• Michele Henshaw

A FEW OF MY FAVOURITE THINGS | Sharing the stuff I use myself in my Life Path Design method


I'm asked so often about what my top tips, favourite techniques and tools are. Over in my private Facebook Group (by the way, if you haven't joined me there yet, why not?), I share a huge amount already but I want to get more specific for you so that you can get what you need...quickly.


This time, I want to talk Affirmations. I know, I know, you hear these things talked about a LOT but listen up. I used to be sceptical about the effectiveness of just repeating things over and over to yourself in the mirror. I mean, I grew up involved in a pretty extreme religious environment (you know by now that my Mother was a Jehovah's Witness, right?) and repeating things parrot fashion was a thing. It always seemed so vacuous to me. So lacking in meaning, emotion and real intention. So, I turned by back on it - not just the repetitive stuff but religion altogether for a lonnnnng time. I turned to science to understand things instead and then bam....guess what I discovered?


I started to study neuroanthropology - basically the study of human behaviour - and what was one of the first things I learned? Repeated language changes behaviour and therefore experience. Then I met my late precious friend Stephen Russell (aka The Barefoot Doctor) and we had many a juicy conversation around all this. I was fascinated in his Taoist spiritual approach to behaviour and change and he was just as interested in my sciencey approach. I realised I was kind of 50/50 science and spirituality. More importantly, I realised that was OK, that I didn't have to choose. I realised that the two support each other. Who knew? Well, actually lots of people who weren't me did, particularly Stephen. He would giggle endlessly at my childlike excitement each time I made a similar discovery.


So, with Barefoot holding my hand (sometimes metaphorically, sometimes literally), I began to explore my spiritual side and to look at how it aligned with my science learning and research. It did! It isn't an either/or. The two walk side by side, informing and supporting each other on the journey. One of the first things I agreed to try with Stephen was Affirmations. Like I say, I was sceptical, partly based on my experience of repetitive claptrap but he was my friend and mentor and I trusted him because, well, it seemed to be working OK for him. So, let me share what Barefoot and science both taught me about Affirmations. First to step up to the mic is Mr Stephen Russell...

1. Affirmations are just a statement of intent.

2. They must be stated in the present, the here and now

3. They must be in the positive - no "Don’ts", "No longer's" or "Stop's"

4. You have to feel fully connected to what you're affirming. No half measures. (This was the key difference for me between repeated babble and something that might just make a difference).

5. Repeat six times over with gusto at least once a day every day for at least 6 weeks (though in truth, it becomes such a powerful habit that you'll definitely want to continue).

Note: At Stephen's request, I didn't question the '6 times with gusto' thing.

I just went with it. Trust is a big part of...well, everything really.

Here's what neuroanthropology and science taught me about affirmations...


1. Neuro plasticity, the stuff in our brains that forms skills and habits - a bit like forming plasticine - is only formed and altered by repeated actions and behaviours.

2. The brain (not the mind by the way, the mind exists in other parts of our bodies too) only recognised and registers the present time. The 'brain' doesn't understand past tense or future tense. That's stuff for our minds, the thing that allows us to dream and plan. We're talking 'brain' here. So, when you say "I no longer eat junk food.", pretty much all the brain registers is "...eat junk food." It's like a giant search engine that only picks up keywords.

3. There's a specific part of the brain called the somatosensory cortex, that alters with repeated behaviour. Think learning an instrument or a new language. Learning any new skill or behaviour requires repetition. Who knew? Oh yeah, Barefoot and probably a whole load of neuroscientists too. What is the collective noun for a group of neuroscientists I wonder?

4. The spotlight vacuum cleaner method. The brain absorbs what it focusses on. This is described so well in Ruby Wax's book 'No Brainer' where neuroscientist Ash Ranpura says "

5. We really are all a continuous, lifelong work in progress, constantly adapting and changing and literally becoming our thoughts and behaviours.

6. So, we need to be very careful what we absorb, how we choose our thoughts and behaviours. The great news of course, is that when we learn to do that, we can literally change our lives. Both science and spirituality agree on that!


NEWS FLASH / We are not a pre defined entity. We are formed. We can form ourselves.

So anyway, what did I get from doing affirmations six times a day for six weeks? Well, a literal transformation, in so many ways. It transformed my thinking around how science and spirituality agree and support each other. It transformed my attitude to thoughts and choosing them wisely. It transformed the way I think about the link between my thoughts and my external experience. It transformed my focus and raised my frequency. Most importantly of all though, and probably of most interest to you at this point, the practice shifted my entire experience of life and brought about what I can only describe as magnificent miracles large and small. I started to notice chance encounters (of course I now know they weren't chance at all) with people I had enormous amounts in common with. Opportunities to do fun things, knowledge building things and to collaborate came along without me working hard to search for them. Money came in with much less effort and in bigger bundles. Work and business started to feel easier and more joyous. Things started to feel less like wading up a mountain through volcanic lava and more like being guided gently but with purpose to where I was meant to go.

When I reported my findings to my neuroanthropology professor, he just smiled and nodded and took notes. When I reported my findings to Barefoot, he shrugged his shoulders as if to say "Well, of course." and just chortled. The big doodah (an affectionate term that he fully embraced btw).


Now and for the infinite foreseeable, Affirmations are a permanent fixture in my daily routine and a power tool I offer to my clients. I say offer, because you can lead a human to the affirmation, but you can't make it apply, right?


So, my invitation to you is just to give it a go. Why not? As Stephen would say, "You've got to do something while you're hanging around on the planet waiting to die." with an added chortle of course.


Grab a notebook, some cards, stick it notes, a journal, whatever rocks your world, and get writing. You can even record yourself saying them if you like. Don't know where to start? Here are a few of my favourites to give you a bit of inspiration. Borrow them if you like but your own in your own words will be much more powerful.


"I am an unlimited being receiving unlimited good from an unlimited source in an unlimited way."

"It's perfectly OK for me to live a magnificent life right now!"

"I have the courage and strength to carry on, come what may."


As always, if you need more help and support with any of this, reach out and I'll be there. I bet you're singing in your head right now aren't you? You're welcome.


Michele x


HOW ELSE CAN WE CONNECT?

Visit: http://LifePathDesign.com where you can download my FREE Design for Life Guide and find out more about me and the work I do.

If you'd like to get more involved, find out more about me and about Life Path Design business and life coaching and mentoring, why not join my incredible private community, MEG, on Facebook https://Facebook.com/Groups/MindfulEntrepreneurGroup

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