Posts tagged: life

Jamie Smart’s CLARITY – One Man’s Clarity and One Woman’s Response

A book offering clarity of mind lies on an empty beach

Jamie Smart has developed a clarity of mind which allows him to achieve ‘better performance and bigger results’, and in this book, he sets out to explain what he considers to be the essential foundations, deep drivers and way forward in the direction of focus, problem solving and success.

If you are looking for a book that investigates the process of thought; examines how we come to experience feelings as a result of our thoughts; and explains one man’s understanding of the discovery of his own innate capacity for clarity, then this is the book for you.

There are many points at which Jamie Smart and I agree and, as I re-read his chapter titles, I can see how the book appealed to my coaching curiosity: How Perception is Created; Habitual Thought Patterns; Creativity and Disruptive Innovation; Authenticity: Your True Identity; Capitalizing on Chaos, Complexity and Uncertainty; Living a Life You Love.

And, if I have a criticism, it is prompted by an admittedly very subjective sense of disappointment. It is true that this is a very interesting and thorough book. It is well written and the argument develops coherently. As a reader I am fully convinced that the clarity which Jamie, and many others, experience can make a profound difference to their lives. My disappointment lies in the author’s apparent conviction that his ‘understanding of thought’ is the only route to achieving the ‘necessary’ transformation.

Almost every chapter stirs my indignation with the author’s insistence. Here’s a classic example re Chapter 14, “The Power of Presence”. While I agree that you don’t need to be meditating to be in a meditative state, I can’t agree that “Deepening understanding of  the principles behind innate thinking” will necessarily bring you more and more fully into the present.  On the contrary, I believe that it is in fact being more and more in the present that will bring you still further into the present, and that the access portal is an experience of being in the present which can arise in an infinite number of ways, many of which involve no understanding of thought whatsoever.

I fully accept that my own response to the book could be described as being just a part of my own ‘story’. I can see that, in appearing to want to ‘defend’ NLP, Narrative Practice or any other ‘traditional application model’, viewed from the Clarity model, I run the risk of undermining my own argument and yet I believe I have something to offer in speaking my thoughts and do so from a position of open minded integrity.

It is not just that Jamie Smart seems to deny that a powerful Narrative Conversation, a significant NLP session, or a profound experience in any other context can be the experience that allows you to discover that you can let go of searching; that ‘getting’ of something clear and profound that lets you know you don’t need to improve yourself, you are already fine. No, it is the black or white, either or nature of the author’s view of the world. It’s either Clarity, by the author’s definition of the word, or it’s superstitious thinking.

Even while I agree with most of what I am reading, I am alienated. As I reread Chapter 21. Living a Life You Love, and experience a cumulative sense of free-flowing, in the moment, resilient, open, fearless, reflective, appreciative, innovative connection, by the end of the same chapter I am dismayed at its exhortation to ‘Keep increasing your clarity of understanding’. The clear message throughout the book is that it is only when you ‘make it a priority to increase your understanding’ that true transformation becomes possible.

Near the beginning of CLARITY I was assured I was going to ‘catch’ something. That it would ‘spontaneously result in “symptoms” of increasing clarity, resilience and peace of mind’. Towards the end of the book, I began to wonder whether it might be less the well-intentioned offering of a new way of experiencing life and more an exercise in the promotion of the Innate Thinking brand. That’s how I was disappointed. If I recommend this book it is with the proviso that, as you read, you engage your own vital and enthusiastic curiosity about what else might be possible.

To the author I would say, Yes, I agree that new thinking can show up at any moment and I invite you, from my Narrative / NLP perspective to consider a few questions.

What else might you discover if you were to also engage in not-understanding?

Might you have missed any possibilities about outside-in understanding?

What might an alternative 4th wave (thought revolution) be if it was not dependant on understanding the nature of thought?

If the 4th wave could include not only outside-in and inside-out understanding but also not-understanding, what might this make possible?

What might a 7th wave include?

What if, instead of a deeper, more profound understanding, we experienced a deeper acceptance of the mystery?

Might both be possible?

And what else?

I quote the lines that Jamie chose to end the book:

Forget safety.
Live where you fear to live.
Destroy your reputation.
Be notorious.”

Rumi, Poet

When I find myself reading a book with a pencil in my hand I know it’s a book worth reading, and reading CLARITY resulted in an entire notebook full of notes, arguments and questions.

It doesn’t get much better!

sweep over the past and focus on the present moment

3 – 2 – 1 Summary

An adult's hand cradles a child's hand holding seeds

Thinking about life…

  • Recall 3 positive things you have learned
  • Think of 2 ideas that you still find interesting
  • And take with you 1 value or principle as a guide right now

This brief 3 part strategy is a great way to end a day. You can apply it to a single day, a particular experience, or life in general.

I based it on a teaching strategy which asks students to summarise their learning as a ‘ticket to leave’ as described here by Laura Sagan.

The beauty of it lies in the fact that it serves as both a cumulative experience; each time you think it through you are building on all your similar past experiences; and a moment of focus; what one value or principle could you chose right now? It enables you to sweep over the past and focus on the present moment.

