Springingtiger's Blog

Crystal Jigsaw: PSHE – The Lesson They Should Ban
June 28, 2014, 16:44
Filed under: autism, disability, Parenting, Politics | Tags: , ,


I don’t often reblog other people’s posts, but this is a real problem. The school appears, in my opinion, not only to be encouraging promiscuity, but making girls with special needs vulnerable to exploitation.

Lego and Free Thought

When, yesterday, I shared my Lego Brick Planner, a system to introduce structured flexibility into scheduling, a friend told me to patent it. However as I said to her I will not. I don’t believe in the ownership of ideas, but in sharing them. It may be argued that by publishing I have established intellectual ownership; if I own the idea I can do with it what I will and I will share it.

Despite all the infighting and arguments I still like to think of those affected by autism spectrum disorders as a community and communities share. There are too many people who seek to profit from the misfortunes of others, who exploit the desperation of parents; there are too many who see autism as a source of income rather than an opportunity to serve people. I have received help and support from the community, I chose to give back. If someone uses my. Lego system to help people and earns money by doing so, I will not begrudge it, but no one owns this, it is a free idea, an Open Source thought.

Lego, quite rightly, owns the copyright on Lego products. However what they do not, nor do they try, is to own the creativity Lego inspires. I use a kitchen timer to divide my day, the timer only goes up to an hour. I use My Daily Greatness Journal, it has a daily planner that divides a day into half hours, as do most paper schedulers. Can I help it if I saw these regular units of time as Lego bricks, and if, when they became bricks, they became interchangeable. Lego is about creativity, you can use the colours of the bricks, you can move a mini figure from day to day as your week progresses to keep track of the days (Batman is good),. You might want to go to the Lego store and make mini figures to represent significant people you  meet regularly and put them on the days you are going to meet them. Lego is about creativity, the Lego Brick Planner is about creating a visual tool to plan your day and to accommodate changes to your schedule less painfully. It works for me because it is visual and kinesthetic, it won’t work for everyone, but everyone is free to try it. Me, I’m going to develop it further because that’s the NLP way, “What else can I do with this?” as Richard Bandler would ask.

I have to say I am delighted with the response from the Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism (if you haven’t already, buy the book, it’s very useful). This is what community is about, sharing, and Lego, and Dr. Who, and the National Railway Museum in York and it can all be plotted with colored (American spelling in honor of TPGA) bricks. I’m in an awfully good mood today happy, happy, happy…that gives me another idea for my colored bricks!

Lego Planner


I like to have my day mapped out so that I know what I am going to do and when, I really do not like having my schedule disrupted. In summer,when so many of my plans include gardening and the Scottish weather is so unpredictable, I face daily frustrations. I have been working with NLP for many years to discover strategies that enableme to get through my days without exploding, and the Glasgow weather has inspired the Lego Brick Planning Strategy.

Put in its simplest terms, I plan my day as if time were made of Lego bricks.I can either do it by visualising the day as bricks or by actually using bricks. The eight stud, rectangular brick represents one hour; the four stud, square brick is half an hour and the small, two stud rectangle is fifteen minutes. Personally I still plan my day on paper, but I think of each timed segment as a Lego Brick, interchangeable with any other Lego Brick or bricks that have the same number of studs. This allows me to rearrange the bricks should it be necessary without substantially altering my day, although living in Glasgow sometimes outdoor bricks have to be swapped to another day of the week. I do my planning with a diary and the weather forecast, the diary tends to be more useful because my wife supplies the information it contains. Not all bricks are moveable, every week has some immovable bricks, these are scheduled appointments, but every other brick in the weekly wall is swappable.

At the moment I prefer to work with the Lego Brick plan one day at a time, but I intend to work up a full planner, not only using different sizes brick for different lengths of time, but different colours for different types of task. Now I need my own set of Lego bricks, the ones my granddaughters left here are too big and too few for my purposes.

