Prize draw!

Buy a monster session before midnight on Friday (I’m not going to quibble about whose midnight if you’re in a different time zone :) and I’ll enter you into a prize draw to win five (five!) free sessions. That’s a prize worth… £440?

Names for the prize draw will be placed in this hat. This is the CatHat :) You can’t really see in the photo, but I sewed a little cat face on it.

cathat

(Edit: You don’t have to HAVE the session today! Just pay today and have monsters whispered whenever you like.)

Monsters, and why I love them

This is something I wrote on a forum to explain what I do. I thought it wanted  reposting here. :)

I’m a monster whisperer – I talk to people’s negative inner voices, aka ‘monsters’. You know, the ones that scream at you that you’re DISGUSTING or USELESS or DOOMED TO FAIL or WHY CAN’T YOU JUST ACT NORMAL (I bet many of us have heard that one…) It’s a unique, playful and loving form of therapy and I’ve had people experience big life changes from just one session. Plus weird side-effects like getting cured of compulsive lateness when we hadn’t even discussed that!!

Our monsters are part of us, and however hateful they sound, they secretly love us and are trying to help us. They just don’t understand that screaming at us isn’t helpful. They often come from early childhood, and their picture of the world hasn’t evolved since. They still feel the pain that we felt then, constantly, and the one purpose of their lives is to protect us from it. They scream at us because they’reterrified for us. They desperately need to be heard, loved, and gently shown that there are other ways of seeing things and other ways to help.  And when this happens, they transform themselves. Their true love nature comes out and it’s absolutely tearjerkingly beautiful.

I love monsters. I really do. They’re so full of love and pain, and most of them have never had a kind word spoken to them, and every single one of them holds a beautiful secret inside them. When I do a session I send love energy not only to the person I’m working with, but also to their monster. It really works. I’ve seen the most ferocious monsters melt in tears and shyly ask their person for a hug. It’s a vivid demonstration (ha, deMONSTRation!) of the truth that when you get right down to it, it’s all love. Everything.

Robin and No Choice/Do Nothing

I loved doing this session with a new client, Robin. Afterwards he very kindly said I could put it on my site (I didn’t even ask, he just offered!) It contains many useful learnings about monsters :)

One: Some monsters – even really big, old, hurtful monsters – are just acting out of habit. They don’t have any real emotional resistance to change, it just hasn’t occurred to them to think about it.

Two: When they do think about it, they can resolve their issues very quickly. This session was over before I knew it. The monster was all ready to curl up and go to sleep, and I was still talking on because I couldn’t believe it was that easy!

Three: Never assume there’s not a monster!

Robin told me he was feeling apathetic and a lot of things seemed pointless to him, including his job working with children. He often found himself having no reaction when children were literally beating him up. As we talked, it became clear that his job was a big problem for him, and I started to assume it was the whole problem – he didn’t need a monster whisperer, he just needed a new job! Then he told me why he wasn’t reacting when children beat him up:

Robin: its becuse the way i want to react if i did would be considered inapropriate.. i would most likely curse at them a lot and humiliate them that way or even beat them up if that dont work. but i know i cant do that. i would reget it quickly and im not that malicious.

Me: oh, ow
it seems like you feel so angry at those times, and you can’t see any way to express it that would be okay or acceptable
so you shut off your reaction because that’s less painful, right?

Robin: i guess i dont know i been bulied and depresed a lot in the past. and been in situations when i cant do anything about it. like living whit my moms horrible boyfireinds. or having a bad job. not having any choice on what to do. Well there is always a choice but usally its better to do nothing about it.

Me: oh, that sounds so painful
so maybe you have a monster called ‘There’s No Choice’ or ‘Do Nothing’

Robin: yes
both would be correct

Wow. So there I was assuming we had a simple case of ‘wrong job’, and suddenly it turned out to be a huge painful issue going right back to childhood. This was bound to take a lot of work to resolve, right? Again, wrong assumption…

No Choice/Do Nothing: hello

Me: hello <3 and thank you for agreeing to talk to me
you’re completely accepted here, I’m not going to force you to change or tell you off for being the way you are :) I’m just here to listen to your story and see if I can help you
(and I do mean ‘help’ not ‘force’ ;)

No Choice/Do Nothing: thats fine

Me: great :)
so I gather you’ve seen Robin go through a lot of painful situations where there didn’t seem to be any choice or any way out, am I right?

No Choice/Do Nothing: for manny years yes

Me: how do you feel about that?

No Choice/Do Nothing: sad

Me: poor monster, I so feel your pain
it must be very sad watching Robin suffer when you care about him so much

No Choice/Do Nothing: i guess i dont really what to think about it to painfull

Me: okay, well, like I said, nobody is going to force you to do anything here, and if this conversation gets too painful for you, you are always welcome to stop it

No Choice/Do Nothing: its finne

Me: thank you :)
so I’m guessing that if you don’t want to think about this no-choice thing because it’s too painful, you also don’t want Robin to think about it
maybe you want to protect him from the pain by stopping him from thinking about it?

No Choice/Do Nothing: distractions are a good way

Me: okay, this sounds interesting, could you tell me about distractions and how you use those to protect him?

No Choice/Do Nothing: no sorry

Me: it’s okay, no need to be sorry :) do you not feel safe to tell me?

