As It Is or As I Am – the Art of Becoming

A journey … towards … being

Tag Archives: counselling

One Year Wiser

The title of this post is possibly misleading. As we begin a new year, it could appear to give the impression I consider myself wiser now, than one year ago. I do hope that is the case, that in some small degree I’ve developed greater wisdom over the past year. Though in regard to this post “One Year Wiser” is the title of a book I received at Christmas containing “365 Illustrated Meditations” by Mike Medaglia.

Each page has a thought, illustrated by Mike Medaglia. I’m not going to describe the illustrations here. If you want to see those, I’d suggest buying book ☺ Here I aim to daily give my thoughts on the thoughts Mike selected for his book. They could be considered “memes” which generally I don’t like, as in trying to distill some truth or other into one or two sentences, they lose or miss out so much. Having looked through several pages of the book, I feel and see these thoughts as indeed having more wisdom and profundity than most memes I’ve seen. So the first page:

January 1
The only journey is the one within – Rainer Maria Rilke

The only journey? We all take journeys – to school, to work, to the shops, to visit a friend, to just walk – all important. My take on the word “only” is implying the main, the most important, the key journey we make is within ourselves, to discover who we are. This then leads to many other journeys of self discovery, self realisation and questions – who am I? Am I of God, of the universe, of eternity, of the earth? Is there purpose beyond myself? This post is not about answering such questions, perhaps through the year, some will be. There may also be a journey into our past, to awaken the little girl or boy who was suppressed due to some early years trauma.

A good meditation to start the year with.

ACC (Association of Christian Counsellors) Summer School 2014

Elim conference centreThursday evening arrived at the Elim Conference Centre, nestled in the heart of the Malvern Hills. Reason being there to help a friend teach Focusing-oriented therapy Friday to Sunday, inclusive. This was part of the ACC (Association of Christian Counsellors) Summer School 2014.

I was there supporting John Threadgold. The teaching went well. Great feedback was received at the end of the course. As it was a Christian environment I was a little concerned about my being as a Latter-day Saint. The organisers knew and were happy with that, with the proviso that I did not use the opportunity to “proselyte” in any way. Such a stance is only to be expected, a request though not necessary for myself, as there is nor would be a feeling to do so, as a counsellor it would be unethical to use any similar environment to do so.

The course had six people on (five women and one man, consisting of one married couple)  from various parts of the UK.

So we come to Saturday evening, following two days of intense teaching and experiential work, it was thought a “cheese and wine” evening to relax a bit would be in order.  I turned up with John (a Quaker), having brought  some fruit juice.  The question inevitably came: “What Church do you go to?” My answer “The Church Of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Mormons.” Greeted by a “Wow” – a friendly wow, not an offensive one. Then went on to have some great conversations with the man, who was a minister. I’m not quite sure if he was once a lay minister or a full time one, but he now working in “regular” employment. Unlike past times, this was a very welcoming experiencing. So much so the next day, Sunday, attended the worship service, held after breakfast. Having planned to go from arriving, the evening experience cemented that decision.

It was great. After a brief introduction,  followed by a prayer, we started singing, being led by a guitar playing man, with all the words displayed on an overhead projector.  Not just the one opening hymn, we would usually have in an LDS Sacrament service, but three. The meeting was then open for anyone to pray out loud. I suppose this would be similar to sharing of testimonies on a Fast sunday, though not for so long. Communion was then available. Four people (two women, two men) stood at the four corners of the room to distribute it. This was said to be a practical solution, rather than the usual passing it down the rows, was due to the type of room the meeting was held in. Bread was broken from a loaf in front of those who approached them, which included myself. And before anyone goes off about this bring disrespectful, I was invited to do so. After communion, further singing, a wonderful 20 minute sermon based around Peter walking on the water. Interesting comparison to most talks in an LDS Sacrament meeting, the only quotes were from the scriptures, whereas additionally we would usually throw in one or two quotes of the Brethren. The meeting was concluded with more singing, then a prayer. An hour in total. Wonderful. Anything to learn? I think the simplicity was wonderful.







