Month: November 2010

Evidence For The Existence of Ghosts, Version 2

So, this is the rewrite of the poem I wrote a few days ago.  I have attempted to tidy up the meaning and improve the metre.  Have had to lose a rhetorical flourish for the sake of clarity, but I think that is no bad thing.  Would love to know what you think.  Cheers!


Ghosts!? You think a corpse can emanate

across The Void (so empty, dark and wide)

a spectre of past life?  Disincarnate?

And why?  To act an omen?  Be our guide?

Really! No distant world beyond can light

the soulless night – bend nature’s laws – and send

a messenger!   This lonely truth is right:

Not one thing lasts beyond its natural end.”

I held my tongue.  I could have answered back,

except – a thousand, watchful, pallid eyes

hushed me, glinting from the silent black.

Standing still beneath those star-filled skies

I knew that for each present long-dead sun

I need not speak: Their argument was won.

Copyright (c) Matthew Wingett, 2010

Evidence For The Existence Of Ghosts

So, this is the first draft of a sonnet that I wrote last night.  It came out of an idea I had while reading a book on cosmology.  Wonder what you think?  It’s the first draft only, so I may fiddle with it later.  I have called it: 


Evidence for the existence of ghosts

“Ghosts!?  You think a corpse can radiate

across The Void (so wide and dark)

a spectre of what’s past?  Disincarnate?

And why?  To send an omen?  Make dogs bark?

Really!  No ghoulish world beyond can light

the soulless dark, bewilder nature’s laws, extend

beyond the grave.  This lonely truth is right:

Not one thing lasts beyond its natural end.”

I held my tongue.  I could have spoken back,

except those long-dead shades whose pallid eyes

that glimmered hushed me from the silent black.

Standing still beneath those star-filled skies

I knew that for those present-long-dead suns

I need not speak.  Their argument was won.


Copyright (c) Matthew Wingett, 2010, in all media

My New Word – “Synecdoche”

Okay, so I’ve got to share this with you because I think it’s one of those unusual words that I didn’t know existed. I was just reading Seamus Heaney’s notes on the Anglo-Saxon poem, “Beowulf”, and this really unusual word jumped off the page.  When I find new words I get as excited as an amateur naturalist finding a new species of beetle.  Here it is:


It’s pronounced to rhyme with “select a key” – so: “Si NECKED a key”, with the stress on the second syllable.

The context it was in was to describe the Old English word “ecg”, as used by the Anglo-Saxons.  It is pronounced “edge” – and interestingly enough, means “edge” – as in the edge of a blade.

Now, here’s the thing.  In Anglo-Saxon writing, the word “ecg” doesn’t only mean the edge of something.  It stands for far more – because it can also means “sword”.  What happens is that the part of the object referred to gets to stand for the whole thing.  So, “ecg” by transference, also means “sword”.

That’s synecdoche.

You’ll hear synecdoche all the time in modern English, where the part stands for the whole.

For example:  “Here comes Big Mouth,” is a good example, although in this case, you could argue that the part stands for the hole.  Another example would be: “Who’s the suit?”

And it’s not only used this way.  It can also be used the other way round, where the whole stands for the part.  “The street was jumping for joy” doesn’t normally mean that houses, lamp posts and gardens were involved in uplifting athletic activity.  Just the people, normally.

Another form of synecdoche happens when you talk about the container of something when you mean its contents.  For example, when you say: “I’m just going to boil the kettle”, you don’t actually mean that you are going to get a kettle, put it in some form of crucible and watch it first melt and then bubble off as kettle vapour.   Nope, as far as I understand it, you are going to boil the water in the kettle.  And when you say “Do you take plastic?”, it doesn’t mean you can pay for your goods in empty milk cartons.

Then there are the words in which you use a specific class name to refer to a single thing.  I’m not sure, but I think the annoying habit of a friend of mine to refer to all women as a “Doris” might fall into this category. “I was out with this Doris the other day, and…”  He’s a nice looking boy, and the only Doris I knew of was an elderly lady with a blue rinse with a penchant for knitting.  When he tells me this, I see him in my mind with his hairy chest and open-necked shirt in a swanky bar, seducing a woman in pink carpet slippers and 1950s glasses, who will take her teeth out and put them in a jar at the side of his bed, before the evening is out.  Which pleases me no end.

Finally, there’s the version of synecdoche which is a general class name that refers to a individual items.  To be honest, this one I don’t really get.  With “Prepare to abandon ship”, for example, it’s pretty obvious that it means the ship you’re on.  You know, the one that’s sinking.  Besides, abandoning someone else’s ship means getting on to it in the first place.  Which I suspect would be counter-productive.  I think that’s a form of synecdoche, but I’m not sure.  Synecdoche is, after all a new word for me, so I am sure there is much more to learn about it.  What I know is just the tip of the iceberg.

