NLP Sixties

Glorious San Diego (Richard Bandler, Reiki, NLP)

Most of the delegates arrived on Sunday so we had a chance to talk to each other. Paul and I were the only two English people. There were about sixty of us altogether. Most were American. There was a small group of South-Americans, all Brazilians who spoke English, Spanish and Portuguese and one man from Argentina. Several people came from Europe, and a few from Canada.

The very next day, the first of the course, I met an Australian. I was on my way to the large room where we would be working. I walked alone on a long, glassed-in corridor that overlooked the sea and all the boats. In the distance was a stationary lady watching me. As I drew within hearing distance she addressed me.

“Hello. I know you. You are a healer and an old friend of mine. We worked together long ago in different times. It might have been Egypt or perhaps Atlantis.”

I was dumbstruck for a few moments. “I am here as part of my training to be a psychotherapist.”

“Give me your hand” she said and she scrutinised my palm. After a short time she said “Yes, we are old friends, you have the gift.” I am a Reiki Master and I shall initiate you whilst you are here. “ She was true to her word and she put me through Reiki 1 and Reike 2 within the first ten days. It was a strange experience. I felt very emotional and my hands became burning hot.

She didn’t charge me. “I don’t take money from friends” she said. “But use your gift of healing whenever you have the chance. She was right. Back in England I used what my grandsons called my “Magic Hands”. I used it many times when the children were small and it always seemed to work. Several years later my daughter was afflicted unexpectedly with something called Bell’s Palsy. It is a kind of paralysis that distorted one side of her face. Kate had been to see her doctor who told her it would probably go of its own accord or it might not. I went straight over to see her and I used my ‘magic hands’. They heated up very quickly. Nothing happened at once but that very evening she rang to tell me that every trace had gone. She was back to normal and has remained so. I have used it on myself many times and it usually brings relief.

Margo, for that was her name, invited me to go and stay with her in Australia where she taught Reiki in her house outside Melbourne. The very next year my business finally collapsed and I went off for my trip round the world. I went to Margo first for six weeks. I’ll tell you about it later.

This was the second time in my life that a complete stranger played the role of a guardian angel to me. I am a highly sceptical being. I always want to find a logical answer. But I cannot explain either of these events but both of them came to me out of the blue and both helped me to move in another direction when I was perplexed. More of this later.

I had a splended time. Never in my whole life have I spent two weeks on a learning course with international people, all of them interesting and different, in a perfect climate. Wherever we looked we saw beautiful views: a delightful mix of man-made creations and exotic flora and fauna much of which we had never seen before. Richard Bandler is a law unto himself. It was his baby and he was full of things to teach us. He would change direction at any time so you never knew exactly what we were going to do. There was an atmosphere of good-humoured joyousness all around us. Paul and I, both unorthodox people, fitted nicely into this kind of world that we had rarely come across before if ever.

Paul and I were instantly taken up as free-living Brits. We became popular because we were the only two English ones. I dislike the term Brits and we made it clear that we preferred English. Everyone was interested in us and we were very soon adopted in different groups. Bandler arranged them, so that we could all compete with each other for what he called tournaments.

Because I spoke Spanish, the South-Americans insisted I join their group. Since I was a natural-born hypnotist they told me they would teach me how to use hypnosis in Spanish. This was great fun because I had to change most of my vowels and consonants. It hadn’t occurred to me that it was a particular language that governed the way we use hypnosis because the sounds were different. Some languages are more emotionally effective than others. It was a pity that I never found any Spanish person to practise on when I returned home. We had lots of fun.

The people in our group were mostly American business men. Their companies had sent them there to learn NLP skills which can be very useful for business. They all towered above me, were beautifully dressed in well-cut suits, interesting ties and rings with big diamonds in them. As usually happened when Americans heard us English, they kept asking me to say something. “Why do you want me to speak.?” I asked. “Oh it sounds so cultured” they said. Another man told me “If you want to make a lot of money in California when you begin your practice as a psychotherapist, everyone will want to see you. You could make a fortune with an accent like that.” They seemed to take it for granted that I was well-educated because of the way I spoke. All this happened over twenty years ago. Recently someone who had lived in America for a while told me that the attitude there to the way we talk has changed somewhat. I don’t know whether he is right or not.

