Saturday, 11 June 2016

The Corn Dolly

A farmer was cutting his corn, when he thought he could hear someone crying far away.

Well, he kept on cutting the corn, and the crying got louder and louder until he had only one more shock of corn to cut, and it seemed as if the crying were coming right from it. So he peered into the last bit of corn and sure enough, there was a little creature made of corn stalks, sitting sobbing its heart out.

"What's the matter with you?" Asked the farmer.

The little creature looked up and said: "You don't care" and went on crying.

The farmer was a kindly man, so he said: " Tell me what your trouble is, and perhaps there is something I can do."

"You farmers don't care what happens to us corn dollies," said the creature.

Now the farmer had never seen a corn dolly before, so he said " What makes you think that?"

The corn dolly looked up and said " We live in the standing corn, we keep it safe and do no harm to anyone, and yet every year you farmers come with your sharp scythes and cut down the corn and leave us poor corn dollies homeless."

The farmer replied: " We have to cut the corn to make the flour to make the bread we eat. And even if we didn't cut it, the corn would wither away in the autumn and you corn dollies would still be homeless."

But the corn dolly burst into tears again and said: "Just because we're small and made of straw you think you can treat us anyhow, and leave us with nowhere to live in the cold winter."

The farmer said:"I'll find somewhere for you to live." And he picked up the corn dolly and took it to the barn and said; "Look! You can live here and be snug and warm all through the winter."

But the corn dolly said: "You live in a fine house made of stone, but just because us corn dollies are small and made of straw, you don't think we're good enough to live in a proper house."

The farmer said: " Not at all." And he picked up the corn dolly and carried it into his house and sat it on the window sill in the kitchen.

"There," he said:"you can live there."

But the corn dolly scowled and said: "  Just because we're small and made of straw, you think we're not good enough to sit with you and your wife."

The farmer said:"Not at all", and he picked up the corn dolly and carried it to the fireside, and he pulled up a chair and sat the corn dolly down between himself and  his wife. But still the corn dolly was not happy.

"What's the matter now?" Asked the farmer.

"Just because we're small and made of straw," said the corn dolly, "you've sat me on a hard chair, while you and your wife sit in soft chairs".

"Not at all," said the farmer, and he gave the corn dolly a soft chair. But still the corn dolly was not happy.

"Is there still something the matter?" Asked the farmer.

"Yes", said the corn dolly. "Just because I'm small and only made of straw, you've sat me over here, while you and your wife sit next to the fire and keep nice and warm."

The farmer said; " Not at all. You can sit wherever you like," and he picked the corn dolly up and put it next to the fire. And just then a spark flew out of the fire and landed on the corn dolly. And, because it was only made of straw, it burst into flames, and, because it was only very small, it was all gone before the farmer or his wife could do anything to save it.

Sometimes, we need to be careful what we wish for. We do not always know what we will get!

Story written by Terry Jones

Sunday, 17 January 2016

The Philosopher and the Worrier

The following story is based on an old parable, which I have expanded to make a point about the damaging effects of negative thinking.

Two men are travelling to an adjacent town on business, one has a philosophical outlook on life, while the other is a lifelong worrier.

The two men have decided to make the three-mile journey on foot, so they can enjoy the unexpected sunshine of a warm October day and benefit from some much-needed exercise. The philosopher wears a short-sleeved shirt, lightweight pants and comfortable shoes. He sports a pair of sunglasses. 

Despite the warm autumn weather, the worrier is wearing a raincoat and a hat, and clutches an umbrella tightly in his hand. He distrusts meteorologists and worries about their predictions being wrong.

If the worrier would trust his senses, they would tell him that this is not a short spell of freak weather. The sunshine looks certain to last. But he is too overwhelmed by negative thoughts to listen to the voice of intuition that often whispers to him. The constant buzz of negative static in his turbulent mind drowns out the voice of his long-ignored inner self.

When the two men reach the river that lies between them and the next town, they discover that a recent flash flood has washed away the only bridge across the river. The philosopher points to an outcrop of rock that extends out into the rushing river. He suggests that they walk to the end of the outcrop to get a better view, so they can figure out where to cross the swollen river.

The worrier thinks this is a bad idea. “What if we fall in?” he asks.

“We’ll probably get wet,” replies the philosopher philosophically.

Reluctantly, the worrier follows his phlegmatic companion onto the small peninsular, because he’s even more worried about being seen as a wimp than falling into the river.Years of negative, pessimistic thinking have burned an extreme and unnecessary sense of caution into the worrier's mind, so he behaves accordingly. He creeps onto the outcrop as if walking a tightrope strung across Niagara Falls. Convinced that he will lose his footing at any moment, he reaches out and grabs the philosopher’s arm. This throws the philosopher off balance and both men tumble into the churning white water below.