No Choice/Do Nothing: i just dont want to rigth now, maybe latter

Me: that’s fine, later is fine, never is fine too, this is your space and your time :)
so, here’s what we’ve got so far
you’ve observed that Robin’s been in lots of situations where he didn’t seem to have any choice
and you’ve seen him suffer pain because of that and you feel very sad about it
so you’re trying to protect him from the pain by making sure he doesn’t think about how little choice he has
so I guess the next question to ask is – what makes you think he has so little choice?

No Choice/Do Nothing: its ussles anyway. and he already knows he has choice. but it does not matter. i take the pain away thats all.

Me: I see, so your role is just to take the pain away, not to analyse the situation or do anything about it

No Choice/Do Nothing: yes

Me: okay
I’m seeing a lot of different things wrapped up in what you’ve just said, I’d like to understand them a bit better so I can help you
are you saying that he knows he has choice, but the choice is useless and it doesn’t matter?
like, he CAN choose but it wouldn’t do him any good, so it’s better to do nothing?

No Choice/Do Nothing: It depends on the situation. sometimes it migth get even worse if he did do something. And there has been many such situations. although i admit it might no longer be the case now.

Me: that’s interesting because I was just wondering if now might be different from then
could you tell me a bit about those situations in the past?
then maybe we can see if there are ways in which now is not then

No Choice/Do Nothing: The first time probably was when he was in 7th grade then it was neseriy for survival. although his emotions where not blocked per say. but after that it was only more and more difficult situations. to feel nothing was the best way to get over depresion to be indiffrent.

Me: was it necessary for survival because he was being bullied so badly, and if the bullies saw him reacting emotionally, they would hurt him worse?

No Choice/Do Nothing: no he would either kill himself. or kill all the bullies. they did not hurt him pysically. ints not like it was only a few peolple it was an entire class and a bunch of random people.

Me: omg, my heart goes out to both you and Robin

No Choice/Do Nothing: constantly every day.

Me: that must have been so incredibly painful, and he must have been SO angry
so shutting down his emotions really was a survival strategy for you then, it really was life and death
not only life and death for him, but for the children around him too
no wonder it matters SO much to you to hang on and keep doing this, I mean you must have been terrified for him
and I’m sure some of that fear is coming up again now when you see him once again surrounded by children who are attacking him
am I right?

No Choice/Do Nothing: not really

Me: okay, please tell me what’s really going on for you <3

No Choice/Do Nothing: Its not the same situation

Me: right

No Choice/Do Nothing: its just a habit at this point.
i have not thought about it.

Me: I understand <3 because it’s been painful to think about, right?

No Choice/Do Nothing: its not like i think much to begin whit. im mostly reactional.

Me: you’re just there to make the pain go away

No Choice/Do Nothing: i suppouse

Me: okay, here’s the thing

No Choice/Do Nothing: i do feel like let go a bit after talking to you.

Me: I’m so glad <3 I think you letting go a bit could actually help him, as well as make life
easier for you
what is it that you really want for Robin? Even if you think it’s impossible for him to have it, what would you want for him if anything was possible?

No Choice/Do Nothing: a girlfriend <3

Me: aw!!! I wasn’t expecting that :) :)
well, good news :) I think it’s very possible for you to help him with that, AND you can do it just by trying LESS hard (like you said, letting go a bit)

No Choice/Do Nothing: hm.. ok ill try maybe.

Me: wonderful!!
see, in order to get a girlfriend, he needs to be able to see that he has choices (like choosing to ask a girl out on a date, even though it might hurt if she says no) and he needs to be able to see that sometimes it’s worth doing something
and like you said, now is not then
Robin isn’t a small, desperately unhappy and bullied child who needs your constant help just to survive

No Choice/Do Nothing: true… but he never was weak to begin whit. people just tend to be mistaken and take advantage of his kindness. when he is probebly the strongest one i know.

Me: oh wow, I’m so happy to hear you say that, and I’m sure he’d be really happy to hear you say that too
so are you ready to let go a bit and let this strong person make his own choices, and do things?

No Choice/Do Nothing: i already have i just wanted to be acknowledged.

Me: oh!!! thank you so much!! I’m really happy :)
I guess we’re done here then, do you have anything more to say, or would you like to go and relax now? :)

No Choice/Do Nothing: Im a bit tired now…. no i dont really want to say anything more

Me: all right, you go and rest :) so much love to you
bye <3

No Choice/Do Nothing: bye

Me: okay! Robin, welcome back, how are you feeling now? <3

Robin: good. a bit warm in the chest.

(I had to include that last bit… proof that monster talks can be literally heartwarming ;) )

My inner hero

First off: I would like to remind my beloved readers that my prices are going up on April 11th! So if you’ve been thinking of booking a session (or several) this coming week is your opportunity to do that at the current price. (I’ve just spent the last five minutes trying to phrase that in a way that didn’t say, ‘OMG BUY NOW OR DOOM’ :) )

I just had the most stunning session – my second time with the same client, and she said I’d made a huge difference to her life. I was amazed at all the changes she’d experienced just from one session with me. How about accidentally getting over lifelong chronic lateness as an unexpected side effect? (Hmm, if I can do that for someone else, maybe I can do it for myself…;)

This session went really deep and got resolved really quickly, 1 hour 10 mins for the whole session including quite a long chat at the start about what was up. I’m on such a high right now.

This is really reminding me of why I do what I do. Lately, because I’m preoccupied with an upcoming house move and all the money stuff around that, I’ve fallen into thinking that I do this work for money. NOT NOT NOT! I do this to help all the brilliant, beautiful souls around me and to help the world change for the better. Glorious feeling!! And I really need to talk to my own monsters and headpeople more too. Seeing the effect on others reminds me how much it can help me.

