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John The Mind Walker

Helping people to help themselves

How do we deal with our emotions?, How can we feel OK just being ourselves?, How do we go about understanding life?, How do we motivate and energise ourselves to make meaningful life changes?

"4 Rs": Relax, Release, Reinvent, and Reflect

Self-Help and Life-Improvement

The Process of Change

Relax, Release, Reinvent, and Reflect.
Relax means to calm down, to get out of your stuff for a little while, to stop your usual worrying or fighting or whatever you do on a daily basis. To still short-term emotion.
Release means to give up your insistence of being right or being harmed or being vulnerable. To let go of those things that keep you trapped in the long-term.
Reinvent means to make choices about yourself and your intentions that allow you to move on. To choose something for your own future.
Reflect means to reflect on your choices and adopt your own choices at a deep level so that you change at a subconscious level and not just at a conscious level.
Self-Help and Life-Improvement are themes that I present again and again throughout this website. Relax, Release, Reinvent and Reflect are the simple-sounding self-help steps that I want my readers and listeners to be able to achieve. Learn something about these abilities and you will have the basic capability to make meaningful changes in your life. Life-Improvement, based on these steps, is the deliberate and planned process of making changes that are realistic and that have a real impact on your own life.
Of course, although the simplified aims of the "4 Rs" Relax, Release, Reinvent, and Reflect sound quite simple, most people struggle to achieve any one of them consistently without some form of assistance or training. They all happen naturally and accidentally from time to time, but don't you think it would be better to be able to put them to use whenever you needed?
Luckily there are many many approaches to achieving the "4 Rs" and I introduce a few of these in these web pages. When you learn how to do these and then put your learning into practice you can then adopt a conscious habit of Life-Improvement.
We are all involved in Life-Improvement in one way or another at one time or another. Whenever we make a healthy change, however small or big, we are attempting to make a change for the better. Of course, we also make changes that are unhealthy and these inevitably lead to diminishment or ourselves or others. Life-Improvement seeks to make those changes that will give us improved happiness, improved fulfilment, improved success, improved safety, improved purpose, improved esteem, improved relationships. There is an almost endless list of things in life that we can seek to improve.
How we go about Life-Improvement varies from person to person. Some of us take little steps, some of us big, and most of us know surprisingly little about what it is that we are doing even though we are doing it to the best of our ability.
Life-Improvement can be achieved in many, many ways. It includes choosing to go to the gym. It includes eating nutritiously. It includes looking after ourselves. It includes earning money. It includes setting up a family home. It includes getting to know our self. It includes dealing with issues. It includes personal growth.
Life-Improvement, just like house-improvement or business-improvement or social-improvement, sometimes involves major change. Sometimes it involves steady progress. Sometimes it involves a change of appreciation rather than an external change. Sometimes it involves allowing change to happen over time with only a light touch to guide the process. Sometimes it involves education and training. Often it involves appreciating the moment. Whatever it involves though, there are appropriate tools for the job and appropriate support to seek out. Some people thrive on a DIY (Do It Yourself) approach and some want more guidance or direct support to speed the process up and some want to share every step of the journey with like-minded others.

Doing The Chores

Nearly everything big thing that we experience in life includes doing our chores. Owning a house, holding down a job, maintaining a relationship, raising kids. All of these require us to do our chores in order to get anywhere near what we want, and Life-Improvement is no different. If we want to avoid problems and maintain our sense of self then we need to take some notice about consciously maintaining ourselves and this is the basis for any serious therapy or self-support.
Some people call this "Doing The Work" in recognition that if we don't take the trouble to work at our own thinking process then we be much less likely to achieve the results that we want.

