New countries, new playgrounds.

Since I returned from a month in Australia in September it’s been a bit of a whirlwind on the passport front. The Canary Islands in December for a break and to catch up with Agustin Hernandez, a prolific Rebirther in Teneriffe, followed by Austria over Christmas to launch Rebirthing groups in the Tyrol, then my first presentation in Morocco in January this year. At the end of  last month I went back to Innsbruck  for 2 more Rebirthing groups, which is building nicely with an opportunity to start Rebirthing in Vienna later in the year.

But the big one is Morocco, I am so excited by the opportunities there, that I have started a blog and information site just for that country and it’s cultural differences, in english and some pages in french. It appears that limited rehab and detox facilities ( if any ) exist in Morocco and no government figures are available for alcohol & drug use, as if no abuse problems exist. I had some reservations when I was invited  to present there, as alcoholism is paramount to the history of codependency and speaking about alcohol in a muslim country I thought would prove difficult. Well it wasn’t. People were eager to talk about it, either privately or in group. Casablanca appears to have noticeable alcohol issues alongside, club drugs and sexual activity via female prostitution. All this creates shame, the word I kept hearing in relation to family secrets.

This makes sense on reflection because Casa is not a tourist destination but the financial and business hub of Morocco breeding all the problems we experience in the West when money, power and addiction come together.

For my first presentation, the free two hour thursday evening introduction was ready with 20 chairs – and 45 people turned up! It was not the amount of interest that held my breath, but the diversity of audience, all ages, from twenties to grannies, from short skirts to covered heads and legs and equal men and women. Locals and expatriates from France, Spain, Belgium and America sat cross legged on the floor hungry for information about a subject that rarely gets spoken in public there : codependency & addictions. So it was wonderful to work with well over 20 people on the One Day Saturday Seminar, including 6 doctors, and twelve people who had never experienced Rebirthing Breathwork before. Well the feedback speaks for itself :

Excellent but too short – come back! . . .  David Parkers relaxed and unpretentious attitude, humour and calm way of speaking . . . Can you come back once a month? . . . My first Rebirthing breathe was sensational! . . . well led, adaptable, complex material . . . Very secure and relaxed atmosphere.

Before I left Casablanca train station at lunchtime the next day, for the Marrakech Express, the wonderful committee of NAFS ( The Moroccan Rebirthers Association ) invited me to a power breakfast beforehand to complete. We discussed the feedback sheets and I agreed that I would return in May for a weekend seminar and a week in Casa for private sessions and to build up support, if only to repeat the laughter we all had. Since then I have been invited to Tangiers to start something there later in the year and other requests have come in from Yoga centres to develop ideas. I have committed in my schedule to return to Morocco 3 times a year, this year and next, to build for the good of all concerned. I so look forward to returning the first 2 weeks of May.

En shallah!

So a BIG THANK YOU to the committee pictured here as I left and to Philippe Raffrey from Rabat who attended my one day and listed my blog and information on his pioneering alternative therapy blogsite, the largest such site in Morocco :  http://marocterredeveil.canalblog.com/

. . . & do check out my NEW Moroccan blog and info pages here : http://urbanlifeclass.wordpress.com/

A Tyrolean Breathe

Rebirthing new people is always exciting.

One never knows how they will take to being out of control with controlled conscious connected breathing. I am always surprised how young clubbers are eager to drop a pill from a dealer without question in a club but fear breathing deeply on the floor fully focused without chemical support. If only they knew that the end result of a breathe has been described as coming up on an ‘e’, they would do it more and fear less. Natural highs contain spiritual ecstasy – not chemical con tricks.

Innsbruck in the Austrian Tyrol has an active snowboarding, skiing and extreme sports day time calendar and at night, bars, clubs, alcohol and other youthful distractions make for messy times. In London my market is music, clubs, fashion & media but when I lead Rebirthing Groups, Seminars and small groups around the globe the demographic is more mixed and good that it is.

