A Christmas Message
Christmas is often a time where religious figures and politicians issue messages about the year past and the year ahead. As I played a vicar in the murder mystery party this week, I thought I would share a Christmas message with you too.
I have been training NLP for the past ten years, one of the reasons that I decided to make the change from my accountancy career to teaching NLP was that I got the impression that the world wasn’t quite the way that most people thought that it was and that it was going through a process of change. I appreciate that change is a constant throughout our lives and sometimes it’s the degree or rate of the change that matters most. Over the last 10 years I hadn’t noticed much significant change until this year. There was the 2008 financial crisis of course, but I had already factored structural imbalances in the financial system into my thinking as I set off on my career change. What I have noticed this year is that there are a growing number of people who are questioning the generally accepted model of what is happening on this planet. More and more what politicians or main stream media channels are telling people is being questioned and people are questioning the accepted social, business, geopolitical and spiritual structures. 2016 has also delivered shocks, Brexit, Trump’s US election victory and a plethora of celebrity deaths. Shock and surprise break established patterns of thinking. In NLP there is something which is known as a pattern interrupt; basically if you break an unconscious pattern that someone is running, they become more susceptible to the next reasonable suggestion that they get. Have you ever been talking and someone interrupts you and lose your train of thought, or have you been doing some physical activity, like retrieving something from its usual place in a cupboard, except that it’s not there and you are momentarily suspend unsure about what to do next? Therapeutically you can interrupt a pattern that someone runs which is producing an unwanted behaviour, like a phobia, and having interrupted them you can suggest a different process that doesn’t produce the phobic response anymore. We can use the shocks that have happened this year to break ourselves free from established patterns of thinking that aren’t serving us. Use what you do not like as an example of how not to be, use what you do like as an opportunity for change. In any life events one can always find a positive; Viktor Frankl survived three years as a slave labourer in Auschwitz during World War II, he said that you can take everything away from someone apart from their ability to choose how they react to the situation. So let’s keep things in perspective, many people have had a fantastic year in 2016 and 2016 is far from being the worst in human history. Circumstances don’t matter, it’s how you react to them that counts.
Many Christmas messages guide us to unity, to see the value in those with whom we disagree, to help people in need and to spread love and peace. Easy things to say and also easily forgotten when the wrapping is tided away and the turkey has been eaten. It isn’t what we say or think that matters, it’s what we do that counts. Christmas is traditionally a time for families to come together, I saw my brother for the first time in months today. Family connections tend to spread out in ever weakening bonds of affection, mum & dad, siblings, uncles & aunts, cousins, to close friends and people we call uncle and aunt but who aren’t blood relatives. I do also appreciate that not all families share strong bonds either. And even where they do, we certainly don’t see everyone as being part of our family, much less so imaging that all of humanity is in fact just one big family. If we do want peace, love and equality then we have to act as if everyone is of equal worth, whoever they are. Can we do that in 2017?
“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” Mahatma Gandhi