“If it irritates you, perhaps you might prayerfully ask the Holy Spirit to show you why”


The power of books … Lisa Bu

Another wonderful TED talk. This time on “How books can open your mind“. Only 6 minutes long. I wonder where I would be without books to read. I like how Lisa Bu reads books in pairs, so she gets different perspective on the same event, not just being blinded by one. Books take me on journeys – sometimes within myself, sometimes outside myself. They help in discovering myself and the world around me. Books enable me to have great empathy. Having read more of other experiences, does help me be able to see the world from different perspectives and then to feel that difference too – empathy being feeling more than just seeing another point of view.

Do I have a favourite? I do, but favourites change over time. I can not say I have one favorite above all others. I have many I consider such. My current favourite, though, is:

Yes, this is a counselling book. The appeal for me goes beyond counselling – more toward a way of being.

Do you have a favourite book – either one overriding all others, or a current favourite?

What are books to you?

Brené Brown: Listening to shame

Brené Brown gave  a TED talk, in December 2010 titled: The power of vulnerability.  In March 2012 she gave the talk embedded above: Listening to shame.  Both are great. for me the talk above is more powerful.  It is 20 minutes long, though very, very, very (enough very’s there :)) worth your time. Particularly to anyone having a struggle with any feelings of guilt and / or shame. I would attempt to outline the talk more but feel that would deter from her message.  Take the time!!  I’ll post her previous talk another day.

Family counselling charity – a possibility?

Shortly after working as a volunteer counsellor at a youth charity I felt that many of the issues being brought to us were not simply concerned with the individuals themselves. Rather, they were part of a family that was having an issue. Parents would bring a young person and basically say “Fix him/her for me“. As a Person-Centred counsellor the idea of “fixing” anyone does not feel right. Seeing more and more young people this feeling for me grows ever stronger that what is needed is family counselling or at least parent and child counselling openly available. Not just individual counselling for young people. The idea being not to “fix” a family, but to help them relate to each other is a way that they all feel valued and respected, so each member of a family is able to grow and develop as they might wish, not being compelled to fit in to a certain family mould. I suppose this is still “fixing” in a way. Though, hopefully not the idea of fixing in or toward a particular way of being.

There are several youth counselling charities in the area where I live. Yet, there are no family counselling charites. At least I have not come across any. There is Relate, though they are more geared towards couples. Youth charities cater for 12 to 24 years olds. Over 24 and you seem left to yourself, to pay out for a private counsellor or to stumble on through life. You may get refered by your GP to an NHS therapist, who more than likely is a CBT practitioner. Good for short-term issues, though that is seriously disputed by some, eh, John Threadgold ;), yet perhaps lacking in getting into any real depth and resolving of long-term issues.  I’ve not quite decided, but I lean towards John’s point of view.  See John’s comments on a recent “Counselling and Psychotherapy Networking Facebook group, post by Jenny Lynn.

My solution?  Begin that which has been with me off and on for the past 2 years, and today is getting stronger than ever. Start a family counselling charity in my local area. How do I do this? At present, no idea, but why should that stop me. I do presume though this will take several years of ground work and preparation. Maybe it’s beyond me. With the help of others though I’m sure it can be realised. Again, as yet, no idea who those others may be.

Why a charity? Whilst I appreciate and am content that counsellors need to earn a living and in one way that may become a reality for myself, yet there is an uncomfortable feeling about charging individuals or families for counselling.  Maybe it’s a bridge I need to cross? It is something that I feel society should provide. Some will disagree with that.  Perhaps this view comes from my lack of sympathy with Capitalism.  Not sure I would consider myself a Socialist either, though certainly I have feelings that a service that will help an individual grow and develop should not be chargeable, or at least should be charged within the reach of all. I feel counselling should be available to all regardless of age or circumstances.  If the government won’t provide a realistic counselling service, this may be a way to compensate for that lack.

