The shift from ‘healthy’ to ‘ill’ was fast, traumatic and literally, an overnight shift. One day, I was a healthy teenager at the start of my A-Level studies with a dream of becoming a rock climbing instructor and living in the Canadian Rockies with my kayak and dog. The next, due to having had a particularly bad flu virus and also an extremely nasty reaction to Cannabis, I found myself bed-bound with chronic pain throughout my body and it was fast clear to myself and to my family that I was not going to be going back to school for the foreseeable future. What I didn’t know then was that it would take twenty four years to find the answer that would get me back on my feet and give me my life back.
And so began our journey of endless Doctors appointments and medical tests to find out what was wrong with my body. Thirty years ago, this diagnosis was made when you presented with symptoms of chronic bone, joint and muscle pain, extreme fatigue and cognitive mental struggles but any medical tests taken returned negative, essentially showing no sign of anything being physically wrong. This was incredibly demoralising as you were often told you were ‘just depressed’ or thought to be ‘opting out of life’. Both of these things couldn’t have been further from the truth for this once healthy teenager who’d had clear aspirations of living an incredibly active and adventure pack life.
Over the following twenty four years, I lived with daily constant chronic pain throughout my body, light and sound intolerance, extreme physical and cognitive fatigue and any physical output would result in a relapse of symptoms. This meant I experienced long periods of time where I was both bed and wheelchair bound and many years of a demoralising inability to fend for myself.
I tried every type of medication appropriate for the diagnosis (which often resulted in side effects and the worsening of symptoms) and every alternative therapy that I could access. From Nutrition to Reiki to various other types of therapies but nothing touched the sides of the illness let alone offer me any kind of light at the end of the long dark tunnel ahead.
But now lets fast forward out of the dark times to 2016 when I had finally reached a point of being now past twenty years of living with this illness and I’d hit my limit and THIS was when my transformational journey began when in May 2016, I attended the NLP based course that is called the Lightning Process.
Now there is also a video on the homepage of my website (www.alisonpetty.com) where I go into a fuller explanation of this course and I’m always happy to explain it further in a conversation after this meeting so do get in touch but just to keep on track with time this morning I’ll just say that the most important thing about it and that is that from the first day of being on that course, I never sat in a wheelchair again and more importantly for me, I never relapsed again.
This is because each time you repeat an action, the neural pathways associated with it fire and create stronger and faster connections which will enable you to access the skill or memory quicker and become even more efficient at recalling that new phrase that you are learning in Danish.
And of course, we engage, create memories and can choose to learn a new skill at any age.
In NLP we say that ‘Neurons that fire together… wire together’
When you look at life from an NLP perspective you essentially see a structure.
A structure of experience.
When I work with a client who is presenting for example, with anxiety about going to an event there will be an internal structure upon which their thinking about the upcoming event will sit.
That structure will most likely have been formed on a past negative experience at an event that would have been quickly followed and compounded by their internal dialogue and narrative about the event which will have meant that any future event will have been seen through a distorted lens. The outcome of which will most likely have also been a negative experience. More scaffolding to add to their current negative structure.
But through the application of NLP techniques and powerful coaching conversations their internal relation to events can be turned from a negative structure into a positive structure.
And while we all know that life can throw us curveballs and that future event might well turn out to be challenging, being able to approach it with an internal structure, positive narrative and expectation will only put us in our best state within which to experience it and embrace all positive aspects and of course, deal more effectively with any negative glitches that might arise.
So using rock climbing as an example because I have used this modelling approach highly effectively within my own climbing life to progress my ability and skills…
I will watch with great focus and attention climbers that I know who are highly skilled at climbing. This includes both friends and elite climbers who are in top of the game. These guys, I will watch climb relentlessly on YouTube.
But what is going on internally for me, is watching HOW they climb.
The way in which they move and all the subtleties involved.
When I have used this with my climbing I have always found much to my delight that my ability transcends my expectation of where I had previously believed my abilities to sit. And have found myself making moves on the climbing wall that I previously didn’t know I was capable of making.
It’s a wonderful and exciting way to learn and grow.
if I can do it… then so can you.
From there we can begin to create our new reality internally using the power of our imagination to create the life that we want to shift ourselves into….
And then there is the power of language which is a key part of the process.
Once we have our clear intention for the change we want to make in place, we can begin to re-wire our neural-pathways to create the new structure of our life experience with NLP techniques.
And then begins the exciting journey of embodying this new reality that we have chosen for ourselves….
…and the going out into the world to fully live our life!
For me it really comes down to this.
Today’s thoughts and actions truly do shape our present and future.