Preamble: Neil Crofts (http://www.authenticbusiness.co.uk/) does not mix words. He says the modern person is working in indentured slavery and/or is addicted to temporary hits of happiness. “Happiness seems like the end of the rainbow.”
…the happiness we feel is usually fleeting and attached to events or things. In this way we develop and understanding that happiness is external and comes from the outside.
This then leads to a constant search for happiness in external events or things.
In fact like any addiction it turns into the spiral of diminishing returns.
Recently, people have been talking about a world addicted to oil. A lot of our “comfortable” life style comes from using fossil fuels. Some call oil “slave replacements”. And yet we are probably not happier for all the oil generated comfort.
Now, my quest is visit a place that provides an excellent service for people who have, perhapsthough through lack of self confidence, got into addiction to hits of happiness and are feeling theneed to break away from it. This place provides therapies and or treatments and a way to helppeople deal with and get off the addiction.
Tapescript: Journey to the cure part one.
I am in the departure lounge, sitting on a nice redwood polished bench. I look around for a lift. I seem to be recalling many past visits from this point. Behind me is a grey lift, one I haven’t tried. I get a feeling of hospital. A cream coloured lift is next to it.
I hesitate but take the cream one.
“Happiness hits addiction” is written on the sign near the button.
The lift goes up just one flight. It opens onto what looks like a hospital corridor. Beds on either side. Should I be here? I walk along this huge corridor that at last opens onto a shopping mall, lots of busy shops on two floors.
I wonder if you can get rid of this addiction by buying something.
Can you buy your way out? Sick if you can! But I realize it is not true. Shopping gives a temporary relief to this feeling but it never lasts.
If you are really sensitive you can go into a shop and feel all that excitement from all the thingsthere, and how they will make you feel if you own them. But it is all about how you will fell aboutyourself. I mean, why do people not feel good about themselves anyway?
I enter into a waiting room on the right, and go in and ask for an appointment.
“Someone will be available shortly,” says the woman behind the desk.
It looks like a beauty parlor to me here, staff are walking around in white coats. I park my self in the waiting room and ask a person sitting next to me about money and costs.
“That is the last thing you should worry about” came the reply.
“Mr. Wahlter!” Someone invites me to their office.
I meet a man in his 50s, dressed in a dark suit. “How can I help you?”
“The addiction to happiness and all that follows from it. I would like to do something about it. A course of treatments, or a way of dealing with it. Can you tell me what you offer?” I ask.
It seems they offer retreats, physiological tests, treatments etc.
I get a self-test diagnostic on paper.
Tick if the following apply to you
? Can’t sleep
? Generally bad self confidence
? Shopping doesn’ t makes you happy or work for you any more
? Nothing makes you happy
? Slight depression
? Stomach problems
? Generally lack of self-care on basic levels, heath hygiene nutrition and living space
? Love life affected
? Working life functioning poorly
I tick yes to all. Looks like I am suffering.
“What can you do for me- to help me get myself together?”
“Life Planning and retreats,” comes the reply.
Life planning is when you review your life.
Then we offer a series of treatments to help you relax and get in touch with yourself and a new eating regime and exercise regimen.
And something to do with water …spa.
They have everything it seems
“Well, we ARE a centre of well-being,” comes the reply and I link back to earlier quests.
I wonder; ”is there any special treatment just for the addiction like a step program or something?”
“We can’t do a step program. Human beings are so delicate and deep and sensitive, so in need of good experience. They are such incredible creatures; multi-faceted and complex emotionally. You cannot just apply any one solution.”
I ask the guy about his job.
“My job is to front the people who come here and help them make choices about the way forward.”
And about me?
“You are obviously suffering from the effects of happiness addiction – you can’t buy your way out. “
I go into borrowed genius mode. Looking through his eyes I see it is a clinic; they have everything- fitness and personal trainers.
I see the possibility for a doctor’s consultation.