I was used to going to bed early. My Brazilian friends would have none of it. “No! No! You must come with us to a night club. “ I said I must get something to eat. “That’s all right. The night clubs all serve food as well.” I had no excuse. The few night clubs I had visited in England and Paris were not at all my cup of tea. However, what they called night-clubs were not what I called them. They were delightful. Each one had a restaurant. There was a small circle, in the middle of the chairs and tables, where people could dance. There was an even smaller band with only a few musicians. Having lived in Venezuela for nearly ten years I was very familiar with them. They played very enjoyable South-American songs and the dances were South-American too. They were quite easy to learn. I loved the rhythms. Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves. The atmosphere was great. It also closed quite early, usually before midnight.

Well, I said to myself, if that is what their idea of night-clubs is, I like them. Why can’t we have the same sort of thing in England?

After that first night out I went with them every night. Paul didn’t go. The course was continual hard work and he was in need of his bed. Sunday was a day off. We spent the day together exploring San Diego.


Fifties NLP

The Path To The Future (NLP and Other Stuff!)

Whilst I owned the shop in Glasgow I went up once a month to check out how things were going. I borrowed money from my bank to buy a new flat there. The price was very reasonable. I only had it for a short time. Kate now had two small sons. She and her husband brought them to stay with me there for a week. I shall never forget the sight of three-year-old Oliver with a blue hat on his head and a wide smile on his face climbing up all the stairs to the second floor. It was a big adventure for him. During the stay we went over to visit my great friend Alasdair in his fairy-tale house in the middle of mountains and country views. The boys were very thrilled with Scotland. I loved it too and even thought of going to live there in the land of my grandfather. But that was one of the many dreams that I came up with that never happened.

The country was on the edge of falling into one of those economic troughs that government was unable to prevent happening several times since the end of World War 2. I tried to find a buyer for my business in Glasgow but without success. But I did sell my Glasgow flat and made a small profit on it.

Before that happened, I had given up my franchise idea. Whilst I was thinking of doing some training for my future to work as a therapist. I saw an article in a Sunday newspaper about a new method called Neuro Linguistic Programming. Two American accademics, Richard Bandler and John Grinder had worked out a new way of altering lives by finding fresh ways to see, hear and feel. It is to do with changing habits. A sensible and popular motto for NLP is:

If you always do what you’ve always done then you’ll always get what you always got.

Think about it.

The fundamental principles of psychology were laid by Freud, Jung and Adler. I believe NLP is by far the most original and practical way of tackling human problems since those days. Nevertheless, NLP is a set of very useful techniques and that is all it is. Most people, more than anything else, love to be told what to do. That is why it has become so popular. It is great fun. Anyone can learn it. To try to penetrate the mysteries of any one human being and get through to him or her is another matter altogether. Very few people can do that.

Hypnosis is an important tool for NLP. My great grandfather had been a well-known hypnotist and I already knew that I, too, was born with this gift. That is the main reason why I paid money to learn this new method: that and curiosity. I wanted to see if hypnosis could be taught. After my experience in courses, conferences and watching people trying to learn it, I came to the conclusion that it is an inborn skill. It is just like everything else.

I always wanted to play the piano when I first heard the piano. I had to wait until my mother bought one when I was fourteen. I had lessons and practised every day. In three years I got up to grade six, which is quite an accomplishment, especially when I was studying for my School Certificate. My music teacher held a class for some of her keener pupils every Saturday morning. I listened to an eight year old boy playing a very simple piece. He had only been learning for two months. I realised that he had a musical gift that I would never have. I gave up once and for all.

I heard that an NLP course was being run by a Scotsman, who had been a social worker and had gone to America to be taught by the two founders. He was one of the first to teach this new method. My talented friend, Paul Brook, who designed two shops for me: the one on Kings Parade and the one in Glasgow, was intrigued when I told him about it. I had done some work with him using hypnosis and he was very impressed. He said he, too, wanted to go on the course. The venue was the Lake District in a large house used for educational purposes. We completed that course and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. This was indeed something new and we enjoyed the enthusiastic people who attended. It was especially exciting because it was the first one John McWhirter organised and he did it very well.

We liked it so much that he suggested that we go to America later in the same year where Bandler himself was leading another course in San Diego in California. My Cambridge shop was in business again after the repairs and doing very well. We were both self-employed and we could afford it.

We flew out together a few months after our first course.

I have been to several different conferences and courses and I had more fun on this one than any of the others. San Diego is famous for its interest in ships. We stayed in a splendid hotel at the edge of the sea which was full of all kinds of boats. We all had our own suites with sitting rooms, kitchens and bathrooms. The hotel price was incredibly cheap. The reason for this was that it had got into difficulties and had been taken over by receivers who were desperate to bring money in. Lucky old us!