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Marty's "Living life in chapters" A self development blog: 2/6/11 - 2/13/11

Marty's "Living life in chapters" A self development blog

Saturday, February 12, 2011

How to overcome the imposter we call "failure"

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What we perceive other think of us is what forms the belief we have of ourselves.

We can look at failure in a different light. It could be described as successfully discovering what does not work thereby clearing the clutter. Eventually, we will be left with the inevitable. What DOES work!

This is very simplistically demonstrated in the little game I have embedded at the top of today's blog. With practice, concentration and focus you go through the process of picking cards that we think match. We make errors along the way until the board is completed. We may then choose to go to the next level. It's kinda fun and can be a a little addictive, yes? 

Every time we make a mistake in the game, we learn something and make an adjustment. If we chose not to click on any cards at all, how incredibly boring is that? Just staring at a bunch of face down cards!    

If you are looking to overcome so perceived fear of failure, the only way to do that is to "turn over the life challenge cards". Be prepared to make mistakes and choose to have fun with it. 

If you are going to play the card game above and someone is watching you, they might take an interest or they may not be at all bothered. 

Referring to my first sense on this blog; what others think of us is simply irrelevant to our journey to discovering our own truth. There is nothing wrong with seeking advice from others, but be aware that our journey is different from others. 

Other people may think they have the perfect answer for us. Chances are they are probably wrong in our case. 

Take the bits of advice and learning that are useful to you and discard that which is not. If others laugh and gossip about you as you move forward, that is up to them and frankly, not any of our business. 

Today's blog has been inspired by Douglas Cartwright "A

new philosophy about failure…?"

Today's exercise is one that I highly recommend giving a try. It works for me and I've seen it work for others. There are many many different versions of it. Go try them and see which works best for you. Guided Visualisation works for many people. 

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Friday, February 11, 2011

Practice effective communication

So much trouble is caused in this world due to miscommunication. It can be something quite simple such as "Can you deliver this to........ for me?" I say yes and later discovered that the item to be delivered was within the case, needing the case to be returned which I didn't do. This happened to me last week. It was no major drama, but it occurred for 1 of 2 reasons (or both). 

1. The instruction was not explicit. It involved assumption on behalf of the speaker.... possibly!

2. I did not listen carefully enough. I made an assumption and did not question the instruction. In truth I was a little distracted by what was for me a more pressing matter. The favour I agreed to was (if I'm honest) a bit of an irritation, but in the spirit of teamwork I agreed.

Clarification of the instruction did not occur.

A few years ago I attended a training course in conflict resolution. At that time, part of my role was Customer Services Manager in the motor trade. 
On the second day of the training, 2 volunteers was asked to stand up and speak on a subject of their choice for 5 minutes. The rest of the class were asked to take notes followed by the tutor asking questions about the content.

Yes, you guessed it. I chose to speak for 5 minutes about brass bands!

I picked up 2 important lessons from this exercise. I noticed that the tutor asked questions about my subject that I felt he had misunderstood.

1. Did he listen carefully enough?
2. Did I explain myself well enough?

Bearing in mind last weeks episode, it appears I need to focus a little more on listening and getting clarification! 


Mind Alchemy
Today's work speaks about the benefits of meditation and relaxation. I find that meditation works particularly well after free writing because it helps to clear the mind of clutter. I'm practising relaxations and meditation on a daily basis now and I find it really does help. 
In the guided relaxation/meditation classes I run, I like to allow people to ask for what they want in their lives in their minds. (This occurs at the most relaxed state). More importantly, I remind folk that they also have to opportunity to listen for the answers, either consciously or sub-consciously. 
If you are engaging in daily meditation, I recommend including this in your session. I believe it can have real benefits.  

Today's blog is inspired by a blog by The Loving Path.

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Thursday, February 10, 2011

How to positively process emotions

Miners in Piccadilly

This is simply a no brainer.
This also follows on from yesterdays Mind Alchemy session where Steven Aitchison encouraged us so seek our music that motivates and inspires us. 
Whilst yesterday, I focused on popular and modern music from the charts in recent years, I have a strong connection with classical music. In so many ways I find classical music to be a powerful force to process emotions. 

Strong emotions come in waves. Some of these waves are gentle surges followed by followed by down times. There are times of peace, stillness and tranquillity. Then again come times of urgency. Sometimes there is mild pain and suffering. 

I've always loved the music of Richard Wagner.
Procession to the Minister from "Lohengrin" gives the opportunity to feel the emotions I described above. However, then ending of this piece brings some extremities of emotion. There is build up of orgasmic sound that crashes over in a wave, then immediately another much larger wave that is almost overwhelming. Finally again there is a 3rd rush of sound orgasm that every cell in the body to magnify and glow like burning magnesium. To experience this is to witness something that I believe no drug ever produced can replicate. 

I created the video below some time ago as a tribute to the hard toil of mine workers in their daily struggle to ekk out a living. 
Grimethorpe is a band that represents the core of the British coal mining community, now sadly lost. Those communities pretty much dispersed. 