Last night Andy advised me to talk to my inner hero on the blog, on the basis that I might find out some interesting things. So I’ll try doing that now. :)

Me: Hello?

(Blaze of light. KA-CHING! of Audible Sharpness. A dazzling star of light running down from point to hilt of a blade held skywards. When the dazzle clears, I’m kind of expecting to see Luke Skywalker in full-on poster boy mode. Or some amazing anime heroine like Utena or Oscar. Instead (is anyone surprised?) it’s just me. Jeans, t-shirt, messy hair. And where’s the sword gone?)

Me: Oh. You’re me.

Inner Hero: Well, don’t sound disappointed!

Me: I do feel a bit disappointed. I wanted to see some visible evidence that my inner hero is, you know, heroic.

Inner Hero: What would that look like to you?

Me: A bright sword. Burning blue eyes. Not necessarily a lot of muscle (I mean, look at Frodo) but a lot of heroic bearing. Intensity. Being visibly full of light and power. And preferably a heroic outfit too. Maybe shining armour or a spiffy military uniform with lots of gold braid.

Inner Hero: Armour? Military uniform? Wars do not make one great. You win by refusing to fight, remember?

Me: Yeah, but – I mean, Luke won by refusing to fight, but he still has his lightsaber. I mean, a sword made of light. The absolute symbol of pure goodness and power. Magical, miraculous power for good. You know?

Inner Hero: You’ve got a lightsaber.

Me: Yeah, a toy one.

Inner Hero: Oh come on. That’s a ‘toy’ like your parrot-headed umbrella is a ‘toy’. It’s an incredibly powerful talisman that is actually linked to your soul and therefore actually magical. Would you rather have a weapon you could kill people with?

Me: Well, no.

Inner Hero: Playfulness is a more important value to you than killing. Actually, violence is way down at the bottom of your value list and playfulness is way up at the top. And so is the reality of imaginary things. The power of imaginary things. I mean, look at what you do for a living! Trust me, the perfect blade for you is a toy one. Something that’ll always be a little bit funny. And at the same time, when you hold it, you make a face like THIS.

Me with a lightsaber

Me: Oh. Yeah. That is you.

Inner Hero: Burning blue eyes? Check. Heroic bearing? Check. Intensity? Check. Being visibly full of light and power? CHECK CHECK CHECK.

Me: Oh, but now I’m having all the I’m-not-worthy.

Inner Hero: Every hero has all the I’m-not-worthy!

Me: Really?

Inner Hero: Well, most of them. At some point. It’s a perfectly normal response to having an epic mission!

Me: Everybody has an epic mission. I mean, everybody’s life is their own epic mission. Everyone is the hero of their own hero’s journey.

Inner Hero: Yes, but right now we’re talking about you, not making excuses about why you’re not special.

Me: Everyone is special!

Inner Hero: Yes. Including you.

Me: Okay, so how do I connect with you more? What’s the secret?

Inner Hero: Well, it’s something you’re very good at. Believe in me.

Me: What?

Inner Hero: Play at being me. Imagine being me. You know imaginary things are real, right?

Me: Oh. Yes. Like the Sun says in the Mary Poppins books. To think a thing is to make it true. And so, if Michael thought he had the Moon in his arms -

Inner Hero: - why then, he had indeed. You thought you had a lightsaber in your hands. And look what happened.

Me: Wow. Yes. I can see that.

Inner Hero: You know what the funny part is?

Me: That I’m holding a piece of movie merchandise like it could cut steel?

Inner Hero: Okay, the other funny part. The really funny part is this. The only thing that’s really imaginary here is that you’re NOT me.

Me: What?

Inner Hero: You’ve been imagining that you’re not me. Playing a very elaborate game of make-believe and let’s-pretend that consumed your entire life. You’re really good at that. So good that you actually believed your own fantasy. You became the character.

Me: So the me who isn’t you is imaginary?

Inner Hero: Precisely! You not being a hero? Fantasy! You being unheroic? Nonsense! You having anything less than infinite light and power? That’s just a story you tell yourself! You’re making it up!

Me: Wow…

Inner Hero: So the funny thing is… you’re a hero pretending to be a non-hero pretending to be a hero!

Me: Oh, but that’s also really sad. Like, imagine if the greatest knight in the world had lost his memory and was just playing in the dirt like a child, forgetting who he was. And imagine if he picked up a stick and held it like a sword. I mean, really like a sword. You’d want to cry, wouldn’t you?

Inner Hero: Laugh or cry! Your choice.

Me: I’ll laugh.

Inner Hero: That’s me talking!

Tiny schoolgirl me hates slow progress

Most of us have some interesting past experiences that have left us with some sad scared selves needing attention in the present. A lot of mine stem from my strange education. Happy Noodle Girl is a product of school 1. The me who doesn’t like slow progress, it turns out, is a product of school 2. This was the school where I started at age four and everyone else was at least seven.

I was chatting to a friend about my pattern of having to change HUGELY AND IMMEDIATELY or not at all (which usually = not at all) and I realised that at school 2, I was either great or terrible at all subjects, to the extent that I wasn’t really learning in any class. I was either mucking about while people learned things I already knew, or mucking about while people learned things I couldn’t imagine being able to do. Which was painful, but it also gave me a sense of specialness because I was the only kid allowed to spend music lessons sitting under the grand piano or netball lessons collecting conkers.

