Sunday, December 29, 2013

Speaking in the prophetic tense



Various personal development courses I’ve been on and books I’ve read draw the distinction between two quite separate uses of language: descriptive and creative.
Descriptive language describes the world as we see it: “There’s a car. It’s red.”

Creative language describes the world as we would like it to be, and in the act of declaring it, brings it into being.

Not so many people are fully conscious of the second type of language; still fewer are adept at using it. Sometimes people express scorn or are even offended, referring to creative language as lying, when in fact it simply describes something that doesn’t yet exist. It's only a matter of timing.

It occurred to me that we could simplify understanding if we recognised a new language structure – I’ll call it the prophetic tense – to define when we are using language to create. It’s not the same as the future tense, exactly, although at times it has aspects in common.

Think about it, though, the varying degree of power in statements such as: “I’ll do it this afternoon” – how much faith we put in this depends on our view of the speaker, their tone of voice, the importance of the thing, and to a large extent, our experience of our own integrity. In some instances we take it as absolute fact, relying on it and planning around it. In others, the response is more: "Yeah, right."

I, personally, take my word very seriously, partly because I was born that way, and partly because I know its power relies on my deep unconscious belief in it. If I habitually said things and then didn’t stand by them, then when I used the prophetic tense, I wouldn’t, in a weird way, believe myself. And my sense is that it’s the intensity with which I believe myself when I say I’ll do something, or describe something I see in the future, that makes it so likely to become true.

I'm not saying I'm perfect

I’m not saying I’m perfect. I’m acutely aware of the times I’ve failed. Sometimes this has been in one-off instances - some of them big ones, of enormous importance to me, indelibly imprinted on my memory. Some of these I am still working to salvage.

Other times it has happened when I have been stretching myself, perhaps extending my business, taking on larger, more challenging projects, or perhaps moving countries, when logistic detail proliferates. In times of stretch, sometimes things slip through the cracks. I have missed appointments, and forgotten things. I don’t like it, but I’ve learned to be a bit kinder to myself about it: apologise, put plans in place to make it less likely to happen again and get over it.

Other times are more complex – or perhaps, actually less complex – the times when I’ve avoided raw truth for reasons I don’t myself quite understand. My sense is that sometimes this is because of a gap of perception and understanding: the other person is not ready for what I have to say; but at other times, it is simply integrity failure – lying, in black and white terms. Hmmm. Like I said, I’m not perfect…

Coming back to the central point, being true to my word is very important to me, because that is what gives my voice power; that is what tells friends, family, colleagues and clients that they can trust me; and that is what brings my prophetic speaking to life.

How does the prophetic tense work?

So how does it work? Well, in my experience, one of two ways. I may be speaking in traditional future tense: “the books will be published on the 27th”; “I’ll be over to see you the week after next”. Or I may be speaking in the present tense, describing something that is real and vivid before my eyes as I speak, a lived vision, or something I draw up in my imagination as the words form. My experience is that, given time, these things almost always come to pass.

Recognising the use of the prophetic tense is a subtle art, to start with, although it becomes unmistakeable after you’ve been looking for it and spotting it for a while. The voice changes, gets slower, stronger. There’s a profound sense of absolute truth.

Sometimes I use it intentionally, switch into it, deliberately create the future; and sometimes it overtakes me, in a conversation, speaking to someone about things that are important to one or the other of us, or both. It comes from deep inside me, from that place I know as Truth. 

And sometimes, I hear it in someone else. It sends shivers up my spine, raises goosebumps. I stop short, take notice, remember. And in a cool moment, a minute or so later, I play back to them what they’ve said. Very often they themselves haven’t realised the significance of the moment.

It’s a miracle when that happens. Big things get acknowledged and planned, not in the to-do list, something-more-to-fill-my-day-with way, but from a deep place of inspiration. It’s magical, miraculous.

Here, I think, lies the deepest power of the human race.



The following is an excerpt from my novel, Law of Attraction, which describes a moment where the prophetic tense is used.





I came back home overflowing with energy. I was booked to go back to Auckland in a fortnight, but in the meantime, I made an offer on the house  on the corner and sat down to brainstorm.