I have been asked several times to come to Innsbruck in Austria to start REBIRTHING GROUPS but it never felt right. There is something to be said for not grabbing at every invitation that comes along. South Africa has asked me to come to Johannesburg in 2011, but detail needs to be done, those days of flying across the world because ” the invitation came ” are over. Some practitioners still think that it’s not spiritual to turn away a client away ( because higher energies have delivered them to you ), but experience has taught me that NO is the most satisfying word in the english vernacular. Detail is more important than acknowledgement of work. I haven’t said NO yet to SA because the countries issues interest me : drugs, crime, poverty, HIV/AIDS regarding releasing blocked emotional trauma, but without conscious detail, intuition and breathwork have no bedrock.

Next month January 2011, I begin working with an established Breathwork Centre in Casablanca Morocco, and said YES straight way, when invited, simply because the detail was there from the beginning and working with family dysfunction recovery in North Africa holds my creative attention. 2011 seems to be my year for Africa.

CODEPENDENCY Recovery depends on clearer boundaries and communication and it remains my next task to focus on South Africa and it’s opportunities. In the meantime Innsbruck, Austria is new to REBIRTHING BREATHWORK and a small group gathered for the 1st group on Thursday, with the view above from the patio, a blissful surrounding – we have another on Monday. Without another Rebirther to hand I only work with 6 new participants in a group, this way I can offer full attention to individuals while serving the group as a whole.

. . . and yes breathing new people is exciting.

Set for 3 hours, the group stayed for another few hours to eat and socialise. Most of them expressed tearful emotions during the breathe and felt wonderful, according to phone and facebook messages the next day, so the job was done. How this work will be developed here I don’t know yet, but Innsbruck has localised networking and yoga groups to start the ball rolling. Here is the band of breathing pioneers from the 1st Alpine Breathing Group in Innsbruck.

The next batch of 6 arrive on Monday.

So organising for me may just mean finding 6 people, then another 6 to make the trip financially eloquent. It can be in your home, if suitable. Then a One Day Seminar or a Weekend Training in a chosen venue. But the real essential is detail and clear communication.

This is the only vision I focus on.

Control Freak!!

In order to explore the breath fully you need to learn to let GO. Christina Thomas in her book SECRETS, published 1989 describes the following conundrum :

” ARE YOU CONTROLLING or IN CONTROL?

This is a very important distinction! Whether you are controlling or in control of your life will make a very major difference in the quality of your health, your business affairs and all your relationships. If you have a thought that you must control your life or anything in it, then you are working very hard. And there is no reason to attempt to control anything! Think about that for a moment. Can you control anything? do you have the power to control that your heart will be beating even two minutes from now? Of course not! But if you have not examined this subject, you may have a thought that you must control things.

As you begin to trust your unconscious self more, you will be able to begin surrendering, willing to do your best and give it to the God energies. It’s okay to be ” in control ” meaning centred, poised, balanced and using your intelligence to achieve optimum results. ” CONTROLLING ” is when you have a thought that you have to do it by yourself or that you have to MAKE something happen or not happen. Control is a form of fear and is the opposite of love. if you have any doubt about this, just look around in your life and locate a person who is very controlling and see if you feel loved thereby. People turn to controlling instead of trusting life; somewhere along the line such people have made a decision that they are unsafe unless they control everything. Although that decision may have been forgotten, it is running the life of that person and demeaning the quality of his or her life experience.

If you honestly investigate this, you will realise that it is not possible to control anything. Just shifting the way you think about this will help you to relax and become more effectively in control.

EVERYTHING IS ALREADY PERFECT . . . . There is a vast and orderly intelligence at work in the Universe; it is functioning perfectly in your life, the chances are that you are controlling something – which is a way to keep the perfection away. You are, then, literally holding the perfection OUT! While it works to have a preference for a certain outcome, being ” attached ” to or insisting on having only a certain outcome is the way to disadvantage yourself.

Allow these concepts enough room to notice how they are working in your life!

