Children Play in Peace while London Burns.

School children on the Village Green

I took this photo this morning, 14th June.  Children from our little village school here in Thakeham playing softball or rounders or something, running freely, chasing a ball, and cheering when runs are scored.  Beautiful. I love the innocence, the protection, the safe enclosed world of the village green and the kind teachers.

And the five-bar gate to the field is shut. 

Across the UK there is turmoil.  A government in crisis.  European leaders laughing at our politics.  And today a London tower-block on fire with people being burnt to death.  

And me with an overactive sense of responsibility. Am I to blame in some way?

For the last week I’ve experienced a sense of deep disappointment, a sense of not wanting to live here in the UK, or be identified with this people with their anger, taking their revenge, laughing at others’ discomfort, promising things they know they can never deliver, plotting to destabilise our government and nation … for what?  Today the outpouring of care and love towards complete strangers in need.  We saw it in the recent terrorist attacks too.

Amid, and maybe beyond, the deep sense of grief, I’ve discovered a place of peace and I want to share it with you. It comes with a new word:

ReMeaning.

I’ve stepped back, switched off the news, and taken time to meditate and pray and look for an alternative, a more useful meaning, a different perspective.  And found peace.  How far would I have to soar above the earth to no longer be caught up in the mêlée?  Two miles?  100 miles?  1000?  The earth looks very different from 10,000 miles out in space (above).

(Mêlée is an appropriate word describing “a large noisy uncontrolled crowd, in which people are moving in different directions and sometimes fighting with each other.”)

And from how far back or forward in time – looking back from three weeks? Three months? Three, or three hundred years?

None of us know the future.  We can declare boldly what ‘IS GOING TO HAPPEN’ but it is rarely, if ever, as described.  Speculation isn’t truth, and to imply we know what is going to happen in the future is to deceive ourselves and others.  There’s a lot of it about.

Time and distance are two powerful dimensions that enable us to ‘remean’ what we see around us.

Not guilty.

I’m NOT accountable for what others do with my vote, either in last year’s Referendum or this year’s general Election.  I AM accountable for where I put my ‘X’ on the ballot paper.   I’m not accountable for the mistakes, the lies, the fear, the selfishness of others.  My own are more than sufficient to inspire guilt and regret.  But guilt isn’t the final outcome for me (and it is never just one person’s fault.) All that is gone. I’m forgiven.

Forgiven.

Yes, I’m a ‘believer’.  I worship God, the Ultimate Intelligence, the Creator  – and for most of my life I’ve been committed to the spiritual journey of discovering what he is like.  (For my version of that you can go HERE.)  Something I’ve been excited to discover is his readiness to forgive.  Completely.  For ever.  I’m a completely-and-forever-forgiven human being, thank God.  Living in that global absolution is, quite frankly, like being born again: I’m clean, innocent, treasured, priceless, and I have the peace and pleasure of a new fresh piece of paper to write my  life on each day.

Valued and valuable beyond measure.  Like those little children in the picture above. And the people responsible for that towerblock fire.  And the millions living on that crescent Earth.

All of us.

Flushing out the Truth of Brexit – and most other things too.

time-reveals-truth

So the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom has been found holding back, and people have foolishly assumed she has no cards of value in her hand.  Criticism from left and right has been piled on her for NOT giving away her intentions … and thankfully she has resisted the temptation, nay, the manipulative bullying, to do so.

Well done her, for she knows that ‘Time Discovers Truth’ as Seneca observed – and it is doing just that. How different are today’s commentaries than those of just six months ago! Even the BBC is subtly shifting its approach.

The bullying EU presidents are becoming more conciliatory as they get over their pride and have to face the power of democracy.  The mandarins are slowly changing their minds (and their jobs), relearning the meaning of the two words ‘Civil’ and ‘Servant’.  The economists are now making excuses for the (terrorising) forecasts they declared. And the europhile politicians are realising that the horse they were flogging is now beyond resuscitation. A sensible realisation in the light of the arrival of far more useful means of transport.

Except a few like Blair and Clegg who, for whatever reason, are finding change personally difficult. They are paying a high price in terms of lost credibility, though still raking in their millions I notice, Mr Socialist Blair.

Waiting takes the vanity out of things

It has been good for us to wait these last six months.  Yes, I personally longed for Article 50 to be invoked immediately in July, but I can now see the wisdom of not doing so.  I’m a naturally impatient person, but I know the very world we want to do business with post-Brexit is watching, and we need to be – and be seen as – trustworthy, law-abiding and thorough. The prize, I think, will be worth the wait.

