In This Newsletter
- Living Wisdom Schools and Uganda
- New Counsellor Profile and Website
- My Life Rulz
- A Personal Note
The Problem When Feelings are Your Compass
EMOTION-DIRECTED (BASED) REASONING
The vicious loop
“I feel, therefore I am” is the reasoning of the emotionally unstable.
If you never learn that there is indeed a time to dispute your feelings with the reassurance that appropriate truth-coaches provide, your feelings will eventually learn to rule over you, leading to increasing emotional instability.
If a pilot is ever to fly safely in cloud or at night, the first thing he must do is learn to trust the objective reading of his instruments even if they over-rule his own perception. This is about the hardest thing he will ever have to do. (Note the word ‘trust’ and ‘objective’; they are of particular importance here.)
The psycho-dynamic of the emotional reasoner goes like this; “If I feel it, then that’s how it is; my feelings could not misrepresent the situation”.
Unless the hiker, lost in the woods, submits to the direction of the guide, and sides with him /her against his own instincts, the guide cannot over-rule his sovereignty to help him find direction again. He must remain lost until submission over-rules feelings.
Feelings are not a very reliable guide to how things are in reality, and if your background is one of abuse, indulgence, willfulness, abandonment or trauma, then your feelings will frequently misconstrue ‘how it is’, including the way in which people are treating you. If these feelings are then acted on without checking, this then forms a terrible loop, or downward spiral, usually eventually bringing about the very thing the person hates so much. For instance the fastest way to sabotage your marriage is to believe all your feelings and perceptions unquestioningly. (See also Sandford’s ‘Bitter Root Judgement’ and ‘bitter root expectancy’ and ‘Psychological Loops’ in this manual.)
This loop is the ability of the mind to work in a vicious circle, (see also Anticipation Anxiety) gnawing on itself and producing self-fulfilling prophecies. If the person is unwilling to accept correction, they then become increasingly self-referential, unable to escape this entrapment of emotional reasoning. Listening to such a person, one is reminded of the fuel-company who put their prices up, citing increased transportation costs as one of the reasons.
- “I feel like I’m not coping, therefore I can’t cope.”
- “I feel humiliated, therefore I MUST have been insulted”
- “I feel taken-for-granted, therefore I’m just being used”
- “I feel all alone, therefore I’m not loved”
- “I feel abused, therefore I am (or must have been) abused.”
- “I don’t feel like part of this group, therefore I shouldn’t be here”.
- “I feel despair, therefore it’s really a hopeless situation.”
These are among the most common versions of this common phenomenon. And what is commonly missed here is the realization that we do not see life as it is, but as we perceive it, and as we were introduced to it. In other words, our moment of introduction to it, whether ‘it’ be argument, anger, sex, large groups, marriage, danger or arithmetic, determines our perception for ever after. These echoes must now be ‘stepped around’, if we are to ever live in reality, rather than the ‘strong delusion’ of our own misperceptions. And to step around them, we must know it’s o.k. to do so.
This understanding is of paramount importance in the study of mental / emotional illness, for if sick and persistent feelings are simply confirmed and dogmatically reinforced – with the Therapist being led a merry chase – a form of collusion takes place. This will then leave the client in a much worse state than they were before therapy. Why? Because faulty perceptions and responses are continually being reinforced, and echoes are given unquestionable status.
Again, this is one of the most serious mistakes a novice counsellor will make, in their efforts to affirm their client. Sound mental health is largely about the ability to coach oneself through historic feelings when they seek to misconstrue the present situation, until those feelings lose their power to drive and terrify the client. “Now isn’t then”, and “my feelings can’t tell me about the future, only about the past” are two of the most powerful truth-coaches to use
* Feelings must report reality, not impose or determine reality. (Thermometer, not thermostat.)
* A self-referential person will go increasingly off line as they measure their feelings by their feelings. This can result in escalating mood-swings, anorexia, phobia, depression, inferiority / self-hatred, and eventually a borderline personality disorder, and the root and sustenance of it is pride / loss of basic trust, resulting in the refusal to accept correction.
* A rational person needs a rational reason to ‘do the opposite’ of what all his / her
instincts are advising, otherwise seriously harmful doubt in his or her own judgment will ensue. Consequently, the first feeling that comes with a turn in the right direction is increased confusion and anxiety. Truth coaches / insights must be available to steady and reassure at this critical point.
Empowering Question: How do I deny my own perception without cracking up?
