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The Watcher - a free booklet from Wayne C. Allen

A FREE booklet which describes a way out of the nattering and judgements that go on in our heads.
By learning to use "The Watcher," we move from living on auto- pilot to having choice.
A great tool for learning from your emotions while not being led around by them.


What people are saying about "The Watcher":

  • Just read the Watcher - great writing - great food for thought - Mary
  • Loved the Watcher. It is oh so true and a lifelong battle I believe to keep these voices from running our lives. Sometimes when my voice starts nagging at me, I tell it to shut up right out loud! Makes me feel better, but I don't do it too often in crowded rooms.  Marilyn

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Here's the first chapter:

Introduction

Many years ago, I had a mood shift that lasted for 5 hours. It was one in a long series of depressive episodes, something that began when I was in College. The longest was 5 months.

I decided way back then to use myself as a Guinea-pig and see if I could both analyse and shift the internal process I was engaging in. I'm not a fan of drugs, so I had a lot invested in coming up with a way of managing these episodes using focused attention.

Given this booklet, I came up with a strategy for "managing the voices in my head," aka The Watcher.

We all talk to ourselves, all the time, and part of that internal dialogue seems hellbent on creating misery. We listen to our stories, make ourselves miserable, and then make ourselves more miserable that we are miserable!

The Watcher is a head game designed to help you to see how you talk to yourself. The Watcher is a way out of this self-defeating loop.

FIRST, THOUGH, A DISCLAIMER. I AM NOT, FOR A MOMENT, SUGGESTING THAT YOU SELF-DIAGNOSE AND SELF-TREAT DEPRESSION. INDEED, AS YOU EXPLORE LEARNING MORE ABOUT YOURSELF, YOUR MOODS, EMOTIONS AND SELF-TALK, A PROFESSIONAL COUNSELLOR OR THERAPIST IS THE BEST IDEA GOING. PART OF THE PROCESS OF SELF-EXPLORATION - THE ESSENTIAL INGREDIENT, IN MY VIEW, IS THE PRESENCE OF AND INTERACTION WITH AN OBSERVER OR WITNESS WHO CAN HELP GUIDE THE PROCESS. THIS BOOKLET IS INTENDED AS A GUIDELINE AND AS AN ALTERNATIVE APPROACH TO LIFE AND TO THE EMOTIONS. HOW YOU CHOOSE TO USE THIS INFORMATION IS SOLELY YOUR RESPONSIBILITY.

So, let me tell you about my first and only major depression. It began in the late summer of 1978. I had just been let go from a job-one I disliked but which was paying my way, and I decided to take a few days off to think and to do some photography. During College, I'd been a commercial photographer-advertising, mostly-and I'd opened a photo studio for a year or so when I first moved to Canada.

I decided to go off to Algonquin Park in the near north of Ontario, backpack into the park and take a pile of pictures.

I went in May. There was, back then, a lot of snow in Algonquin in May. Being from somewhat sunnier climes, I hadn't anticipated that. I wasn't prepared, clothes wise, equipment wise or emotionally, for 5 days in the snow. I did it anyway. (As those of you who know me start laughing and say, "Of course he did!")

I froze my butt off, took lousy pictures and sat at my fire each night, chain smoking my pipe (1978, remember) while quietly and thoroughly taking myself apart. I managed to do such a thorough job of self-hate that by the end of the 5 days, my spirit had fled and I was in the dumper. I got home, processed the rolls of film, confirmed my premonition that the pictures would suck, and promptly sat down in my green leather reclining chair, vowing to stay there until I died.

Each day I would leave my bed and go to my chair. I'd drink Pepsi, watch tv and stare out the window. My wife (ex-wife since the early 80's) would hand me food and I would eat. I survived somehow, but the days were endless, bleak, and black.

I climbed out of the chair and the depression in September when I started attending a seminary in Toronto. That experience led to my getting my Masters in Counselling in '83, and establishing The Phoenix Centre for Creative Living.

Since 1978, I have had several episodes of depressive feelings, none lasting longer than a day or two, most measured in hours. I've never taken drugs for any of this, and I believe that my path out of this loop was in my exploration of my internal theatre. I have become increasingly convinced that wisdom comes as we understand and have compassion for this inner realm.

Many clients came to me hoping that I could somehow take away their pain. They want to stop hurting-to stop hurting themselves-to be happy. They assumed everyone else on the planet was happy, and that they were doing something wrong. They blamed their parents, their partner, their kids-and most of all they blamed themselves.

They told me how difficult, if not impossible, it was to change. They told me that they'd tried, really tried, to change.

They were definitely not pleased when I said that they could not change-that all they could do was to make other choices-they could learn to expand their repertoire.

Wait a minute! What do you mean I can't change!
What a useless booklet!

Well, hang on a minute.

Keep reading. What I'm saying will become increasingly clear as the pages go by. For now, however, here's a hint: Who we are at our cores is hard wired in. For example, my depressive nature, as well as my infamous temper, was, is and always will be a part of me.

It used to be that I thought I simply got depressed (sort of like one catches a cold-it happened to me.) Back before 1982, when my supervisor gave me an assignment-choose!-I'd have told you there was absolutely nothing I could do to control my temper and my tongue.

Thanks to implementing her suggestion, I learned several things:
1. my temper and my moods are as much a part of me as my beautiful, deep blue eyes.
2. What I choose to do with my moods and my temper depends on the breadth of my belief system and my willingness to challenge my self-perception.
3. And emphatically, choosing differently is about the amount of self-discipline I am willing to exert.

Because, even in the year 2016, with decades of practice, it is easier for me to get depressed than to have the self-discipline to follow the process of working through the depression.

Or the anger. Or the self-doubts. Or the self-criticism. Or whatever game I choose to play out.

So, that's a bit of the back story to this booklet. Now, let's have a look at how all of this is set into motion, and look at alternatives. Relax and come along for the ride.


Here's How to Receive the Booklet:

This booklet is in PDF format.  That means that you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader installed on your computer.

If you need to download Adobe Acrobat, click

acrobat

Then, follow the directions on the Adobe site, and install the reader. (Don't forget to bookmark this page.)


In 2016, I rewrote this booklet, and expanded it. It's now available through our publishing site, The Phoenix Centre Press. It's still free!

Click here for the next step




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