I realised that my fear of slow progress might be a fear of not getting to be special and not getting to play while everyone else works – which is interesting, because progress would actually lead to MORE of those things. My friend invited me to talk to the me who didn’t like slow progress, right there in the chatbox. So I did. :)

She came out talking in ALL CAPS and quoting everything, from Mary Poppins and Winnie-the-Pooh to some very grown-up books that she definitely had not read (Wuthering Heights and Stephen Fry’s Making History, which gave us the line, ‘Oh sure, like on Mars…’) I thought about putting in ‘me:’s and ‘her:’s after the fact, but it’s very obvious who’s talking without them!

so, could I talk to the part of me who doesn’t like slow progress?

YES PLEASE DO!

oh, you’re going to talk in all caps? That makes it easier to tell who’s who, and it sounds like you really, really want to talk to me!

YES BECAUSE YOU WON’T LISTEN!

Oh, I’m sorry I haven’t been listening to you. I’m listening now, please tell me what’s up

THIS IS
YOU HAVE A GREAT LIFE RIGHT NOW. REALLY!! EVERYONE ELSE HAS TO KEEP MOVING AND YOU GET TO STAY THE SAME
EVERYONE ELSE HAS TO MOVE UP A YEAR AT THE END OF THE YEAR
YOU GET TO STAY IN YOUR CLASS DOING YOUR LESSONS
SITTING ON YOUR SPECIAL CHAIR THAT’S SMALLER THAN EVERYONE ELSE’S

wow, okay, so it sounds like you really need, um… consistency? Things staying the same?

ME STAYING THE SAME
YOU STAYING THE SAME
OTHER CHILDREN LEARN, YOU STAY THE SAME AND DO YOUR OWN SPECIAL EVE THINGS AND DON’T HAVE TO FOLLOW THE RULES
AND DON’T HAVE TO GET RED PEN AND CROSSES ALL OVER YOUR WORK BECAUSE YOU’VE DONE THESE LESSONS THREE TIMES AND YOU COULD DO THEM THE FIRST TIME

so it sounds like you really don’t like rules and being corrected?

RULES AND BEING BAD AT THINGS
EXCEPT WHEN YOU’RE SO BAD YOU DON’T HAVE TO TRY BECAUSE NOBODY EXPECTS ANYTHING OF YOU

oh, bing!
in my current life, as a grown-up, nobody (mostly) expects me to cope with time or money or work, because I’m ‘Eve’

EXACTLY!!!
YOU WANT TO BE NOT ONLY A GROWN-UP BUT A D-GRADE GROWN-UP WITH RED PEN ALL OVER YOUR GROWNUPNESS BOOK!?
IT’S SO MUCH HARDER! AND SHAMEFUL AND EMBARRASSING, I MEAN OTHER PEOPLE’S WORK IS REALLY BAD!
HAVING SPECIAL PERMISSION TO NOT TRY MAKES IT OKAY!

okay <3 I’m noticing something as you say that
there were times when it wasn’t okay for you, weren’t there?
I remember one games lesson when you just crawled under a bench and hid and people ran past and pulled your knickers down
and why were you under the piano in music lessons?

I LIKED FEELING THE VIBRATIONS

did you also want to feel safe and away from everyone else?

OKAY YES
I FORGOT THAT
ALL THIS TIME I THOUGHT IT WAS REALLY NICE UNDER THE PIANO

well, I think it was, because outside the piano was not so nice
right?

WELL IT’S NOT GREAT BEING UNABLE TO SING A NOTE IN TUNE. BUT BEING YOUR OWN SPECIAL PERSON IS BETTER

are you afraid that if you try, you’ll lose your identity?

YES, I’LL BE THE WORST DIRTIEST SHEEP IN A GREAT BIG FLOCK OF SHEEP
INSTEAD OF RIGHT NOW, WHEN I’M A GOAT. OR A DOG.
AND OKAY SO IT’S NO FUN BEING THE ONLY PERSON OF MY SPECIES, BUT ALSO, I’M THE ONLY PERSON OF MY SPECIES!!
AND THE WONDERFUL THING ABOUT TIGGERS IS I’M THE ONLY ONE… RIGHT?!

oh, love :/
you’re lonely!!

IS A DOG FURRY?!

would you like to be able to connect with other people, and be part of a group, while also being special and unique and the only one of you?

WELL SURE, LIKE ON MARS, IN THE VALLEY OF THE BIG ROCK CANDY MOUNTAIN WHERE EVERYBODY SKIPS AND JUMPS AND BAKES CHERRY PIE FOR STRANGERS!

you don’t think that’s possible for you?

I’M SCARED IT’S NOT. HOW WOULD I KNOW, I DON’T CHANGE!!

so not changing is really keeping you from getting this thing that you really want
let’s think about it in your terms…
when Tigger comes to the Hundred Acre Wood and makes friends with all the other animals, he’s still the only Tigger, isn’t he?
and everyone is happy to work with him to find out what Tiggers like, and to give him what he needs

EXTRACT OF MALT!

yes!
and he still bounces, doesn’t he??