That’ll Be The Day…
May 18, 2014, 10:11
Filed under: autism, disability, NLP, success | Tags: , , ,


People appear to be fond of the saying,  “Live each day add if it were your last”, The Daily Greatness Journal frequently asks questions like, “What would I do today if it were my last?” It is not a bad question, it focuses the mind. Some people mistake the point of the question and think they should be doing something spectacular, some immediately pull out their bucket list, others start thinking about how they want to be remembered, their ‘legacy’.

It occurs to me that if you need to be remembered, you had better start building your legacy sooner rather than later. Neelam likes to listen to ‘Last Words’ on BBC Radio Four. When I listen it is obvious to me that, in terms of being remembered, it is usually those who devoted years to a passion who are best remembered; when remembered for one thing or event it is usually a product of a passion long pursued.

Many people find the prospect of impending death empowering. We all know stories of AIDs and cancer patients who have found new purpose on realising how limited was their time, or who have discovered a new richness in their experiences made more precious by the knowledge of how few there will be.

Before you rush out to spend your ‘Last Day’ bringing about world peace or whatever big thing you fear you have left undone, ask yourself, who says you should have done something with your life to leave a ‘legacy’ in the memory of men? Ask yourself what, if the opinion of others were irrelevant and it is, you would really love to do? Me, I want to spend my last day with my wife, as I want to spend everyday; that is what I call a happy ending.


Anchoring Greatness

I was tired and needed to sleep, but before I went upstairs, I returned to the sitting room to pick up a magazine. My wife had started watching a documentary about Liberace and I came in while he was playing. Rather than had straight upstairs I waited to the end of the piece and, as I expected, he smiled at the audience, into the camera and I felt happy. When I was very small Liberace had a regular television program and my regular shout went up each week, “Mummy, that man’s smiling at me!” It made me happy then, his smile makes me happy now and that is the power of anchoring, that a smile I associated with being happy over half a century ago, still releases in me, feelings of happiness. Understanding anchoring is one of the most useful things I learned in NLP, I am pleased to say I can now choose whether to be anchored, I am keeping the Liberace anchor.

As I have said elsewhere I am using my intuition on a daily basis to have my life be great. The primary tool I use is to create my Sovereign Circle as I learned in Darren Eden’s courses, but sometimes I need to be in that intuitive state instantly and then I use the anchoring techniques I learned from Terry Elston, my NLP teacher. Anchoring is a core NLP technique and it is impossible to be certified as a practitioner without learning it. However it is only in hindsight, after a few years of using it, that you really appreciate its utility and power.

My anchor for entering my Circle instantly is both kinesthetic and visual. Firstly I close my eyes and move my eyeballs in a circle, but with the sensation that they are actually moving in a circle through my head. I secondly, swiftly, visualise a circle drawing itself around my had like a golden, fiery halo. Because every time I follow Darren’s full process I include these two anchors, I can now, whenever I need to think on an intuitive level, skip the “innocent child” and “symbol elicitation” steps and go straight into state. However whenever I have time, and certainly in my morning and evening greatness sessions, I anchor the full process again. The more often you practise the anchor, the more powerful and accessible it becomes.

I think I may have mentioned that the NLP technique I find most useful is that of eliciting and creating strategies. I do not work as well as I would like if I do not have a predetermined strategy to which to work. I have now built my Sovereign Circle anchor into a strategy that kicks in when I am under pressure, particularly in circumstances where I am unsure of what is happening or how to behave such as large social gatherings or when being questioned. In effect I am using my intuition strategy to direct me to the most appropriate strategy from my library, you could call it, possibly, the “bridge” or obvious action, but it is in intuition that it becomes obvious. I think the intuition strategy somehow serves to exclude much of the jumble of extraneous information and stimuli and allows a calmer and more rational choice, of action.

