Sunday, 21 December 2014

The Rehearsal That Makes A Lifetime DIfference

The Rehearsal that Makes a Lifetime Difference
Excerpted from Choices and Illusions by Eldon Taylor

Within every human being exists a propensity for greatness. The gifts may vary, and the greatness may live out in a vast array of alternatives—say from carpentry to rocket science—but the gift that gives one true self-respect, lifts the spirit from “same old, same old,” resides within. It is our ability to do our very best with our talents in every thing we do.  This potential resides within each one of us—but if so, then why is it so often denied?
Every individual essentially has a self-representation that is rehearsed and eventually actualized. The process begins by fantasizing at a very early age. We fantasize a script, perhaps one of those from some Hollywood production. We begin rehearsing it, and we either abandon it to take up a new one or practice it until we role-play that script as who we are. Practicing the script sooner or later automates the behavior. Our imprinting environment plays a significant role in the alternative scripts available to us. If the parents are uncaring and abusive, so are the children, and so forth. If warmth and friendliness lead to embarrassment, then cold and aloof compensate. If honesty gets us into trouble, then deception becomes a defense strategy, and so forth.
It is much more complicated than expressed here, but simply, it is also just this way. In fact, every one of us divides ourselves among four essential views of ourselves. These four faces include the following:
Our actual self.
Our ideal self.
Our ought-to-be self.
Our desired self.
These categories were originally developed by P. A. D. Singer to show how the different selves conflict with each other.  I will use it differently.
Most of us are aware of a so-called actual self. This is the self that has failed in ways we often will not share with others. This is the private self. This self holds the thoughts we wish we did not have, the acts we wish we had not done, our beliefs about our worth, our attractiveness, and so forth. It is the self of our secrets and our ambitions. It is the self that most try to change in some way or another at some time in their life—perhaps even perpetually.
The actual self pales by comparison to our ideal self. The ideal self is often a construct built by our culture. This self would live a perfect life—without error and therefore without room for growth.
Then there is our “ought-to-be self.” This is the self full of all our learned “shoulds” and “oughts.” This self differs from our ideal self in the sense that many of the oughts are not ours—they are the oughts of our culture, our society—but deep down inside they are not ours. Sometimes these oughts are the result of rules that make little or no sense to us; sometimes the oughts are of codependent negotiations such as those implied when Mom said things like, “If you loved me, you would not behave that way,” or “If you loved me, you would do what I said,” and so forth. Still, even when one recognizes the source and the nature of the ought relationship from which the oughts themselves arise, they often persist.
Finally, there is the desired self. Somewhere among all of our other selves is a self that we believe we could be. This is the self we long for, especially when we are young and planning our future. It is also the source of much discontent in our later life if the desires have not been fulfilled—and they rarely, if ever, are.
The ought-to-be self, desired self, and ideal self share certain commonalities, but they also differ remarkably. There is psychic tension among them and in their totality, substantial tension between them and our so-called actual self.
Now, there’s one more thing I wish to add before continuing. The actual self is seldom the true actual self. The actual self is the self of self-perception and therefore is complete with every believed limitation that accompanies one’s private self-perception together with every defense adjustment our mechanisms have created to protect our self image or ego.
Okay, all of this is accomplished while we are still very young.  In time we gain the wisdom and insight to become familiar with this maturation process and a myriad of other operations that function in our culture, our homes, etc. to produce socially acceptable membership and behavior.  Using one of Shakespeare’s metaphors, life is a stage where we play our various parts, perhaps it’s time for a new rehearsal.  Indeed, change, improvement, true self-actualization and so forth, all require that we create a new character.  Using our power of imagination and consciously choosing the role playing model we will rehearse, will greatly assist and facilitate any change.
Therefore, it literally behooves all of us to watch those conversation exchanges that take place in our head as well as every other aspect of our “rehearsing” behavior.  To experience our best we must practice/rehearse our best at all levels of our being.  It works—but it can also be much easier said than done.  Still, life’s cornucopia of joy awaits those willing to make the effort.