David J Riddell, Nelson, NZ
Uganda Here We Come
It is only 4 weeks before we begin our third Living Wisdom School in Kampala, Uganda. Firstly, please let me thank all those people who have donated this year so that over 9 students out of the 17 attending so far are able to attend because of your your financial assistance. They are very grateful and excited to learn, grow and impact their sphere of influence and beyond. It is always a pleasure to bring the Living Wisdom concepts and principles to them, there is such great need in this country. Please don’t forget about Africa, your prayers and finances do not fall on poor soil. There is still time to donate if you would like to contribute to the emotional well-being and empowerment of many dear people doing incredible things under difficult circumstances.
I have a good problem. The demand for two week schools in different places around Australia is increasing but there is only one of me, at this stage. I would love to say ‘yes’ to all the requests but even now my counselling waiting list is increasing, partly because of the training side of my work. So, I am considering running schools bi-annually in most places, starting next year, and see how that goes. At this stage there is s strong interest for schools in Brisbane, Perth, Cairns, Bundaberg, Uganda, and Zambia with Canada and Melbourne regularly asking about training there.
I have a date and venue for a 2018 Bundaberg School but have no idea, at this stage, the level of interest in Bundaberg (and beyond). NOW is the time to inquire or register for this school in June/July. I would really appreciate expressions of interest as soon as possible so I can make plans for the rest of the year. The dates are 25th June to 6th July which is one week in school holidays and one week outside. I am hoping that this makes it easier for many people to attend who are involved in working in schools. Our venue this year is St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church at 30 George Street. All details regarding topics and training are on the website.
Bundaberg Class of 2017
Soul Tour in Cairns
If you don’t know about Soul Tour you need to. Matt and Belinda Stott have been running this ‘youth version’ of Living Wisdom for several years now with HUGE success and they are in demand. Thanks to some keen people in Cairns they have locked Matt and Belinda down for a six day Soul Tour 9th to 14th July. This is a ‘don’t miss’ event if you are between 16 and 26 and want to set yourself up for success life and love.
Thanks to a very keen January student who lives in Perth it looks like she will gather up the ‘truth troops’ for a second school in Perth. I was there over 2 years ago and I would like to see it continue to gather momentum. We have locked in school holiday dates (September 24th to 5th October) and a venue confirmation is just days away. Please contact me as soon as you can if you are interested to attend this school and keep an eye on the website for venue and downloadable flyer.
I am in the process of securing two venues (one on south side of Brisbane and one on the north) for Saturday Workshops this year. The 4th August is locked in at this stage:- The topic is Understanding Moods and Emotions and the venue will be Samford Valley Christian Church, Samford. If you haven’t been out here, Samford is a beautiful village to come out to for the day. Once again stay up to date with my progress on venues via my website. The Saturday workshops are a fantastic way to get some powerful tools and insights over 5 hours for just $50 per person with morning tea and notes provided.
A website has now been launched for Zambia but also includes what is happening in Uganda as far as Living Wisdom goes. Steven Sakala in Zambia is very proactive in his desire to train and equip his people and I also plan to return to Zambia in April next year. Please inform anyone you know that might find this website helpful.
New Counsellor Profile
I would like to introduce Julie (Jules) Aitken to you. She is a friend and Living Wisdom counselling colleague. Jules is a gentle yet astute counsellor working from Auckland. She is available by Skype and phone too so please view her profile, I highly recommend her services to you. I have known Jules for over ten years and we have been part of each others journey into greater wisdom and emotional health. I regret that I am not more available at times to my clients but am reassured by knowing that there are great Counsellors like Jules available to people.
My Life Rulz
The My Life Rulz Primary Program for Christian Schools has been rolled out in a couple of Australian schools this year with a couple more implementing it later this year.
I am encouraged and excited to hear the feedback coming from teachers, parents and students and feel very honoured to be trusted with this profound, yet simple, approach to tracing, facing and replacing stinking thinking. Because our foundational beliefs are the strongest it is much more effective to prevent the laying down of deeply held unhelpful beliefs. If you have any questions I can help you with or if you would like a free 30 minutes introduction to the resources please contact me.
On A Personal Note
A few weeks ago I celebrated my 60th birthday and had a blast. I had my children and grandchildren and dear mother all come to the Gold Coast for a family week of fun, chaos, laughter, eating, swimming and theme parks (I even went on ‘The Claw – twice)! It was the BEST time with many memories made and relationships strengthened. My truth coach for this decade is:- I won’t resent ‘old age’ because it is a privilege than many people don’t get. Our wealth is in our health and our relationships.