Leaving the borrowed genius I ask for an appointment. A doctor is available immediately. I enter the examination room lie on the examination table. He connects a machine up to me to measure stress levels. Alpha and beta wave patterns can show extreme signs of stress, which appear when the body goes too far into addiction and stays outside the comfort zone.
far Borrowing his genius I see the comfort zone concept includes all the factors mentioned before, your home, food exercise, relationships, work, etc. There is a zone to get into. When you get too out of the zone it gets you showing effects.
“You are showing effects,” he says.
“You have to get yourself back into the zone. Life planning is one way, an exercise regime is part of that. Life planning is to get you into the zone. It’s about the addiction. When you get outsidethe zone it is as if you are stuck outside the fence and cannot get back in.”
Humans I see posters on the wall explaining how it works. Addiction is in fact the result of a naturalreaction that some how goes too far .. or you go “outside the zone”. You should be bounced back into the zone when you come to the edge. It’s natural you bounce back into the comfort zone.are steered by the need for strong experience and feelings. But if you get outside thezone you can get stuck outside and can’t get back. You have to pull yourself back consciously.You have to learn to pull yourself back. And it needs a lot of effort.
The life planning exercises help you identify the boundaries of the comfort zones to createcomfort. I see that comfort zones are not really about comfort as we might see it. These zones are aboutremaining within levels of stress. Maybe I need another term for it.
If you are in the comfort zone you will still feel a thirst inside to be really happy. The need to be really happy is there and it is a good need as it will guide you onto your next steps ofdevelopment. You should feel it. But not let it force you outside the zone.
If you are in the comfort zone you can take the next step. If your life is always outside the comfort zone you do not have the opportunity as long as you are being knocked around like a ping pong ball in the wrong place.
Their suggestion is to go on a life planning course, organize one and come back.
As I take my leave he tells me to work on my weight.
I say goodbye to the man on the desk. And thank him for his help.
I take the brochure for life planning. I’ll come back and go on a course.
A weekend full of treatment and exercises to get you going.
End Tapescript 1 Journey to the cure.
Alpha and Beta waves probably referred to EEG waves. According to the Web, Alpha are more like relaxed. Aware and creative waves, Beta are associated with doing things. A stressed person shows reduction in Alpha waves.
Alcoholics have successfully been treated with biofeedback where they learned to increase their Alpha waves, so the link between stress and addiction and brain waves seems viable.
An article in Newsweek talks about the latest research. Addicts shown pictures of people, for example taking cocaine show stimulation of the frontal parts of the brain. This stimulation is not demonstrated when they look at people in other activities. The theory is then that addiction is partly at least a kind of learnt reflex. Where the mind anticipates pleasure.
Other experiments point to how alcoholics who were given a new drug to suppress this reaction in the brain stopped their addiction, even being able to drink moderately – something no other treatment has been able to demonstrate.
Perhaps the most surprising result was that the alcoholics also starting eating less and stopped smoking. So maybe there is a drug to bring the whole of western civilization out of its addictive state.
People talk about mid life crises. Maybe that is when the addiction stops working as you require more and more “hits.”
Someone says that Feng Shui is about the same thing. I’ll look it up.
End of verifications for The Cure.
Tapescript 2 search for the cure for happiness addiction
Yesterday I wrote up the notes above for the first trip. There might be something there or not. My task today is to experience how life planning helps individuals address the problems of living a life affected by addiction to short hits of happiness.
I sit on the redwood bench and immediately see the facilitator saying “I have had enough of you!”
He turns to walk away.
I run after him saying; “don’t get upset, I need you!”
“You need me like a hole in your head!” he replies.
I run after and ask what he is trying to tell me. “You run and have fun but you need to deal with community action it needs to be spread and needs more work. What you are doing is not going to lead anywhere.”
Now I feel really enthusiastic about the quest – not.
A woman comes up and says “Are you ready for your treatment?”
“Err sure,” I say.