Three weeks later I stood in the living room of my new venture, keys still in my hand. Doors were open wide out to the veranda and I could see trees, lawn, and the occasional car going past. I looked around, imagining how it would be, visualising the furniture, the colours, cool neutrals over this awful brown. I love this moment, when everything is possible, where I begin to create the future with my imagination.

Maria came running in. “Mum, Mum, I found a swing!”

I held out my hands. “Come here, Babe, let me tell you what I see.”

- excerpt from Law of Attraction by Jennifer Manson

Monday, December 16, 2013

The Everyday Miracle of Sunrise



There’s a magical moment when you’ve started driving before dawn, after the moon, if there is one, has set, when the first light touches the east. It’s not enough to light your way just yet, it’s just there, a promise of things to come.

I’m always a sucker for a good metaphor, so this morning, as I drove towards Calais to the Eurotunnel, for my next trip to England, I reflected on those moments in life when we know something has changed, but nothing is really different in the world yet. The most obvious example is the start of falling in love; and a shift in business can happen in the same way. In this excerpt from Slow Time, we see both things happening at the same time:


“This is my brother,” Viv said. I felt my eyelashes flutter downwards in a way they never had before, shying from the yellow-green eyes, the faint smile.
“Caroline’s been talking about you non-stop.” He shook the hand I offered. It was a moment after he let it go that it began its slow fall back to my side. My mouth swerved upwards into a half smile and back again, not quite making it. I couldn’t think of an answer. “I’m interested in what you’re doing. I’ve just finished a development along Lake Wakatipu, an eco-hotel.  Tell me about your project.”
Dan was a good audience, and I found my thoughts coming into focus as they poured into his ear. He asked astute questions, and in thinking through the answers, my plans developed, I became more and more animated. This could become addictive.
At the start I had avoided his eyes, turning my gaze from spot to spot on the spotless ceiling so I could create the visions in my head. Further into the conversation I found my eyes on his face, on his lips as he spoke, finding something there that reflected me back to myself, but altered, improved.
“What about your development. How did it start?” And now I could really watch him, see his passion. It was like watching the sky on Guy Fawkes night.

There are other moments, too, other beginnings. If you look back through life, you will probably find lots of them: the moment you read the advertisement for a job that you later got and loved; filling out the application form for university; buying a ticket to travel. Nothing has changed, and everything has.

For me, it was the moment of deciding to publish my first book; the moment of being invited to do a television interview, nervous days before I was sitting outside the studio, waiting; putting an offer on the house, and on the three apartments we have owned over time; the moment of saying yes, in theory we could move to France. Nothing changes, and everything does.

My guess is, life offers us many of these moments - it’s up to us to accept them, or not. I'll be keeping a closer eye out from now on...

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Lived Visions


Does anyone else get these lived visions? This is the first one I remember, when, in real life, I was considering buying this hotel and renovating it as a hotel for writers. I was standing outside it and I felt the present moment fall away, replaced by another moment, another future, architecture forming around me to take me away from that day, month and year, to another, an undetermined lifetime away.




"There was an edgy feeling to the streets here, cafés and nightclubs and night-time noise. The wide cobbled front of the hotel seemed vulnerable. I wouldn’t be completely comfortable behind these windows in the early hours of the morning. I put my foot on the low steps and ascended.

"I turned, for a moment feeling the proximity of the street, but then the traffic sounds receded, becoming a reverberating echo, like I remembered from the glassed in courtyards of the Louvre. What if this were an atrium, visually open to the street but enclosed? The verandas would stay pristine, original, but instead of looking into the street they would look in to a double height glass room. It would be fabulous! I could see it: a café at one end, reception in the middle, comfortable chairs beyond. 

"My mind circled back to my drawing. What had I written? I took the book out of my bag. The Old Occidental Writers’ Hotel. Wow! That was it. And then I could see it, shelves and shelves and shelves of books, the perfect mood and décor. The skin on my arms prickled and goose bumps raised, my pulse beat low in my belly." 
 - excerpt from The Old Occidental Writers' Hotel, pp 39-40



That experience was so compelling I wrote it into a book, based a story around it, grew it from that moment. This one didn't happen in my linear-time reality. I wrote the book, lived the thought experiment in words on paper, and found that creative outlet sufficient - and then an earthquake took the hotel, anyway, so that future, even if realised, would have been short-lived.