Time discovers truth in my coaching practice too.

It may take years of discomfort for a potential client to finally accept that they cannot blank things out for ever, or fix things on their own.  The cracks get wider, the unhappiness can no longer be shouted down. Truth will out.

Time and again, that’s when the call comes – “Andrew, I think I need to come and see you” – and for my part, waiting for that moment makes working with that client so much more successful. The inner protests, the denials, the confusion, the medication, the disappointment are now revealed as what they are: cover-ups, painkillers.  The need to discover – or accept – the truth overtakes the embarrassment of having a need that cannot be satisfied by short-term, shallow fixes, or toughing it out. The painkillers are no longer working.

Thankfully there comes a time when the waiting is over, when the truth has become evident, when the cracks no longer respond to Polyfilla or being papered over.  We’re beginning to see that in the EU as outgoing president Martin Schulz said today that the EU is “hamstrung”.

If you feel like that here at the beginning of 2017 (or know someone close to you who is) it may be time to do something about it.  Here’s the number 0777 163 1945 or email me at andrew@powerchange.com.

And have a Happy New Year.

Andrew.

 

 

 

 

Courage Always Triumphs.

SnapnDrag153
David Cameron reads the Gospel at the Queen’s 90th Birthday Thanksgiving Service.

So here we are in a post-referendum world. Of the 7000 million people on the planet, just a comparative handful of ‘little people’ on a little island off the coast of Europe have spoken with their hearts, and made a difference. Little people, each with just one vote. It’s called democracy.  Their courage changed the course of history. Things will never be the same again.

Courage always triumphs.

People who choose a life filled with courage will always win in the end. Over these last weeks, onslaught after onslaught of terrifying predictions were thrown at these courageous ones, and they STILL voted “No” to fear. The direst consequences, financial ruin, the inability to feed your kids, poverty in old age, the elites of pretty much anywhere did their very best to intimidate, rubbish, persuade and bully, but in those few quiet safe and sacred moments in the sanctity of a polling booth in our little Sussex village I ticked the Leave box, joined my heart with the risk-takers, and voted for a better – and quite possibly a more prosperous world.

Of course, we’ll never know what might have been, because no one can predict the future. Every decision you and I make is irreversible, so alternatives at that time and place no longer exist. There is only one life, and we are all living it.

Big Mistake. Huge.
Julia Roberts' famous Big Mistake Moment in the classic film "Pretty Woman"
Julia Roberts’ famous Big Mistake Moment in the classic film “Pretty Woman”

Just two weeks before the Brexit vote David Cameron publicly read these words of Jesus to a fearful world. “If then God so clothe the grass, which is to day in the field, and to morrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith? And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind. For all these things do the nations of the world seek after.”  He listened to another David, David Attenborough, read the words of poet Minnie Louise Haskins reminding him that going out into the darkness with his hand in God’s hand is “better than a light and safer than a known way.” In the vote of his and our lifetime, he chose away from a life of faith to lead us with a message of fear.  As Julia Roberts famously said in Pretty Woman when she had been treated as ‘trash off the street’ by an elite clothing store, “Big mistake. Huge.”

It cost David Cameron his career, and us a very good Prime Minister.  Let’s not make the same mistake ourselves.

And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year:
“Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.”
And he replied:
“Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God.
That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.”

Minnie Louise Haskins

 

Thinking in the Rain.

How is this for an idyllic place to rest?  

No, it isn’t Sue’s – she likes a warm bathroom, a loo, lots of home comforts, and a proper bed. But it is mine, although it has had none of those comforts (and I like them too!) but, I think you’ll agree, a stunning backdrop for listening and learning.  And it was where I camped on my first night, in the Picos de Europa, a breathtakingly beautiful national park in the north of Spain.

And where it started to rain. And rain.  See the clouds? In fact they were part of the weather system that hit the UK on Sunday night, with 80mph winds.  IMG_1573

But rainy days are part of life, and part of travelling too. Venturing beyond the confines of my comfortable home, I can expect the unexpected and learn to adjust.  The trips I do are an essential part of my work as a personal development consultant, helping me to keep a healthy perspective on people, life, and the world. Yes, I’m one of those people who get a lot of reward from taking time to think, and of being with this sort of magnificent display of the Creator’s art.  It resources me so I can better serve the world.