Eldon Taylor

Eldon Taylor has made a lifelong study of the human mind and has earned doctoral degrees in psychology and metaphysics. He is president of Progressive Awareness Research, an organization dedicated to researching techniques for accessing the immense powers of the mind. For more than 20 years, he has approached personal empowerment from the cornerstone perspective of forgiveness, gratitude, service and respect for all life. To contact Eldon in response to the story, you can reach him via his website:

Eldon Taylor's New York Times Best-Seller, Choices and Illusions, is available at all fine online and retail bookstores. However, to participate in the online event that Eldon has put together, including a chance to win a customized $500 InnerTalk library, please visit:

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Mental Health In Elite Sports

Are some elite sports stars suffering in silence because they're afraid of what people would think if they admitted having mental health problems?
The charity Mind says so and they want professional clubs, governing bodies and community organisations to do more. In recent years some high profile sportspeople have taken their lives, including Wales manager Gary Speed. A new report from Mind says elite athletes can be particularly at risk from severe anxiety and stress.

Former QPR footballer Clarke Carlisle knows all about it. He tried to take his own life when he was 21 when doctors told him he may never play football again.
"The margins between success and failure are so small, that's why elite sport dominates your life," he says.
"It becomes a person's identity. A person's work life and personal life merge into one and it's all based on their performance in their sport.
"Life was rosy, then I suffered a very serious knee injury.
"The prospect of having my entire career and livelihood taken away was the beginning of my downward spiral."
He adds: "I was housebound for two months, I was drinking heavily. I really could not process the prospect of a live without football.
"In my head, my self esteem, my worth, my value was linked to football."
He says he couldn't handle the thought of not returning to the pitch.
Although individual sports do offer support services, Mind are calling for a national network to be established to help all elite athletes.
Clarke, who is an ambassador for Mind, has a suggestion for how it should be funded.
"You take the money from the TV revenue, before it's given out to the football clubs," he says.
"You take out one section of money and that is solely for the mental health initiative that will cover everyone across all four divisions."
Mind says young athletes also suffer if they don't have the success they expected and have to find another job.
Clarke says although there is "a great appetite to address mental health issues within sport," the support on offer "is nowhere near adequate".
The Professional Cricketers Association (PCA) has told Newsbeat the number of cricketers seeking help for mental health related issues has "doubled year-on-year for the past three years".
It's not just the professionals either.
Paul Farmer, chief executive of Mind, tells Newsbeat: "So many of us want to achieve the best we possibly can.
"Maybe we've won a few competitions and someone says 'Why don't you have a try for your county?' and as that pressure builds, it can be really challenging on young people's mental health."
He says the pressure of exams only makes things worse.
Both Clarke Carlisle and Paul Farmer say coaches and managers need to take the issue much more seriously
"The best coaches are the ones who really understand the whole person that they're working with," says Farmer.
"If you are a great coach you can help them through the tough times to help them achieve great things."
Carlisle says in professional football "when it comes to an issue like mental health [players] don't want to jeopardise their opportunity to play at the weekend or get their contract extended."
He adds: "The perception of mental health is that it is a personal individual weakness and something that will make that person a liability. And that perception has to change."
"Until the managers have an awareness that a person's mental health is as important as their physical health nothing will change."

For advice and help regarding mental health you can contact Mind.