Intuition and Intellect


Over the last couple of months I have found that there are two ways to approach The Daily Greatness Journal in the morning, intellect and intuition. Sometimes I make the mistake of approaching my day reasonably and logically which may appear sensible, but is not the most useful approach.
I have learned that the most powerful way to start my day is from my intuition. The best days are the days that call me into being, that inspire me to greatness. If I approach my day rationally I have imposed limits on myself before I even start and my day is destined to be small and uninspiring. There is a place for sense and reason in my day, but later when I’m actually making my goals concrete, at the start my need is to be inspired. I like, as I have mentioned previously, to begin my day by creating my Circle of Sovereignty as practised in Darren Eden’s courses. In the space created by the Circle of Sovereignty my intuition is free to generate a day of infinite possibility. Logically I know I may not accomplish all the goals my intuition has given me in the day, but that doesn’t matter half as much as having a life that excites and inspires me.

In the evening when I review my day I find it useful to logically analyse my day and assess my accomplishments. However once I have done that I again enter my Sovereign Circle and reassess the whole day in the light of intuition. I find that intuition frequently causes me to discover triumphs and blessings in unexpected places. Intuition penetrates the mundane veneer of the everyday and reveals the truth of life concealed beneath. Intellect provides the methodology of accomplishment, but it is intuition that reveals the magic in every moment and lifts every day out of the ordinary. Intuition needs intellect to ground it in reality, but intellect needs intuition to free it from the fetters of realism. As I end my day, before I sleep, I create my Circle and go to sleep in my intuition. I end the day in intuition, I begin the new day with intuition, I expect my day to be magical and full of inspiration and I shall plan accordingly.

Feeling Great or No.


I was in the process of writing a greatness blog when I fell ill with a very nasty virus, a sort of “Man Flu Plus”. An expression came to mind, “I don’t feel great” and this led me to wonder, what happens to our greatness when we don’t feel great?

The first thing I see is that greatness is not predicated upon feeling. As anyone who works with Darren Eden will be aware greatness arises from following what you love and not being stopped by “threshold guardians” or, if you prefer, circumstances. I could go further and say that greatness lies not only in not being stopped, but in bending the circumstances, the guardians, into service of what you love, I think this is consistent with Joseph Campbell’s articulation of the hero’s journey.

I used not to be stopped by flu, I worked through it, travelling around the country, running courses, chairing meetings, attending conferences until I was struck down by Chronic Fatigue and Immunodysfunction Syndrome. I spent six months virtually bedridden, a year as an invalid. In time I learned to manage my life so that I was no longer stopped by CFIDS. Of course, as we learn in Your Call To Greatness, as well as being focused on what we love we must take appropriate action; sometimes this means being realistic, pursuing what we love while ignoring the voice of our intuition is, ultimately, counterproductive and contrary to the process. This is why it is not only important to develop our intuition but also to trust it when it holds us back from what we enjoy.

For me, now, the obvious action is to rest. So far, despite my forced inaction, I have not rested because my focus has been on my frustration at not being able to do the things I wanted, there is nothing restful in frustration. However what I love is experiencing life in its fullness, my frustration means that my focus had shifted from what I love to the obstacles in the way. In the field of personal development we talk a lot about transcending our limitations, breaking through our barriers, not being stopped by limiting decisions and other things that can make us feel actively guilty when we are not obviously progressing our goals; some times this urge to achieve is positively harmful, as Werner Erhard says, “It is as bad to be half-assed, whichever cheek you’ve got left!” Resting is not being forced to do nothing, resting is choosing to do nothing as a deliberate course of action, when, and only as long as, it is appropriate.

As I lay in my bed beating myself up over the schedule I was unable to follow, I heard, in my head,  the voice of Werner Erhard saying, “What you resist, persists!” Now I’ve been resisting having flu; I’ve thrown everything at it, self-hypnosis, energy healing, I’ve demanded it reveal its lesson to me so I could get on with my life, all resistance! So “just for today”, as we say in Reiki, I am being kind to myself. I am not resisting, I am accepting, temporarily, the limits imposed by the current conditions. I am treating my body and mind with gentleness and compassion.