And, yes, for the interested observer, the bike is different too. The BMW 1200GS has gone to a good home, and I’m now riding a little Burgman 400 scooter.  Times change, don’t they? No major ‘off-road’ travel or 135mph across Germany, but an easy ride, and it will still go across fields and down gravel back-roads to the quieter places in our world (though the ground clearance isn’t brilliant and the frame a bit flexible).

Brittany Ferries sent me a text to say they had cancelled the ferry back from Spain, so I drove back through France in a day (getting lost in the backroads of Northern France somewhere and assailed by constant driving, gusty, rain) and caught the overnight ferry. I helped a retired couple on an ‘aire’ in the middle of France somewhere and we shared some croissants and coffee as they told me about their personal challenges. And did 10/10 with a boy and his auntie at the Ouistream terminal at Caen over rabbit and chips. And laughed with a truck driver from Lincolnshire.

And as we crossed the Channel and the decks were swept by the storm outside, I slept like a log, tucked into the warm, quiet, ensuite complimentary cabin, courtesy of Brittany Ferries.  (Sue would have enjoyed that bit.)

Today I’m thinking about how I want Powerchange to go on helping people live more comfortably in their own skin.  Happier. Richer. Lovelier. Free from depression and the scars of sadness. At peace with themselves.   Personal happiness as their ‘default position’.  If you’d like to help me do that, or would simply appreciate a chat, I’d love to hear from you. Call me or email andrew(at)powerchange(dot)com. Or you can forward this to one of your friends.

Enjoy taking some time out to be with yourself in the next few days.  Schedule it.   A few hours.  A day.  For me this time it was a week. Think about how you can more effectively help others – especially those, as Chris De Burg puts it, standing in the rain.

 

 

 

Imagined Elephant Disorder

It is in the news again today, with a report out saying care for schizophenia in the UK is terrible.

Here is a quote worth reading: ‘Schizophrenia’ is a scientifically worthless, stigmatising label, which falsely groups people with a wide range of conditions together. It also fails to inform prognosis and treatment, and actually reduces people’s chances of recovery. (Bentall, Hammersley & Romme, Manchester University, 2006)

It is now being argued by an increasing swell of enlightened medics that these peoples’ behaviour is the natural reaction to a whole spectrum of overwhelming or catastrophic life events that cause clients to find ways to avoid facing the agonising realities of a particularly unattractive life. (Who can blame them?)

I agree. Here is my prescription:

1. Dispense with the stale old label – however professionally convenient it may have been to have it – and along with it get rid of the crippling thought that you’re stuck with it for life. You’re not.

2. Sort out those damaging life events, the limiting beliefs and thinking that result in a self-reinforcing feedback loop of deep personal emotional pain.

3. Provide an increase in resilience and personal power, and create new resourceful alternatives to current auto responses.

In other words, deal with the CAUSES. There are some amazingly powerful tools now available to the ‘talking therapies practitioner’ that mean the client/patient is free from the persistent unhappiness and suffering incurred by the retention of those things in their neurology. Often for ever.

And as a little bonus for all concerned, it will not cost the NHS (ie, the UK taxpayer) the estimated £12 billion a year. That’s £461 a year for each of the 26 million UK income tax payers.

“An elephant in the surgery waiting room?  Yes, yes, my dear, of course there is!” (Hmmm. Andrew is suffering from Imagined Elephant Syndrome. DSM IV No: 54321. Now the pharmaceuticals rep. who was in last week said there’s a new drug available for that. What was it again?)

PS…

1. An increasing number of GPs are putting their professional lives at stake  – and some have lost their jobs – by staying curious about the elephant, asking themselves how it is others can see something that is invisible to them. (Perhaps they are recovering from Elephant Blindness Syndrome?)  More seriously, I just want to honour their honesty and thank them for their courage and invite them to keep looking. There is a whole herd of elephants in there.

2. If you can’t find anyone near you who can help you with this, email me or give me a call. Powerchange (check it out) is developing a healthy track record for Therapeutic Coaching, with NHS doctors using and recommending our services. (We don’t do ‘five minute miracle cures’ but we have a growing dossier of success testimonials.)

For the hardy, here are some links:

http://medind.nic.in/maa/t07/i2/maat07i2p104.pdf

http://www.metzelf.info/Book%20Reviews/schizophrenia.html

http://www.antipsychiatry.org/schizoph.htm

The Neuroscience behind the Poetry.

