The music went out of my life, and I barred myself from engaging with it at any level. What had happened to those deep resonances in me? I denied the depths, numbed and nullified the feelings and almost entranced myself into a total shallowness of experience.

The love “went wrong” when my business, that involved music, became unsuccessful – and the mental programmes and strategies that I’d been running before and through this particular period made me put my relationship with music in an inappropriate place.

With reference to the logical levels in NLP, I had always placed some things at the level of Identity that I’ve since discovered would have been best left at their own particular level. They drive me towards seeing the world and reacting in a less than useful way.
Now to be fair, we all do this in some way, shape or form, and part of helping to rationalise our understanding and therefore interaction with other people and things, is to get to know about the logical levels, and what we all, individually, ascribe to each of our levels.
Honesty, Rejection and Failure

I’ve written elsewhere about my personal view of honesty and that I place honesty at the level of my Identity. Until recently I assumed this for everyone else too.
Now honesty for most people is a value and is placed at the level of Values & Beliefs. A burglar probably has no strong value where honesty is concerned. For him honesty may mean something else, which gives him no negative feelings associated with the Behaviour of burglary. Yet when he performs the Behaviour of burglary, his ‘victims’ will not see burglary as mere behaviour – to them it will be judged by their values, and in some cases they will take the burglary behaviour as an attack on their Identity.
Given this, when my music business failed I didn’t just view it at the level of Skills and Capabilities. Its failure was my failure; I was a failure, it was me, at the level of Identity. In the cupboard of my Identity there was a shelf and on that shelf was this failure. Plus, I also put everything else on that shelf that was associated with it – and this included music. Because my business was all about music and it was my love of music that was the reason for the business – then the failure was all bound up with my love of music.
 If the business had been selling something mundane, something I didn’t love, then I may well have viewed the failure in a more logical way. You could describe it, in common terms, as my taking it personally.

Likewise had my view of my business success resided just at the Capabilities level, then my love of music would have been unsullied by my disappointment of not making a commercial venture viable.

Rejection and how it impacts upon us can take a variety of guises and interpretations – rather like burglary! In my relationship of love with music I felt let down and rejected.
It may sound a ludicrous notion - being ‘rejected’ by something that created the joy of a deeply felt resonance. And indeed, yes, that’s what it is - ludicrous!
But at the time, no one explained that to me and I didn’t know myself either. I just lumped everything together in one big, dark bag and dumped it in the middle of my Identity cupboard.

How do you handle failure and rejection?

In many ways, how we cope, our resilience, our “bounce-back-ability”, is really down to where we hold failure and rejection in terms of our logical levels. If we “take things to heart” then it’s most likely that it’s our way of describing “things” as being at our Identity level.
You will find that putting things in a different cupboard will increase your resilience on a vast scale.

Putting it back together

I got back to re-engaging with my love of music thanks to a period of time. I then got to viewing my failure, and – more to the point – my positive experiences from what were good things about the business, in a much more clear and grounded way. In more recent times, mainly through certain understandings within NLP, I have found out how and why I had perceived things the way I had.

“Re-finding the love” is something we all have to do from time to time in terms of our many relationships. These relationships can be the ones with ourselves; our partners, families and loved ones; mankind and people in general; our faith; and – as in the case of my music – the things we love doing and being engaged with.
There’s the “time is a great healer way” – which I adopted with music – and there are other ways. It all depends what we are missing from our deepest experience and resonances.
I’d say it starts with an examination of what’s important to us about the relationship, and where – within ourselves – we experience that most important thing. Identifying what it is and where we feel it is, orients us to a place of familiarity in memory.
Some of this may be emotionally painful, and avoiding the pain is to perpetuate our lack of understanding of what the pain is trying to tell us. That pain is evidenced by the level of emotion you are allocating to the procedure. When the pain diminishes you can be sure you are gaining a fuller understanding of the meaning, and a better facility to receive the intuitive messages.
From here there are two routes you might want to go down as there will be discoveries on both paths.
You can associate with and interrogate the pain to learn more about the message within. You can also dissociate yourself into being a witness, observing your part and the other part of this relationship. Within each of these journeys there will be things that emerge that will be of use to you.
Store in a calm, clear place

Through the years of the forming of our personas we are given some powerful agents, strong emotions, as we build our lives with regards to our blueprints, our plans, our maps of the world. These powerful agents and strong emotions come with a warning. They’re vital to us, important that we have them, but we need to read the labels and store them in the right way. That way they will serve us well when we want them. We shouldn’t be casual about them either.