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Hypnotherapy To Stop Nightmares

A nightmare is a warning from the subconscious mind. It might signal a medical condition that needs to be treated, but it may also mean that you are ready to release pent-up negative emotions, negative scripting or trauma. Dream expert Patricia Garfield, author of Creative Dreaming, The Universal Dream Key and other books, tells us that most dreams are negative. I like what Robert Van de Castle says in Our Dreaming Mind:
Many people are surprised to learn that the majority of dreams are unpleasant. Since most people don't share dreams with others on a regular basis, they tend to assume that their own dreams are more negative, troubling, bizarre and unusual than those experienced by others. Knowing that other people often have disturbing dreams may be a source of relief to those who worry that their dreams may indicate some psychological disturbance or abnormality. But other individuals may use this information as an excuse to distance themselves from their dreams. 'I have enough unpleasantness in my everyday waking life. Why would I want to expose myself to further unpleasant events and emotions in dreams?' they may say.
I would respond that by paying attention to the troubling events in our dreams, we improve our long-range chances of reducing stress and anxiety in our waking life. Dreams tell us things we need to know to function more effectively when we're not dreaming. They inform us about conditions which require remedial action and give us hints as to which plans might be most successful.
I want to tell you a story about a client of mine who stopped recurring nightmares after one hypnosis session - essentially taking charge of a condition that required remedial action, and how together we created a plan that led to a surprising and dynamic shift. Marion is an elderly woman who lives in an assisted care facility because she has MS. One of her caregivers called me to say she'd been waking up at night frightened by recurring dreams about an angel of death. Sometimes she cried out, alarming staff members. They tried to console her, but the nightmares continued.
Marion was sitting in her wheelchair when I arrived. I pulled up a chair beside her, I explained how hypnosis works, prepared her for trance and began. Under hypnosis she described a woman who represented Death. She came down from the sky and looked like an angel in a dark robe. Recalling the figure, Marion became sad and teary eyed. "I'm not ready to die," she said in a faint voice. "Good," I responded. "Imagine, now, that you tell her that." Resistance surfaced. "But I grew up believing that when Death comes to tell me it's time, I must go."
"If you still have something you want to do here on earth, I wonder if you can ask for more time. If you think that's possible, please nod your head." She nodded. Mistaken literalism is the biggest dream interpretation error, says Jeremy Taylor, author of Where People Fly and Water Runs Uphill and The Living Labyrinth. Marion's strict religious upbringing led her to believe the dream figure announced her impending death. She took it literally, as most people would have done. But dream experts tell us that death symbols may indicate our readiness for a transformation - a letting go of an aspect of our personality that no longer serves us.
Marion and I prepared for a visualization in which she would meet the woman in the dark robe and ask for more time. She would explain why she wanted to continue living. I asked Marion to verbalize her reasons. We converted her initial plea of "I'm not ready to die" into statements beginning "I want to live because..." When she was ready, I took her deeper into trance and we began the visualization. Marion was motivated and cooperative. The figure from her dreams agreed to her request. We expressed appreciation for the agreement, I deepened the relaxation again and gave her the post-hypnotic suggestion that before our next session she would have a pleasant dream and she would remember it so she could share it with me.
That was all it took. The nightmares stopped. When I went to see Marion two weeks later, she looked cheerful. "The angel in the dark robe has not come back - and I had a good dream." I'm going to share it with you here because it shows the power of the mind to make a course correction. I think important dreams deserve to have titles, so I asked her to title it. "The River," she said. In her dream, Marion can walk. At four in the morning she opens the door and walks to a river. "I knew which path would take me there." While walking on the path, she feels she is going to accomplish something and that it will be enjoyable. Though she lives in Seattle, the river is in Eastern Washington. She knows this because of the vast, open landscape and the rock formations. She's wrapped in a blanket of many colors that reminds her of Joseph's coat and Indian blankets.
She reaches the edge of a cliff and gazes at the river below, transfixed by its movement, "It's not rushing, just flowing." Across the river wild flowers and bushes are blooming in a rockery. I ask her if the scene reminds her of anything. She says, "It makes me think of the Mormon Tabernacle choir singing 'How Beautiful Upon the Mountain' because this is like a painting, entirely different than a real landscape. It is so beautiful that I'm awestruck."
At this point in the dream Marion worries that someone might realize she's missing, so she walks out to a road. A car stops. Inside are two women who say they've been looking for her, so she gets in. When they arrive home, a man is waiting at the door for her. She feels safe and supported.
After hearing her dream, I asked Marion if she would like to do a guided visualization to hear the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. She agreed and we imagined her going to Salt Lake City, entering the Temple and sitting down as the organ begins. When the visualization was clear in her mind, I asked her to describe it. "The organ is so powerful, my body is vibrating. The choir has such magic that anyone who heard it would be uplifted and changed by it." I suggested that now they would sing How Beautiful Upon the Mountain and asked if she would sing along. Still in the trance state, she began singing. She looked blissful. I gave her the post-hypnotic suggestion that she would sing for someone else after our session.
Days later, I learned from Marion's caregiver that she not only sang for the staff and residents, she sang for her doctor during an appointment she had later that day. Bubbling with enthusiasm, she shared her joy with others.
Jeremy Taylor says that all dreams come in the service of health and wholeness and that no dream comes to tell us what we already know. Dreams have multiple meanings and when we have a Big Dream, as Marion did, sharing it with someone you trust can have an expansive impact. Robert Moss, another well-known dream expert says that to harness the power of your dreams you need only two things: the ability to recall and the willingness to be open-minded about what your dreams are telling us.
When you have a bad dream, think about these words from Dr. John Kappas, founder of the Hypnosis Motivation Institute, "Venting dreams are the most important to dream analysis since they represent events, traumas, doubts and fears that you are removing from your past and your present. They reflect what you no longer need to hold on to. They must always be recognized and accepted as a venting process, and not misinterpreted as having precognitive value. The purpose of venting is removal."
The next time you have a bad dream, remind yourself that you are venting. If you dream about someone you knew in elementary school or high school, you are releasing something from that period of your life – so you can feel good about that. Instead of getting up and stewing about it, you can say, "Whew. Glad I vented that!" It's been 18 months since Marion vented her death nightmares.
Every time you consciously acknowledge material that emerges from your subconscious in dreams, you promote greater communication between your subconscious and conscious minds. Let's reflect on the big picture: the evolution of consciousness. "As a species, consciousness is our primary choice for evolution," says Jeremy Taylor. "The evolution of consciousness is the ONLY reliable avenue of evolution." When a nightmare offers us an invitation for transformation on a conscious level, let's say yes...

