What I do when I am DESPERATE.

Know the feeling?

SnapnDrag573

From time to time life takes a turn for the more challenging, and I face a situation that I don’t have an obvious answer to.  I am a ‘natural’ at living on the edge and that is when the unexpected makes me either ‘jump’ or tempts me to ‘blind panic’.  The first is OK, but the second can make matters a lot worse.
At these moments, and I’ve had a good few of them, I’ve learnt a simple procedure that definitely makes a difference…

1. PRAY.

This is not about running away, but taking one step back for a few minutes and opening myself to higher things.  Personally I believe that God is, and likes to be, involved in my life, but evidence shows that even if you don’t believe, prayer and meditation (often called ‘mindfulness’) still has a substantial calming effect on you and will reduce the damaging sense of panic that can ensue from difficult situations. Negative trauma damages your brain, pressuring you to basic fight-or-flight ‘limbic’ behaviour.

Prayer and meditation have been shown to have real and measurable benefits in times of stress.  It is handy for me to have some favourite quotes in my memory ready to lean on and recall as I pray. One reason I’ve meditated on verses and stories in the Bible over the years is so that I’m resourced with ancient, proven, calming, wisdom when things go belly up. It’s “in there” and and the bits I have taken onboard come to the surface when needed. It has also provided me with a reliable guide to what I believe to be fundamentally important for us humans, helping me to prioritise action.

2. SMILE.

Right. Now you’ve prayed, you can smile. You are not your crisis, but the one person who can initiate change within it, so smile – not least at the irony!   Smiling, and even laughter, changes the chemistry of your body for the better, stimulating the release of empowering hormones to help you deal with the difficulty.  A good reason to smile is that as you look back on this situation in the future you will find all sorts of good in it. The biggest threats to us have within them the biggest lessons – of courage, self-control, and humility. People who look back on some of the most difficult times say they would not swap them for an easier life.

3. PHYSICALLY ACT.

Act towards a solution.  In fact ANY action is better than no action. Your sense of panic has been taken out of circulation, and you’re smiling. The next stage involves PHYSICAL ACTION (mental action will not do), for instance, phoning or emailing someone, going to the bank or supermarket, getting your stepladder out of the garage, or going to the hospital, doctor, head teacher or boss. Act towards a solution.  Start the invasion and watch what happens.

If you’re facing a serious situation alone, or simply want to move beyond the irritating or confining status quo, that’s what I’m here for. Call me.  I’ve got space in my diary for you. We can work on it (in confidence) together.

Andrew

0777 163 1945

andrew@powerchange.com

The Kind Stranger. Chapter 2: The Second Encounter

Read the previous chapter? Then enjoy the second chapter of this amazing story…

It was the day after I met him that I first noticed a change. Now, as I think back, it is hardly surprising that it would affect my future life.  I had experienced something very special, and through the night I tossed and turned and wondered about it all. Was this really just a remote chance encounter, or was I missing something?   The Kind Stranger had singled me out for his attention. This was new to me – it had never happened before – well, not like this anyway. I didn’t know how significant it would be.

I felt both weakened and strengthened at the same time by that first encounter. It was the weakness that felt strangely good. My carefully constructed defences had softened. I had softened. I could sense myself more flexible, more open, and much more relaxed. For the first time in years I felt safer, stronger, in fact much stronger inside.

I decided to make a drink and sit down quietly. And that’s when I heard his voice again.

It felt so close, and it was not just in my head. It felt as if he was in the room with me, not physically, if you know what I mean, but definitely here. I put my drink down, and just sat, relaxed, attentive, waiting.

I know this sounds weird for a rational human adult, but to me it was as real as the chair, the drink, me sitting here, and I felt a wave of warm emotion as I heard the Kind Stranger’s voice again, as real as yesterday.

He was smiling still. You can tell when someone is smiling, can’t you. And this time his voice was quieter, more personal, almost intimate, but with that wholesome respect and trustworthiness I’d begun to associate with him. It wasn’t a whisper, just reassuringly quiet. Perhaps he knew I needed to hear him that way today.

“I said I’d come.” I heard him smile. “You can trust what I say.” How did he know that my trust in people was at a low ebb these days? “I’m here to remind you of the truth,” he said gently, “the truth about you.”

I wriggled a bit in my chair (I won’t admit to squirming!) and took a moment to settle myself. He waited. I took a deep breath, and as I relaxed he gently continued.

“From the moment you arrived on this earth as a human life until the moment you depart from it – and that includes now of course” (he smiled again) – “you have been, are, and forever will be of indescribable worth. The word I’d like to use is ‘priceless’. No amount of gold, diamonds, or any number of banknotes in any currency would compare with your worth.”

The Kind Stranger stopped for a moment to let his words sink in. They needed to. I had long doubted that I was worth anything much. Yet in his voice was a wonderful reliable confidence. He knew he was right, and in the deepest caverns of my soul I heard myself receive his words as truth for me. For the first time since I was a tiny child, I realised how valuable I really was. Priceless.

Overwhelmed, I felt my emotions well up. A single sigh, suppressed for so long within those deep echoey caverns, rose within me, and as I breathed it out, the doubt was gone. I knew the truth.

“I’ll be back soon.”  I think I may have felt his touch on my arm again as he left, though I could have imagined that.