The Connected Breath

From her book SECRETS – Christina Thomas describes THE CONNECTED BREATH

“Now I will describe the actual rebirthing or connected breath. Let us use mouth breathing as an example. Open the mouth rather wide and draw in with intention and willpower on the inhalation : then immediately EXHALE, just allowing the breath to fall away. You will not “follow the breath out” or blow out or control the exhalation or try to make it the same duration as the inhalation. Just let go and allow it to fall away as if you were dropping a ball off a cliff. This is a vital point. Many people will attempt to control the outbreath in some way, as they probably attempt to control your own lives. If the exhale is controlled IN ANY WAY, it is not a rebirthing breath.

Next point : No pauses before or after you inhale or exhale. This is another way some people unconsciously attempt to control the process. Initially, you may have many random thoughts and all are OK. You may feel that you are taking too much time, that you don’t how to do it right, that this isn’t going to work, that you are hungry, thirsty, wish this was over, feel really weird, wonder if you’ve gone crazy, feel like your throat is too dry etc. And none of those thoughts matter at all because this process happens outside of the mind. Sometimes the mind is involved, but it is not required to cooperate in the rebirthing process, which is why the breath is more powerful”.

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Re-reading this from way back when I read it first in 1989, highlights what happens to us when we stop and feel. Codependents are DOING people not BEING people. This is why the affirmation ” I do enough, I am enough, my presence is enough ” saved my arse more than once. In order to recover from any addictive compulsive behaviour like chronic helping, one needs to stand back with the Highway code. STOP, look, LISTEN and Speed-bump your life. Think it, but don’t act it out.

So it’s little wonder that once left to ourselves and the breath we try to fill that ” God slot gap ” with hunger pains, negativity and restlessness. If only we could give that level of care and attention we give to others, to ourselves freely, the divine gap of the breath will EXPAND into peace, bliss and eternal safety. You can with Breathwork Coaching- it’s simply spiritual hoovering of body and soul.

Needs and Wants

Oliver James, who wrote the book AFFLUENZA, a theory based on a virus of shop-till-you-drop mentality, says that placing too high a value on money, possessions, fame and outward appearance is bad for mental health. He says that it’s time for cold turkey and in the short term, as with any addicts cleaning up their act, there will be pain. In the UK, with a change of government, mega debt & world recession we are about to experience the worst government cuts since World War 2. I hope we receive food parcels from overseas.

It takes courage to face the unfaceable, but when you stop to think about it, shopping has no boundaries for many shopaholics as they have learnt to confuse real needs with disposable wants.

It’s clear that we don’t need a lot of what we buy, we could reduce without too much pain but like a child who refuses to go to school the mouth says ” Why should I? “. A real need is for things like emotional intimacy or to feel emotionally secure: a new HD TV are wants stimulated by the “must have” advertising industry. My Fisher TV was purchased in 1986, from John Lewis and it still works perfectly; I am rigged up for digital but I don’t have time for 4 channels let alone multitudes of cable adverts. I just don’t need it, nor want it. Traveling three months of the year in homes and hotels shows me what crap sat TV is anyway. Having said that, many a night I have sat comatose watching BBC News on a loop in a foreign hotel.

Two new studies on the psychology of spending concludes that buying stuff is the ” heroin of human happiness “and that shopping malls and pedestrianized High Streets have replaced parks and other forms of nature to have a day out. We may want to go to the Mall to fill time but do we need too? Do we need to buy another pair of trainers, a handbag or a sale bargain. Most people are bored when they shop, lacking motivation or imagination in spending disposable time. Like the addict they are desiring a quick hit, and a mode of escape. Cinema’s and Food Courts in Malls complete the addicts junk day out. This so called ” Family ” Entertainment is like processed cheese, yummy but no long-term nutritional value.

I have hit hard times in the past as a recovering bankrupt but 5 years with no credit was what I needed to sort my habits out. You don’t need to go this far but it may be of value to see what you can live without, or what you need to feel gratitude.

These 2 links may be of interest :

http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/reviews/all-consuming-by-neal-lawson-1728878.html

http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20227121.900-review-ispent-sex-evolution-and-the-secrets-of-consumerismi-by-geoffrey-miller.html

The Family Way

Codependency can be about not knowing where you end – and others begin – physically, emotionally, intellectually or spiritually within the family. There are no healthy boundaries.

