Over the last few years, I have undertaken and passed many courses, my most recent being analytical hypnotherapy. Coupled with the Neuro-linguistic programming practitioners course and you might understand how it has given me an insight into how either myself or another person thinks. Part of what I have learnt is to spot patterns of behaviour and how specific programmes maybe being run based on an individual’s experiences. Part of the process of studying is the ability to self analyse and what I have come to realise is that both courses have a common thread running through them. Both of my tutors said the key to analysis is twofold: one, building rapport so that you can see how a client processes information and two using what the client gives you to work with.

I pondered as I tended to and decided to run a scenario in my mind and this particular scenario, I would play both parts, one being that of the client and the other being the therapist. Preparation for this was relatively simple in its construction, place me in an alien environment, gradually change the stimulus surrounding me and observe and record my findings.

A change in circumstances has disrupted my everyday work life. It is irrelevant what those changes are all I can say is that I am in an enforced change. Now as regular readers will know, I am not a great lover of authority or rules, but I accept that if people are paying you to do a job you have to conform, or you don’t get paid. I will attempt in these next few paragraphs to guide you through my thought processes. I, as the client, will tell you from 48 years of experience don’t do boredom in any form, so over the years, I have developed strategies to help me cope with any perceived boredom. It is merely mind management in my view that gives me a distraction and helps me not to focus on the discomfort of boredom.

For the last few months, I have found myself unloading shipping containers to earn a wage. It is both tedious and repetitive, and I have found it essential to find something to fill my head with rather than to focus on the monotony. This is where intelligent mind management comes in. If I can’t rein in those negative thoughts, I won’t be there very long. Therein lies a problem.

On the one hand, I am grateful that money is coming in and on the other, I have my intense dislike for boredom. In the factory I am at there is or was a big clock on the wall and the time seemingly crawled by if I was facing it so I asked to work in the container so I couldn’t see it, I solved a problem with a straightforward solution. A second problem was not so easily solvable, and that was the monotony of the job, it was the nature of the beast as the task had to be completed. As the therapist in this scenario, I had to look at what the client had presented me with. Doesn’t like boredom or repetitious tasks but accepts the tasks however mundane needed completing. My thoughts were can we use an effective strategy to distract the mind from the tedious task, and a suggestion was formed. I congratulated the client for flexibility of mind and for accepting what can’t be changed. I asked him to look around his environment and tell me what he saw. He says, ” I see a shipping container forty feet long, and it needs emptying and putting onto a conveyor my task is to unload it. Probing further I asked is there anything else yes he replied I am facing the boxes and they are stacked ten feet high, ok, how do you feel, disinterested was the reply. Right, what else can you see? I then let the client take over the narrative ” I know that I am going to be bored. I’m not fond of that feeling at all, and I don’t like dead space in my mind that the subconscious could fill with negative thoughts so I will need a distraction.

I look around my environment, and I see a pigeon who flies out of the warehouse, where did it go, at that point, I didn’t care as I am not a fan of pigeons at all. Over the following hours, days and weeks, I became fascinated by the pigeon’s movements. It seemed that it would make its first flight as I started at 7 am. It would fly out and then return a short time later with a prize of either a twig or some wadding for what I assumed to be for nest building. It would carry on this routine repeatedly during the shifts that I worked. It would fly out, come back, rest a while and then go again. While I observed this routine, I realised that focussing on the pigeon and its movements had helped take my mind off my mundane task. For the first week, the pigeon didn’t go far because there was an abundant supply of materials close to its nest. As time passed, supplies become more scarce. A decision now must be made does it fly out further afield and risk unchartered territories like the busy road or the ferrell cat? I mused that the pigeon would weigh up prize versus potential risk to see if the change was viable or not.

The pigeon’s antics became a staple of my day, and it got me thinking, the only times I saw that pigeon stop flying was when it was resting, or darkness had set in. Was there anything I could take from my observation. Rest is needed after strenuous activity as I have a firm belief that a tired head will tell you tired things. Secondly, will anything come from darkness, will I yield anything productive that will help me achieve success in the future? I reckoned not. I then analyse my current state of mind as I begin emptying the container; it isn’t that good. I find the deeper into the box I go, the more my mood begins to darken, the light starts to fade and becomes darkness, I feel enclosed and trapped; this is not a nice feeling, disturbing memories begin to fill my mind. I recognise this and know I need a distraction, and there are two ways this current mood could play out, one tiptoe towards a low mood that could take some getting out of or two strategise and use the experiences I have had over the years to get me through difficult times. I asked my mind to respond. I began to notice specific steps of my routine took me closer to completion of the tasks set. For instance, the conveyor will only reach so far in so at the halfway point, and it has to be stopped and pushed in that represents progress. At the three-quarter point, the floor in the container changes indicating that we are close to two things, one the back wall and two the completion of the task. It is interesting to note that the darkest point of the journey is the one that is closest to the point of fulfilment and success, it is also the point where I feel closest to giving up as I am physically and mentally exhausted.

I need to see myself through that last line of boxes, and I am over the finish line. I switch off the conveyor and turn round from the dark and see the light streaming in at the other end of the container. I walk towards it with confidence as I realise, despite my doubts, I have achieved my goal. I didn’t give up when I was in my darkest moment. I persevered. The darkness didn’t win, and it didn’t consume me. I arrive back into the daylight and take in deep breaths of fresh air, I take a drink and ready myself for whatever is next.

The moral of the story is I encourage you to take whatever you need from my musings. I guide you to ask yourself questions, am I the pigeon who stays on task flying in and out of a strange environment to collect its bounty all the while assessing whether it is worth the extra risk and the results gained from it. Overthinking gives you the results from the effort expended on it. Consider whether you would be better placed resting and reviewing waiting for the darkness to pass and be ready to go again. Alternatively are you the container unloader who has a task to complete but doesn’t like his lot, am I willing to accept things as they are or can I challenge the status quo. Do you realise that during times of darkness that small changes may well be occurring but are going unnoticed? You may well be in touching distance of the victory or success that you desire if you take time to notice what is going on. Do you realise that at the point of mental and physical exhaustion that it might be a pivotal point in your journey, so keep going? If you hang on just that bit longer, the journey towards the daylight is closer than you think.

I stand after completing my tasks and take in the sunlight and embrace f my surroundings and then prepare to begin again.

I close giving thanks to all involved in this scenario, the pigeon, the container and even my eclectic mind. I used what the client gave me, and I used my experiences, both good and bad, to plot a route to success. I leave you with these thoughts every day that you wake up is a chance to go again, quite simply never give up.

Love and light to you all
Rick Paul.

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