Being in a rut can have you running on empty, leaving behind a trail of hopelessness, defeat, or worse, complacence. Or so they say. But can there be any good in that rut? It is like asking if there can be any good in evil. The wise say yes, of course. They also say adversity is the mother of triumph. History has it that the greatest tragedies have led to the most glorious of fortunes. Rut isn’t any different. Being stuck in a rut is almost like a rite of passage”•one that has the potential of carrying us from agony to indestructible happiness. But how do we lead ourselves to that elusive ray of hope on the other side of the tunnel? Soulveda set out on this quest. And, the answers were found in an enlightening, and a rather reassuring conversation with UK-based self-development expert Becky Walsh. Excerpts from an exclusive one-on-one interview:
How would you describe what you do for a living?
I would say I’m a catalyst, an intuitive catalyst. I help people come up with ideas. I help them become unstuck because I believe ‘stuck’ is a holding point while you’re waiting for more information and once you’ve got that information you are free to have an idea that is actually going to inspire your life and move you forward. And so that’s how I describe what I do for a living. Of course, on top of that I outreach all of this into writing books, public speaking, doing stand-up comedy, creating films, TV and radio shows–all of it underneath one umbrella.
In the context of self-help, what is the specific area you work with?
Well, in the context of self-help, I use intuition as a tool to teach people how to make themselves unstuck because intuition really is one of the greatest ways in which we can unstick the ‘ego mind’ because the ego mind always thinks in circles. It is the left hemisphere of the brain. The right hemisphere of the brain is about ideas, creativity, what’s next.
When did you take off on this journey?
To be honest, I think my whole life. When I was at school, lots of people used to come to me for advice and opinion. I fancy this boy. Does he fancy me? All that kind of thing and when I worked as a stage manager in theatre, a lot of these skills were needed to help some insecure actors and performers that were struggling on stage and it seemed to be something I just did randomly. So a lot of my relationships were with men who needed help. I guess, it’s who I am and not just what I do.
What would your advice be to someone who is stuck in a rut?
I’d say that ‘stuck in a rut’ usually means you keep coming up to the end of your comfort zone, retreating to where you were. For me it’s to imagine what a person’s life would be like if they weren’t stuck because sometimes ‘stuck’ is because of lack of imagination. So it’s to imagine if I had a magic wand and I could change anything in your life and you could recreate it. And I can usually tell if somebody is going to be open to look outside of themselves. If they’re not, then I ask another question which is if you could do anything with your mind and you couldn’t possibly fail and it didn’t rely on money but you could just spend one day doing it, how would you spend that day? The indication of how they would spend that day is very interesting. Sometimes it’s easy for people to imagine what they would do with the day than what they would do with their lives. So for some people it could be I would be on a raft-hut on the river Kwai, resting. This could tell you the reason why they are stuck. Maybe because they are exhausted and procrastination can also be a tool from your body saying rest, you’re exhausted. So, you can intuitively pick up quite a lot just from asking one question. That’s how I advise people to imagine themselves outside of ‘stuck’ and work backwards from the end place to where you are now.
“The more you love yourself, the more you propagate happiness and the more you propagate gratitude, the happier you are with what you’ve got.”
You talk about ‘six things people can’t stop doing’ and how they reflect inherent themes and patterns. Could you elaborate on this?
Okay, this is an exercise where I say, think of six things you can’t stop doing. These are not compulsions or addictions, but just things you do every day, and not normal things like brushing your teeth. These are things remarkable and individual to you. And you start to sort of see the themes and patterns inherent to your nature. When you understand something about your nature you can see what career path would actually fit in well with your nature. For instance, mine might be playing with the dog, checking my phone, looking at Facebook, eating out. Within these we’ve got communication, playfulness and nurture. Looking at these, my nature would not make me a great accountant.
Could you explain the concept of the heart-brain you often refer to?
So you actually have a brain in your heart. It is made of the same physical matter as the brain in your head and you also have a brain in your gut. Not the whole of the heart is brain but there is a part of the heart that is brain and it also has a Vagus nerve. So the heart-brain sends communication to the brain in your head and the brain in your head responds to information being sent by the heart-brain. The heart-brain can give us information about things we want to move towards, things that are good for us. I do believe we’re biologically programmed to head for what heals us and I think the heart-brain is a really great tool to indicate us into those correct directions.
How would you describe your journey through the years? How has it impacted you personally and as a self-help professional?
I believe that the heart-brain takes you towards what’ll heal you. It also leads you to things that will undo your limiting beliefs about yourself. It sends you challenging situations. And so, my journey throughout the years has been exciting, challenging and interesting. I think the more I’ve gone through, it has helped me serve a wide range of clients. I’m very grateful for having had difficult times in my life because not only have they taught me something but they have become a metaphor for my clients too which I love.
Tell us about your book You Do Know.
You Do Know talks about the difference between your heart-brain, your gut-brain, the four intuitive types which are sematic, emotional (like empathy), mental and spiritual intuition. It also talks about the fact that people who are autistic have some fantastic left hemisphere skills such as remembering numbers and names; people who are dyslexic have fantastic right hemisphere skills which can be social intuition and seeing things and patterns. So, what I’ve written about in You Do Know is that not one brain fits all. There is a huge expanse between the real skills on the left and the right brain. But, these are seen as disabilities such as dyslexics aren’t great with numbers and people who have autism aren’t great with social intuition or making connections in social environments. But if you’ve got a super power that says you’re great at social intuition and reading people then people call you a fake. So, to me what people see as psychic ability is actually just a really extreme right hemisphere skill which anyone can develop and that’s what I teach in You Do Know.
What, according to you, is the secret to happiness?
Big question! To me you’d have to look at the secret to unhappiness which is craving for what you don’t have and thinking it’s going to be better than what you’ve got and that makes you unhappy. We look at what we don’t have and think oh! If I had that I would be happy. Therefore, we end up with a definition of unhappiness. But if you start to have gratitude for what you’ve got, you propagate an inward happiness. So it’s not about your external self, it’s about how you feel about yourself. The more you love yourself, the more you propagate happiness and the more you propagate gratitude, the happier you are with what you’ve got. This doesn’t mean we just get boring and don’t strive for stuff. For instance, I’m probably someone who strives for the next thing and the next thing and growth and personal development. But I understand that those things won’t make me happy. I understand that the journey to acquire these things is what needs to make me happy because the acquisition of them never will.