Good Man or Nice Guy - who am I

Who are we?Its  a question that arrises some time in our lives; “Who am I?” “Who are we?"I watched a video recently where someone with a huge popularity rating was describing who we are and unfortunately I was not convinced. Something was not quite ‘gelling’ for me and I wanted to explore it. Recently during a skype call the idea came up of wanting to be a "good man" not a "nice guy” and what followed was a discussion about which was better to be. The good man being someone who is ‘good’ at heart and behaves with goodness, whereas the nice guy being someone who presents to the world the required niceness while not necessarily feeling that state - acting out ‘nice’ for others.It was an interesting discussion and one that comes up so much in coaching sessions. The Good Man and Nice Guy conversation arrises in media and it seems that so much of politics todays about where someone is a good person, a nice person, a trustworthy person etc The problem is, if I want to really know who I am, these description just don’t work and this is why, but before I explain, lets get back to ‘who am I?’ just for a moment. While you are reading these words I would like you to become aware that you are reading these words and notice that as you become aware of reading these words something happens. A shift occurs. That’s right. And it is an inward shift of attention and awareness as you continue to notice that you are aware that you are reading. So, who is aware that you are reading? You. This is the closest you may possibly get to knowing who you are; its the you that is aware, now and then that what your saying could be different, or is aware of your inner state of mind and body. You are aware that you are breathing, that’s right, and thinking and moving and some would call this consciousness, and that would be right, and then you become a little more aware that you are conscious of your thoughts - ahh, theres a thought.and so, reading on and wondering more, you can continue to to notice that who you are is not so much a ‘good’ or a ‘bad’, a ‘intelligent’ or ‘stupid’, ‘beautiful’ or 'ugly’, a ‘doctor’ or an ‘activist’, you are ‘aware' that those labels are labels for doings’, the behaviours that You do. Nice.  Now back to the Good Man and the Nice Guy. How do we distinguish these two? By there behaviour - what they do, say, demonstrate etc. Then we interpret those behaviours through our own belief system and place a maker; ‘good’, ‘bad’, nice, etc.We all know however that many people have many differing markers (labels) for behaviour and so the idea of a ‘Good’ guy for example is only an idea that is shared based on a collective agreement about belief - when Person does A and A is a good thing than Person is Good.  Once up[on a time there was a great Guru. She sat on a mat and for hours she could discuss the nature of life. For hours she could contemplate a flower without distraction. The disciples at her feet would marvel at her ability to focus undeterred for hours and so thought that to become like the Guru, they too should sit for hours looking at a flower.  This is called the mistake of the intellect or mistaking the goal, in this case enlightenment, for the pathway to the goal. An all too common mistake on the path to self awareness. It also requires one to dissociate from their own sense of ‘path’ or ‘right action’ to a fiction. The accepted belief becomes the right action and the ‘only’ path to salvation. Many years back I worked for a Transcendental Meditation teacher in Auckland NZ, lets call him Dave. One day Dave had a visit from a woman who wanted to see him because she was having unusual experiences. She sat down and told Dave that she did not need to sleep very much and that when she did lie down for sleep she was witnessing the entire experience. She had very few thoughts at all other than deeper thoughts that she chose to have. The conversation continued and as it did Dave was mentally ticking off the list of mental states only experienced by those who are considered ‘enlightened’. Finally Dave asked: “when did this start?”, she replied, “a few months back while I was knitting.”While she was knitting. Doing the thing she loved the most and in that state becoming more and more aware of her awareness. So, who am I? I am the one who is aware that I am reading and breathing and wondering how this information might help me to relax a little so that I can continue to recognise that I am not what I do because I am noticing that which I do, and can, when I choose, feel calmer, noticing that if I am not what I do, I can seek learning and growth rather than judgement and fear. So, to finish, a strategy for knowing who we are may be to do with noticing that we are noticing our ‘doings’, and allowing an attitude of curiosity to bring us closer to a state of ‘knowing’ who we are.     ​