I'm a little more used to them now, those moments of current reality receding, showing me something - I'm never clear what - a direction, an idea, a possibility. I come out of them dazed, somehow refreshed, always in a thoughtful frame of mind. They show me something important, I think, something that I haven't quite acknowledged yet with my conscious mind. In the past they've caused confusion, because they'd get mixed up with reality, and I'd fight to have the two fall into line. Now I'm beginning to wonder what they are, how I should use them, and possibly, what else it might be useful to know.

They are fed like intuition, from somewhere deep. I sense they are guides, a vivid shorthand of what I should look for, what I should aim for, in my search for destiny, my destined future. So what now? What is the next step? How do I follow into something that seems a quantum leap away?

As I ask these questions, I feel the answer brewing... "Just close your eyes, and take that leap, of faith..."

Jennifer Manson is the author of six inspiring novels and one non-fiction title Easy - Stories from an effortlessly created life, available from Amazon and all major book and e-book websites.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Dream Time


I'm just finishing up reading Brendon Burchard's The Charge, with all its reminders of the joy and necessity of living our truth. This is a daily inquiry for me, informing every moment, every action, almost every thought. The ideal of expressing our deep truth in every second of our lives, bringing joy and life to the world and encouraging others by our example and our words to do the same, is in the front of my mind every hour of every day.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Moment-Change-Jennifer-Manson/dp/0473174839/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1385364309&sr=8-1&keywords=the+moment+of+change+mansonThe last section of my novel The Moment of Change (extract below) addresses this idea directly as the protagonist, Ocean, twenty-eight-year-old ex-rebel-schoolgirl, sets up a Dream Time club at a local high school, bringing out not only the passions and dreams of the students, but of the principal as well.

So apart from the obvious: listening to our hearts, tuning into intuition, doing the brave things when they rise up from us, what does following our dreams consist of? For me, in the absence of dramatic inner direction, my rule is to do what is in front of me and keep going till it's done.

Today I have an article to write and some pieces for the Paris Women of Success collaborative book My Paris Story: Living, loving and leaping without a net in the City of Lights to edit. This morning I finished writing my own chapter for that book. I have a client's book to continue editing, an inspiring look at connected parenting by Dr. Linda Mallory; I have a call with my mastermind group this afternoon, an email to write to a friend of a friend, encouraging him to write the book that is in him and then, summoning all my courage, my video Writer's Blog post to do. Once all that gets done, or at least progressed, or if intuition prompts me in the meantime, there are many, many other possibilities and opportunities to be created or followed up.

Living my dreams, for me, for the most part, is just a matter of doing the next obvious thing.

Back to Ocean and the school principal. Here's an extract of their conversation. You'll notice the trumpet theme coming through again:


“So what are you thinking? How would it work?”

“The idea is very simple. Do something you love, for a little time each day. It could be five minutes, half an hour, anything. The point is to respect and act on that part of you that is who you really are. Sure there’s practical stuff to do. But for a few minutes, each day, you connect with yourself, what you want, what you love to do. Do you have any hobbies, Mr Howarth?”

“Please call me Henry. No, not really, no. I read, in the holidays, but during term there’s not time for, well, anything, really.”

“And before, in the past?”

“Well, I used to play the trumpet. I was in a jazz band, when I was at university. I enjoyed that.”

I smiled at his smile, as he remembered. “Do you still have it, the trumpet?”

“Yes, I do, somewhere.”

Jennifer's books, including The Moment of Change, are available from Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk and all major book and eBook sites.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Air


When I learned to play the trumpet, which I took up just a few years ago, it was a totally different experience than any other instrument I had played before. I started piano lessons, eagerly, and after years of nagging my parents, at eight years old. I had eleven years of regular lessons with a teacher who became a close friend. I did exams, payed attention to all the aspects of technique, learned the theory, played in concerts, in the school orchestra, in church.

Trompette

Learning the trumpet was much more like falling in love. I was irresistibly drawn to the instrument, which we had hired because my daughter wanted lessons. I played it while she was at school, just experimenting with the sounds, not officially "learning". When she stopped a term later, taking up the drums, I took over her lessons and could continue my fascination openly. 

