13 October 2005

NLP - Being In Peripheral Mode (Sucks)

Darling other has been off for two of his six days of an NLP practitioner's course.

He did all the tapes beforehand, and the coursebook, so the six days are really for practical experience in theory you should already understand.

One of the 'tricks' he came back with is to do with opening up your senses. I can't be bothered to look the figures up and you may well have heard it before, but every second of the day the world throws something like several million gigabytes of info at you, which your brain has to filter, discarding huge chunks, to salvage what it considers to be the essential kilobytes, ie its capacity.

People all have different methods of learning, or of taking in any information at all for that matter, but there is plenty around on the web to help you work out what sort you are. This particular NLP skill addresses that by teaching you to 'go into peripheral mode' and become more aware of everything going on around you; it teaches you to use all your senses at once. Here is how you play:

  1. Get comfy.
  2. Stare at something, like a spot on the wall, preferably with no distractions or moving items between you and said point.
  3. Keep staring.
  4. Stare until you get tunnel vision and the rest is out of focus
  5. Now start consciously listening, feeling etc - the shirt on your back, the cars four streets away, all that stuff.
  6. The idea is that if your eyes have a finite amount of info to take in, then after a bit, they've covered it all, and you free up brain space for the other senses, making them more acute, so hang on in there.
  7. Once you are hearing like Superman (my analogy, not theirs), hold that awareness and switch your eyes to another focal point. You should find eventually that your brain continues to reapportion more equal amounts of processing space to each of your senses, freeing you up to be, as far as you can be, completely alert.
You know when it works, because switching focus causes a sensation of headrush. Apparently. I don't know, I can't get a buzz from it at all.

Dearest other is in raptures about this trick, his workmate moreso because the guy had a really one-track learning method that made multisensory learning a stress - I believe he's the kind who becomes so focussed on a screen, for example, or a text book, that he misses half of what the tutor says about it.

I'm jealous.

To be fair, I used to know how to focus. I definitely recall, for example, getting so far 'in' to a Sunday afternoon movie that I couldn't feel my body. No longer; if anything, the one thing it has taught me is that I am almost permanently in this so called peripheral mode already.

I am becoming like my father, who seemed completely antisocial and could not think for love nor money if anyone else was in the house. His own children perhaps, but preferably one at a time. You needed to be information that his mind had taken in to saturation, however - so getting up and moving wasn't such a good idea.

What's brought all this on? We have a house guest, a family member that I have not seen for some time and who is doing his level best to be as nice as possible. That could be part of the problem - it could be that we are both being too polite; dropping casual statements and expecting the other to absorb the import behind them.

What right have I got to say that I really can't think with distractions, and expect him to get the point? Am I wrong to assume that he would register that this did not mean the noise from the television that he had turned on in the next room, but any movement, for example caused by him sitting four feet away from me on the other computer, playing games and chuckling to himself or quietly muttering obscenities, dependant on what was said on the radio show coming through his headphones?

Its me. It has to be. I am quite simply extremely distractible. I am the girl at the cinema who embarrasses the hell out of her friends by shooting six feet into the air with every loud bang.

Back in the day, before ADHD, depression and the like became buzzwords, I think my condition would simply have been called 'antisocial' or 'fidgety'; which is not fair, but understandable. Any a new or different set of actions going on around me draw so much attention from my intended focus that I am useless, and being a perfectionist (old fart?) that aggravates the hell out of me. I hate being loopy.

Come four oclock this afternoon, when the kids are home and arguing, laughing, running around or watching cartoons, I will be perfectly able to switch off and follow a set plan of action. Alright its not ideal, but do-able, because I am used to that situation. My stick-in-the-mud brain, however, is convinced that being indoors between 9 and 3 on a weekday means absolute silence and room for real creativity, a.k.a. suiting myself, to the point that I am hyper-aware, from this chair, if my houseguest even brushes his teeth - and the bathroom is way at the other end of the building. My whole body is on tenterhooks ready to be alert to every step he takes. It's not deliberate, honestly.

I wonder, if I could categorise this as a bona fide disability, whether I could talk my darling other half, finally, into considering the idea of NOT living in a bungalow? That might be a start.

Anyone with any tricks for redirecting focus - PLEASE advise. I don't want to end up an old grouch.


ME Strauss said...

All I ever am able to do in such situations is to engage my imagination in some way, pretending that the territory invader is some famous person or something and I am greatly blessed to be in his or her company.

Doesn't always work, but it entertains me.


zilla said...

NLP -- I thought it meant neuro-linguistic programming. Am I way off?

I'm with you -- completely distractable, and I resent the distractions.

I have to plan ahead and prepare for a crowd, whether it's a crowd of one or a crowd of 300. I have to have time, lots of time, to recover from social events. Like parties or dinner with the kids.

If I try to grocery shop without a list, I fail to buy anything, because although I knew exactly what I needed when I left the house, that battle-axe in the produce aisle with the screaming brats in tow means I can't THINK.

So we land in Denver and Husband makes a call, then tells me "Jim's picking us up outside & we'll travel with his wife & kids."

I had anticipated a 2 1/2 hour car trip with HusbandMan and me each in our own little worlds, inside our own little heads. Suddenly, it's NOT going to happen.

I nearly passed out.

I started swearing. Loudly. In the airport!

"Jesus bloody Christ, after five years you really have no idea who the hell I am blah blah blah what the hell I need blah blah blah do you ever effing LISTEN to anyone blah blah blah."

Complete meltdown. Very very bad.

Jim and his family pull up, and I'm all about manners until I adjust to the new idea of what the afternoon will be like, and I do okay. I'm not having fun most of the time, but I'm being polite and muddling through.

I have to spend the entire next morning alone to recover so that I can behave the next afternoon, and so on.

Really, sometimes I think I ought to be taking pills because I have a defective personality.

I HATE movie theatres. All of that popcorn crunching and candy wrapper crackling sends me through the roof. I have to sleep just to get through the ordeal.

But then something explodes.

Something is always exploding.

Often times, it's me :-)

Cheryl said...

Dear ME, you are far more gracious than me.

Dear Zilla - creepy similarity! I hesitate to suggest its an Aquarian thing - but at least its a personality type, ie I am not just an isolationist old ratbag in a slump. Thank you for making me feel not so singular!

Badaunt said...

Isn't this also a male/female thing? Women have to be able to multitask, with kids around, so they are hyperaware and switched on to the environment ALL THE TIME.

Also, perhaps you are overconscious of having to be a 'hostess.' I know I can't concentrate on anything with guests in the house. I feel as though I'm a bad hostess anyway, and I'm terrified I'll forget they're there and they'll ... I don't know, shrivel up and die without my attention, or something. And that will show the world what a terrible hostess I am.

bart said...

cheryl, i understand you so completely, you have no idea...

i'm running myself so totally guilty at the moment because i can't bear any noise when i'm trying to concentrate or even trying to think coherently, and taking it out on the kids which just isn't fair and i know it totally...

i like to write, i need to write, i'm going totally insane if i can't write anything and if there are kids or partners or a frigging cat bouncing off the walls at times i just go completely nuts.

the "overconscious" thing is something my eldest daughter and myself are behept with... we focus and lose track of what's happening in the rest of the world, and copping the flak afterwards... yeah, real fun for sure...

damn, should have made a blog of this by now... sorry, got carried away... (sigh...)

Sam Freedom said...
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