From explosives and poisons to bleach and aerosols, they all have their uses – but if we store them in the wrong place at any time, before or after use, there will be consequences we’d rather not experience.
If we put values and behaviours on shelves in a different cupboard such as Identity then they won’t be in their ‘calm and clear place’. Sometimes they’ll explode in our faces.

And if we don’t know what are the correct places and temperatures to store certain things, then we’ll keep running into issues with our views of the world – AND occasionally with the things we love as well.

**  The Bee Gees

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Wind Beneath The Wings

I was conversing with an online friend recently, and he mentioned some upcoming stage performances he was planning and how he was looking for more inspiration. Now I don’t know whether the inspiration he was looking for was specifically about content, or perhaps a mixture of content and context – however, I did offer this observation to our conversation.

“There’s a fascinating and recurring theme that runs through inspiration. And that is that it is all about what lies behind the How To. And sometimes the behind can be several layers behind as well.”  

Now inspiration can – on the face of it – take many forms.
“You are a great inspiration to me.”
“The feats of our Olympians and Paralympians inspired me to do this.”
“This is such inspiring music.”
“The landscape was so inspiring it took my breath away.”

These are just a few examples that come to my mind, and I’m sure you’ll have a number of your own as well.
There’s a curious contradiction with my fourth example and it’s all about what “inspire” means in the physical sense. Inspire and expire – are all really about the breathing cycle; and yet here is a phrase that seemingly describes the landscape as inspiring (causing an in-breath) whilst at the same time saying it was SO inspiring that it took my breath away! Giving and taking away, all at the same time. Now what’s really behind the contradiction is, to my mind, the idea that inspiring is about creating a NEW breath whilst taking away the OLD one.
Just as every new breath is enriching, invigorating, life-giving – and every old one is stale, spent – then inspiration, like that, is about perceiving things in a new way and doing things in a new way. The greater the inspiration, the greater the changes wrought in us.

To return to the breathing parallel - another thing about inspiration, and continued inspiration in particular, is about the quality of air. If our house, or environment, is full of stale air, then the quality of our inspiration will be lower. How many times have you gone out for a walk and, by breathing fresher air, you have returned with a different perspective?
So – metaphorically – if our minds are closed, with the doors and windows shut tight, then the quality of our inspiration will be continually diminishing. Some of the most dull, unimaginative, uninspiring people I know – are the ones with closed minds! Stands to reason that, over the years, breathing in their own stale ideas, expired thoughts, burnt out notions, has led them into and perpetuated that dull condition.
So for continued quality inspiration, make sure you throw open your windows and doors and allow good clean and fresh air to flow through your life.
The How To

Now, as someone who has spent a life loving music, inspiration in the auditory mode - for me - is right up there with the visual. Yes, I can feel inspired – but it is only through the resonances in my body caused by particular sounds and particular sights. I can watch someone do amazing things and will not be inspired until I get that self-same felt sense of resonance. Then, there will have to have been something auditory or visual to cause the resonance. People don’t inspire me per se, their actions do. The resonance of my appreciation of people takes place in a different part of me – and I translate and describe it in a totally different way.
When it comes to my being inspired by the things people do, and wanting to put that inspiration into action – I will always go towards the How To. My question is always, “How do they do what they do that inspires me?”