Any ideas welcome 🙂

Strangely relaxed and at ease

Last night had my first sessions counselling since gaining the diploma.  I’m not sure whether it was me , the clients, or being awarded the diploma, yet there was a greater calmness, serenity and ease with all that occurred in the counselling room yesterday.  Was it that I didn’t feel quite so obligated to be a certain way,  as taught through the diploma course?  Part of me feels that to be the case, that there felt an openness being myself, not thinking of how I perhaps thought I ought to be.  Though, I must state that we were always taught to be ourselves, that we were each unique and thus the best way to be, was to be ourselves. I would like to think that I had always been seeking to be myself in the counselling room, as in all parts of my life.  Yet, last night there seemed an even greater contentment and ease.

Was it like taking the driving test, that the real driving and experiencing follows once the test has been passed?  As learning to drive continues as new situations on the roads are encountered, so as I continue counselling my development and learning will never end. Though, as in order to become an even better driver there are advanced driving coures to take, likewise there are further counselling courses to take.  The first of which will be with John Threadgold, regarding Focusing.

Counselling Diploma passed!!

A short while ago I submitted my portfolio for review and examination.  This morning had an email from the senior tutor, where I had studied, that I have passed the ABC Diploma in the Theory and Practice of Counselling.  As stated in the course guide, the course philosophy was:

The course is based on the theory and values of the Person-Centred Approach as developed by Carl Rogers. We believe as Rogers wrote that:

Individuals have within themselves vast resources for self-understanding and for  altering their self-concepts, basic attitudes and self directed behaviour; these resources can be tapped if a definable climate of facilitative psychological attitudes can be provided.  [A Way of Being, 1980, p115] 

The aim of the course tutors is to provide a climate for growth that will enable each student to develop their own “way of being”. The learning group will have the opportunity to take responsibility for shaping the course and directing their own learning.

So the many years of study, placements, etc. come to fruition.  Still much to continue to learn and develop.  Don’t ever really see at end to that.

Two things to sort out now:

  • Insurance
  • Place to practise
  • Change the title of this blog 🙂
So the beginning of another journey or the continuation of an existing journey?
For me, both …

Amazon Kindles and death!!

Amazon Kindle

No, Amazon Kindles don’t cause death, at least I’ve not heard of any yet!  This is my question: What happens to my Kindle books on my death?  A strange question some may think. Being involved from time to time in bereavement counselling, plus the death of my father just over 18 months ago and my mother in January, questions pertaining to the death of a loved one need answering. Most questions relating to the death of a loved one can be found out there somewhere.  The one question I’ve not found an an answer to, or a satisfactory answer to, is what happens to all my Kindle books I’ve purchased on my death? I know that whilst I’m alive I cannot transfer my account to my wife or she, hers to mine.  My Kindle books are mine and hers are hers.  According to Amazon, the two shall not mix.  Unlike the book shelves where we mingle our books together, as we do our lives in general. If I live another 20 years, buy one £5.00 Kindle book a month, that’s £1200 of books.  If they were printed they’d immediately be available to Debbie.

So I thought I’d email Amazon to see if they had an option to transfer accounts on the death of a spouse.  Seems not.

06/22/11 11:35:10

Your name:Neil

Comments:As the Kindle content is managed via Amazon and is connected to my Amazon account I am wondering what will happen when I die.  Can a transfer then be made to my wife so she then will have access to all my kindle books via her own Amazon account?  Or are my kindle books then lost forever to my wife?  As any printed books would be available to my wife on my death, I’m wondering what happens to kindle books?  Will they be available to her?  Quite a consideration, for me, when a kindle book is virtual the same price as a printed one.  If such books are lost on my death then I’m not sure I’d want to spend any more money on kindle books.

Hoping you can clarify what happens on a kindle users death.

Many thanks,


PS You may think this a strange question, but as I am also involved in bereavement counselling it is something a future client may actual raise.

The reply (with my thoughts to the answer in-line) came back the same day, so good on Amazon for a quick response!