4 Steps of Learning

There is a larger story behind The Mind Walker. The topics that I explore are largely introspective, they are about understanding something about ourselves. But everyday life is much bigger than that with understanding just a starting point. It is what we do with understanding that is really important, how we live our lives, the decisions we make, our wins and our losses.
The larger story behind my work is about motivation and faith and personal growth, about achievement and wisdom and hope. It is about our fundamental cycle of living and learning, and how we can make use of that in a very pragmatic way to live life more fully, to be more satisfied, to be more successful, or to learn how to be the best that we can be.
I have no priceless mystical secret laws to sell, nor previously unknown powerful panaceas, and I do not pound a drum of "new" thinking. Everything that I offer fits into one simple key approach to understanding and promoting long-lasting change, and the wealth of insights and observations that support it. And I'll give you the outlines of that key approach right here.
I suggest that each of us follows a fundamentally simple cycle as we experience life, learn from it, and change as a result. Perhaps we are simply growing up and gaining wisdom, or we may have embarked on a conscious path of personal or spiritual development, or we may be setting out to become a teacher, councellor, or mentor. I believe that the basic cycle of deep-learning is the same and it can be described in these basic steps:
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Relaxing : Turning Up :- breathing, stretching, taking a break, being in the moment, ... (Here I am)
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Releasing : Getting Real :- truth-telling, verification, researching, understanding, accepting, forgiving, ... (I can)
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Reinventing : Choosing :- deciding, taking a stand, joining in, engaging, aspiring, ... (I will)
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Reflecting : Commiting :- imagining, acknowledging, reviewing, completing, appreciating, ... (I am)
Or you might describe these steps in more modern developmental language as:
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Centering
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Thinking Critically
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Willpower
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Mindfulness
In my opinion, these steps, though simplified, describe the core of our innate cycle of gainful change. We perform these steps naturally, continuously, and repeatedly - and usually unconsciously. All the steps are important and learning will be limited without all of them.
My question is, how can we make the most of this cycle and learn more effectively? How can we learn, and therefore grow and change, more directly and more directedly? How can we make the most of what we have to get the most of who we are? How do we convert a cycle that happens to us into a process that works for us?
The first of these steps (Relaxing) is an essential act of allowing our change to take place, and yet many people can find this to be one of the hardest of the steps. Modern societies often don't encourage inner stillness and so it is a skill that is often underdeveloped. Equally, stillness is not a very effective end in itself if you actually want to develop as a human being.
Purposeful assessment of ourselves and our current life combined with letting go of our painfull emotions and self-justifications (Releasing) can help direct and enable our choices. However, we can self-analyse and learn facts about our own psychology until they come out of our ears and gain the best diplomas and credentials in the world but these will not by themselves turn us into contented, effective, or productive people.
Our deeply-held passions provide us with the motivation and enthusiasm to aspire, they provide us with a definition of who and what we are and what it is that we stand for. Though passion alone can inspire and propel us into great acts of will (Reinventing), it can also lead us astray or betray our deeper intentions.
Contemplation (Reflecting) can provide us with a context for our life and reveal personal meaning. But contemplation without genuine engagement in life can be more of a path to escapism than a path to enlightenment.
Strong growth comes from firm and well-founded roots. It is clarity of mind and a deep empathy with our own personality that provides the roots from which we are able to grow. It is clarity of mind and a deep empathy with our own personality that provide a conduit for the passion that fuels our growth and sustains it over time to achieve our higher aspirations. And it is familiarity with our own bigger-picture that provides the "meaning" that is vital to clarity.
Throughout this website I begin to look at the four-step process, how we can make it real, and how we can benefit from it.

Step 1. Relaxing (Turning up)

This first step is all about getting ready for the other three steps.
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Clearing some time and your creating a safe evironment
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Breathing
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Physically slowing down
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Parking emotions and thoughts for this time
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Going through some specific relaxation process such as meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, listening to gentle music
"If you want to conquer the anxiety of life, live in the moment, live in the breath." - Amit Ray, Om Chanting and Meditation

Step 2. Releasing (Critical Thinking etc.)

