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Think - Feel - Do!

Ponder Life -The EHP Blog

A back and forth between two eternally wondering women


#12: Hopelessly devoted to...? 14 February 2019


#1: A rose (thorn) by any other name 1 March 2018
#2: The earth is not flat - is it? 14 March 2018
#3: Dogged by Anxiety... 4 May 2018
#4: Moods are like Measles 21 May 2018
#5: Downward Dog 11 June 2018
#6: I am NOT *@!^#y stressed!! 2 July 2018
#7: The money where the mouth is 12 September 2018
#8: Stop the train! 28 October 2018
#9: You fill up my senses... 26 November 2018
#10: A whale of a memory 10 December 2018
#11: Melt it away with music 23 January 2019


#11: Melt it away with music


23 January 2019

Dear Evelyn,

What a sight those breaching whales must have been! I have never had the good fortune to witness such a spectacular display, but I have been fortunate enough to experience many things that give me goose-bumps.

One of the most recent was at my church’s Christmas Concert, with truly world-class performances by local artists. One young woman in particular had the voice of an angel and my geese were bumping all over the place! As if that wasn’t enough, a string quartet made up of talented teenagers gave a rendition of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah that held me spellbound then had me reaching for the tissues.

Music can be such a powerful state-changer, can it not? Movie directors know this only too well, using it to lead us through the whole gamut of emotions of which we are capable.

Among other things, I use music to get through one of my least favourite activities - housework!  I choose the music according to the pace I want to set - something soulful if I want to potter and take my time, something livelier if I have a deadline and need to speed up. To the consternation of my canines, I sing and dance my way through the chores and barely notice I’m doing them.

Of course, music and other sounds can also be used great effect for silencing negative self-talk. It’s hard to take that inner voice seriously when we set it to imagined circus music or the theme to Jaws, or we change it to the slow and sonorous tones of the aforementioned whales!

Yours most melodiously,


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roses and heart shaped box of chocolates
#12: Hopelessly devoted to...?


13 February 2019

Dear Sylvia,

Your musing about music brought a smile to my dial as I imagined you dancing through the chores.

I'm supposing you would have actually said, if you were tap-dancing while in the kitchen? Such an act would require extreme caution and I doubt even Balanced Breathing would be of significant help to keep you perfectly safe!

Would you consider you had a music addiction, I wondered? Curiosity about addictions sent me to my collection of dictionaries, seeking definition. Well, dictionary-makers have varying ideas and offered a selection:

  • Being devoted to a practice
  • Giving oneself up to a strong habit
  • Dependence, habit, dedication, devotion
  • Being extremely or excessively devoted to something

All this led me to ponder - perhaps I have an addiction or two! If we overlook 'excessively' for a moment, I openly admit to being addicted to spending time with cool people, reading, good old belly-laughs, yes, music, and yes again - chocolate, to name a few.

Of course if we add 'excessively' back to the mix, I could be smart to turn to Habits & Addictions, p274, in Think Feel Do.

Yours in purposeful pondering,


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#9: You fill up my senses...


26 November 2018

Dear Evelyn,

I have been on exactly one train in my life – in, as it happens, Sydney! My memory of stations is somewhat dim…the train had standing room only, and with many passengers hanging on to ceiling straps for dear life, my abiding sensory activation was that of smell – specifically relating to the axillary apocrine glands. (Not mine of course…despite the searingly hot summer day and being a slightly harried and hurried tourist, I’m sure my own armpits were redolent only of narcissi on a crisp winter morning.)

It is interesting, is it not, how differently each person perceives and remembers the ‘same’ experience, depending on their use (conscious and unconscious) of their senses and related factors. I have the good fortune and misfortune to have an acute sense of smell, and odour or perfume is often the first thing I notice and remember.

One of the huge benefits of learning NLP has been the development of my overall sensory awareness. There is so much more pleasure and joy to be had in the now when we use our senses to the full – and it also makes it a lot easier and more fun when we want to tweak our experience of memories, or how we are anticipating what’s to come.

Oh – and if you recoiled, exclaimed, wrinkled your nose in disgust (or any combination thereof) when you read the first paragraph – congratulations! Your olfactory memory (and imagination) is alive and well.

With the beauty of Australian Frangipani filling my senses,


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woman holding up shopping bag printed with image of whale
#10: A whale of a memory


10 December 2018

Dear Sylvia,

That was an interesting train of thought you introduced, about having all these senses of seeing, hearing, feeling, smelling and tasting and how we tend to have one or two go-to senses, which we use to engage in the here and now, and in remembering or imagining.

This brings to mind the plight of the Bowhead whale. As much as I love whales, I’m glad I’m not one, and in particular the Bowhead! Imagine living for up to 200 years, and for every meal in that impressive expanse of time, having nothing but crustaceans to eat. No variety, no sweet chilli sauce or chocolate…just the same old, same old!

And living in the arctic means little change in temperature or even in scenery, so what variety for the senses lies in those deep frigid waters? What on earth do they chat about at gatherings? Imagine trying to remember what you did for Christmas, say, 173 years ago...