“Psychiatry is finished.”  It wasn’t said loudly or in a gratuitous or all-knowing way, but with a quiet authority

Many in the Association for Coaches annual conference on Neuroscience will have picked up on the significance of this almost throw away line. It came from a older man who has been in the field of psychology all his life.

Professor Dr Paul Brown is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine; and was for nearly forty years a Member and then Chartered Clinical and Organisational Psychologist of the British Psychological Society where he was also at one time the Registrar of the Clinical Board of Examiners, until he “left in 2001 in despair“. So what on earth was Professor Brown on about, or what planet is he on? Finished? You must be joking, Professor … or know something we don’t.

He does. A lot. The 350 professional coaches listening were spellbound as he quietly debunked the psychological world view of the last two centuries in the light of the real-world neuroscience that is making its way across the world here in 2012. Those listening to him were invited to change their own view as he explained the significance of an endless stream of new research and biology-based studies that provide clear cogent incontrovertible hard evidence that the drivers of human behaviour are not what ‘old psychology’ [my label] thought. The way you and I change as we respond to the world is physically identifiable within the circuitry of the brain and central nervous system. Emotional health and wellbeing are growable, repairable and redeemable. Damage no longer needs to be perceived as permanent.

We are getting rid of the black-box mystery. “In the last 15 years we’ve seen psychology based in science” he said,  and his hearers could sense the relief around them in the room. Something subtle implied there perhaps? Professor Brown proceeded to talk about the authentic science now behind our understandings of love, anger, disappointment, trust, and how human beings make meaning. He set out the evidence for loving human relationships being core – utterly fundamental – to human well being and how this is seen in the brain. He explained how every (every!) human though and action, every interaction between human lives, from months before birth to the moment we die, changes brain structures for better or worse, creates new neurology and is utterly personal to that individual. He explained how every human brain across the world works in the same way, with cultures, family and friendships creating the multi-millions of neural networks that make us the unique individuals we are. He went on and on, fact and insight after fact and insight. Brilliant.

I could have cried. For the last two or three years in our team we’ve been coming to similar and in some cases virtually identical realisations but not as a result of the powerful and carefully controlled research accessible to university scientists – I’m envious of Dr Brown. Our little company doesn’t have that time or the money. Frankly, with my very limited academic background, if I did I wouldn’t know where to start!

We’ve even dared to teach what we have found – in our extended coach training course, carefully presenting it as theory in the absence of carefully established research, then showing by example how well it works.

No, the basis of our discoveries have not been in copious scientific study but in year after year of staying curious, of watching very carefully, listening with our eyes as well as our ears, of experimenting with the questions we use in coaching the hundreds of people we have seen. We’ve not had the doctoral power of research that ‘Dr Paul’ has had. All we’ve had is eyes to see, ears to hear and the confidence to express our ideas using illustrations taken from 21st Century life. As Professor Brown was speaking I could have reached into my bag and pulled out an iPad with presentations therein that are very complementary to his.

Psychiatry’s demise hasn’t hit the headlines yet, but it will. There are those who have been wedded to ‘old psychology’ for years, drunk on the power it has given them as they’ve prescribed away, basing their opinions on packaged diagnoses lifted straight from DSM-IV, the psychiatrists Bible. People have been permanently cursed with highly adhesive diagnostic labels of emotional ‘conditions’ and at the same time had to accept the word ‘incurable’ watermarked into the paper if not actually written on it. We are now discovering that things are not as we thought. The brain is ‘plastic’ and heals itself. The word ‘permanent’ can no longer be etched indelibly into its neural networks. The future looks brighter for us all.

Yes, there will always be those who deny the growing mountain of evidence that reveals the extent to which depression, sadness and emotional damage is not just repairable but can make people stronger, more useful and better resourced. There is a growing number too who are sufficiently free from the confusing clutter of old psychology to embrace the evidence on offer. I spoke recently to a group of 40 GPs in a Medical Education Centre in West Sussex and at the end two of those GPs came to me and asked if I would see a member of their family. That’s five percent.

The night before the Association for Coaching conference, I finished Dr Martin Seligman’s outstanding book on wellbeing called ‘Flourish’. (If you haven’t read it you’re missing out.) Dr Seligman (Marty to his friends) is another David in the field standing out against the traditionalist Philistine giants that are trying to shout down those presenting the evidence. Let them shout until they are exhausted, for the world has changed. Relationships, businesses, families, children, teenagers, emotional health and wellbeing will never be the same, thank God. They will be better.