On Reflection

face to face with myself 

Seesaw

I saw that look in the mirror
resembling me but being you
I looked again and saw my mother.
I saw that look in the mirror
did I dream I glimpsed another?
I thought of breaking through.
I saw that look in the mirror
resembling me but being you

 

 

national poetry writing month 2013

National Poetry Writing Day – day 23

Today’s challenge – writing a  triolet.
A triolet is an eight-line poem. All the lines are in iambic tetramenter (for a total of eight syllables per line), and the first, fourth, and seventh lines are identical, as are the second and final lines.
This means that the poem begins and ends with the same couplet. Beyond this, there is a tight rhyme scheme (helped along by the repetition of lines) — ABaAabAB.

Narrative NLP
I think this poem is about that moment of transformational confusion in which you think you know what you are looking at but you see something you don’t expect and suddenly everything looks different.

What do you think?

 

Tell Your Own Fortune

 national poetry writing month 2013
Day 21 of National Poetry Writing Month

The challenge: re-write Frank O’Hara’s Lines for the Fortune Cookies.

 

Fortune Cookie Lines Recreated

You were always perfect, today, more perfect than yesterday, tomorrow…

You will have a future you have not even dreamed of

Everyone you ever meet will be a familiar stranger

Whatever you write will be right but may be left until the left has righted itself

Please contact the person whose contact you have been avoiding

You will never know RLS and KB and many more besides

Relax a little

Your first efforts will necessarily lead to your greatest achievement

Wherever you go will be the place to be

Your dreams have a lyrical quality which only you can translate

It is up to you to fill in the gaps

Who do you think you are? It turns out that’s who you will be.

You think your life is on a downward spiral but life is upside down

Something will happen

That’s not a pain in the neck, it’s stargazing

I realise you know all this but did you know you knew?

Whenever you wear white I know all’s right in your world

The next person you don’t speak to might have an intriguing proposal

A lot of people in the room wish they were you.

Have you been to those classes yet?

At times a glance at your watch may be misconstrued

What would you do if you didn’t have to do anything?

If you were a prisoner here, how would you escape?

Eat, drink, and self-authenticate

Put yesterday behind you

Whatever has been stopping you has stopped.

 

What has all this got to do with Narrative NLP and Life Coaching?

digital thought womanIf you keep doing what you’ve always done, you will always get what you’ve always had.  

In order to transform your experience, you need to do something that will feel strange.  The moment of confusion that the unfamiliar triggers is the moment when something new is beginning to seem possible.

Take any of the lines of the poem and treat it as if it were true.  When ‘A lot of people wish they were you‘ is true, what does that say about you? Now what happens when you see yourself living that as true? Does it feel unfamiliar?  Good, you are experiencing a new perspective.

Try another one; ‘Please contact the person whose contact you have been avoiding‘. That has to be unfamiliar; and what difference does it make?

Now think of something that has been holding you back and consider ‘Whatever has been stopping you has stopped‘. That’s the point of Narrative NLP.  It helps you reach the point at which you know that whatever has been holding you back has stopped so you can let it go.

 

Hitting a Brick Wall

wall in doorway

In this house
there is a room
locked because it holds
like light in mist
allusion
to something labelled
truth.

 

Meaning

We are meaning makers.

When you read this poem, you made it mean something.

If you look at the image, or consider the title above the poem, and then read it, the image will influence the meaning you give to the poem.

If you encounter it again on a different day, or in a different frame of mind, it may seem to mean something new.

Someone else will give it a different meaning.  Have you ever wondered why a poem can mean different things to different people?  It both amused and exasperated me at school, and college, that we were expected to ‘know what a poem, play or story, means’.  Even then it was clear to me that we all interpret life, experience and words differently.

This is why your story is so important to you.  It is your way of understanding your life.  The beauty of a Narrative approach to life is that it offers you opportunities to feel more in control; more like a poet or author than a character in story or unfathomable poem.

 

napo2013button1

This is my 16th poem for National Poetry Writing Month and, following today’s prompt from NaPoWriMo, it was written in response to an Italian poem ‘Natura’ by Giampuro Neri.

Making a Fresh Start

bright sky after rain

Each morning we wake up to a choice; do we dwell on the past we know or look forward to a future that we can’t predict?

It’s sounds simple but that doesn’t make it easy. If we choose to focus on a future full of unknown possibility, it might feel like taking away some security.

Sometimes it’s that feeling of security, feeling safe, that holds us back. When you choose to let go of the past you open up the future and discover a sense of freedom, right here, right now.  You may feel a little dizzy; it’s unfamiliar so it feels strange, and that’s perfect.

Life coaching with Narrative NLP offers you a safe place in which to explore possibilities that, until now, you haven’t allowed yourself to consider.

 

national poetry writing month 2013

 

 

I wrote this morning’s poem for National Poetry Writing Month with a couple of old beliefs trying to reappear in my head;

You can’t write poetry to order” and

If you write from someone eles’s prompt, it’s not really your own work“.

I decided to go ahead, look at a prompt from the NaPoWriMo site, and write something anyway. Here’s the result.

Today
when I wake up
I will remember dreams
and know that they are yesterday’s
remains.

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