Arguing & memory and who got it wrong?

So who's right and who's wrong?

goats butting heads to argue

Me and hubby had words yesterday. Nothing major really, just about what groceries we needed, the usual been married for donkeys years run of the mill tetchiness.

A bit later on he asked me why I'd reacted as I did. 'Hmph.' I snorted, rolling my eyes 'what do you expect when you say something like that?'

'Like what?' So I told him what he'd said and he just shook his head and bemused replied 'I never said that at all or anything like it!'

Now I don't take bemusement well, and as far as an apology went it was lacking greatly in the 'yes you're completely right as usual' words of appeasement.

But to be honest by this time I couldn't actually remember him saying what I'd thought he'd said at all, so I backed off from fully demanding a retraction and just let it lie. I'm a great peacemaker like that Winking

But this post is all about memory and the way you can recall exactly your very own and unique perception of something that happened. And the reality of remembering is that it is not, nor ever can be an unbiased brain recording of past events.

Near enough a hundred years ago in his book 'Remembering' Sir Frederick Bartlett describes a study in which he asked a group of people to read and then retell a story, a north American Indian folktale called 'The War of the Ghosts.'

He found that the people retelling, distorted the story to fit in with their pre-existing experiences, omitted the parts they deemed irrelevant and changed the emphasis and structure of the story to match their own view of how the world worked.

Which is exactly what hubby accuses me of doing....or is it me that accuses him
....well, we probably take turns to be fair, riding that particular horse into town.

What seems to be true is that...

"You don't remember what happened. What you remember becomes what happened."
(John Green from An Abundance of Katherines)

When something is happening what we really do is view that thing differently depending on our mood at the time, what we already know and what we expect to happen next.

Its an evolutionary thing. To be able to simultaneously process whats happening right at the minute, its similarity to what's happened in the past and to get creative with what that means is going to happen next, i.e. to prepare ourselves by considering more than one possible future stemming from whatever we are experiencing right at that point.

The fact is that memory evolved to be forward looking. A crucial function of the brain to be able to predict and plan for possible eventualities.

So that's it. Our memories are an amalgamation of feelings, fact, past experience and imagination. oh and motivation at the time. And that's okay....unless it's not that is.

With hypnotherapy its hardly ever essential to go raking over old hurts or painful memories but sometimes if they are colouring your experience right now, or you feel stuck in a moment unable to move on then it seems eminently reasonable to take another fly by that old memory. To see it from the air if you like or from another viewpoint, most definitely with a fresh frame of mind and more than likely a more beneficial motivation. To step back and reframe that recollection, untangling emotion and freeing yourself from its restriction.

Then what you remember really does become what happened.



Is it really worth it?

girl on a lilo relaxing

So, I was 18 and on a budget coach holiday to Rimini in Italy with my best friend Amanda. And it being budget, the lira were in very short supply. As a treat we bought ourselves a lilo, just one between us, and took turns floating on the gloriously warm Adriatic Sea.

It's my turn, I'm lying on my back, the waves lulling a deep and sensuous dream of all being well with the world, the summer sun deliciously warming and playing dreams in shades of tangerine on the backs of my eyelids.

A rather large wave engulfs the airbed and the spluttering shock causes me to jump or rather inelegantly fall off the lilo. Feeling a bit daft I glance back to the shore to see if Amandas laughing at me and realise that I've floated way beyond what feels a comfortable distance. The tiny figures on the beach, the stretch of sea between me and them, a heavy burgeoning fear slickly sloshed into the pit of my stomach...what should I do?

The lilo is floating further out.

I should swim back to shore.

I don't .

The lilo is important to us, isn't it?

I choose to get the lilo and swim even further out. The current however is against me and it continues to float further and further from reach.

Have you ever experienced that feeling? The OMG this is really happening, how did everything get so bad so quick.

I was so tired of reaching and failing, I started to take time outs by floating on my back while the airbed needing no such breather floated its own path.

I am way out at sea, it feels like miles, it won't be but perception a few inches above sea level is deceptive. I am thinking that reaching the lilo is going to be my only way of surviving.

I cannot reach it and I cannot breathe.

Ok, I'm here and writing this, so you know I must have done.

I was rescued by a lifeguard on a raft that he was rowing like a venetian gondola. He took me back to shore.

I was 18 and obviously stupid and to be honest got over the whole thing pretty quick, relief is a wonderful relaxant.

I believe in people, I really do, that you can pursue your goals, that its all in the mindset, that with planning, hard work and a healthy dose of reality you can make things happen or be happy or successful or any way you wish to be.

However make sure what you are chasing is important to you and that whatever it's costing you is worth it.

Don't let it be a lilo.

Oh by the way the prompt for this little trip down memory lane is a Cosmopolitan article: Hypnotherapy Helped Me End a Toxic Relationship

Pasted Graphic 2


Hypnosis, sleeping, Spain & the stupid stag!

