Roger had lost everything, his marriage, his home, his dignity, his health, his family and friends. In fact he also lost his freedom, resulting from a criminal conviction, which meant he spent time serving a prison sentence on top of everything else!
His world had been flipped upside down and during his time in prison he became depressed and full of despair, so much so that he attempted to take his own life and as a result spent time in psychiatric care. Things couldn't have been more difficult!
After the prison sentence was over, he was released, with no social support and no home. Indeed, he was not deemed in priority for housing by the local authority where he lived and therefore had to sleep rough. Now, you may think that would be a major challenge for Roger, having spent time in prison and the suicide attempt; however, Roger had survival skills to fall back on, learned during seventeen years in the British army. This latest setback, he could handle - at least he was free.
I first came across Roger on a training course which I facilitated for people in a homeless position. A training course aimed at helping people to find employment and a place to live in a town where jobs are hard to come by, pay minimal wages and accommodation being expensive and difficult to find - and that's without being homeless and on welfare benefits!
During this training, I did a brief Three Principles outline, where I described how our state of mind goes up and down and that we shouldn't take ourselves too seriously when in a low state of consciousness.
I noticed Roger; he became really engaged and interested in what I was saying. He approached me and expressed that it really helped him to make sense of all that had happened over the last few years and he was intrigued to know more. Roger did what he needed to do following that course and he qualified for temporary accommodation for the homeless, a short term respite for him; however things were far from perfect.
Fast forward a month and the first 3P Life & Soul, "Less Stress" programme for people from disadvantaged communities was set up. I invited Roger and he jumped at the chance to take part. On that first session, seven people who had experience of being homeless showed up wanting "less stress" in their lives.
I still remember that first session vividly, specifically when Steve Adair and I checked in with the participants as to what they wanted to get from the course. Roger responded immediately that he had heard something about that nature of thought from me; however because of his army training and the insurmountable mountain he was facing to get his life back on track, he seriously doubted that it would make any difference.
The weeks of the programme ticked by, Roger kept coming back and kept challenging us - "everything you're saying goes against my army training, I have to keep looking to the worst case scenario and preparing for that - that's how life works, not some intelligence behind life!"
Roger was also adamant that we would never get him anywhere near sorting his problems, "my marriage and financial debt situation is far too much, I'll never deal with that, no matter what you guys say about thought, mind and consciousness'.
One session Roger appeared with a smile on his face, I could tell something had shifted. We did the check in for the session and sure enough, Roger piped up that he'd had an insight that previous week. He relayed that he had been lying on his bed, feeling really sorry for himself because it was his estranged daughter's birthday. The circle of negative thoughts, loneliness and sadness kept flowing through his head and then he saw it in an instant! "I'm doing it to myself, these thoughts are my own and they are not real, that's what those guys are on about" - his mood lightened and he moved to a better state of mind. His face looked lighter, a shift had taken place and his conscious awareness had expanded.
He began the task of getting himself ready for obtaining work. He started on a plan to find a better place to live, away from accommodation for the homeless and to his astonishment he began to deal with the difficult financial and legal issues around his ex-marriage. Slowly but surely, his life started to turn towards the positive, as he was now more able to go with better quality of thought, rather than take negative thoughts as reality.
He obtained a part time job and he dug in deep and found the courage to sort his finances out and settle up affairs with his ex-wife. The job saw him flourish, and he was soon offered a full time position. The finances and legal matters dragged on; but he stayed in the game, not giving up as he had so often in the past, "I know it's only my thinking when I think I can't face the mountain of paperwork and legal stuff." Eventually he worked it through and achieved a great result, which coupled with his new job, enabled him to get into to a healthy financial position and move to his own private rented flat.
One of my favourite memories of Roger's adventures was seeing him from a distance as he was walking to his new job. I had to do a double take and didn't recognise this smartly dressed man at first. He walked so proudly and upright with a smile on his face and I knew that he achieved all of this on his own, without the "Less Stress" programme targeting any of his problems - we simply pointed him back to his innate health, which then took care of the rest.
Tony Fiedler, Three Principles Coach