She goes over to the grey lift and I follow. She is rather “nurse-like” in her manner and dress.
Anyway “OK,” nylon smock says, “I am going to take you to the place, just follow me”.
We walk into quite a nice place, like a Japanese bath house, we pass a swimming pool, where people are relaxing.
She shows me a chalet; “this is your room. Get undressed and put a robe on with swimming trunks underneath.”
It’s a normal hotel room, quite pleasant, some green tea available. A nice and peaceful place. A bell sounds, we are all meant to go into a little meeting room. NO furniture, just a polished wooden floor. We sit down in a circle. Another bell sounds. The vibrations of these bells seem important for getting us in the right mood.
The bell goes off – bong bong bong-.
We sit in a circle, the leader speaks;”we are all here to address life planning”.
“Any questions or anyone want to share anything?”
“No no no “, everyone mutters in low voiced.
So, what we are going to do uses a large circle drawn on the floor of the room. This is our task: the segments of the circle represent different aspects of the lives we lead. While the bell is sounding we have to walk around the different sections of the circle. As we walk around we have to feel. Fell which aspects of our lives tense us, or make us feel good or just how we feel. And we have to feel how much of our energy we give daily to that aspect. High, medium or low.
I think we can stand in the circle or out of the circle depending on the strength of the feeling.
I go to work: love life, eating, free time, exercise, self image, level of control, personal development, relationship family/kids,
I walk round feeling like I would be at a low level with relationships with family, low with work but feel stressed, uncomfortable with money, love life – low energy but comfortable.
Personal development low and uncomfortable, living uncomfortable, use of living space, low energy.
I could go round many times. As I go round I get more and more understanding how I feel about that area. You can walk inwards and outwards to see how you feel about the levels of energy you are giving to these different areas.
Everyone walks around the room.
We sit down. We sit quiet for a few moments to let the experience catch up on us. We felt a lot during the exercise; it was confrontational – but necessary. You have to face all of this. These feelings act as a compass and guide.
I realize you can make up your own circle categories – these here are just a start. The next stage is to get a bit of paper with the circle on it and you put in the sections that are valid to you. You can even divide the circle section up into sub sections.
In the inner circle you put a dot to show level of discomfort. And the outer circle shows if you have a high or low level of activity in it.
We sit round again in a circle and have the diagram in front of us.
“What do we do now – any ideas?” The leader asks.
“Obviously you should address the areas of discomfort – and if you have too many you could be in trouble.”
Areas of discomfort are both ones where we are putting in a lot of energy and feeling stressed, or one where we are putting in little energy and feeling stressed.
But how would you address them?
I ask: “If I give low how do I know it is actually low? I could think I am low but I am high compared to the average Joe. How do I evaluate what does that means to me?”
The leader explains that I need to understand what I need to do to get into the comfort zone.
The best way is to talk to some one who knows about this particular area.
We are now invited to break up into groups to get expert help for the areas.
Home space planning is what I choose.
Who is helping out with that? We form groups as more than one chose that area.
The leader has a file, containing what is comfortable practice, high and low. And you have to work out what you do and don’t do compared to normal practice, best practice and mistakes to avoid. You work out where you are missing out.
He reads out what is regarded as best practice:
• A place for everything and everything in its place
• Clean regularly
• Tidy as you go
So I do not really do any of those. But I have to. You have to make a conscious effort to do it – and the longer you leave it the worse it gets. YOU HAVE TO if you want to get yourself back to stability and life enjoyment.
I realize that this has to do with the earlier impression about going over natural limits. If you do, then it is only conscious effort that will bring you over that line again.
You have to prioritize to get yourself back. But first you have to understand the negative effects – how they make you feel and affect your life.
We get given a new worksheet. We list negative effect, and priorities for reducing them.
Then we make a plan for each of the best practices we decide to implement.
I now have a plan.
That was that little session. We get a binder to take with us, with more notes, and to put our worksheets in.