There is a process I once learned in Landmark, I think on the Team Management and Leadership Program, but possibly on a Communication Course, where of everything I do I ask, “What am I building?” It is what in NLP we call “chunking up”. Each time we ask the question it reveals a greater purpose served by that action, ultimately what should be revealed is our true purpose, the thing we love upon which we focus; the corollary is that, if it reveals as the outcome something other than what we love, we should reconsider our action. Add to this the test of ecology used in NLP, the questions of the Cartesian coordinates, “What will happen if I do this?”, “What will happen if I do not do this?”, “What will not happen if I do this?” and, “What will not happen if I do not do this?” and we have a powerful decision checking process. I have a tendency to act first and think later. I realise that as I lie back and let my flu take its course, unforced it presents its lessons to me; isn’t life great?

Blue Eyes


Well this is strange, but my world feels different. New glasses may, reasonably, be expected to cause me to see the world differently, but to feel differently? Interesting, and strange.

When I was diagnosed with Asperger’s, Anne Marie Gallagher of the Autism Resource Centre suggested I might want to visit an optician, Ian Jordan, in Ayr, who has had some success in treating the symptoms of autism with coloured lenses. This year, at last, after a long delay, I have finally got around to having him test my eyes and today I got my new glasses, happily at no greater cost than I would normally pay.

I must admit I am surprised at how quickly they have made a difference. I had expected them to help cut out excess light, I had not expected the other benefits. The first, and most obvious benefit, is that my new blue lenses reduce the brightness of the light I receive. One of the unforseen, but welcome benefits is that my lower back and sacroiliac pain fades while I am wearing them, it does mean that my glasses go on as soon as I wake. Another reason for putting my spectacles on when I awake is that when I am brushing my teeth I can comfortably brush the molars at the back of my mouth; in the past because of my strong gag reflex it has been uncomfortable to brush my teeth, but now it presents no difficulty.

I enjoy a sense of calm when I wear my blue lenses and it is my impression, admittedly I have not measured it, that both my stimming and involuntary movements are reduced. Another welcome benefit is that I can successfully see people’s faces as a whole rather than individual features commanding my attention so that their faces had the appearance of a collage. At one point I took my glasses off and remarked to my wife that I had not hitherto realised how hypersensitive I was, she replied, “Oh I had!” She also observes that I am calmer and less prone to obsession, which she explained by saying that, normally, if I am doing something I will go on and on, refusing to pause, exploding at interruptions, until I was finished, but now I am more relaxed. I still have my tinnitus, but it seems less intrusive. However when I take off my spectacles I am assaulted by a cacophony of stimuli, auditory and visual, calmed instantly when I replace them.

I don’t believe there is a cure for autism. Behavioral interventions can alleviate some of its effects, some of its comorbid conditions can be treated too. I do know that some of the symptoms I experience are now alleviated by my glasses, not cured, they return when my glasses are off, but I’m happy with that. In the past I have not wanted to wear my spectacles and have tended not to, now I find I don’t want to take them off.


The Sunny Side – a greatness blog.


My second week using my Daily Greatness Journal could have been blighted by a bug which slowed me down somewhat. However looking back on the journal I can see how productive even a week smitten by a virus can be. That is one of the benefits of the journal it helps keep a realistic sense of proportion.

Going into my Circle of Sovereignty every day meant I approached even my illness positively and powerfully. Rather than endure the frustration of a thwarted schedule, I allowed the illness to teach me  patience. I learned that if I have enough planned alternatives in my schedule I need not feel thwarted (I love that word, so expressive!), I merely select the best alternative. Darren Eden might describe it as the most appropriate bridge to move my focus from my beliefs and back to what I love.