Still it was different. I played, not to learn music, but to hear the notes. I felt, rather than heard, the resonance of the air, flowing through smooth or rugged, clear and pure or distorted, and I shifted my body, my breathing, so that more and more consistently I felt that glorious lamina flow, perfect slow drawn-out notes, bending and shaping like smoke in a bottle, twisting and dancing, spiralling in full natural beauty.

Instead of practising the pieces my brilliant, long-suffering teacher gave me, I put on my favourite music and played along with slow harmonies, chiming with the spirit of other intuitive musicians: Sarah McLachlan, mostly, with a bit of Bach and Cole Porter thrown in. 

Instead of doing the exercises my teacher, Mark, wanted, my lessons were sequences of duets, his music leading mine, interspersed with wild stories, told by me, distractions to allow my body to rest from the pressure in my lungs, the numbness of my lips. The experience was so intense I couldn't sustain it for long.

During this period, I wrote a novel about a trumpet player, with the title Air. In it, I explored the experience of living this way, feeling through life instead of following the notes on the paper, the rules.

Here's a quote from that novel:

"Her voice came as if from far away. I took the instrument from its case, looked around for the mouth piece and found it sitting in one of two special slots for it. I took it out and fitted it into the fine end. It slotted in cleanly, firmly. I twisted slowly it until it stuck, and then I raised the trumpet to my lips.

"From somewhere I had an understanding that it wasn’t easy to get a noise out of one of these, so I blew hard. It made a honking squeak and then was silent. I tried again, lighter. Nothing. I turned away from Paula, walking into another room. I needed to be alone to do this, it was serious. My life had taken on a new direction; in fact, my life had never really had a direction before. This was it. Outside words and explanation. I had found myself." 


Air is currently being edited for publication. Jennifer's other books are available from Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Why, exactly, can't we just be friends?

A little while ago I received a beautifully written message from a close and well-loved male friend, raising again the subject of a lifetime's confusion. I'll paste in the relevant bits, so you can see...

"This is one of those e-mails I've hesitated over, and more ... I have been avoiding expressing how I really feel ...

"There is so much about you that I like, that I love. You're an amazing woman ... you inspire me, you captivate me, you see the good in me, you see through me, you overlook my weaknesses, you challenge me to be better. You've given me the intimacy I sought. You are beautiful. I love listening to you and reading about you. I adore the way you laugh. I long to hold you, even to walk hand-in-hand with you, and to see you free to become what you aspire to be. 

"And so the following grieves me immensely ..."

i.e. we can't be friends any more.

A beautiful, kind, expressively worded declaration of love, followed by utter real-world rejection.

WTF?

This has happened so many times in my life, and it kills me every time. I don't understand... Why, exactly, can't we just be friends?

Comments and elucidation and - yes, I'm really asking for it - advice begged for and deeply appreciated.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Fireworks and passion

My friend Kathryn loves fireworks. Well, we all love fireworks, but this is a special passion, a vivid display of personal fireworks on her face when she even talks about it. Watching her run out onto the lawn with a box of matches in her hand is something else again.

I love that passion, and I want to be around it, be near it, experience it vicariously, be as close to it as possible. I feel a little sadness this year, because Kathryn lives in New Zealand and I am in France. I have a rare sense of missing something precious.

At the same time, that sense of regret shows me something beautiful: that being passionate, expressing ourselves fully, indulging our delights brings a contagious joy. I find myself smiling just at the memory of those fireworks evenings, that shining face, of previous years.

This morning brought me a parallel joy, a new contact through my work as The Flow Writer: Michelle Pozon, The Closet Guru in Paris. Michelle worked as a successful fashion designer in New York for twenty years and now finds joy bringing out the beauty in her clients, mostly working with what they already have in their closets. She said "I just see outfits everywhere. I see clothes. The greatest joy for me is bringing out the beauty that already exists in every woman."

Spending time in conversation with people who are living their passion, their joy, is such a gift, such a delight.

So now, it must be our turn to do the same, pass on the gift of our passion to those around us. To me, that sounds like divine permission to go for it, and live my passion, too. How about you?