We return to the group. I got some sort of insight from this exercise – a place for everything and a time for everything and everything in its time.
The next exercise is to set the day up. You have to do that properly too.
We are now asked to walk through the day and do the same exercise with the day.
Another circle now, the 24 hr clock.
Sections are marked out for the night, morning and breakfast and the lunch and the afternoon etc. I am asked to reflect on the different energy levels and what we do and how we do it.
YOU have to set YOUR day up. I walk through mine seeing it is a bit of a mess.
I do not settle down in the evening and that ruins the next day.
We walk through the day and back, using the same approach as before.
Where am I stressed?
Where do I put most/least energy?
The evening is my priority. We are reminded we should also look at what we are good at. At least I get things done, I see. Even if the execution is not so organized.
Addiction upsets your life as you and not doing in your time what you CAN do. Being satisfied with what you have got though is also important. If you have got a poor self image you are always tying to do more than you can.
So some people need to reduce their activity or stress for activity, and review and realign their standards to what is reasonable.
Actually it seems like a Japanese is leading this group. I might be able to borrow his genius – but it is not quite time for that. I am still walking up and down my day.
We sit down around the day circle.
The leader asks us what we can do about stressed parts of the day.
There are little theories about calming down. Generally coming down to another level and you’ve got music, candle light smells, aroma therapy – all that sort of thing.
I shall need a time to do that. OK – if my space organization is up the spout maybe my day rhythm is also up the spout. The day rhythm does not compare to my discomfort levels.
I have a suggestion about how to handle the day
Match day and levels to see they get the attention they need.
Before I can take the suggestion further we break for lunch. And for relaxation in the hot bath.
After lunch we will reconvene and carry on.
End of Journey to the Cure 2 tapescript.
The front lobes of an addict’s brain shows a high level of stimulation while looking at a picture of or thinking of the situation (substance, use of substance or circumstances) in which they experience the “high” compared to looking at something they are not addicted to, according to Newsweek. For example, cocaine addicts show frontal lob stimulation just looking at someone snorting coke. It is as if the brain gets wired to expect the buzz. So addiction is in the brain in part at least. Chemical addiction has something to do with that and how the brain is working.
I have been reading up on addiction – how humans are built for pleasure and in some environments that can get us into trouble. The radar system we have inbuilt does not always guide us right, especially in the modern context.
Just been taking Bach drops against exhaustion: oak and pine for sense of guilt. Guilt drives addiction I am sure, this started to come clear during the earlier sessions.
This is the third image stream. First I had some tests and booked into a life planning. The second was to experience a life planning sessions.
It is not about happiness it is about creating a comfort level – reducing stress and addictive behaviour – to be able to pursue happiness. What came out of the previous sessions for me was the need to take control of the day. It was how you can apply elements of best practice learnt from others.
Back on the bench in the departure lounge my nurse is waiting for me. “Lunch break’s over.”
I have missed something it looks like.
“Can you get me in?” I plead.
Following her to the grey lift it seems as if she is angry with me for missing a session orsomething. She turns and says, “continuity is important”.
The lift opens onto a hospital corridor I follow her through the shopping mall and into the centre. My room is still there. She gets me into a group’s afternoon session.
The room reminds me of a Yasugari room. There is a glass object made up of many vertical tubes. I get the idea you hit it and it will stimulate Alpha waves and relaxation.
The group appears, I put my robe on.
You are meant to go to lunch with the group. Being in the group helps you.
To surprise myself (prepare for answers) I shut my eyes. When I open them I shall be prepared for the course.
A Japanese guy is running the whole thing; everyone is sitting around in the circle.
Silence and contemplative atmosphere is important. I look at the others kneeling down. Quiet.
You need your quiet time every day.
To tackle addiction. You can’t always be chasing the next thing. Quietness is one of the tools to handle addiction.
Quieting the mind and stilling the body, something about Alpha waves. That is what this session is about.