The icy shock of the water immediately convinces the worrier that he will freeze to death before he even has the chance to drown. But his unwarranted perception of the danger he is in has not diminished his ability to worry about trivia, so he clutches at his umbrella, worried that he might lose it in the swirling torrent. He then strikes out for the river bank, swimming frantically and awkwardly against the natural flow of the current. The raincoat he didn’t need to wear becomes waterlogged and his flailing efforts to resist the tug of the river soon exhaust him. As he sinks beneath the rushing water and drowns, his last thought is about his appearance. He’s not wearing his best suit and worries that he won’t look good when they drag his body from the river.

While the worrier anxiety is cutting short his stay on the planet, the philosopher has decided that it’s useless to fight the river. There’s no danger of his lightweight clothes becoming waterlogged, so he keeps his head above water and allows the river to take him where it will.

After throwing him around for a while, the easing current deposits the philosopher on a small sandy beach on the opposite bank. From this point it’s only a short distance into town. As he sits quietly on a rock, drying out in the warm sunshine, the philosopher thinks about the worrier. Why is it, he wonders, that some people think so negatively about life that it can literally kill them?

The philosopher can’t think of an answer to that question so, being a philosopher, he shrugs, rises from the warm rock and goes into town to report the worrier's needless demise.

Thursday, 7 January 2016

The Parable of the Mustard Seed

Image result for parable of the mustard seed pictures
Kisagotami [Kisa Gotami] is the name of a young girl, whose marriage with the only son of a wealthy man was brought about in true fairy-tale fashion. She had one child, but when the beautiful boy could run alone, it died. The young girl, in her love for it, carried the dead child clasped to her bosom, and went from house to house of her pitying friends asking them to give her medicine for it.
But a Buddhist mendicant, thinking “She does not understand,” said to her, “My good girl, I myself have no such medicine as you ask for, but I think I know of one who has.”
“O tell me who that is,” said Kisagotami.
“The Buddha can give you medicine. Go to him,” was the answer.
She went to Gautama, and doing homage to him said, “Lord and master, do you know any medicine that will be good for my child?”
“Yes, I know of some,” said the teacher.
Now it was the custom for patients or their friends to provide the herbs which the doctors required, so she asked what herbs he would want.
“I want some mustard seed,” he said; and when the poor girl eagerly promised to bring some of so common a drug, he added, “You must get it from some house where no son, or husband, or parent, or slave has died.”
“Very good,” she said, and went to ask for it, still carrying her dead child with her.
The people said, “Here is mustard seed, take it.”
But when she asked, “In my friend’s house has any son died, or husband, or a parent or slave?” they answered, “Lady, what is this that you say? The living are few, but the dead are many.”
Then she went to other houses, but one said, “I have lost a son”; another, “We have lost our parents”; another, “I have lost my slave.”
At last, not being able to find a single house where no one had died, her mind began to clear, and summoning up resolution, she left the dead body of her child in a forest, and returning to the Buddha paid him homage.
He said to her, “Have you the mustard seed?”
“My lord,” she replied, “I have not. The people tell me that the living are few, but the dead are many.”
Then he talked to her on that essential part of his system — the impermanence of all things, till her doubts were cleared away, and, accepting her lot, she became a disciple and entered the first path.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

The Response to Margaret Thatcher's Death - What is that all about?

The death of Magaret Thatcher this week seems to have unleashed a whole wealth of emotional outpouring and whatever your political point of view, no one can deny, that she left a legacy of some sort, good and bad.

As a Cognitive Hypnotherapist, I was interested more in the extremes of emotion that have expressed, so much anger, hatred, blame, violent language, cynisicm on the one side with affection, respect, loss and sadness on the other.

So what is this all about?

I am of the school of thought that whenever we express an emotion, it is a barometer of what is really going on for us at any one particular moment, or indeed life in general. It is the clue that our unconscious is letting us know that there is something that needs to be addressed.

If, for a moment,  we take this to be true, does this mean that Margaret Thatcher's death is an opportunity for people to express long contained negative emotions regardless of who it is aimed at or is it a reflection of what is going on for them at the moment?

Or, for those you who are more into the spiritual side, is it another step on our journey as human beings? As no one can deny that we are changing as a nation, faster than ever before.

Whatever, the reason, all those who are expressing these extreme emotions and views, such as hatred, anger, ridicule, sadness, fear, guilt, blame, jealousy etc, are are doing the right thing (although, arguably inappropriately). Again, my school of thought is that by bottling up or ignoring emotions, we create a pressure cooker effect where we just accumulate more and more of the same emotion, until they eventually erupt onto some poor unsuspecting soul or group of people, such as with Margaret Thatcher.

