'Challenging The Monkey' – Part 1

In the next three articles you'll find out a bit more about who I am for they contain a large part of my own process of change over the last few years.

I should own that these days I have a few radical ideas. My typically English, public school, middle-class upbringing has (despite its best efforts) not managed to prevent me from developing my intuition nor has it kept me away from discovering some universal truths (or weird stuff according to some people such as my old schoolmates). Truths such as: Problems can also be seen as opportunities; what you give out, you tend to get back; what we are thinking today is creating our tomorrow and, one of the biggest of all, everything happens perfectly.

Eight years ago I had a health (throat) problem which was basically my wake up call. Fortunately for me, I chose to wake up. My life since then has been a roller-coaster ride which has lurched from highs of complete trust and faith to lows of self-doubt and anger with the universe for not always providing me with what ‘should’ have been mine.

My book, The Male Agenda, has been a case in point. At the time of my throat condition I was landscape gardening, following eleven years in the music business. I had left music during the recession in the early nineties when I foresaw that I would have to spend too much time in studios to make ends meet at the cost of missing out on time with my wife Winnie and new baby daughter, Anna. The cut off was bizarre – one Friday afternoon I was mixing my last record, the following Monday I was let loose in some young mother’s garden with a strimmer and a mower with instructions to ‘restore it to its former beauty’! As I knew nothing about gardening this was a not inconsiderable challenge, but clearly my guides were watching as I managed to avoid wrecking her garden completely.

I shovelled **** for a couple of years, earned a modest wage and built up a strong client base. I was reliable and polite which people valued. As far as paying the bills went, we scraped by. But then my little monkey started getting restless.

I don’t know about you, but my monkey sits on my left shoulder giving me all sorts of gyp about life. He started complaining about my career. “Oh my god we’ve become a gardener! A gardener. We went to Sevenoaks School for heavens sake, we’ve been a songwriter for Motown, a record producer – we have ‘A’ levels and ‘O’ levels. We should be a Captain of Industry by now. We should be up there alongside our contemporaries who have gone on to such great things. We’re heading for – dare I say it – NOWHERE’SVILLE. We have to take action and we have to take it now.”

Well, who was I to argue.

And so I moved into landscaping. I’ve always been creative and Winnie’s an artist….. Seemed obvious really. Well done, Monkey.

I got most of the jobs that I went for. Before long I was employing people. And, as the jobs grew so did the pressure. The funny thing was, I was earning no more than I had been when I was just shovelling smelly stuff. Still, Monkey was happier because now I was becoming someone.

We had by now had our second child, Sophie, and there was even greater pressure on Winnie who was stuck at home with a four year old and an 18month old. Looking back I cringe at how I could have been dumb enough to allow her to take on the lion’s share of such an enormous job. But I just didn’t know then. No-one had warned us of the tedium experienced by a mother at home alone all day with two young children. She longed for adult company. She longed for support. She longed for me to share the job. And I longed to share it too but I couldn’t see how I could keep a roof over our heads and work any less time than I already was.

Which is clearly why I had to manifest my throat problem. It had been getting sore for a while, then a lump appeared – then I noticed I was getting hoarse by about the middle of every morning. Winnie had been getting more and more interested in holistic lifestyles and alternative medicines and every description we read in books pointed somewhat ominously to the big C. In spite of this, I resisted going down the medical route – a voice inside me kept saying “trust, trust”.

During this period we learnt to meditate. For those of you who do this simple discipline, there is no need for me to tell you how important meditation has been in my process of change. It has been my rock. No, it hasn’t changed my life and neither has it been the answer to all my problems; but it has helped me to change my life and it has helped me to access strength and clarity that I never knew I had. It has been like a doorway through to a room full of magic. I’ve had to walk through the doorway, I’ve had to learn and choose to use the magic. And I have. And all I can say is that if you’re one of those people who doesn’t meditate regularly and you’re finding yourself struggling at all with life – give it a try!

My throat continued to cause concern. The pain increased to the extent that I booked a session with a healer (a prospect that scared the living daylights out of the monkey). A few days before this session, Winnie and I went to the local library and got out about a dozen books on alternative health. One night I found her in our bedroom swinging a crystal. Her explanation was that she was dowsing. Not only that, but she was apparently getting answers and that was starting to scare her!

I had heard of dowsing through a couple of wonderful ‘heavies’ that I used for doing groundwork – they had showed me how to massacre a wire coat hanger and turn it into an extraordinary device for locating water pipes and electricity cables. And it had worked. When I had asked them to explain how it worked the reply came back something like “well I dunno, yer just think about wot yer wanna find and it shows yer.” Although Winnie was using a different tool, it was the same idea. And then she told me that you could dowse for remedies and suggested that I try it for my throat… to be continued next month

©2008, Barry Durdant-Hollamby

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Barry Durdant-Hollamby is the founder of The Art of Change , a UK based organisation specialising in helping individuals and corporations to effect sustainable, holistic, positive change. He works intuitively on a 1-1 or group basis and also conducts many talks and seminars - all without notes or preparation! Barry is also the author of three books the latest of which is The Male Agenda - a book which seeks to inspire men to create greater life balance and happiness. He is the father of two daughters and lives in the South East of England. Contact E-Mail

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