So, if anyone can shed a bit of light on that final class of synecdoche, I will be most pleased.

In fact, to be synecdochetic about it, I will be all smiles.


Give a man a fish…

“Give a man a fish, and his house will smell of fish. Teach a man to fish, and he’ll have cats in his bins for the rest of his life.” – Matthew Wingett

Give a man a fish, and his house will smell of fish. Teach a man to fish, and he’ll have cats in his bins for the rest of his life.

NLP Follow Up – Laughing Out Loud In The Pouring Rain

After the NLP session I did yesterday with a client, today I had the following text from a very much more smiley individual than the one whom I met before the session began. Bear in mind it was tipping down with rain when I received the text, which explains the rather cryptic first line:

I’m wet and fabulous! Spent most of yesterday laughing just because I can.  Saw two friends last night. One kept touching my knee constantly to make me laugh! And there is something delightfully wicked about laughing out loud in the pouring rain.  🙂  Got the pic back briefly, but quickly shrunk it and moved it to the side then thought about something else!

This is what makes doing hypnosis such fun.  I think of the client now, her hand suspended in mid-air as she sat in the cafe, internalising the learnings I had given her.  It was like a textbook session.  I will report back over time to let you know how she does.

Moderate Depression, Wiped Out With NLP (And Hot Chocolate)…

I had a  lovely result today.  On a sparkling day in Southsea, I met a client in a cafe, over a cup of hot chocolate.

She was a young woman with a slightly lost expression, looking pained and a bit confused.  Upstairs in the cafe, in the bright light of the Autumn sun, she sat across a table from me, telling me how she couldn’t get over a break up with a guy who was,  essentially, one great big waste of space.

I have been so busy lately doing other things than hypnosis, and this was a great opportunity to dust off the NLP skills and give her a blast of reprogramming.

Hot cholate: A mind-altering substance...

It was a lovely environment to do it in.  Soft chairs, silence, clear light – oh – and the hot chocolate.

How did we make the change?  First: I ran a series of metaphors about how we use technology to find places so much more easily these days.  The email I sent her had a link to the cafe so she could immediately find out where it was, rather than have me take loads of time talking to her and giving her boring directions. Instead of blindly groping around searching for answers, we find what we are looking for with the help of novel ideas for more quickly… such a change in the speed with which we get to where we really want to be would have seemed impossible just a few years ago…

And then, on to the reprogramming.  A simple disconnection of the current feelings from the memory, then moving swiftly on, finding positive emotions and getting her to journey with them into her future.

I kept looking over my shoulder as I put her into a trance and lifted her hand, doing good old-fashioned arm levitation to get her to reprocess the information I programmed in.  I thought how strange it would seem if a member of the public walked in to the room, seeing her in a relaxed state, eyes closed, giggling as I tapped the anchor on her leg.  She was an amazingly responsive client.

After this, when I asked her about how she felt about the break-up, she looked at me blankly and said: “What break-up?” before struggling to recover the memory.  Then she added: “It’s weird… I feel lighter…” and she smiled a broad, happy smile.

We walked out into the sunlight, with her still wearing that broad, sunny smile.  I will keep my eye on her, but I’m pretty positive we’ve nailed the depression.

Thank you Richard Bandler and Paul McKenna.  You showed me how to knock out another little patch of unhappiness in the world, and plant a garden there, all in about 45 minutes!

Paul McKenna and Me 10: Take-Off

On the very first day of the NLP Practitioner course, Hazel had gone up on stage with Richard Bandler, and had her bad memory removed.  We had spoken about it later.  She could still remember the bad memory, but the strong emotions that had been attached to it were no longer present.  She had been freed from the horrendous emotions that were the result of a highly manipulative and abusive relationship.

Witchcraft at Work

That first day, her eyes had changed colour.  From a dull grey to a light, bright blue.  Her skin tone, the way she held herself – everything about her had changed.  The effect had been so strong that I had even asked her if she had put in blue contact lenses in the break after she had been on stage.  It was a spectacular change.  The fear had gone, and the confidence had come in its place.

Nevertheless, there were other things that she wanted to deal with.  Getting rid of the bad memory was only part of the equation.

In my interview with her in preparation for the constellation hypnosis, Hazel had said that she wanted to become a successful NLP Trainer and teach so many others the things that would empower them and give them a better life.  But there were things that stood in her way.  A non-supportive family and an ex-partner who was still trying to make her life hell. Even though she now knew he was powerless, he still cast a shadow over her life – and she would be required to have some connection with him because she’d had a daughter by him.

She saw her resources as her personality, her determination and the skills she had learned to take control of herself through NLP.  It was a fairly straightforward combination of factors.

As she sat infront of me now, with James sitting off to one side, I began the hypnotic induction on her, all the while my mind racing with ideas.  And as she relaxed and I saw her move deeper down, into trance, I felt myself dropping down, too, joining her in that swirling half-conscious state.