End of session.
Tapescript: The workbook.
Looking for a cure for addiction to short term hits of happiness. An addiction-fostering environment means that there is no “natural” way for you to handle the addiction once you have started to exhibit additive behaviour. You simply have to consciously bring yourself out of it.
In this series of Imagestreams I am in a program of treatments.
In the departure hall the leaves of the rubber plant appear behind my bench in the waiting area.
I go to the grey lift, the nurse catches me up. “Wait for me”
Getting in the lift I press “3” I don’t know why.
As the lift ascends I check her uniform out – fairly standard.
“You are nearly finished with the sessions,” she says.
The lift opens and she takes me to my room where I get changed. I walk past the swimming pool and enter the room where the others were before. We wait for the leader. She takes her leave.
In the corner stands the Alpha wave sculpture, filled with water to a certain point. I wonder what you strike it with. Metal?
I pick up a metal hammer and give it the lightest tap – and get a chunky sound.
The guy enters saying he’ll show us the sculpture later and asks us to sit in the ring.
“Have you been practicing finding a quiet time? The quietness is your anchor in the story of this modern life,” he says.
Adrenaline exhaustion is what I have probably; I am living close to burning myself out.
He asks: “What shall we do now do you think?”
“We need to consciously work out how to get ourselves back- how we can pull ourselves away from the addiction side of the line,” I venture.
“Yes!” He says. “Now you know what best practice is, and you know what worst practice is as you are doing it so you need to draw the line between them.”
Everyone is in a ring around the circle on the floor.
When then is the formula?
He explains: “When that happens then I do this…that is drawing the line. That is the line you need to focus on to bring you back.”
We break up into groups I go into the handling personal living space group, which is my chosen problem area.
When I pick something up and don’t have a place to put it what do I do then?
I put it in a place …the place for things with no place.
Then they will pile up
When they Pile up THEN I will organize a place for them.
The others have a go.
“WHEN my house looks dirty THEN I will immediately decide a time when I will do the cleaning.”
“When I see something lying around THEN I will go and put it back immediately.”
(“I’ll be at it all day,” I object in my thoughts but then realize if I did this regularly I would not be at it all day)
“Is it this easy?” I ask.
“Yes, if the situation is draining your energy.”
“How long do you do it for?”
“All the time till it becomes automatic.”
Then you do it for the other areas as well.
You start with what is your situation..
A workbook is good, to have everything available and to draw the sections out and your priorities.
In the zone you will feel what you want to do and naturally get back.
The thing in the corner does not work – it is probably just a joke I think.
“If you run your finger round the rim you will get a sound. It is meant to stimulate alpha waves.” The leader says.
I think I understand, I must fill my form in for the when then bottom line. What it is and how it makes you feel. For each area, describe the situation – how bad does it make you feel, how do you want to fell. What is best practice and what is your strategy application of best practice. And then what are you going to do to keep yourself in the zone. And then everything will happen naturally. Your deeper desires will come to you and you will get the chance to adjust more naturally. With quiet time you will attune yourself more to yourself.
Look at your file everyday to keep yourself on track everyday.
To keep inspired to keep on track put a letter to yourself in the front of the file.
Follow up this treatment to write
• Why you care what your situation was
• How you were feeling
• What you found out
• What you decided to do about it, what you hope for so you can go back and see where you came from and see your own progress.
• What you decided
• Your request to yourself to help keep you on track.
The final part is the planning. Then there are other treatments you can do to help with relaxation, the physical side, the physical regime of exercise to help you.
You can go now on your way and good luck.
I ask the nurse if that is it, what I do next. She thinks I should do the treatment. Construct the workbook for myself and go through it. Then maybe use that to work out what is best for what I should do.
I thank everyone and return back to the exit hearing the facilitator say he needs me to keep to program development up and not let it slide.
“We have given you the answer how to sell it, you have to try.”
“OK,” I say.
Keep coming with the questions,.