Of course,  if a Bowhead whale could read, she or he might utilise one of the memory strategies set out in a certain book called Think  Feel Do and increase the odds of remembering whatever she or he did do on that occasion.

Mind you, to reach such a great age, the Bowheads must be good at remembering where to find their food. And how wonderful not to have to negotiate the supermarkets at Christmas (or any other time, we assume), nor to remember those shopping bags!

I never met a Bowhead, but I do have glorious, goose-bump memories of being at sea when Humpback whales breached. Such a sight, seeing them leap fully out of the water!



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cat sitting on haunches holding banknote
#7: The money where the mouth is


12 September 2018

Dear Evelyn,

Well, a couple of months have passed since the duck hunters melted into the mist, and the telecommunication challenge challenged the meaning of communication!

Much has occurred both in the hills of Kaeo and the valley of Whau during that time, a good deal of it calling on our commitment to putting our money where our (collective) mouth is.

I didn’t quite make it to studying Latin as there seemed to be one or two other things to do; however, creating and maintaining balance, managing our state and remaining flexible - those three vital elements of mollitiam (the Latin for resilience!) - were called into play rather a lot, were they not, as we discovered at the eleventh hour the many vicissitudes of publishing a book!

Being reminded that life doesn’t always go as smoothly as we’d like, thank goodness we had a how-to manual to read and re-read…and re-read, and re-read, seemingly ad infinitum…

For me, that wee paragraph on page 410 about giving up on perfectionism, written with a certain wry identification (and the first few words with perhaps just a smidgeon of tongue-in-cheek) was the standout message…I’m working on it!

How about you?

Yours in human-ness,


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past present and NOW signposts
#8: Stop the train!


28 October 2018

Dear Sylvia,

Your last message reminded me of living in Sydney, frequenting trains to get around the city and suburbs.

A fast train can pass many stations in a short time. If one boarded at Outcome Book, one would soon want to make a stop at Commitment, again at Flexibility, zoom past and not stop at Latin Lessons, pause for refreshments at How to Publish, then fly past Perfection, staying resolutely on board.

With yet another rest stop before re-boarding at Resilience and a few more stations flashing by, before one knew it, one would be at Grand Central, known locally as Launch. Here, one could unload luggage, take another look at the itinerary, the scenery and at what’s possible, before going further.

After such a journey, looking back and now looking forward, I take up your comment about Resilience. I’m reminded that Being Now is a major suburb of Resilience and I look forward to regular visits there. I think there are some directions on P173 in the book to which you refer.

Know any other attractive stations?

Yours in the moment,


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depressed dog cartoon
#5: Downward Dog


11 June 2018

Dear Evelyn,

I trust you have not had occasion to wield your broom at would-be gourmands of Wild Duck A L’orange!

Ah, the thought of a life coach having to deal with not one, but two dogs depressing right here on the premises could be enough to make one feel a little – well, depressed!

Depression is another insidious wee interloper, in the opposite manner of anxiety, yet with a similar range of levels. Most of us feel a bit down from time to time or might have been through a period of ‘why me’ when life was intent on throwing us curve balls. Sometimes of course, if those curve balls keeping coming and we don’t know how to lob them back (or let them pass by), our systems can cry ‘enough!’ and we start to shut down.

Thankfully, we have some Blues Busters we can use as soon as we notice our spark is fizzling out, and get ourselves back on track. Of course, the EHP Courses will, in due course, include one on knocking depression out of the ball park, whatever stage or level it’s snuck into.

With so many projects going on, dogs and pigs to attend to, wintery blasts and oceans of mud to navigate, I’m finding it serendipitous that we’ve written a chapter on Overwhelm (and how not to…). Otherwise I might fall prey to the dreaded ‘S’ word, the subject of the second most requested course coming up…

Yours lightly chilled


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cat with headphones
#6: I am NOT *@!^#y stressed!!


2 July 2018

Dear Sylvia,

To answer your query, the duck hunters have all vanished into the surrounding hills for another year, so apart from the celebratory screech of pukekos (does anyone have a recipe?), all is well and quiet once more in the valley.

Ah – the dreaded ‘S’ word! I look deeply into my crystal ball and see – you refer to – Stress! Well, overwhelm can do that to a person, if one is not on the alert, or not using Stress Busters now and then.

I was talking with someone this morning who was in a tizz after trying to get some sense and service out of one of the phone companies, who in all integrity shall remain unnamed (but are any of them different nowadays?). You push 1, then 3 and 5 and maybe 16, only to find it should have been 2, then need to go online, only to find you need to renew a password you’ve forgotten, only to find you need to call said company back and start all over again.

In order to get through the procedure calmly, one needs to set aside a day for such tasks, and have handy a substantial cut lunch, a few snacks and a good supply of herb teas, ready-made, because you don’t want to hang up and start again – this could add another day to your quest.

Oh, and I like to have a collection of puzzles at hand – one can get through a heap of them while otherwise idly waiting for a response! Things like knitting, spinning, pilates, yoga or studying Latin could all be considered, too.

It did cross my mind to mention to the person concerned a certain chapter on Stress and the value of some deep breaths – of course such is the basis for another discussion on what constitutes resilience. I’m seeing a slogan…‘Be resilient – study Latin’ – what do you think?