This step, in its simplest form, is the one that we experience much of the time. In this phase life happens around us and to us and we attempt to discern truth and meaning.
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Exploring
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Factual Learning
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Questioning / Enquiring
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Getting real? outgrowing fantasy whilst building on vision
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Exposing truths
"The amount you are suffering in your life is directly related to how much you are resisting the fact that things are the way they are." - Bill Harris, CenterPointe Research Institute

Step 3. Reinventing (Choosing, Purpose Work, Processing, etc.)

The third step is how we choose to engage with life, what actions we take, how we choose to be, what beliefs and faiths we take on. This phase involves our becoming more than a spectator of life, we engage with life. Often this phase includes some element of risk, whether perceived or not, and always there is a sacrifice of some sort that goes with choosing. Committing to one action sacrifices other potential actions.
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Manifesting
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Engaging
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Aspiration/Visioning
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Motivation
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Doing
"If you can't figure out your purpose, figure out your passion. For your passion will lead you right into your purpose." - Bishop T. D. Jakes

Step 4. Reflection (Mindfulness etc.)

The final step is both a completion and a new beginning as completing the cycle of the three phases allows us to restart at phase one. This phase is often seen as an end in itself or a reward for actions completed. Many will say that what they want from life is to be happy, content, or fulfilled, and these feelings are most reliably to be found in this phase.
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Experiencing Bliss/Contentment/Gratitude
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Acknowledging
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Ascending
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The importance of letting go
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Self acknowledgment
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Living in the moment
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In the groove / In the zone
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Acceptance
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Spiritual growth
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Identifying larger life purposes
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Celebrating
"Feelings happen. Only when you believe your feelings are truth and feel an urgency to act on them do irrational feelings become bad decisions." - Suzanne Lachmann, TinyBuddha.com

4-Step Learning: Another Perspective

Relaxing. The most important part of purposeful change is actually taking it seriously and allocating some time and effort to your self. In it's simplest form this means maybe taking a deep breath and putting thoughts and feelings of your day to one side for a while so that you can concentrate more easily on your deeper purposes and intentions. Making yourself ready.
Releasing. Establishing reality is something that we humans tend to think that we are pretty good at. After all, we have well defined sciences and endless experts that know pretty much everything, don't they? Actually, establishing personal reality and gaining some clarity about who and what we are is something a little different from gathering facts. Even with recent advances in psychology and neuroscience we still know remarkably little about the basics of being human. Releasing is almost a doulbe step, of establishing some understanding about our own personal reality and then letting go (releasing) of those aspects of our own deeper thinking that are stopping us from automatically changing. Technically this is the most challenging of the steps as it can require us to challenge our prejudices, our pretensions, and our self-protections. The benefits are huge though and there are actually many different approaches that can be explored.
In The Mind Walker website you will find a number of fascinating explorations of different aspects of the human mind. Vital insights to empower self-discovery.
Reinventing. In the past half century there has been a surge of interest in motivational science and motivational products. These are all about reinventing or choosing ways of going about life that suit our current aims and intentions. And much of this is still at an early stage, owing at least as much to philosophy as to objective study.
As The Mind Walker website grows, you will find more and more practical ways to ignite enthusiasm and maintain appropriate and discerning willpower.
Reflecting. This is seemingly the most straightforward and simple step. Surely we all know how to ponder over what has happened to us or drift into fantasy about what is coming next? Few of us take the trouble to do this consistently or constructively though, and this is also the step that is most often skipped as we move from one urgent demand to the next in our busy or pleasure-seeking lives.
This website is for Life's Seekers and, as more material is added, it will expose alternative approaches to reflecting and completing so that we can move on ready and empowered to engage with life again and again.
Here are some Life Improvement links to resources on this website:
One-to-one and small group activitiesThe Guiding Path
Explore some aspects of the mind with meExplore Ideas With Me
Self-Help products and resourcesSelf-Help
Have some fun with my personality testTest Your Personality
My BlogsBlog Site