So “psychiatry is finished” – or at least lying on its death-couch. Now after all these decades of endless drug-induced ‘slavery’ some people will retake control of their own wellbeing and future lives.

Dr Paul Brown spent several minutes of his time talking about some answers: developing trust, love, hope. He showed how healthy loving relationships inspire trust, and hope, and are a healing panacea for so much of the unseen damage in our brains. Loneliness, rejection and separation are poisons of wellbeing. Community, friends, life partners, affection, joy are the answers. Love heals. Did I perchance hear an echo from the ancient writings of Professor Paul’s namesake of 2000 years? “Now abide these three; faith, hope and love. The greatest of these is love.”

Two millennia further on from when those lines were penned it seems researchers may be revealing the neuroscience behind the poetry.

Driving through a red light?

Here’s an interesting story for you!

Last Wednesday I drove through a red light on the outskirts of Storrington, here in West Sussex.  It was at a road works, and the lights had locked onto red in both directions and were not changing. A two mile traffic jam resulted.

When would YOU go past a red light?

Once I had understood the situation, I turned my bike around and rode back to the lights, parked the bike and proceeded to direct traffic, like the good citizen I am. Within half an hour or so, with my encouragement, 200 or more other people had done the same and the rush-hour traffic jam was no more. It was perfectly possible to see past the road works (the works themselves were only the size of a large car with the two light masts set 3 metres apart from each other!) so there was no need for the lights, and as the nervous lady Community Support Officer turned on her heels I told her that I would be turning the broken lights sideways so traffic could flow again without me.

However: how is it that the CSO would not help the hundreds of stuck motorists but dismissed the problem with a wave of her hand?

Here is the conversation:

Her: “Excuse me sir, you can’t do that (me waving traffic through in turn, with drivers in both directions thanking me as they go past).”

Me: “Isn’t this what YOU are supposed to be doing?”

Her: “I’m not allowed to.”

Me: “But there are hundreds of motorists trying to get home.  Everwhere in Storrington (a mile away) is blocked solid because of this broken system”

Her: “Yes I know. I saw the queue when I was in Tescos(!). It happens. I’ve phoned the traffic light company and the police. They could be another two hours.”

Me: “Well, it seems I’m not so restricted in what I can do to help these people as you are.  I’ll continue to do this until the queues go, then we can turn the lights round so they face sideways. Then people will drive past without a problem.”

Her: “I can’t advise that. I’m not allowed to touch the lights. It is up to you.  I’m just going to walk back to my Land Rover.”

And she walked away.  And I cleared the traffic queues, made the necessary adjustments on my own, and everyone used their common sense and drove in turn past the parked-car sized obstruction without the slightest problem.

Yes, hundreds of drivers drove through a red light on Wednesday, including a fireman in his red car. I saw them. A few stopped, and pointed at the red light. I merely beckoned them on more ‘forcefully’ and they started again and drove on. And I wasn’t even wearing a yellow jacket.

Human beings are all too susceptible to mindless obedience. The Milgram Experiments and many like them have demonstrated that all too clearly. Robert Cialdini in his excellent book, Influence, describes the nature of social obedience.

And the moral to this story?

You decide, and write your comments below.

An Airstream – outside my house!

You’re not going to believe this, but this morning when I woke up there was an Airstream travel trailer – not a caravan, remember – PARKED OUTSIDE MY HOUSE! Here’s the picture to prove it.

A dream coming true?

If you haven’t read my previous blog about wanting an Airstream Bambi really badly, you probably won’t appreciate the significance of this. Just to catch you up with the story, the Airstream man, Mr Michael Hold (he’s not actually called ‘Something-or-other’), read my last blog and was impressed. Important people read my blog, you know. (You are one of them of course.) And we chatted on the phone. Within a few days he had called to say he was coming down to the famous Goodwood Festival of Speed and could he come and visit? Well of course. He brought his son Robin, and I’m please to report, they are VERY nice people. They came in for a barbecue, stayed with us for the Festival and we had the unquestionable honour of having his Airstream stay too.

The sad truth is, its not the little Bambi.  His is posher and bigger than that, but it hasn’t stolen my affections, despite its beauty.  I like its little sister best, with her little red awning, and pretty proportions. Bambi is SO CUTE.