YES!!! BOUNCE BOUNCE BOUNCE!!

sounds like you’re happy about that :D

YES BUT HOW DO I… I DON’T KNOW HOW TO PROCEED. I DON’T KNOW HOW TO LEARN!!

you learned loads before you were at school, that was part of why you felt so alone AT school

OKAY BUT THAT WAS BACK ON MARS WHEN CHILDREN WERE ALLOWED TO LEARN WHAT THEY FELT LIKE BECAUSE THEY FELT LIKE IT
ADULT LIFE IS SO MUCH MORE LIKE SCHOOL

that’s because…

WHY ARE YOU CRYING?

because most adults don’t know any better
they got so thoroughly sent to school that they sent themselves to school for the rest of their lives
and OF COURSE you don’t want that for me!
I don’t want that for me either, in fact I don’t want that for anyone!
I want everyone to be free from school for ever and ever!!

ME TOO!!! OH GOD ME TOO. IT’S NOT FAIR. PEOPLE AREN’T SUPPOSED TO WORK LIKE THAT AND I WANT TO STOP IT!
I WANT TO THROW DOWN ALL THE SCHOOLS AND BUILD HOUSES. FARM HOUSES WHERE PEOPLE CAN PLAY AND LEARN ABOUT ANIMALS FROM THE ANIMALS THEMSELVES
NOW WE’RE BOTH CRYING!!!

we both want the same thing, don’t we?

YES OF COURSE BUT I WAS SO LITTLE, HOW COULD I CHANGE IT? ALL I COULD DO WAS NOT JOIN IN

well, now we have all this power that we can wield

BECAUSE OF BEING A GROWN-UP?

yes

SOMETHING IS BREWING

yes, something is brewing, about to begin!

CAN’T PUT MY FINGER ON WHAT LIES IN STORE…

but I feel what’s to happen all happened before!!

THE WIND’S CHANGING AND MARY POPPINS IS COMING BACK!!!… WHY DID I SAY BACK?

we’re going back to how it used to be, ‘on Mars’ if you like :)

YES I DO LIKE!

learning like there is no school
and no red pen
ever, okay?
there are no bad marks
nobody is marking you
it’s not about doing it well or doing it badly

NO IT’S NOT!! DID MUMMY EVER GIVE ME A TICK OR A STAR FOR READING A BOOK OR LEARNING ABOUT SOMETHING? NO BECAUSE I WANTED TO DO IT!! I DIDN’T NEED A STUPID PAPER STICKER TO ENCOURAGE ME1!

okay, so we’re going to learn what we want, how we want, right?

WHAT IF WE DON’T WANT TO LEARN ABOUT MONEY?

well.. we’ll get an accountant :D

HAHA.. A WIZARD OF FINANCE!!

yes, that’s exactly it!!
and.. you know what else?

THIS IS HOW WE TEAR DOWN THE SCHOOLS!
THIS IS HOW WE TEAR DOWN THE SCHOOLS INSIDE PEOPLE!
IF PEOPLE SEE ONE PERSON WHO IS NOT AT SCHOOL, THEY’LL SEE THAT IT’S POSSIBLE TO NOT BE AT SCHOOL FOREVER!!
AND!!! AND!!!!!
BEING UNDER THE PIANO IS STILL BEING AT SCHOOL!!
BEING IN THE SAME CLASS OVER AND OVER IS STILL BEING AT SCHOOL!!
GETTING LOTS OF TICKS AND TEN OUT OF TEN IS STILL BEING AT SCHOOL!
IT’S TIME TO LEAVE THIS SCHOOL!! FOREVER!!

omg… yes!! Thank you so much!!

YOU LISTENED!!
I KNEW WHAT TO SAY
AND YOU LISTENED!!

you’re really happy that I finally listened, aren’t you?

I’VE BEEN A WAIF FOR THIRTY YEARS!!!

love, I’m so sorry

IT DOESN’T MATTER NOW, LET’S GO FLY A KITE!!

woohoo!!!! Let’s go!!!

(epic tearful and excited hugs)

ANNOUNCEMENT! I am putting my prices up in one month!

My prices are going up on April 11th!

When I started this business, I chose the prices using Mark Silver’s resonant pricing technique, with the help of my friend Andy Dolph of Binaural Journeys. And then freaked out in hysterical tears because I was terrified of money and the prices we came up with seemed unbearably high to me. Andy suggested starting with a half-price introductory offer. I seized on this gratefully and made everything half-price for a month. And then another month. And then… ooh, most of the first year of my business.

Now I’m slightly (slightly!) less terrified of money, a lot more aware of what people are happily paying for similar stuff (well, similar-ish – there are no other professional monster whisperers yet!) and a million times more confident that what I do works. It finally feels like the right time to start charging the resonant price.

I’m doing this with a month’s warning so that if you think you might want to get it while it’s cheap, you’ll have plenty of time to decide whether that’s right for you and sort out money. I’ll be posting reminders (and probably talking to my own money monsters in public!) but I’m not going to do any OMG-buy-now-or-else pressure sales, because I don’t want anyone to buy monster sessions under pressure. For one thing, ugh, and for another, I suspect those sessions wouldn’t go so well. I want people to come to me for help because they’re ready, not because I rushed them into thinking they were with clever sales talk. And if you’re worried about taking the time to be ready because you’re not sure you can afford the new prices, remember I do offer the option of paying by instalments (and I will definitely not think less of you for taking that option, trust me. :) )

Dream Maggot!

(Warning for a bit of creepy-crawly body horror.)

The amazing Do Mi Stauber recently mentioned a dream interpretation technique that was right up my street. When you have a dream that feels like it has some big psychological/spiritual meaning to it but you can’t work out what, try talking as one of the characters in your dream and see what they say.