Maybe you don’t know what you really stand for except your job.  Go to a party or social gathering and people will ask you who you are, what do you say? Are you someones partner, a middle-class professional career, a fraud, a celebrity, a nobody, a carer, a rescuer, a FAKE?

When does your work identity end and the real you emerge?

John Bradshaw writes extensively about Adult Children of Dysfunctional Families and is the name to look for on Amazon. Here is a list of dysfunctional traits that stand to be corrected.

Then you will see why people in therapy say it’s the best investment they have made and why people brought up in a home of emotional supression, family secrets, rows and confrontation refuse to blow the lid off. But then if you don’t, something else will in later life, the memory will return to double you up in pain to stumble.

Abandonment issues * Delusion and Denial * Family Secrets * Isolation even in a crowd * Constant Worry * Control Freakery * 24 hour Guard Duty / Hypervigilant * Internalized Shame * Lack of Boundaries * Grandiose behaviour * Reactive & Reenacting * Numbed Out * Fixated Personality * Out of Touch with body & feelings * Faulty Communication * Withdrawn and under involved * Never Satisfied * Compulsive Addictive * Intimacy Problems * Over involved fixer * Abuse Victim * Lack of coping skills * Confused Identity * Depression avoider via Activity * Judgemental Perfectionism * No trust * Loss of your own Reality * Inveterate Dreamer * Spiritual Bankruptcy – lacking non-religious faith of any kind * Equifinality

EQUIFINALITY ?  – No matter where you begin, you end up in the same place.

Functional they may be but mobile phones are the current tool to practice lack of boundaries. In a dysfunctional family respect is vague, faded and obscured. In a train carriage or a restaurant table boundaries are broken left right and centre, becoming a curse of modern life that we bare because we think we can’t live without them. We put up with it in much the same way we put up with family dysfunction. We become exhausted with asking, people not listening, not respecting etc that we numb out ( see list above ). When a child is abused in the home the body remembers.

Every time you feel shock, you hold your breath. Next time you have sex check whether your breath is held. Every family memory you carry into adulthood including verbal abuse, put downs . . reside within, gasping for air.

These are just a few examples of lack of boundaries. Today’s task is to consider your own.

To help you do this flick through these links until you find something that resonates.
Then use it as a starting board to write down where dysfunctional boundaries have occurred in your life, they may be your own, your co-workers friends or family. Once you realize where a boundary has been crossed, take steps to correct this. Therapy is an advantage in learning to do this but often a simple explanation to someone, eyeball to eyeball, with a balanced tone to the voice can correct an action seldom to repeat.

Please Release Me

One of my pre-teenage memories of shame involved a launderette. I must have been 12 or so and Mums copper ( an archaic washing machine ) at home broke down so we trooped off to the local machine wash. My first embarasment involved both of us not knowing how to operate the machine – convinced that the whole launderette was watching us fumble. The shame of it all. The pain of public failure. Then THE most shaming thing happened. My mum opened the machine front loader and we both STARED at a very clean and hot used condom sitting all on it’s own in the metal drum. Silence kills. Do we remove it? or move to another machine having put the money in?

We called the service lady and shame clouded over in a flash as she fished it out with rubber gloves for all to see. Heads ducked down, papers read, windows were scoured and lips pursed. On another occasion when I was 16 we had moved to a new house and friends of my parents stayed for the weekend so mum & dad gave them their bedroom and so they slept on the PUT-U-UP in the lounge. In the morning I helped them fold the bed up and we STARED again at a torn Durex wrapper on the carpet. Can you imagine? They were still ” doing it “. The shame of it all.