I was just thinking – would you like to see an Airstream for yourself?  What would it be like if one turned up outside  your house and stayed the night? How inspiring would that be for you?   In Powerchange (that’s our personal coaching company) we have learnt that visual impact really matters when you’re after something. Being able to ‘see’ it, even with your mind’s eye, can make imagination become reality. That is what having a ‘vision’ is all about: something you’ve ‘seen’. We know that what you look at gets bigger the closer you get.  Whether that is winning a Wimbledon Final – the second most important thing that happened yesterday – or an Airstream turning up.

There are other things you can do too. Remember the classic film The Shawshank Redemption?

Freeman inspiring a younger inmate

It is about being unjustly imprisoned and being determined to find a way out. If you haven’t seen it yet, get the video for £6.99 from iTunes. Watch it several times. It is so inspiring.  The central character, played by Morgan Freeman escapes to freedom by chipping his way out of his prison cell, chip by chip by chip. It reminds us that there ARE ways to get out of even the most desperate circumstances of life and be free again. You may be thinking how nice it would be for some Airstream travel trailer to turn up on your doorstep and whisk you away to a different world – and that really might happen! But when you are determined to change your life, don’t leave it to chance. It is better to be in control of the process yourself and chip away at the seeming impossible.

If someone had told me a month ago that I’d have an Airstream outside my house this morning, I’m not sure I’d have believed them – not least because they are so in demand and there is a waiting list! But there it is, in the morning sunlight of a English summer’s day.

A reminder that what you think about, the BMW in the drive, the GS motorbike, the Airstream, (and in my case, even the house itself), can become reality.

Can this happen to you too?

Come on, use your imagination.

Cumbria shootings: emotional pain reduction

There are comparatively few people in physical pain as a result of Derrick Bird’s shooting spree. The ones he killed are no longer suffering. The dozens left behind, injured and bereaved are the ones hurting, potentially catastrophically. And those uncovering and stirring their own old wounds as they are impacted by the media.

I’m not an anaesthetist so am not going to comment on reduction of purely physical pain.  Though a lot of physical pain is caused by emotional problems, the pain of physical injury is not my brief here.

However, I do have a track record of reducing emotional pain. I can categorically state that emotional pain CAN be reduced, if not completely eliminated, and when it goes, for many people it takes a lot of physical pain with it. That is not speculative comment. It happens. Let me explain a bit more…

Human beings, it seems, have basic emotional needs in the same way that they have basic physical needs in order to exist. Physical needs include food, water, sleep, protection – things like that.  The psychologist Maslow had what he called a Hierachy of Needs, and these physical things are ‘bottom line’ essentials for existence. Without them our physical bodies collapse. Maslow also had on his list emotional needs, and although we can live without them to survive, we cannot live without them without suffering emotionally.  They are emotional essentials. Deprived of them you HURT. Resupply them and the pain stops. Emotional pain is caused by the differential (the gap) between the need and the supply, so sometimes it is perfectly possible to reduce the pain by reducing a person’s need of those emotional essentials.

It’s interesting that some of them are perceptual. Here’s an example. The need to be accepted into a group is generally regarded as a very strong human emotional essential, but if you genuinely don’t interpret a group’s behaviour as rejection, you won’t feel the pain, even though people are rejecting you wholesale. And conversely, if you imagine their behaviour to be rejection, then you will feel pain, even if they are not rejecting you at all!

Emotional pain is very subjective. In other words, to a large extent it is up to you how it affects you. Now that is a useful thing to realise, because, potentially at least, it means that if you are in control of the way you think you can control the emotional pain you experience. This of course, like many things in life, may be simple, but not necessarily easy. The good thing is you can learn how to control it – if you want to. (Some people rather enjoy emotionally induced pain in a way that people can enjoy physically induced pain. It can have some real pluses: be a lifetime talking point, provide identity, and give you a bond with other sufferers.)

You CAN get rid of emotional pain – pretty much anyway. One way, like starvation in your physical body, is to provide what its crying out for. That can work, but it can also have other side effects. Like food, there are optimum levels for your emotional essentials, and too much is as bad as too little. It is easy to overcompensate and damage ourselves. And like a physical wound the damage starts to cause pain.

In Powerchange we have what we call  ‘psychological anaesthetic’ to enable people to find a new (usually lower) level of emotional need and close the differential gap so the pain stops.  The addiction to an external supply of the ’emotional need’ also stops.  Freedom!

It’s that freedom I’m wishing upon the people in West Cumbria this week, and anyone affected by Derrick Bird’s final journey.