Of course, being me, I decided to interpret this as ‘interview the characters in your dream’. I’ve tried this a few times and found it really revealing. The trouble is that it tends to be SO revealing as to be unbloggable even by my standards :) but today I managed to do an interview that was at least half bloggable.

The dream went like this: I was in my childhood bedroom and I saw some huge bloated green caterpillars and a big black rattlesnake. I remember thinking about snakes with empathy, like how everyone assumes they’re evil when they’re not, and everyone assumes they’re aggressive when they actually only attack humans if they’re scared and trying to defend themselves.

Later I dreamed I was looking for an ex of mine after an argument. I couldn’t find him but I did discover an amazing new method of flying. Then I felt a little pain in my stomach. I looked and I saw a HUGE maggot crawling out of my skin! Then some teenage girls and Billy Boyd showed up and told me I should really see a doctor about that. :D

maggot

After I woke up I decided to interview the huge maggot (there’s a sentence you’ve probably never heard before…) I discovered that it was a representation of emotional stuff from past relationships. The similar creepy-crawlies in my childhood bedroom were aspects of it from childhood – the caterpillars represented my relationships with people I had crushes on, and the snake was someone I was afraid of.

So then this happened:

Dream Maggot: I am huge because you fed me. Even after the relationships were over, you kept on feeding me. You kept on filling yourself with all this stuff that I could eat. And now you’re not, I’m leaving. That’s what maggots do.

Me: What was I feeding you?

Dream Maggot: Unsovereignty.

Me: Wow, I think there’s still a fair amount of THAT in me.

Dream Maggot: I didn’t say I HAVE LEFT. I said I AM LEAVING. As you stop feeding me with unsovereign thoughts, I will leave and you’ll be shocked by how much of me there was in you. Both the fierce black snake that you created with your fear of that person, and the bloated green larvae that you created with your slavish devotion to those other people, are in me.

Me: Oh, larvae because they were kids, we were kids!

Dream Maggot: Yes, and the relationships were undeveloped.

Me: So those don’t actually represent the actual people, but the things I created, like, the relationships and mental images I created with my thoughts and feelings towards them.

Dream Maggot: Sort of like thought-forms. You’ve had a giant worm in your guts eating, eating, eating and distorting everything and you made me and put me there. The people who were the objects of your unsovereign thoughts and feelings didn’t make me, you made me.

Me: Wow, I feel kind of guilty about that.

Dream Maggot: Well, it doesn’t matter to me, I’ll just go and find food somewhere else.

Me: I mean I feel guilty towards myself, I feel like I should say sorry to myself.

Dream Maggot: You didn’t know any better.

Me: Still… Sorry, me. (slightly weepy smile) That’s okay, me, I forgive you. (To Dream Maggot) Thank you. Why are you helping me, why are you teaching me? Why are you so wise and articulate instead of just a greedy angry bug?

Dream Maggot: I guess because you’re listening.

Speed Whippet and Fear of Progress, aka FOP!

After the recent introduction of Speed Whippet, I thought I’d bring him in to talk to the monster who gets hysterical whenever I try to have a regular spiritual practice, or any kind of advanced self-knowledge-y practice like Shiva Nata or keeping a dream journal. I reckoned this monster was scared of me making progress, and christened him Fear of Progress aka FOP. So obviously he appeared as an eighteenth-century glamour boy in a powdered periwig and lots of ruffles.

princepoppycock

Speed Whippet’s technique this time was to stick very closely to the big questions of NVC: what are you observing, feeling, needing, and requesting? The result wasn’t quite as speedy as last time, but this was a major issue!

FOP: ALACK ALACK ALACK (fans self hysterically)

Speed Whippet: What are you observing?

FOP: FIE FIE FIE

Speed Whippet: You’re observing something you really don’t like, huh?

FOP: (calming down slightly) Well, obviously! I’m a fop. I like to keep things exquisitely superficial.

Speed Whippet: She’s going too deep for you?

FOP: Any depth is too deep for me. I am all surface and no soul. A bubble of nothing in a froth of lace.

Speed Whippet: Poetic! So how do you feel about her getting into all this deep soul stuff?

FOP: La, sir, I am undone!

Speed Whippet: You’re terrified?

FOP: Yes!

Speed Whippet: What do you need?

FOP: I need her to stay on the surface! Where it’s all fluffy and pretty!

Speed Whippet: You need to know she’ll be safe from the pain of self-knowledge?

FOP: How unutterably drab and serious you make it sound.

Speed Whippet: And you need to know she’ll still have playfulness and colour in her life?

FOP: You talk as if I were going to let this happen. (draws rapier with a flourish) Never! I shall never let it happen!

Speed Whippet: Okay, so you need TOTAL CERTAINTY that she’ll be safe from the pain of self-knowledge no matter what.

FOP: Not only that!

Speed Whippet: What else?

FOP: I don’t know. I don’t know! How can I even talk about such nonsense? I don’t understand it, I’m just a beautiful fairy with no soul!

Speed Whippet: You don’t understand the spiritual stuff?

FOP: Exactly!

Speed Whippet: So you need to understand what’s going on for her?

FOP: Yes, otherwise how can I protect her? I may look delicate but I’m terrific in a duel. Aha! (flourishes rapier)

Speed Whippet: Okay, so! You’re observing that she’s getting into deep spiritual introspective stuff, and you’re feeling terrified because you need to know she’s safe from pain, and in order to know she’s safe you need to understand this stuff. Which you don’t.