Some medical sources are now demonstrating how potentially holding onto these negative emotions, which we replay at varying intervals, could also be damaging for the body. (Read the book by Louise L Hay, You Can Heal Your Life)

This could be because the unexpressed negative emotions are stored in the cells within the body, as memory. So that when we encounter something that triggers that memory, we also access the emotional memory. Once the event has played out,  the original memory is then updated with the new information (emotion) and stored away until the next time. Resulting in an even bigger response than last time.

An example of this can be when someone has a phobia, of say, a spider. The moment they see or know of a spider, the body goes immediately to a response, be it to run, or stand still with fear.  And this happens so quickly, the person is unaware of the process that is going. Where their brain has recognised the trigger (the spider), accessed the memory and then produces a suitable response (the emotion).

So, potentially then, not expressing negative emotions, could lead to problems for the future.

Whether all the negative emotion is literally about Margaret Thatcher is questionable. As you can see, the emotions being expressed will more likely be the accumulation of memories. 

However, I am wondering that whilst it is not respectful, whether this might be just a good thing?  Allowing people to 'get it off their chest' all that they are angry about and at the same time to clear the air ?

I live and work in and around the  Hampshire (Basingstoke), Berkshire and Surrey borders working with people who are experiencing negative emotions that manifest themselves in many different ways. Email me in confidence if you would like to know how to help yourself let these go,

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

The Mousetrap

A mouse looked through the crack in the wall to see the farmer and his wife open a package. “What food might this contain?", the mouse wondered. He was devastated to discover it was a mousetrap.
Retreating to the farmyard, the mouse proclaimed this warning : "There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!"

The chicken clucked and scratched, raised her head and said, "Mr. Mouse, I can tell this is a grave concern to you, but it is of no consequence to me. I cannot be bothered by it."

The mouse turned to the pig and told him, "There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!"

The pig sympathized, but said, "I am so very sorry, Mr. Mouse,
but there is nothing I can do about it but pray. Be assured you are in my prayers."

The mouse turned to the cow and said, "There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!"
The cow said, "Wow, Mr. Mouse. I'm sorry for you, but it's no skin off my nose."

So, the mouse returned to the house, head down and dejected, to face the farmer's mousetrap . . . Alone. .. .
That very night a sound was heard throughout the house -- the sound of a mousetrap catching its prey.

The farmer's wife rushed to see what was caught. In the darkness, she did not see it. It was a venomous snake whose tail was caught in the trap. The snake bit the farmer's wife. The farmer rushed her to the hospital. When she returned home she still had a fever.

Everyone knows you treat a fever with fresh chicken soup. So the farmer took his hatchet to the farmyard for the soup's main ingredient. But his wife's sickness continued. Friends and neighbors came to sit with her around the clock. To feed them, the farmer butchered the pig.

But, alas, the farmer's wife did not get well... She died.

So many people came for her funeral that the farmer had the cow slaughtered to provide enough meat for all of them for the funeral luncheon.
And the mouse looked upon it all from his crack in the wall with great sadness.

So, the next time you hear someone is facing a problem and you think it doesn't concern you, remember ---

When one of us is threatened, we are all at risk. We are all involved in this journey called life. We must keep an eye out for one another and make an extra effort to support one another.

[KS] With thanks to the unknown person who pulled this together.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Relationships - A Contract?

From the moment we arrive in this world we start to build relationships with those around us, maybe even earlier, and they can be the source of life’s pleasures or pain.
Whether we like it or not, we need other people – we are after all a sociable being, living and working in groups.
Just think about the many people who are involved in bringing us the food that we eat, the water that we drink, the people who keep our transport systems going, the emergency services.

We rely on so many unknown, faceless people to provide the numerous goods and services that contribute to our lifestyles. Over our life time we have (and form) many relationships - parents, family, lovers, husbands,  teachers, doctors, dentists, bosses, work colleagues , shop keepers, strangers who serve us. Phew - the list is endless. How we interact with each of these people differently forms the basis of a ‘relationship’
If we think about the word relate for a moment, (which is the root of the word relationship), it is a verb. And as a verb, it  implies some kind of action. So then it would be reasonable to assume that in order to relate with someone we need to do something. The origin of the word is from the Latin relate which means ‘bring back’. So on this basis perhaps  we can also assume that  we can expect something back?

And I wonder, by taking it one step further, does this mean that all relationships are actually some form of unwritten contract that we all engage in?

And what if those unwritten rules are the basis of our issues with each other? Because we develop those rules from a very early age, we never really challenge what these expectations are.  

Of course relationships are much  more complex than just expectations we have of one another, (Personality types, beliefs, values, behaviours, filters, emotions etc)  but I shall  explore this through the most important relationship we have – the one with ourselves.

For some people, they do not really take the time to understand who they are, their likes and dislikes, their drivers, and what is important to them. Hypnotherapy is one of those ways you can gain a greater understanding, which in turn will help you, help others...
So how important are you in your life?