One of the things I discovered with modelling through NLP is how many layers can lie behind a person’s actions. Now, I don’t intend here to go into modelling as a process in any detail – however everything becomes very interesting when we link modelling with inspiration.
In her latter years my Mum took up painting. It was something she loved as a child and, eventually, she felt she had enough time on her hands to devote to her being an artist. She was pretty good at it – and, through going to classes, reading instructional books etc, she also got very much better at the process. She was – in effect – modelling excellence. After a number of years of painting in a variety of mediums (water colours, oils etc), she happened to start doing copies of certain old masters. And it was here that her modelling of excellence really accelerated.

She painted a copy of Vermeer’s Girl With a Pearl Earring. Through the process of copying this work she gained a huge understanding of using colour in a particular way, applying colour through brushwork etc in a particular way, so that instead of a bland copy generated almost from ‘painting by numbers’ she’d got right inside Vermeer’s head in terms of HOW he did what he did. In objective terms her copy was exceptional – and she was inspired to do more copying work as a result. Her copying by modelling the How To of certain artists enabled her to achieve things in painting she had no idea she was either capable of, or would ever be capable of.
I’m a big fan of all works by Turner. One year, as a birthday present, she painted me a small copy of The Fighting Temeraire. Originally she had doubted her ability to do it; she described his use of light and colour as being so far beyond her capabilities that this was likely to be the present I might never receive! But her quality of modelling of Vermeer was the template that inspired her to get to grips with Turner. She applied all the same rules of thumb, the similarity of approach, and I duly received my amazing present.
As time went on she did a number of other copies of old masters – mostly one-offs. However, she did four others of Vermeer’s work, which are all exceptional. She had a particular love for, and affinity with, his creative processes. She was on his ‘wavelength’, you might say, and at a very deep level.

A few years before she died she suffered a stroke, which took away a lot of the fine motor skills in her painting hand. For nearly a year she never even picked up a pencil, let alone a brush. Eventually she broke that ‘barrier’ and was able to get back to what she really loved doing – putting her various inspirations into action. I suggested to her that, given her degraded fine motor skills, she might now take a more impressionistic approach – where the necessity for intricate detail was less prevalent. The spur was her getting a commission to do a copy of Monet’s La Promenade.
It was an amazing success. She loved and admired Monet’s work and, with her faculties intact in terms of the skills of modelling, she duly completed a superb copy much to the delight of the lady who had commissioned the work.

Inspiration comes in many forms, and yet the common thread is bound up in the song:-
The Wind Beneath My Wings”.
So, it can be “I can do X, because of you” – even though you can’t do X – because you’ve released something in me I didn’t know I had.”
Or it can be like my Mum and Vermeer, or Monet, “I can do X, because I’ve got right inside How you do what you do.”

Inspiration, as a process, is very, very hypnotic. There’s a change of breath, a change of state, a change of mindset, a wind of change. There’s a disorientation that takes place, and things contrive to make our perception of Now become different – by changing all that is going on for us on the inside. We can soar to new heights, lifted aloft by that wind of change.
When I’m inspired by music, or a sunset, I can feel that wind of change. They make me want to express the resonance or the wind that I feel, in a way I’ve perhaps not done before. Making that expression is about sharing and passing on the inspiration.
When I see someone play an awesome shot I can feel that wind of change. The thing is – I’m not inspired to go out and replicate the shot for myself in whatever context. My expression is to bottle up that wind of change and to share it and pass it on. And by getting inside the mind of the one whose actions I have been inspired by, I can bring more meaning to the wind of change.

Understanding Inspiration can help us to find it because we have a better idea of what we’re looking for. It’s one of those intangibles that we can’t put in a wheelbarrow – and because of its intangibility, the mere act of looking for it might just be the way we’ll never see it – and so know that it’s there.

My online friend never set out to inspire me to write this article – but he did. I never started my conversation with him looking for inspiration – but I found it. This may just be a very small inspirational episode, but I’ve taken action as a result and expressed some of the connections and resonances from my experience of the episode. The mere act of your reading this means that I’ve shared the inspiration – however small. It may possibly resonate with you at a ‘feeling’ level, make you examine your perceptions about inspiration, maybe even inspire you.
It is all borne on the wind ... which may just be passing through the open doors and windows of your house.
It is all borne on the wind, and if you unfurl your wings ...

Who Knows?