A mining village represents the passion of a community that is close knit and works together supporting each other.  

To be successful in our lives, there is much we need to do ourselves and to that end we need each other as support to grow. We now have to ability communicate like never before through the power of the internet. We can share and lift each other up. We can obtain wisdom like never before. 
Those of us taking part in the Mind Alchemy course can do this. We have the opportunity to experience all emotions to the full. The waves and surges. I sense that as we get toward the end of this course, we have the ability to experience something similar to the and of the music in Wagner's "Procession" 

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Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Inspirational songs

Day 7 of Mind Alchemy and this is a task close to my heart. Picking my favourite inspirational songs.
Music plays SUCH an important part in what makes us tick as human beings. I can get inspired by music in so many ways. It is the ability to experience the whole range of emotions that means so much to me. Sometimes it's a sad song that inspires, simply because it allows us to get in touch with ourselves. 

As a musician, I find playing music a way to express feelings;  Joy, rest, fear, anger, gratitude, laughter, tears, excitement, ecstasy, and so many more emotions that are beyond words grant that great feeling. 

I'm going to share mine with some explanations of why they touch me. 

Queen - I want to break free. 
What can I say? Those times when we feel trapped in life. That desire to be free of the shackles. I remember having to work Saturdays in a motor dealer showroom and being tasked with vacuuming the floor first thing.  I hated working those Saturday mornings and would imagine myself as Freddie Mercury dressed up (ooer!)

Wonderful World - Louis Armstrong
Always liked from when I was a child, but has particular significance when my cousin from Australia made a picture video about 20 years ago (she worked in media) to celebrate the full life of her father. It was brought over to us on video tape. This of course happened long before people were able to do what they do now and create video's with software on PC and upload to YouTube. 

Freely - Beggars' Belief
I make no excuse for blatant self promotion! It is just such a great song that lifts my spirits and I see it life the spirits of folk when we play it. 

Somewhere over the Rainbow - IZ
I really do love Eva Cassidy's cover of this too. This one has simplicity and has that ability again to lift the spirits.

There must be an Angel - Eurythmics.
Remind's me of clubbing as a teenager when night clubs played real chart music! Can't beat Stevie Wonder cameo on the mouth organ too. 

Digging your Scene - The Blow Monkey
I guess you describe this as somewhat obscure now. I can't explain much more that it remains in my memory as something from my teenager to 20's youth. 

Many Rivers to Cross - UB40
A moment captured in time. I was in a pub in Dover with an Afro Carribean friend back in the early 80's and this came on the juke box. He said to me "Man I love this song" I've loved it ever since. There is something very special about gospel singers too. 

Where is the Love - Black Eyed Peas.
This is a song that cries out from deep within the soul. This came out at the time when I discovered my vocation in life. I started working in a young persons hostel. The young lads played this all the time. I have a vision of a young hooded lad I was supporting, looking out his flat window blasting this out to the world. I guess he was demanding answers expressing his anger at how he felt life had dealt him a tough deal.

Mr Bojangles - Robbie Williams "Oh lord, when he shook his head" Does it for me every time!

My Way - Frank Sinatra
I love to sing this at Karaoke! When I struggled with my emotions in the past, I think back to those times and sing this. It's a song about integrity. 

There are many more songs, but I'd be here all night!

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Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Capture the moment

Lake Waihola_006_Photoshop 010111
We face so many challenges in life. This happens for some more than others. If you are anything like I have been in the past, it involves far too much time wishing for better times, remembering better times and realising it had passed all to quickly. 

It may be a moment when you make a life changing decision.

It may be a time when something amazing happens in your life. 

To get the full benefit of those times, stop for just a few minutes and resolve to capture every aspect of what is happening. Seal the feelings, thoughts, sights and sounds deep into your memory. If you have ever practised visualisation techniques you'll understand how important it is to capture the moment. 

We have the ability to indelibly seal memories. Unfortunately, this happens far too easily if we experience something traumatic. This is what we understand as post traumatic stress disorder. I wonder if it is possible we can allow the same technique to apply for much happier experiences. Perhaps this could be called post positive experience recall. I've tried a little research on this and could not find anything significant to refer to. 

Choosing to capture the moment when everything is going positively has worked well for me in the last year or so. There must be something in it!

Now for some amazing brass playing and comedy from Mnozil Brass. A group I have admired for a while now. Fantastic live!

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Monday, February 07, 2011

How to organise emotional discipline

Working to support people can be hard work at times. I got midway through today and suddenly felt very fatigued both mentally and physically. Getting home from work I found it hard to focus on anything and I considered going straight to bed after dinner. 

Here is what I did.

I spent 15 minutes listening to some meditative music through my headphones visualising yesterdays Mind Alchemy exercise and allowed my body to slow down.

10 minutes lie down on the bed to get a power nap before dinner.

