What happens when you stop trying to control life?

Written by Louise Storey When I was a young child I remember a trip to the fair with my Grandma. I begged to go on a small children’s ride I’d seen. The ride consisted of a series of small cars on a track. I remember it so well, but the thing is I had no idea […]

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Listen for a feeling

I will never forget the first time I sat in a big conference where Sydney Banks was speaking and heard him say, “Don’t listen to my words; listen for a feeling.” It was very early on in my exposure to the Principles, and I came close to fleeing the room.  As a hard-working, hard-charging business person in a service business, who had been a tough-minded newspaper reporter, I was highly educated and well-trained to listen to and pay close attention to words. Every word mattered. Getting people’s words “right” mattered.  I had a Master’s Degree with a focus on Linguistics, for heaven’s sake, and that was all about words. If you didn’t focus closely on words, you could end up being sued in my work. Feelings!? Huh???

I probably would have fled, except that I was seated in the middle of a row. I glanced around me; everyone was sitting quietly, unconcerned about what Syd had just said, just taking things in. I would have embarrassed the person who had brought me if I clambered over a bunch of quiet people to rush for an exit, and I was also trained to be courteous. So I sat there, trying not to display my restless confusion, wondering what the heck it meant to “listen for a feeling.” I didn’t hear much else that day because, of course, I could not figure that out. So I was still puzzling over it on the drive home.

On the way, I asked the person who had brought me. The ambiguous answer infuriated me, but I kept that to myself, too, for the sake of politeness. “I imagine it means something different to each person who hears it. You have to see it for yourself.” I turned on the radio, hoping to mask how annoyed I was.  That night, I lay in bed in turmoil. “Listen for a feeling,” just four ordinary little words, and they were so outside of my world when strung together that I could make no sense of them at all. I had spent more than an hour in the audience of the talk of a self-confessed uneducated person, and I had no idea of the meaning of what I had heard. Yet hundreds of other people in the room seemed to think it was wonderful. During the break, I didn’t hear a single other soul complain about being perplexed.

When I confessed my fear that whatever this was, it just wasn’t for me — too weird and airy-fairy — to my mentor, he just laughed and said, “Let it go. Just relax. It will all come together for you when you stop trying so hard.”

“But, but,” I spluttered. “I run a business. You guys are trying to turn my brain to mush.”

“Sorry,” he said. “We don’t have that kind of power. You can only do that to yourself. But don’t worry about it. It won’t last. How about we go get some lunch?”

Oh, I tell you, in the beginning these people were maddening! The more agitated I became, the less interested they were in talking about it (unlike most of my friends). But I admit that lunch and a few jokes and some trivial conversation that day cheered me up.

OK, I was at a turning point. I could walk away from a group of people who seemed to me to be uncommonly happy, contented, productive and kind, who seemed to really enjoy their lives, and thereby lose any chance of learning what they knew that I didn’t. Or I could just stop worrying about it and hang out with them, as they suggested, and see what happened if I wasn’t analyzing every single word they said to me.  It was not actually a tough choice. What person who aspired to sanity would walk away from people who clearly cared, had my best interests at heart, and really wanted things to work out well for me? Despite my prickly attitude, they actually seemed to like me; they were immune to taking offense.

Fast forward a year, a wonderful year of soaking in the experience of spending a lot of time with high-spirited, high-minded, compassionate people who just loved their work and life in general. I took the advice to “thank my brain for sharing” when a bunch of questions would start popping up in my head, and I discovered quietude. I discovered having no need whatsoever to keep talking when I had nothing contributory to say. Everyone noticed how much calmer I was.

And then, one magical day, I “heard” the feeling. I can remember that moment with the exactness of a perfectly enlarged and preserved photograph. I was holding a staff meeting with my employees. We had been struggling for a while with how to handle a particularly difficult — all right, abusive — client who was also a major contributor to our income. That afternoon, I just “saw” that I had to put an end to our contract with that client, no matter the financial implications. I had an insight of total moral and ethical clarity; it served no one to go along with abuse for the sake of money. I gathered my staff, after notifying the client, and I told them what I had done. They immediately launched a barrage of technical questions, but instead of hearing their questions, what I heard was, “they are all feeling insecure about this.” The feeling of insecurity loomed in my mind much larger than any specific question.

“You know what,” I said, “we don’t need to worry about all these details right now. We will work it out. And I have tremendous confidence in all of us staying together, working together, and doing just great together. This is just a moment in time. We have no idea, yet, what we might be able to accomplish without spending so much time on a negative situation, so let’s just have our coffee and cookies and enjoy some free time together.”

There was zero precedent for that in my previous work life. The “old” me, the one who couldn’t even imagine listening for a feeling and following that, instead of my intellect, would have forged on, trying to answer each and every question, getting into the weeds of what it would be like to extricate ourselves from a contract, keeping the meeting going until every last question was discussed for as long as people wanted to keep talking about it. I would have been drawing charts and lists up on the board, sending people out to find certain files for reference, calling our attorney and our accountant, focusing on the words people were saying as though, if I really got to the bottom of everyone’s concerns, it would all work out just great.