This time last week I was sleeping on a beach….on purpose you realise, not just homeless or hungover or anything!
It was in Spain, snoozing under a wonderfully hot, china blue sky, occasionally waking to dip into the clear cool diamondly freckled sea.
From our balcony we'd scouted the regimentally placed sun beds, a platoon of blue and white uniformed plastic beneath the matching caps of fringed parasols. Closer to, the choice was to be made…

Would it be a bed on the shoreline, to be buffeted by the cooling sea fret and an unrivalled view of a limitless horizon….the pro's already mentioned….the con's, well… You had to tiptoe between an almost unbroken barrage of sandcastles constantly being repaired and fortified by deceptively deepening moats, as well as snooze with one eye open as the bat and ballers took to the shallows and 'kthunk', kthunked' with amazingly sustained levels of patience….

photo of kindle

Or would it be further back, where the breeze had had time to be warmed by the sun, the sand was soft, the beach towels fluffy, unsandy and draped to perfection and the community more like minded in their pursuit of tans and time out….the region of the beach I shall forever rename KindleLand……Ahhhh Bliss! 

The cons were outweighed, in fact the con's were unseen or unfelt until midmorning, heading to noon time as the post full English nap time demanded a dip before weighing up the prospect of a light lunch.
The sand soft and yielding, now, bit the tenderest of pedicures with a ferociousness born of Hell, flip flops a flimsy defence, the lava like heat melting skin and a willingness to move…..the sea stretched painfully too far from reach, the cool firm sand a distant sanctuary….all of which heralded the start of the middle-aged dash. You must have seen them, even participated as I did…the top half jigging at twice the rate of the bottom half, skittering from one patch of shade to the next as, in-between, poise and composure evaporates into screechy little embarrassing sounds as you grimace apologetically under your KindleLand neighbours brolly.

One of the highlights for us all holidaying in KindleLand last week was the unfortunate tale of the Stupid Stag.

Way to the back of the beach was a bar, cool and inviting, the stags and hens had pegged the place as a fantabulous place to stake out day and night. The beer was obviously good, the shots vividly coloured and sweet and the music pumping….rousing choruses of clubbers belting out "Sweet Caroline, da, da, daaaaaah….good times never felt so gooooood!!!" brought a smirk to the face whenever they played it 10 times a day.

So it was mid afternoon, and I can only imagine the conversation that had taken place before the event we witnessed, must have gone down something like….

"Haha, go on then Gazza, you're the best man, your turn for a dare and we dare you to put that lasses pink sombrero on your head and run naked down the beach and jump into the sea, ha ha ha ha" Or something along those lines.

And Gazza into his umpteenth pint of the day squished against the shady bar in amongst the relative safety of his peers all egging him on was probably thinking something like… "Yeah yeah leave it up to me lads, you can count on me, the joker of the pack, I'll give you a story to tell all the poor saps back home who had to work this week, yeah ha ha I'll be dining out on this escapade for weeks to come ha ha!"

So stripped and with his sombrero on his head, out he dashes, full pelt down the wooden walkway that stretches halfway down the sand….now, theres a queer moment when you emerge from the shadows into bright sunlight, you cannot see a thing till your eyes adjust and that little pink man was to enjoy that short moment of sun blindness as he heehawed his way towards the sea…..

…..a great roar of "Go on Gazza!!!" erupted from the bar interrupting us KindleLanders mauray into the latest Stephen Kings and Martina Coles and as one we turned to see the galloping white body with a pink sombrero on his head, looking like a pimple, first skips onto the white hot melting glass sand…..we, like a flock of meercats raised ourselves to seating position as his feet and eyes smacked him right back into daytime reality…."Ha ha" turned to "AAAAAHHHH, AAAAHHHH!" and his mates laughed even louder….

Photo of some meerkats

Now its amazing how much body language you can read from a person uncovered, as theres so much more to read, and his wistful look back at his gurning mates and the realisation that a beachful of gleeful meercats were enraptured by his burgeouning pain gave him pause for 'about blinkin' time' thought. 

To go back was wussy, to plough on now an almost medical emergency as his little tootsies were burning bright and torturous. He lowered his sombrero to cover his nether regions and dashed on, falling sombrero first into the sea. He emerged sober…..Ive never seen such a painful expression as that sobriety as the lifeguard rushed from his highchair shouting and whistling at the 'eejit' clutching that drippy pink sombrero.

Us meercats were all on our feet watching the spectacle as befits people of our age with no kids to protect from the lewd goings on. Pulling some shorts from his backpack the lifeguard made him dress then hustled him red faced off the beach.

Mother opened an eye on hearing the collective creak as the meercats settled back down to e-read, "Whats happened, Trace, what you looking at?" "Oh, nothing really Mam, just admiring the sandcastles" She'd have been gutted to have missed that.

Looking back I realised I strayed far from the point I was going to make……well I'll just make it a link instead.

Insomnia study published 7th June 2014
Slow-wave sleep improved with hypnosis, study suggests