FOP: I don’t! I don’t even know what it is! It’s like asking a dog what’s the problem with going to church!

Speed Whippet: I’m a dog!

FOP: Well, what’s the problem with going to church?

Speed Whippet: …Oh. You get left outside.

FOP: Yes! Outside is all I am! I will always be outside! Don’t let her go inside and leave me here with nobody to pay attention to me!

Speed Whippet: Oh. Oh. Oh. Okay. Wow. You’re feeling terrified because you need attention.

FOP: Do you think I get dressed up like this every morning for my own amusement?

Speed Whippet: Okay, I’m going to ask you to notice something. You spent all morning making her so stuck and terrified that she was literally hyperventilating about keeping a dream journal, and what’s the result?

FOP: Success!

Speed Whippet: What’s happening right now?

FOP: I’m talking to you.

Speed Whippet: And what does that mean she’s doing?

FOP: Oh! Introspection! I shall swoon! (falls on a chaise longue)

Speed Whippet: So your attempt to protect her from introspection has produced introspection.

FOP: Are you accusing me of being one of those monsters? I refuse to be lumped in with all those dirty beasts. Ugh! (handkerchief to nose)

Speed Whippet: She’s spending more time introspecting about why she can’t introspect than she would if you just let her introspect!

FOP: Egad! But at least I’m keeping her on a lower level. At least she’s not making progress.

Speed Whippet: She is making progress. Whatever blocks you throw up, she’s finding a way round them. It’s just taking her longer and costing her more effort and pain, which I think is another thing you wanted to protect her from.

FOP: GAAAAAAAAAAH!

Speed Whippet: Now I know you’re really upset. You’ve stopped using Restoration comedy exclamations.

FOP: STAP MY VITALS!

Speed Whippet: Okay, nearly.

FOP: What do I do?

Speed Whippet: What would you like to do? What are you requesting?

FOP: Well, I can’t possibly be the kind of – ugh! – ‘monster’ who’s the opposite of what they appear to be. I can’t possibly be enthused about all this soul stuff. I can’t possibly be pro progress. Although, thinking about it – I am a creature of fashion, you know, the latest mode, flitting like a butterfly from one thing to the next – and of course, I always think whatever I leave behind is so last Tuesday, and whatever is now is so utterly now. I love change and newness! It’s just that it has to be meaningless.

Speed Whippet: Why?

FOP: Because I exist to distract, and if something’s meaningful it isn’t a distraction, is it? It’s something you distract from.

Speed Whippet: Because it might be painful?

FOP: Yes.

Speed Whippet: So we’re back to your need to protect her from pain. The trouble is, distracting her from everything meaningful isn’t really protecting her. The pain’s still there. It’s still hurting. Just on a subconscious level where she can’t understand it or fix it. It’s like if someone needs surgery, sure it’s painful and scary but it doesn’t make sense to protect them from it, because then they’ll never get better!

FOP: So I really am just a big useless lump of frippery and I should just go away.

Speed Whippet: No!

FOP: How do you know?

Speed Whippet: Because with these talks, if it’s not happy it’s not the ending. What would you really, really like for her, if you could request anything?

FOP: (crying) Not to need to avoid all the time because there wouldn’t BE any pain to avoid! Gad’s teeth, my makeup is running…

Speed Whippet: That’s a great request! And it sounds like you’d like to help her with that. You know, dealing with her pain so she doesn’t need to avoid it.

FOP: Yes, but how when I don’t have any soul?

Speed Whippet: I never asked why you think you don’t have a soul.

FOP: I don’t know.

Speed Whippet: What is it in you that gives you so much compassion for her pain?

FOP: Well, I’m part of her. So – oh. She has a soul. So it’s not that I don’t have one, it’s that I’ve been disconnected from her soul. I’ve always had access to it, but I’ve been refusing it. Wait… (He twirls around elegantly, and his costume flutters around him in a cloud of lace, shifting, settling again into something different… a beautiful pierrot in white ruffles.) A new image! Do you like it?

ppg

Speed Whippet: I love it!

FOP: Pierrot of the moon, the yearning soul… see, now I can support her on her quest, I can go to the depths of the sky with her, I can go deep inside and still be exquisitely pretty on the outside! She can surround herself with images of me, and I’ll remind her to be always longing and dreaming and looking to the stars… And she’ll certainly pay me attention, I mean, look at me! (Holds out his arms, enraptured by his own loveliness.) When I told you I had no soul, you should have told me that I adore beauty! Beauty is truth, truth beauty, how can you love beauty without a soul…

(A silver tear runs down his cheek, the transformation complete.)

LS09 Pierrot

I shall be known as… OVER-PREPARED MAN!

I have a pattern of being underprepared for things and then panicking. I also have a pattern of having DREAMS about being underprepared for things and then panicking. One night, in the middle of one of these, I suddenly started thinking coherently about a way to destuckify this pattern…

‘I’m going to experiment with being OVER-PREPARED MAN!’ I thought. A secret superhero identity!

This is great for me because I have ludicrous fear popcorn about being prepared in case it makes me a boring grown-up. (Even in Brownies I always failed pocket check.) But clearly I can’t be a boring grown-up while playing at being a superhero!

I imagine Over-Prepared Man as very cartoonish (if I were going to do a voice for him I’d use the Tick as a starting-point) and covered from head to toe in a wildly clashing assortment of weaponry, armour and paraphernalia – including, in homage to Alice’s White Knight, a bunch of carrots and a beehive.