I thought about and evaluated my emotional state. I do have a bit of a cold at the moment. I didn't sleep as well as usual last night because of that. I'd also worked hard last night at the studio with the band laying down 5 track for the bands new album. The working day took its toll by encouraging a positive attitude in my clients. This can take a lot of emotional energy from those of us that do this sort of work, so I needed to acknowledge that and give myself time to recharge. 

Once I was able to concentrate, I then read some positive material online. Seeing positive feedback on my blog lifted me this evening. It is encouraging and motivating.

Once I'd done that, I felt very much better. My mind felt creative again and I was able to think of something to write about today whilst walking down the road during the evening. 

I believe there needs to be a disciplined process to the day to ensure there is time to recharge physically and emotionally. Just having a rest in not enough. The MIND needs rest and recuperation too.

All too often, the day can feel stressful. Yes, we do need to acknowledge that, but it is helpful to seek something positive to end then day with. 

Upbeat and uplifting music.

Positive poetry. 

A comedy TV show of your choice. 

All these help to balance the day. 

I've created a taster youtube video of the work we did yesterday at the recording studio. I hope you understand why I love the band so much with it upbeat music and positive lyrics. 
See below. 

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Sunday, February 06, 2011

Creative Visualization

Picture attribute courtesy of Pete Hobden

 "The problem with Martin in class is that he is a dreamer"
As a young child, that is what I heard spoken about me when I was in earshot and as if I wasn't there. I grew up thinking that being a dreamer was a bad thing. It is of course far from the truth. 

To create a vision in your minds eye of where you want to be. To "feel" that as if it were real right then and there. To taste and to smell the goodness of the feeling using the minds natural resource is a wonderful gift that I believe we all have if we choose to believe it and practice it regularly. Some find the process easier than others, but it IS something that we can learn. 

Day 6 of the Mind Alchemy workshop involves doing that very task of imagining what we want in our lives and "living" it in our mind. Personally, I found today's task relatively easy to do and very enjoyable too. I'm going to share my created and visualised story here and now.

Mind Alchemy Day 6 – Your perfect day
Read the 'Perfect Day' exercise details on the Mind Alchemy Day 6 - Your
Perfect Day and write your perfect day in here with as much details as

"It is a pleasant spring morning and I wake at 6am feeling rested after a good night sleep. The early morning light is seeping through the blind of the large picture window of my bedroom. I get out of bed and open the blinds to see the beautiful and serene view of the rural setting of my detached home. The birds are singing outside as the early morning sun begins to rise on the horizon, lighting up the early morning dew.

My wife is still asleep as I walk out of the bedroom through the spacious hallway and into the kitchen to make tea and toast. I put 2 slices of brown bread into the toaster and switch on some soothing classical music, a little Grieg. I take the morning cup of tea through to my wife and see the bedroom gradually begin to light up the airy, light, pastel coloured walls.

Walking into the on suite bathroom/wet room I brush my teeth and dress in my running shoes, shirt and shorts and start to do some gentle stretching. Just before I leave the house, I drink a glass of fruit juice, then I go for a 30 minute run down the country road leading to a coastal path across the cliffs, smiling at and acknowledging local people taking the dogs for a walk. The early morning sun has risen and there is a light fresh breeze. The sky is a bright blue with wisps of clouds.

Returning home, I take a shower, feeling full of vitality and enjoy the buzz of endorphins and serotonin naturally flowing around my body. I then go to my study and spend 30 minutes doing a meditation exercise, preparing myself for the day. I then switch on my PC and spend the morning preparing material and making arrangements for my next seminar.

My wife prepares lunch in our spacious kitchen. A salad with fresh produce from my garden that includes beetroot, lettuce, spring onions, peppers. Chicken and freshly boiled potatoes are placed on the table for the family to add to their plates.

After lunch, my colleagues from the band call round and we go into my recording studio to practice. We begin to work on some new songs through the afternoon and spend an hour planning our next few gigs as well as making final arrangements for our gig in the evening in town at the theatre.

It is late afternoon and my family gather together to go for a walk down toward the beach. We pop into a seafront cafe for a snack and refreshment before returning to my detached house to prepare for the evening where I will be playing live with the band. The whole family will be attending this event that will be covered by the local media.

Arriving at the theatre, I feel that familiar sense of excitement before our performance as people begin to enter the venue. The whole band working together preparing the equipment quickly gets us ready for the sound check and performance.

Having played 3 sets of our own music mixed with covers, the atmosphere is electric as the audience shout for more. CD's and merchandise sell well during the evening. We then pack everything and retire to the bar for a relaxing drink. We all discuss the success of the evening before returning home.

Arriving back at my detached home, I put my vehicle into the garage and sit out on the patio enjoying the peace of the spring evening and reflecting upon my day, allowing time to process the experience. As a little light rain begins to fall, I return indoors to watch a little TV before retiring to bed at about 12:30"

 Now listen!
Since Christmas, I've had the fantastic opportunity to learn to fly a helicopter! How fantastic is that? See the video......

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