In their book : Letting Go of Shame/Understanding How Shame Affects Your life – Ronald & Patricia Potter-Efron explain about shame being a universal emotion. ” Shame temporarily disconnects people from each other. For example, women in America and many other societies will often modestly look away when they notice someone showing sexual interest in them, even if they are interested in the other person. The message they may be giving ( only under certain circumstances, of course ) is that their sexuality is too powerful to openly express in public. Similarly, people will ordinarily avoid eye contact when a situation threatens to become too potent ”

This made me think how we interchange with each other on the London underground trains, the place where no-one speaks except crack heads, beggars or anyone from Spain.The British culture prefers to ” look away ” to avoid upset, confrontation or shame. Now good old British shame is no different from American shame or Swedish shame ( however – the Italians ARE shameless – look at the revolving governments ) and if fear is universal then shame follows close behind.

John Bradshaw talks about the core of codependency being ” toxic shame ” developed and nurtured from family of origin. Until we release our innermost shames we can never be free. We create our own prison cell. Anyone in 12 Step Recovery will understand 4th Step value or simply the release of sharing. This is all therapy is – letting go with love. It is also about booting out judgement and guilt – the mafia of the mind.

Next time you get on the Underground ( tube train ) use it as a meditation space. Watch and see who avoids your eye contact, be observant and recognise that you are part of these peoples lives, you hold a place, there is no separation of humanity. By observing others you observe yourself and by practicing the art of full eye contact when listening or speaking, you find more clarity within yourself. This is the antidote to shame. And next time you like someone who stares back at you in a sexy way – for christ sake SMILE not hide away. It costs nothing.

I am not suggesting you travel the tube or walk the streets with the smile of someone with the look of community care or just found Jesus but I am suggesting that you focus on each opportunity to drop shame and fear. Shame takes a long time to dissolve so erase the hasty cure with small bites, note each day where and when shame arises and use that powerful mantra FEEL IT, CLAIM IT, DUMP IT. Recovery is not about how much shame you have but how long you hold on to it once noted, so find a spiritual launderette to wash, spin & open up your heart to light.

Time Waster

You may find you spend hours each day, or lie awake at night, worrying about your situation. You may torture yourself worrying where a certain person is and with whom.

You may go over and over the past, reminding yourself of the pain, or recounting every detail in an episode or project you have on-going, projecting a problem before it appears. Living this way is addictive for many – it’s called OBSESSION. There are all kinds of obsessive fixations, using WORK as the only way to feel good about oneself is one example, needing peoples approval is another or continuously thinking you are right is not an obvious fixation, but we all know someone who refuses to be wrong. In fact they are obsessively RIGHT.

An athlete can be obsessed about winning but this may not be an unhealthy fixation because the obsession holds a positive destination. Worrying about a friends health holds no purpose at all except to show them that you care at the cost of losing your own marbles. ” I was worried sick “, what’s the point of that? A total time waster. Showing you care holds many a stance, and can often be a subconscious game of manipulation and control. Caring for a sick friend healthily can mean just being available, or telling it like it is, tough love if required. I was told in my early days of recovery by a woman who genuinely cared for me, enough to say ” stop whining looking for sympathy “. It wont work. If that’s what you want look in the dictionary between shit and syphilis, that’s where you will find sympathy, and she was not wrong.

But Obsession does serve a purpose, even if it gives an illusion of power and control over life. Some people even see worry as an essential task and a visible sign of consideration. Scheming revenge, planning punishment and holding onto pain and resentment is a full time career for some people we know. The purpose of obsession is to be worn out by it, in final surrender of this futile practice. Letting go is not natural to the serial wounded. Fear of loss of control and the rise of omnipotence delivers compulsive behaviour, because the ego insists you ” do something ” rather than feel helpless, yet helplessness is the path to forgiveness and peace. Victimhood of the past or present moment stops you from solving the past or present moment simply because we have been trained to fight and struggle. Even the first sentence of Scott Peck’s THE ROAD LESS TRAVELLED says ” Life is difficult”. It goes on to further : This is the great truth, one of the greatest truths ( The first of the “Four Noble Truths” which Buddha taught was ” Life is suffering “. ) Peck goes on to say : It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult – then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact of life is difficult no longer matters. And worrying about it – even less.

So the purpose of obsession is to transcend it.