A Cockpit, Surrounded By Machinery

It was then that I began to have an auditory hallucination.

As I began my tale… once there was a little witch… a white witch… who found herself trapped in the dungeon of an evil magician, staring out from the bars of a cage and only able sometimes to see the stars and the skies… something strange began to happen in my head.

The work that Paul had done with me: “Turn it up, double it, turn it up again” had at the time presented itself to me in my mind’s eye as a  bank of lights in some kind of sci-fi machine – as if a 1970s airing of the cult tv series Doctor Who was being run in my head.

There was machinery in there, in my head.

I could hear the low hum of energy running through a grid in my mind, and then I had the fleeting image of a control room, filled with banks of switches.  It was as if I was in a power station somewhere, or bizarrely, in the cockpit of an extraordinarily powerful aircraft.  I could hear the click of hundreds of tiny relay switches being flicked over in my head, and I seemed to get the image of hands flicking more and more switches and someone saying “check” as those hands moved.

The low hum grew stronger, until it finally sounded as if the whole of that strange room, that powerplant and cockpit, had been flooded with power and white light.  A deep, low, earthy hum that seemed to vibrate the core of my being, and which at the same time seemed endlessly and ultimately powerful.  It was as if I had discovered a massive spaceship that had been mothballed for a long time, and now was at last being dusted off to work again.  I eyed the banks of lights and switches with wonder.  Had they always been here, and I just hadn’t noticed?

All the while, on the outside, I continued to talk – a stream of metaphors about a little white witch who one day recovered the book of spells that the evil magician had taken from her – she was handed it through the bars of her prison by a wise old wizard.  And so she went about secretly collecting the things that she needed, using her magic arts to gather them to her.  A pole of hazel wood, and the twigs to make a broom.  A wand that she learned from the book how to wield with a power that made her invincible.  And all the while she would stare up at the stars and at the moon.  One day, she uttered a single spell and broke down the walls of her prison, and found that it was nothing at all, except a pile of words, and that squirming in the pile of words was a sickly, squirming weak old frog who she trapped in a box and cast in the sea, forever.

On her broom, she took to the sky, and flew upwards and upwards towards the light of the full moon, and she became a star, hanging there, the brightest in the sky – and acted always to shine her benign light, this Witch Hazel, to guide those who were lost and take them to safety.  Because she was the brightest light in the sky, whom the lost blessed and loved.

And as I told this tale which was, after all, a simple but beautiful tale, I felt a tear drop from my eye and run down my face.  All around me I could feel and hear the power surging, I could see the night sky from the windows of my ship, and knew that I was about to launch on to my own journey.

Then the room of the hotel came back into being.  I looked at James.  He was sitting looking at me with his mouth wide open, as I guided Hazel back from trance.

“Wow,” he said.  “I don’t know what just happened.  But wow.”

Back in the room,  I felt suddenly deeply excited.  “It’s about using archetypes,” I told him.  “It’s about just plugging into the archetypes and using them exactly how you want to use them.  You are completely free to do it.  And – God! – it’s so easy.  It’s so goddamned easy!”

Hazel, out of her trance was smiling at me with the most radiant smile.

It worked.  The ability to just think on the hoof and tell a story from nothing.  It was mine again!

Explosions In The Air. What Fun!

An Explosion in the Air!

Fireworks.  Yummy!  Remember, remember at this time of year…

Piles of Summer’s gold-leaf calling cards scattered in the gutter, dropped as he hurried on his way to warmer climes.

Enter stage left, with the  sudden curtain-drop of night as the clocks mysteriously go backward: October in a black cloak glinting with stars, and a pointed hat on her head.  Cobwebs hang in circular expansions of dewy light, pumpkins grimace; and then the curtain rises to reveal the luminous magic of lighted fires licking ice from the cold air.

If October was a witch, then November is a stage magician.

See him now: flickering his light on open-mouthed, upturned faces hot with expectation at the magic he will pull from the empty air.  As you watch, feel how the soil you are standing on is soft beneath your feet.  Notice the crazy-quilt effect of scattered leaves on the fields: the earth is pulling up its winter duvet, preparing a place for small warm creatures to sleep.  And then…

“First the wind’s light touch

blew paper-dry withered leaves down,

Then it was time to light blue touch paper

– and fire leaps up all around!”

At last, the ecstatic explosion of bombs on sticks, the fizz, the whizz the bang.

November’s here.

Explosions in the air.  What fun!

Fireworks.  Yummy!  Remember remember, childhood times of kicking leaf-lined gutters and seeing the gold-leaf calling cards of the summer dropped on the floor as it rushed to go?  The sudden blackness of night as the clocks mysteriously went back, and the magic of lighted fires. Golden flames little suns to ward of the winter a little while longer. The ecstatic explosion of bombs on sticks, the fizz, the whizz the bang.  Light blue touch paper.  Retire.  Always