Sleep, Stress & Anxiety talks

Updated March 2017I am holding Sleep, Stress and Anxiety seminar/talks in St Martins and they are an informal opportunity to listen and explore strategies for getting a better sleep, reducing stress and anxiety.  "I attended Aaron's 'Sleep Talk' last night and found it to be very enlightening. Not only is Aaron a great speaker / presenter but he also gives practical advice and tools to help with sleep issues and stress. I found that I was inspired to sleep well when I came home, and I did for the first time in a long while." Lynda. Christchurch "My names Hannah I met you a couple of months ago at the Familial Trust in Christchurch. I'm a flight attendant for Air New Zealand and I was having major sleep issues while I was away. Since I saw you Ive had maybe 8 overnights with only one difficult night. The rest I managed about 7 hours. As you know my anxiety was through the roof and I was at an incredibly low point in my life. I've managed to overcome pretty massive things someone my age shouldn't have to but I felt like I just couldn't get through this one. Being able to sleep has changed every part of my life and I definitely think it's had massive change on helping my health get back to normal. It feels extremely freeing! Thank you so much, I can't tell you how grateful I am to have this power back. Being a happy person again means the world to me! Thank you. Hannah Christchurch On the 2nd Thursday of every month I present Sleep Talks. They are your opportunity to learn some tricks, get a little understanding, ask some questions and more so that you can wake up each morning feeling refreshed and motivated. Venue:The Familial Trust6 Wilsons Rd, St Martins, ChristchurchWhen:Every 2nd Thursday of the MonthTime:7.30pm If you have any questions please feel free to contact me    

Radio show all about sleep

Aaron McLoughlin now hosting Sleep Tight on Plains FM 96.9 in Christchurch every Sunday night at 9.30pm

How to shift bad memories

A short  video about shifting the uncomfortable emotions out of memories based on a recent experience coaching a client. If the video does not load follow this youtube link https://youtu.be/zpunsjSzpcY  

How not to vomit - public speaking

There is a joke about public speaking and I think every standup comic has done a version of it. It goes along the lines that most people would rather be in the grave than be standing on the side of the grave giving the Eulogy. Funny as that may seem public speaking is one of the most fearful experiences for most people and it generates so much fear in some that just the thought of giving a speech can generate nausea and even vomiting. Having worked in Coaching for 20 years and having helped many people to 'get up and speak’, I can honestly say that when you look at the very mixed up way we we are taught to ‘connect’ with people, especially at early school age, I am not surprised at the very intense reactions that people display at the mention of speaking. Speaking however is an opportunity that should not be avoided. Some say there is a story in every one of us and I agree. For most, finding a story is easy and yet when it comes sharing  it, well that is where it becomes very difficult. We get caught up in the feelings, the imaginings, the anxiety, and the ‘Feel the Fear and do it Anyway!” becomes implausible. What if, we can 'remove the fear' and do it anyway. Heres the thing: Structure: No, not the structure of your presentation, the structure of the way your thinking about giving the presentation. The way you think about the presentation is the bit that will either motivate of demotivate you. The way we mentally structure our thoughts about what we do generates an immediate response in the body. Think of a favourite memory and notice what happens in you body. Now make the picture or movie of the memory smaller and imagine pushing it away so that its small and in the distance… what happens to the feeling? For most, it will feel less intense. This is because we are working with the structure of the thought and not the content. The memory is still the same and yet when its ‘way over there’ the feeling changes. Caught in Content: Yes, we get caught in content. “This happened, and then this and this and ….” The story is addictive and is often very present in our minds. Memories of the ‘last time’, ‘the first time’ and before we know it we are paralysed with fear. Why, because we are focussing on the story and the story was not pleasant, and yet we have learned to focus and try to change the story in some way.  Its faster to work with structure. And to the subconscious mind, a change that leads towards better feelings is always pounced upon. Its like honey to the bee. So, when we investigate and model successful speakers and we listen to people who have ‘moved on’ from difficult events, it is the change in the structure of their thinking that is the most recognisable. These people change the way they think about the event and this gives them a sense of control over the feelings that used to control them. So rather than asking why am I feeling this way, ask yourself How am I thinking about this and if I change something about that how will that feel different? Some How questions can go like:  am I imagining/remembering in colour or B&W? - change it and notice what happens to how you feelam I imagining/remembering it big or small? - change it and notice what happens to how you feelam I imagining/remembering it right in front of me or far away? - change it and notice what happens to how you feel Of course having a coach on hand to help is part of the master plan and will make the process of loving to speak much easier. so, if you have any questions just drop me a line. Photo: Mikael Kristenson

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