White Knight

All you can really see of Over-Prepared Man is his superheroic chin and cheesy KA-CHING! grin. He likes to leap in enthusiastically and shout, ‘This looks like a job for… OVER-PREPARED MAN!!!’

I usually don’t interview Over-Prepared Man so much as take on his mindset when I want to over-prepare for something. Like last weekend, I went on a coaching skills course (which I’ll probably rave about in more detail later) and it was entirely thanks to Over-Prepared Man that I was able to get ‘socially acceptable business-person’ outfits for both days laid out by Friday night AND arrive on time both days, suitably groomed and carrying a packed lunch and a stash of business cards. Let’s just say punctuality does not come naturally to me.

Punctuality is really on my mind at the moment, because I want to start volunteering with Carefree Kids, a local charity that does play therapy with troubled children. Not surprisingly, they’re sticklers for punctuality (just imagine the emotional impact of letting down a vulnerable child.) This is a real challenge for me. I have ISSUES around being on time, because I was savaged by a timetable when I was four (I’m only half joking!) This looks like a job for… OVER-PREPARED MAN!!

I’ve realised that part of the magic of being over-prepared is not having to be exactly the right amount prepared. Not having to do x at exactly y o’clock. Not having to follow anyone’s schedule. Not being timetabled! I can get around my fear of being timetabled if I let myself do each step any time within a big fuzzy timezone. Getting ready to leave any time before I need to, so then leaving is just leaving, not a daunting agglomeration of washing-dressing-eating-journeyplanning-packing-leaving that all has to be done right now or else. And then leaving the house any time before I need to, so it’s not having to leave right now or else.

This also works really well with going to bed. I’m sure I’m not the only person out there who sometimes stays up late because they’re too exhausted to contemplate brushing teeth and finding pyjamas :D (a problem that only gets worse the later it gets!!) Getting ready for bed any time before I need to solves that.

However, today I ran into an extra layer of trouble. I’m an introvert. This doesn’t mean I’m shy or don’t like people – far from it!! It means I recharge by being alone and expend a lot of energy when I’m with people (brilliant explanation here, which wins points both by using a hamster ball metaphor and by saying that ‘introverts give energy on social contact’. I’m giving people energy!) It also means I’m scared of the cleaner. Yes, really. She’s perfectly lovely, I’m just not so good with the COMPLETE STRANGER IN MY HOUSE thing. So today, I was late for a meetup with a friend because it involved these four steps:

1) Leave room.

2) Walk past THE COMPLETE STRANGER IN MY HOUSE AND MAYBE HAVE TO INTERACT WITH HER. Exposure!!

3) Leave house (more exposure!)

4) Commence social interaction.

ALL of these were setting off my introvert buttons. It was only after the cleaner left and I felt able to creep out of my hole that the Over-Prepared Man solution came to me. If I need to leave the house on a Tuesday, I can leave before the cleaner gets here. I can hang out in, say, the library, a cafe, or a pub until it’s time to go to where I’m going!

AND THEN I realised I could apply this to any house-leaving situation. So step 3 (leave house) and step 4 (commence social interaction) would be separated by a nice restful sit down with a book or laptop. Leaving the house would be easier because it wouldn’t be leave-house-commence-social-interaction. And leaving the library/pub/cafe would be easier than leaving the house because I’d already be in public and most of the way to my destination.

It’s all about SEPARATING THE STEPS! And pausing! (Paws!) Get ready (paws!) leave house (paws!) commence social interaction! AND it’s all about doing each step in my own time, because doing it early counts as doing it in my own time!

Wow, I can apply this to so many other things now… How would OVER-PREPARED MAN approach the transcribing work I’ve been not-doing while writing this blog post? I wonder…

I got heraldrybunnied

This happens to me sometimes. It’s like getting ‘plotbunnied’, where you have an intense urge to write a story, except I get an intense urge to make up a coat of arms. This particular bout of knight-in-shining-armoury was brought on by joining Challenge Accepted, which is the ULTIMATE in dorky, mock-heroic, playful, celebratory, self-loving productivity-geeking, and quite literally makes any job a game. I would highly recommend this, especially if you’re at all into fantasy or gaming, but even if you’re not.

So today I made a coat of arms for Monster Talk.

By Zigeuner     English: Picture made for the Blazon Project of French-speaking Wikipedia [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or CC-BY-SA-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5-2.0-1.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Starting from the middle, we have our monster. This dragon (or strictly speaking, wyvern, since it’s got two legs) is depicted tails nowed. It’s got its tail in a knot! THIS IS SUCH A PERFECT DEPICTION OF TANGLED STUCK EMOTIONS I CAN’T EVEN.

In heraldry, green is the colour of love and hope. So the wyvern is green to show that our monsters love us and can change.

The heart symbolises the loving, safe and judgement-free space in which monster-whispering takes place. This fierce-looking monster is completely surrounded by the white light of pure love. And he needs it too, they always do.

White in heraldry symbolises truth, sincerity and peace, which works perfectly even though the actual reason I picked it is that the only other colour allowed next to green and purple would be yellow. Frankly, this coat of arms looks enough like it fell in a vat of toxic chemicals as it is. :}

And then we have purple. Why purple? Because in heraldry, purple is the colour of sovereignty! Get it?

The blazon of this coat of arms would be, ‘Purpure on a heart argent a wyvern tails nowed vert flammant gules.’ I think.