The “new” me, the one who heard the feeling, simply realized that what my staff needed was reassurance and getting their minds off their fearful questions until they could enjoy their freedom and think fresh. And you know what? That was absolutely perfect. We chatted and had coffee and the cookies someone always brought to our meetings, then went back to work. Within a few days, I had reviewed the dissolution with our attorney and our accountant and I had a game plan. We had a brief meeting; everyone saw what they needed to do, and it turned into a routine business transaction. No biggie.

The big surprise, though, was that my staff relaxed so much once that was behind us that they actually became ambassadors for our work. Our existing clients started telling their friends and colleagues how much they were enjoying working with us, and how pleasant our staff was. Within a year, we had nearly doubled our business.

And from that one meeting forward, that one time I was so fortunate that my head had cleared and my heart had heard, I lost my attachment to my intellect, and I lived in a world of feelings and responded to them with love and care, just as my mentors had responded to me.

Oh, wow! It was so simple, when I let it be simple.

I don’t mean to suggest that I turned into a lifelong model of great leadership with that one big insight. We’re all human; we drop into insecurity before we even see it coming; we do things we regret; we second-guess our own wisdom. But there was one permanent change in my life. That anxious, analytical, revved-up state did not, I repeat, did not feel normal to me, did not feel good to me. It wasn’t my baseline any more. I saw it as a warning sign to slow down and try to weather it until it passed, rather than a green light to create a lot of activity around me. My intent was to regain my good feelings as soon as I could. I did my best not to pay much attention to my own complicated thinking at those times. And I always knew that the quieter, calmer more insightful me was the real me, the true me, the core me that could be sidelined but would always be ready to step back into the game.

Once any of us sees that, we cannot be tricked by our own minds. We know where we are, and we find our way as long as we listen for a feeling.

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Seeing Beyond Cultural Differences and Religion by Janet Lindsay


An excerpt from the 2014 telesummit – Cultural Differences …………..

One of the stories that sticks in my mind particularly around cultural differences is, I was working in a children’s center. Here in the UK, we have children’s centers set up in areas which they see as disadvantaged or deprived or where they’re not getting as many resources or access to as many resources. And so child care is available for children up until the age of just five. That’s the way it was.

And my premise was, well, it’s for me to go in and work with the mothers because in order for you to have a healthy child, it’s about having a healthy mother as well. And in the children’s center that I was working in, I think I said before, had mothers who were Muslims, young Muslims; we had Hindus; we had Christians; we had Atheists. I had a group of about 10 women, all very diverse religious and ethnic backgrounds.

And I’ll always remember this, I was playing a Syd CD, it was just like, “Let’s listen to this for a moment, just to point us back to who we really are and the source.” And I recall Syd saying in the CD, “There isn’t anybody better than you. There isn’t anybody higher than you, we’re all the same.” And I could feel a shift in the room (laughing) and at the end of the recording, the Muslim women said, “Janet, we have to… because Mohammed is higher than anybody. That is it. We’re not worthy.”

And all of this erupted in the room, and I went, “Oh my goodness.” I’ve never heard anybody say that about a Syd recording ever. And what happened was, I can’t even remember exactly what I said, but again it was pointing back towards our true nature: Who we really are; that spiritual essence that’s within each and every one of us. And in pointing everybody back towards that place, there was a calm that came back again because what they saw was that we’re pointing beyond religion. We’re pointing beyond any one man whether it was Jesus or Mohammed or whoever they chose to look at, it was looking beyond that. And I don’t think any of the women had ever seen that; they hadn’t looked beyond their religion before; they hadn’t looked beyond the spiritual commonality between every person.

And what started off as, I say, a disparate group of mothers who were coming together because of their physical… geographical location, that by the end of that program, they had such an awareness and a respect and a love for each other. It went far beyond anything that they’d seen before. And it had an impact on their children and how their children played together as well when they’re in the children’s center because they saw their mothers interacting just differently with women from different ethnic and religious backgrounds as well. And that was just wonderful to see, that was just amazing to see.

Janet Lindsay



If you would like to purchase the the full transcript and/or the recording please CLICK HERE

Also available a FREE recording of Dr Bill Pettit and Dr Linda Sandel Pettit speaking on the topic of Mental Health.  CLICK HERE to get yours.

Problem solving from the Inside-Out with Michael Neill

Join Michael Neill live or live-streaming on the 20th and 21st of March alongside Jack Pransky as they take on the practicalities of problem-solving from the inside-out. They’ll also be taking an insightful look into our deeper potential and the amazing capacity for insight which makes change possible for anyone, in any situation and at any time. Details of these events are here.

Problem solvingProblem solving

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Unlocking the Deeper Realms of One-to-One Work in Greece

Finikounda is the location of the seminar with Jack Pransky


I shall be in Greece for a Three Principles training hosted by Mick Tomlinson between 24-26 June, 2015.

The purpose of this seminar and workshop is to vastly improve success with clients, no matter whom you have studied the Three Principles with or what you now know, because if we are not 100% successful with everyone, there is still more to know. This seminar will provide the opportunity for practice and feedback in a relaxed, peaceful and loving, safe atmosphere. We won’t take ourselves too seriously while doing important work. Bring your toughest cases to discuss. Participants will guide the direction of this seminar with the intent to meet each attendee’s needs.

Who is this training for?

  • Professional practitioners/facilitators of the 3 Principles
  • Anyone with an understanding of the 3 Principles who would like to be able to share it one-on-one


24-26 June, 2015

Booking and More Details

Full details of this training course, including booking, are available here

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