Rehab will tell you that you can’t get well until you realise how sick you are. To paraphrase Peck : Once you let go of the problem, you find solution, which is why we need to let go of obsessional time-wasting demands that serve no purpose at all – like worry. Pecks conclusion to life as a series of problems is DISCIPLINE. Not the cold shower treatment or a scarcity diet but simply the simple adage that ” discipline is the basic set of tools we require to solve life’s problems. Without discipline we can solve nothing. With only some discipline we can solve only some problems. With total discipline we can solve all problems “. Discipline simply means “to focus”.

In order to run the race of our life many think we need to be tarnished with an obsession, the obsession to get in the driving seat to tackle the Life Road head on, driving like a lunatic until we crash. It may be a minor scrape or a complete turnaround of the vehicle, no matter, the fact is that you have survived the journey to eventually become a back seat driver. Never to get in the front seat again.This is the magnificent obsession, the one to hold and cherish as a spiritual athlete, no longer needing to be in charge of the steering wheel. Yes we need to do footwork, which includes trust, but the destination is irrelevant.

Marianne Williamson wrote in her book A RETURN TO LOVE : ” Gods plan works, yours doesn’t “. This is why it’s wise to focus on the moment and not a goal in 5 years time.  It doesn’t stop me creating goals, it’s good to focus on a project, but it does stop me worrying about the destination. When I look back over the mind blowing moments of my life they were never of MY creation – a phone call, a social connection, an opportunity all ” came my way ” while I was doing something else. On one level I created it, but only because I was willing to receive without demand.

My favourite lesson in A Course In Miracles is “I will stand back and let Him lead the way”.

Him” can be any spiritual energy you choose, I choose Haidakhan Babaji as my Master influence, my business manager, my mentor. He drives, I sit and witness the journey free of worry, free of timespan and free of anxiety. But it does require discipline to banish the ego and its mischief to avoid spiritual demand. This is the real work.


Take all of me . . .

People seem to have got it into their heads that it’s a divine right to find a soulmate or lifetime partner, often feeling cheated by the world if they don’t turn up. Not so many decades ago a woman ” left on the shelf ” was a visible sin. A man who hadn’t married was deemed sad, gay or both. A son or daughter who stayed home looking after a parent was seen giving up the chance for love – for duty, and thus praised.

This romantic vision of being snatched by love, held tightly hostage is fueled by books, movies and musical lyrics. This illusion of wholeness is as rancid as old butter. Anne Wilson Schaef, the most progressive exponent of relationship recovery in the ’80s & ’90s said ” The realization of the extent of our relationship addictions, both individually and as a society, is shocking. However, there is no need to get depressed, because we can do something about it.” This following quote from her book When Society Becomes an Addict : Understanding The Social System, Reclaiming Our Personal Power – is food for recovering serial relationship addicts. You know who they are.

”    Dependent relationships are the norm within the addictive system of society. Addicts of any kind are invariably dependent or counter-dependent. Counter-dependency has been described in psychological circles as a reaction against extreme dependency. Counter-dependent people feel so dependent on others that they must convince them ( and the self ) that they do not need anyone at all and, hence, act so as to say : I don’t need anybody “. An addict , to recover, must recognize the need to rely on oneself and take care of oneself. Recovery is the realization that one has the ability to do this AND the ability to stay close to others without being dependent.This realization contradicts everything we are taught. From an early age we are told that dependency is the road to intimacy, and that two people cannot get close to each other unless they become mutually dependent. Two people are deemed intimate when they have reached the stage at which neither can function without each other. We call this the perfect union, the perfect marriage.

What I have observed, however, is that dependency DESTROYS intimacy.

The person being depended upon feels sucked dry, and the person doing the depending comes to resent the other. The relationship that once made both of them feel important and needed and secure eventually leaves them drained and exhausted. Over time they may even come to hate each other. In other words, the mechanism does not work the way we are taught it will work. “

What struck me re-reading these words from my bookshelf is that we have only just recognised that our banking and financial system no longer works. We have allowed our lives to be run by addicts in suits and we are paying the price. How long will it take for society to realise that old relationship demands no longer work either. Do you wish for a dream of lifetime hostage or prefer to be set free to explore interdependent relationships where two people exchange intimacies while setting each other free,to experience wholeness and authenticity not entrapment and dependency?