I sat awhile, comfortably alone and at peace, consciously and unconsciously surrendering each part of my life to what he had told me. It would change everything.

Watch the video of Chapter 2 .

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1i9AjJCXI_Q

The Kind Stranger

In Powerchange we have all sorts of interesting ways to help people have a better quality of life, and here’s a new exercise I’d like you to test for me.  It’s called The Kind Stranger and it works by readjusting your thoughts as you read it. Notice what it does to you emotionally over the next few minutes or days, and ‘leave a comment’ (above) so we can know how it is working for you.  If it ‘works’, pass it on to your friends – even Facebook it for me! Here it is …

You know those times when you feel ‘needy’- alone maybe, inadequate somehow, or unresourced? It was at such a time as this that the kind stranger turned up. It was a completely unexpected encounter, and one that changed me. He just came up to me, smiling, and although to start with I was a bit suspicious I quickly realised he was a genuinely good person, and his intentions towards me were healthy – pure – and good.

What he said was good too.  So very good.  He fed me, deep in my soul, and it was only later that I realised how much I had benefited from his kindness. “Excuse me,” the kind stranger said, “I hope you don’t mind me coming over to you, but I notice that you seem to feel alone and, dare I say it, in need somehow.” He disarmed me with his gentle tone of voice and obvious respect. His honesty was refreshing, although a little unnerving, and enabled me to be honest too. “Yes,” I admitted. “It is a bit like that at the moment.”

“May I take just a few minutes to help?”  He was so direct, and although I had so much to busy myself with, I knew I must stop and listen to him. We found somewhere to sit down, and he, this smiling kind stranger, addressed me personally.

“What do you need to hear someone say to you today?”

It was such a surprising line it took me off guard, and I could feel a lump in my throat. I wanted to get away, yet I knew this was important. He was obviously in no rush, waiting quietly for my reply. He watched me attentively – kindly – as his words sank in, slipping under my defences.  I mentally ran through a few superficial replies but knew I must be honest in return. I thought of the one thing I’ve longed for someone to say to me, but simply couldn’t voice it. It was lodged, stuck in my heart.

“That’s right,” he said.

Had he read my mind? I thought of some more.

“And those are good too.”

With a tender transparent authority the kind stranger told me clearly, gently, confidently, things I needed to hear. And something inside me change for ever.  How did he know? (For he certainly did.)

” May I put my hand on your arm?” he asked. Shocked, I reached out towards him, and he respectfully held my arm just above my wrist. It was such an important touch – firm, reassuring, filled with the rich tenderness of loving human contact. I loved him for it. Skin-food for my soul. I felt a deep confidence come from his hand  into my body.

“You know,” he said wisely, “we could meet right here every day or every week in person and I could say these things to you. It would be very resourcing and up-building for you. But I’ve got a better idea: I want you to listen to my voice now, saying and repeating these things you need to hear, deep inside you. Listen to my voice deep in your heart.” He paused as he noticed me do what he suggested. “It is me, isn’t it!” He chuckled, and continued, “And then, every day, even though I will not be with you physically as I am now, I want you to feel my hand on your arm like this and hear my voice reminding you of them –and all the other things you’ve forgotten that you need. Hear the words you needed someone to say to you when you were a child, a teenager, and at those other moments of your life when you felt alone, lacking confidence and direction. I’ll say them – listen out for me. You will hear my voice inside you and I will say them. They are the truth. And when you’ve learned how to listen to me, tell others about your encounter with me and help them to listen. So from today on I’ll be with you forever – and with them too if they want me!”

And he is. Whenever I sense I need him, he’s there… here. Every day. I feel his warm hand on my arm as I write, his confident touch relaxing me, feel his strong arm around my shoulders, hear his wholesome, rich voice, full of endorsement, encouragement, kindness and love reminding me of what I need to hear. I listen to him every day now, and he’s no longer a stranger.

Andrew tells the story personally on youtube – with one or two little extras…

“Kind to Self”

I love the refreshment of tumbling water.
I love the refreshment of tumbling water.

If there was one thing we are truly short of in this world, it is people being kind, and not least, kind to themselves. “Kind to Self” is an essential ingredient to healthy living – and in case there are one or two who think “Selfish!”, that is not what I mean. Being selfish in that negative sense is a result of trying to compensate for an absence of true kindness.

When you know kindness, you do not need selfishness. Kindness is the perfect antidote.  Kindness brings strength and authority to your life. It is not the same as pampering. A kind parent isn’t one who lets a child run rampant and buys whatever they demand, but rather gives that child security, and provides flexible boundaries sufficient to explore risk and still enjoy a sense of conditional safety. “Kind to Self” means taking responsibility for your own happiness and not hoping everyone else in the world might make you happy. “Kind to Self” results in inner freedom.

When it comes to being (or is it ‘doing’?) “Kind to Self”, I plan to be the expert and I’m keen to learn how to do it better. When the container that is my life is filled and overflowing with kindness, the people around me are going to well-and-truly benefit from that overflow.

That’s the reason I’m off on my motorbike in a minute. I need a short break from the delights of Powerchange to be alone with my thoughts for a morning. (Roy will get a break from me too!) In my case “Kind to Self” is to honour the need I know I have to recharge. I’ll give myself some individual attention, some positive solitude and come back refreshed.

See you later!

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