Hello Customer,

Further to your e-mail, I understand that you would like to know whether you can transfer the Kindle books to your wife’s account. – the when I die bit not acknowledged
The purchase and download of digital content from, including content from the Kindle Store, is associated with the account used to make the original purchase. As a result, Kindle content cannot be shared like a physical book.  – I know this generally, but what about when I die?
You can enjoy your Kindle content on Kindle devices or Kindle applications that are registered to your account. All available content will appear in the Archived Items of each device/app.
You can see all your Kindle content and send downloads to your registered Kindles or Kindle applications from the “Your Orders” section of the Manage Your Kindle
Please understand that you will not be able to transfer all the Kindle content to your wife’s account as the Kindle content you have purchased is related to your account only. – but what about when I die?
Customer feedback like yours helps us continue to improve the service and products we provide, and we are glad you took time to write to us. I have sent your comments to the business team. Each suggestion will be read and taken into consideration.
I hope this information helps. Thanks for your interest in Kindle.
Did I solve your problem? – not really!!
If yes, please click here:
If no please click here
Please note: this e-mail was sent from an address that cannot accept incoming e-mail.
To contact us about an unrelated issue, please visit the Help section of our website:
Warmest regards,
Nagalakshmi Mandadi
Your feedback is helping us build Earth’s Most Customer-Centric Company.

I didn’t feel this answered the question that related specifically to my death which was not acknowledged at all in the reply.  Seemed like a cut and paste answer. The same day (22nd June) I clicked on the “If no please click here” link and asked the same question, but  hopefully more specifically.  It’s now the 24th and they’ve not replied yet.

By the way, for any worrying, thinking my death is imminent. As far as I’m able to tell, this is not so.

Just had a phone call from an Amazon representative.  Currently I can transfer from one device to another that is registered to my account and this is what would need to happen on my death – my wife would have to register her Kindle to my account, which would then download all my books but remove hers.  To get hers back she’d need to register her account again, to get her own purchased books back.  And then repeat each time she might want to read one of mine or her own books.  Of course, Debbie may not want to read any of my books 🙂  but I’m sure there will be others whose partners would want to read their partners books after their death.  Have I mentioned “death” too many times? 🙂  Apparently, in the States there have recently introduced the loaning of Kindle books.  Barns and Noble had that a long time ago with the Nook.  Amazon playing catch up?

Get Bigger Than What’s Bugging You!

The below links are to PDFs that were created by Ann Weiser Cornell. Ann has created a 5 day e-course, which as the title suggests results in you getting an email once a day for 5 days.  Each day builds on the next.  Ann has kindly said they PDFs can be shared, so long as they are not altered in any way.  They are in their original form.  Once this post is made, I will be emailing Ann with the link in case she disapproves.  If she does this post will be removed.

The general idea is connected with the title of one of Ann’s books: The Radical Acceptance of Everything: Living a Focusing Life – where she expresses an idea very similar to Carl Roger’s words: “The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.”  Ann’s words being: “When you accept yourself, your whole life changes.”

Day 1 – …… something in me is (or feels) ……

Day 2 – …… and I’m saying hello to that ……

Day 3 – …… and I’m placing a gentle hand over it ……

Day 4 – …… and I’m sensing ……

Day 5 – …… and no wonder ……

Give each day a try. As said they build on each other.  So, start with Day 1, then Day 2 and so on.  By the time you get to Day 5 most will experience some change they have been looking for.  I’d be very interested in any feedback, as to how anyone experiences things – good, not so good or nothing at all.  Where some clients  requested something specific they could try, have suggested these steps and for many there have been significant changes.

Another of Ann’s books I posted on last year.

Edit: Just had email from Ann giving permission to use her PDFs.

Krista Tippett: Reconnecting with compassion

Not much to add to this TED talk.  Compassion is key. Compassion in our families, in counselling, in work, in play .. . is there anywhere we should not have compassion?

Well worth the 15 minutes 53 seconds of your time to listen and watch.

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