One of the things I discovered this week thanks to Neelam is Lisa Nola’s “My Future Listography”. I learned a long time ago that just writing my goals gives them an energy that makes their accomplishment more likely. My Future Listography is a journal of lists of all the things I’d like to do, it is subtitled, “All I Hope To Do In Lists”; each alternate page has space for a list with headings like, “List modes of transport to take.”, List places you could see yourself living.”, or, “List things you hope to receive someday.” and each facing page a picture for inspiration. My Future Listography is not a goal planner, but a book for dreams and visions to create an unlimited space into which to live; it is, above all, fun.

One of my symbols in meditation was not an image, but a phrase, a voice told me to take, “The Sunny Side of The Street towards joy”. I only mention it because it felt so good, and to remind people that a symbol is not always an image, but may occur in any “Rep System”, in this case, auditory. I am definitely on the sunny side of the street, reviewing my gratitude daily reminds me that I have so many reasons to be joyful and so much for which to be grateful.

Reviewing my journal I realise how many lessons each day offers up. Perhaps my big lesson of this week is that,  Intuition and feeling are as important as logic when it comes to setting my goals. So every day I begin in my Greatness Circle, my Circle of Sovereignty and I end my day in my Circle suffused with a sense of well being and accomplishment; the accomplishments may not be huge, but at least I am aware of them, and upon that of which I am aware I can build.

Leaving a Legacy Is Best Left Alone

Some further thoughts on death and people’s relationship with it

What is all this concern that people have about leaving a legacy? I am not talking about leaving some cash for those we leave behind, but this desperate need some people seem to have to be remembered after they have gone. It seems to be a particular concern of politicians and other people in public life. I suspect it is motivated primarily from guilt and from feelings of inadequacy. When we look at the legacy of politicians very few of them leave anything of which to be proud. There are some who left a worthwhile legacy; Aneurin Bevan left us with a national health service and Harold Wilson , the Open University. On the other hand Margaret Thatcher left the legacy of a divided Britain; divided between rich and poor, North and South, trades unions and employers. She left the British people with an abiding distrust of and contempt for politicians, a political class more interested in feathering their own nests than on serving their constituents. And she drove a wedge between the peoples of England and Scotland that will never be removed. Although Tony Blair has not yet died, I think we all know that his legacy will be equally contemptible. He will be remembered for waging war on women and children without the sanction of the United Nations , and condemning hundreds of the children of the people of his country to die overseas , while keeping his own children safe at home.

I am pleased to know that some industrialists do leave a positive legacy obviously we have Andrew Carnegie but also more recently Warren Buffet and also the Bill Gates Foundation. I know that some say that the Bill Gates Foundation’s work in India is geared more to opening new markets then to helping people, but I think this is unfair, besides whatever his motivation he is doing good. Another group that seems to be desperate to be remembered are the artists, when I say,”artists” I refer to the creative professions as a whole. However whether it be politicians, soldiers, actors writers, industrialists or musicians, people seem to be gripped with a terrible fear of being forgotten. There is little point in telling them they cannot take anything with them when they go and most go only when they have no other option.

When people say they need to “leave a legacy” , I am inclined to respond with the NLP Meta Model challenge , ” Who says you need to leave a legacy?” There have been some spiritual giants who have left behind them philosophies and religious orders, but there have been very many more content to pass through the world almost unnoticed and to leave nothing behind. Werner Erhard says, “All there is to do today is what you get to do today.” The same may be said of life; a successful life is not necessarily one that leaves much behind, but rather one that is lived well and lived completely. Of what value is a legacy that leaves behind obligations, it is nothing more than a burden however well intentioned? The greatest gift anyone can have is the freedom to live their own life unconstrained by debt and obligation and to be allowed to find their own way and walk their own path. Lao Tzu was correct wham he said that when a great leader finishes his work the people say, ” We did it ourselves”.

The wise do not seek to be remembered for that is an attachment, it is better to be unthanked and free than feted and bound by the needs of others, worse still by one’s own need. Better to leave no footsteps for others to follow than walk looking over one’s shoulder rather than at your way ahead; let the wind erase your footprints while you walk towards your own light.


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