Keep your bounce,


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#3: Dogged by anxiety...


4 May 2018

Dear Evelyn,

While I concur with your attitude of gratitude for our knowledge of the spherical nature of the earth, I submit that being afraid of falling off the edge is still common in today’s world – as a metaphor at least!

And as a metaphor it’s a good one – since one of the two fears we’re born with is a fear of falling (the other, as you know, being a fear of loud noises).

And speaking of fear, there are so many levels of that pernicious wee interloper, are there not? From the fluttering of butterflies in the tummy, through the pounding heart and sweaty palms of facing up to something we’d rather not, to the full-blown panic attack or phobia we talked about in our last newsletter – and many variations in-between. Small wonder then that the most requested EHP course is on resolving anxiety!

Getting back to loud noises…it’s opening weekend of duck-shooting season in good old NZ – a time when I gird my loins to deal with the anxiety my dogs exhibit every time a gun goes off within this county or the next (or that’s how it seems!). Molly goes into full shaking and panting and hiding-under-the-chair/bed/desk mode, immersed in helplessness, big brown eyes full of reproach for my failure to protect her. Rasta, who showed little reaction to the sound of gunshot until Molly joined our household, has learned to be fearful as well, and with tail tucked between legs, shakes impressively and - exhibiting a little more faith in my protective abilities - sticks to me like superglue until at least an hour has passed since the last shot.

Would that I could speak ‘dog’ and impart some handy tips on clearing anxiety!

Oh, and as if you didn't know, I am less than happy with the practice of shooting birds with anything other than a camera, preferring my ducks flying, swimming and quacking!

Yours mid-rumination,


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woman looking back at image of herself with measles
#4: Moods are like measles


21 May 2018

Dear Sylvia,

Ah, yes, the many guises of fear indeed! And with the rush of those hunters toting guns to down some ducks (are they after down on the ducks?) I’ve had my own version of fear for the pair of paradise shelducks who have lived on my property since I built here. Truth be known, they were here before me, so they are the true owners of the land – I’m lucky enough to share their space for now. Then there are the mallards who frequent the waterway, currently shepherding a couple of teenage ducklings.

The number of ducks to be sheltered mounted. Mindful of the hunt, I scanned my house for the most salubrious place to shield said ducks until the guns were once more laid to rest. Knowing that ducks never seem to suffer constipation, I weighed up the situation and decided to leave the ducks outside.

Well-armed with a hefty yard broom, I keep a sharp eye out for sharp-shooters and will send them packing with no beg-pardons. They will know their own brand of fear should they darken this valley.

You paint a vivid picture of your dogs quaking at the sound of gunshot, Sylvia. It demonstrates, doesn’t it, how we all (yes, dogs, cats and all the rest – probably even ducks) can be affected by the mood or state of those around us. Rasta learning from Molly to go into irrational fear, shows us to be careful about catching states which are not useful. People to people, animals to people and people to animals, states can be like measles – they are highly contagious, for better or worse.

Isn't it lucky we humans have ways of immunising ourselves from catching or spreading both measles and moods? (Do we have some tips on managing mood measles? Yes we do!)

We hope young Molly remains sanguine apart from when she hears shots. With Rasta being such a master modeller, you would be otherwise at risk of living with not one, but two canines struggling to maintain their equanimity. How would one life coach deal with two dogs doing depression, for instance, right there on the premises?



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doberman dog holding rose with teeth
#1: A rose (thorn) by any other name

1 March 2018

Dear Evelyn,

Today I read in The Third QI Book of General Ignorance (Faber & Faber, 2015) that roses don't actually have thorns, they have prickles. Apparently thorns are modified branches or stems of a plant, while prickles are part of its skin. And thistles, which we colloquially called prickles when I was a child, have neither prickles nor thorns, but modified leaves. Hardly a life-enhancing revelation, I know - but it just goes to show we sometimes don't think to question the ideas we grow up with.

Now although I am something of a pedant when it comes to language (a surprise to you, I know, dear friend), I think I shall still refer to the sharp bits of rose plants as thorns. After all, "A rose between two prickles" sounds rather ridiculous, does it not?

Yours faintly bemused


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flat earth
#2: The earth is NOT flat - is it?

14 March 2018

Dear Sylvia,

Thank you for the informative words about thorns and prickles with the aside about thistles.

I agree – ‘a rose between two prickles’ sounds not only ridiculous, it is also not fair to the prickles.

The expression ‘a rose between two thorns’ is an old English one, and means a woman situated, either sitting, standing or otherwise placed, between two men.

Now if I were one of the men, I would find it unkind enough to be called a thorn. To be called a prickle could be construed as insulting.

A thorn is a thorn, a prickle can be downright annoying and I venture to guess the saying arose long before someone decided rose thorns were really prickles in disguise.

You raise a valid point when you said we sometimes don’t think to question the ideas we grow up with.

We could all be grateful to the person who refused to accept the earth was flat. If the spherical nature of our blue planet had not been clearly established, we could all be going round in eternal circles in our little boats, afraid of falling off the edge.

Yours in gratitude,


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