Whole interdependent relationships are possible but you need to address the issues that hold you back from receiving TRUE LOVE, the love for self and another human being without conditions – including staying. Unconditional love means nothing less.

Discuss at leisure.


Open Your Eyes To Happiness

Like poverty happiness is relative, so create your own scale. I used to think that ” loving too much ” was intimacy & true happiness until I found drugs further up the ladder. Now drug free for a few decades and then some, HAPPINESS is whatever I choose it to be, like the freedom to make mistakes without beating myself up afterwards, freedom to make clearer choices and waking up on clean sheets without a hangover or comedown makes me very happy, I can tell you. Small things count.

They say that RESENTMENT kills the container it’s kept in, and my fuselage was well corroded when I was in a coma of drug use all those years ago – counting up all the things I did for people and the people that gave nothing back.

Maybe you think this :  I will be happy WHEN I get a new job, flatmate, partner and lose weight.

A Course In Miracles states that ” everything is temporary “, and once you get that notion and accept that happiness can’t be captured, freedom arrives quickly, as freedom is intrinsically linked to happiness. Freedom to be who you are, to be authentic without editing, to be open about lifestyle and character defects.

Losing past and present resentments is a key to Happiness. What works to anyone’s advantage is to write down 5 resentments about past or present, and be prepared to drop the hurts that burn inside. The Great Escape of drink and drugs are great tools to employ relaxation, release and realizations, long may that continue, but not so hot when the returning resentments capture your happiness and take you back to prison camp. I heard someone say that they drank to drown their sorrows then their sorrows learn’t to swim. Well, it was true for me.

Ironically, one of the happiest periods for me was 1994-96 just before the arrival of combination therapy for those HIV Positive. I worked soley with people living and dying from AIDS, as it was then, all with CD4 counts below 10. A healthy person has over a thousand. I took one guy to Turkey with a CD4 of 2, he was determined to have a holiday before he died. He was so happy to have made it ( and he lasted another 3 years with combination therapy ). Another wanted to be wheeled in a wheelchair to see David Hockney’s Mr & Mrs Ossie Clark & Percy at the Tate Gallery for the last time, while another decided to die on crisp white French linen so off we went to Peter Jones with cash in hand. Humour in times of darkness is an essential breeder of joy. With these guys I assisted them to complete their life, releasing resentments before they passed into light but anyone can lift the luggage they hold without the threat of death, though I do accept that fear is a great motivator. Try being motivated by joy instead.

For me happiness is a pile of freshly ironed and folded shirts. I get great satisfaction from that. Babaji said Karma Yoga (work) breeds happiness. Happiness is knowing that you have cleared the wreckage of the past. Happiness is turning the phone off. Happiness is being silent in a persons arms. Write your own list each day as an antidote to losing the plot and start running your life with a new set of rules to fuel happy thinking. You can get this through therapy, coaching or flicking through inspirational or self -help books. But deciding not to bother with the exercises mentioned is likely to end in a half-measured result.

In Rehabs like the Priory for a 6 week stay, people often do 16 hours a day of individual writing, group sessions, individual counseling and emotional management including the suggestion to LET GO OF CONTROL. Just think about how your sense of happiness is determined by the behavior of other people. Learning to detach from fixing others, pleasing others and then fixing and pleasing yourself is perhaps the ultimate shift in contentment and codependency recovery.

David Weeks scientific study, the first on the subject of Eccentrics, found them to be the happiest people and they live longer purely because they gave up taking notice of what people thought of them. Happy people are happy from within – not unhappy to be without the latest label. So remember that you don’t have to have a fit body to workout from the INSIDE, and once you start to focus on solutions you will realize that a perfect waist is not the key to a perfect life. Happiness is there for the taking if you open your eyes to seek it.