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

The Woman With 7 Personalities

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Sports Hypnosis: Pittsburgh Penguins Goaltender

Pittsburgh - Still smarting from a late-season collapse, Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Johan Hedberg has turned to a hypnotist to improve the mental part of his game.
Hedberg, 29, has had two sessions with a sports psychologist in his native Sweden in the past month, and will have one more on Thursday before leaving Sunday for Pittsburgh, where training camp begins Sept. 12. Each two-hour session include 30 minutes of hypnosis.
"I think back on last year and I feel shame. I feel sick," said Hedberg, whose 25-34-7 record set a single-season franchise record for losses. "I didn't just want to work out my body to get rid of it. I wanted to work out my head, as well."
Hedberg's record was 5-15-3 from February on, a major reason the team finished a 28-41-8-5 season by going winless (0-8-1-1) in their final 10 games.
But Hedberg wasn't just sick over losing - he was losing his composure, breaking his sticks over the net. He's hoping the hypnosis will help him regain control of his temper as well as his game.
"I think this is going to help me. I'm learning to be more patient, how to handle everything better," Hedberg said. "You have to have control of your emotions in my position."
Hedberg said he's also focusing on game situations, like breakaways and tough shots, and visualizing how he'll handle them.
He hopes the hypnosis and two on-ice sessions each day - including one in which he simply faces a puck shooting machine - will combine to pay dividends.
"My big concentration has been with the machine and closing up holes, making my style more compact," Hedberg said.
"There is no worse goal you can imagine than one that goes under your arm or between your legs. If you have the angle on a shot, you should stop it every time."
Hedberg said he can't wait for training camp to start, to test his new mind-and-body regimen - and to erase the ugliest memories of last season, the first time in 12 seasons the Penguins missed the play-offs.
"We didn't win any of our last 10 games and it's not easy to forget about that. It was ugly and disgraceful. That was the worst month I've ever had in my hockey career." Hedberg said. "I'm very anxious to get there and get started."

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

How To Get Unstuck

Feeling Stuck in your Old Ways ?
When we are blocked in an area of our lives it often is due to the fact that we feel safer that way. We may feel unhappy but that is easier to deal with than our fear of the unknown. We begin to change when the pain we experience in staying stuck is bigger than the anticipated pain of change.

A lot of fear comes down to our negative core beliefs : deeply held beliefs acquired some time in the past due to painful experiences. Becoming conscious and challenging these beliefs is the first step in the process of change.

For a moment, think about something you would really like to do or be right now but don’t feel able to. When you’ve got that, write it down. Do that now. Maybe you have always wanted to be an artist so write down “I am a capable and talented artist”.

The Trouble with Positive Affirmations
Now, in all probability a voice in your head has just emerged to criticize this statement bringing up all sorts of reasons why this is either impossible or a bad idea. Positive affirmations can give us a sense of safety and hope if we let them but at first you will probably feel they sound fake, embarassing or not right. No surprise there. If you have spent all your life bludgeoning yourself with negative beliefs such as “I am worthless” or “I am not good enough” or “I must be perfect to deserve success” anything else will sound unfamiliar and syrupy or cheesy . So saying to yourself ” I am lovable just as I am” or “I am capable and confident” will surely sound untrue at first.

The problem with not accepting a belief because it doesn’ t sound right though is that feelings are a result of thoughts and if you want to change a feeling you have got to change the thought first. It’s a bit like the idea of “fake it til you make it”. You can’t wait to feel it to believe it, you gotta believe it to feel it! Luckily there are some ways to get around this obstacle, but all of these do involve a certain willingness to suspend judgement and take a leap of faith, as well as engage our rational mind doubting limiting old beliefs.
Seek out the Monster in your Head
So what is that critical monster in your head saying when you tell it you already are what you want to be? (After saying your affirmation: i.e. “I am ok just as I am” )

Listen to the objections that come your way. What s the cruel voice saying inside your head ? “so you’re ok as you are… ah ah sure you are!”, “who are you kidding?”, “You are ugly”, “You will never change”, “You can’t do anything right”, “No-one will ever love you unless you are perfect”, etc etc…You will be amazed at the rotten things you can come up with. Write them down. These are your personal negative core beliefs.
Become a Mind Investigator
Once you have written them down you can start having a good look at where these beliefs come from: Mom and dad? Your school bully? The boy/girl you were in love with when you were ten? Teachers that pushed you too hard? Your little jealous sister ? Scan your blurts for possible sources. Time travel back into your life in five year increments and list by name who influenced you the most in each block of time.

Once you have identified these challenge their opinions. What self serving reason could they have had to have done or said what they did do or say? How did their own world view influence them ? What did they believe about themselves ? What messages did they grow up with ? Remember this is not about blaming or condoning, just understanding and distinguishing their beliefs from what yours would be if you hadn’t accepted theirs as true. If there is still a lot of emotional energy involved in recalling these memories you might have to release it first so you can forgive them and yourself and move on.

Keep in mind that it is also possible your negative beliefs may come from subtle non direct messages received from your environment or from an experience of something that happened to you where others were not directly involved:

Maybe you felt different because of a situation you found yourself in; maybe you were abandoned by a significant other; maybe you fell ill and became isolated; maybe you were born with something that set you apart from others and you yourself came up with the negative conclusion that you were not Ok just as you were: the possibilities are endless and very personal.
Challenge the Critical Voice
Whatever your monster is, after it has been brought up to the light of day you can start working on challenging its critical voice and changing those negative beliefs that keep you stuck and unhappy. If you would like help with a practical cognitive behavioral approach to this, read this article about “how to get rid of negative core beliefs”.