“Past Life Therapy”. What the? What is a past life?

The very first man I dated at nineteen reappeared in my life thirty seven years after our split. I had forgotten why our relationship had ended.

During those thirty-seven years if someone had asked me about the most influential relationships I had in my life I would have missed that relationship out completely.

Not because I did it consciously, I had simply relegated the experience to the most distant recesses of my mind and only the basics of it were available for recall.

My first-ever long-term relationship… That lasted a whole year… My first love… Not an important influence?

wendy 1974 copy
Nineteen years old and with the whole world before me

Now that was an interesting psychological phenomenon to observe in myself.

I will explain…

In seventies and eighties the thing to do on a Sunday was to go to the “Sesh.” The Sunday session was a few of hours of binge drinking that occurred because of the liquor licensing laws.

It was probably the catalyst for our binge drinking culture — the government of the time had special religious laws that trained us to binge drink.

My sister and I started the habit of going to Steve’s “Sesh” in Nedlands when I was about fifteen or sixteen years old and we kept it up until I was eighteen and once I was of legal age I felt that it was optional.

Steve’s was popular and packed and there were always people spilling out the doors. I didn’t have any money at the time so drinking wasn’t an choice, I would order a glass of water and it would arrive with ice and I would sip it as though it was straight vodka.

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Steve’s Pub

I was at boarding school at the time, and every second week-end my parents would sign me out so I could stay with my grandmother in Nedlands.

It was wonderful staying with her as she really cared for me in a way that my mother couldn’t so I revelled in her attention.

At the “Sesh” if a man asked me if I wanted a drink I would order a Pim’s because it was pretty and I liked the umbrella — I actually didn’t much like alcohol and didn’t really drink much of it until my mid 20’s.

Pims complete with umbrella
Pims complete with umbrella

On the Sunday’s that I was with my Nanna, I would hang out at the “Sesh” for the few hours allowed and then go back to Nannas, don my school uniform complete with tie, hat and lace up shoes. I would take the taxi back to the “gaol like” boarding school by 8pm.

I had no idea what Nanna thought we were doing. Maybe she thought that we were just going for a walk?

Times were much freer then and most adults were not the control freaks that many parents are now.

I left boarding school and continued with the Sunday “Sesh” with friends when there was nothing better to do.

We would trawl around to different places. One of the places was Chelsea Tavern also in Nedlands but on the highway. We would walk in and it would be so crowded that we women would get fondled and pinched and not know who did it as there were too many close men to choose from.

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The Zydecats at Chelsea Tavern in the 1980’s

I always found these places noisy, confusing and as I didn’t often drink — outright stupid. I remember men with reddened, beaded sweaty faces and slurred words coming much too close to me and blasting me with alcoholic breath while asking me out.

I don’t really know why I went. Peer pressure I am guessing — it just seemed to be the thing that was done on a Sunday afternoon.

After a couple of weeks going to Chelsea Tavern I got to know a guy who I will call Sam. He was English and had not been in Australia for long. Sam had the strongest accent, and to my unschooled Australian ears it sound as though he was from Northern England — Manchester or somewhere like that. I thought that he was from the back blocks of nowhere.

Little did I know that he was from London and had a life of endless opportunity and due to rheumatic fever conversely had experienced such pain that he would spend his life trying to prove that he was good enough by being spectacular.

He was quiet and thoughtful and didn’t seem to get drunk, sweaty and garrulously —  stick his face in my space — annoying.

I was a student and was still skint so I am guessing he bought me a Pims or two.  After some time we got to go out together.

We went out for about a year but it was a strange relationship because he spent all weekend playing soccer.

I am not a spectator so when he invited me to “watch my man play sport” I declined as I had assignments and study to do. I could see no point in sitting in the cold being bored to death. It would have been like putting my life on hold to “please” my man — while I wasted my life. That was not going to happen therefore  we  caught up during the week and I would be home by midnight.

Sort of a Cinderella thing, I had my life to lead as he did and we both accepted that fact.

Apparently he was well known in the soccer world but I was oblivious to that fact. He had played a few games for Chelsea and then played in Johannesburg before coming to Australia under a very good contract. I knew nothing about soccer so this didn’t impress me.

Although he had only been in Australia a short time he owned a house and had started a business. Again I knew nothing about buying houses and business so didn’t give those facts a thought.

OK — lets get things straight here. I was nineteen years old and at that age many people are not interested in that sort of stuff, and I wasn’t. I was on my own life path where I had decided that these sorts of things were going to be done by me and I was not interested in the success or lack of it in the man I was dating.

Another fact was that he was eleven years older than me. “What the?” was I not thinking. “What the?” was he doing?

When I was older and told my friends about him they called him the “Cradle snatcher.”

Anyway, that is the way it was…

Sam had a younger brother who was addicted to heroin and at times he would come and stay at the house. This brother was extremely good looking — at the time — however — just having him in the same room as me gave me the creeps. He would proposition me the minute Sam was out of the room — it was skin crawling stuff.

I tried to speak to Sam about this but he was dismissive.

What is it about alpha males? Do they have a specific neuropathy of the eight cranial nerve — auditory/vestibulo-cochlear? Or is it a fact of life that most men simply don’t listen to women?

He had a life full of work, business deals, soccer training, games and deals on the side and he mainly focused on that.

Over the year I came to understand that he was just not really interested in putting time let alone care and kindness into creating a healthy relationship with me, so I moved on.

My heart was bereft. In order to deal with it I blocked him out of my mind — I hit the delete key and that was that.

I remember him being really upset by our relationship demise. This is the polar opposite of the previous behaviours of  ” I don’t give a toss” that he had been doing before the split.

It appeared to me that he only gave me true attention once I had let him go. How many songs of that time sing about that situation? Whole albums of both male and female singers.

For some time afterwards my doorstep would have gifts from him.

First a dozen red roses in a beautiful white box with a red ribbon — my reaction to that was “Why didn’t he bother to do that when were together?

Then he started to leave records. First Carole King — Tapestry — with a note to listen to track four — “Home again.”

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Luckily at the time I simply put the record away and didn’t notice the irony of Track three — what I felt — preceding how he felt or I could have got him to listen to Track three “It’s too Late.”

I purposely didn’t listen to the words of Home Again and didn’t until decades later. I just didn’t want to revisit a relationship with him — that level of painful confusion was not an option.

Over time he  became more introspective so left Carly Simon and then the Moody Blues records— again I didn’t listen to the tracks that he asked.

Once I had hit that exquisitely painful delete key I just couldn’t.

From about that time onwards I had a “gluey” disc at L5/S1 and it would regularly get stiff.

I would always do the right thing being the “a good Physiotherapist.” It didn’t give me major issues apart from feeling stiff on and off. It did sometimes annoy me that it would come back but it was never severe enough to actually seriously treat because it would release with a few stretches. I didn’t give it much thought.

Over the years I occasionally saw Sam and each time he tried to engage me. I was always polite but I had him filed away as “not good for me” so I kept him at arms length so that he had no way in.

Fast-forward thirty-seven years.

When I was fifty-six Sam contacted me again and asked me for coffee.

At this age I was unphased by the behaviour of others. Time had cured me of the vast majority of my insecurities. I felt up to whatever arose in life. Therefore, I curious about us as I realised that I had forgotten or blocked most of the details of that relationship.

I was not sure that was a good thing.

This left me feeling interested as to why I couldn’t remember what had happened and open to meeting up with him.

 

I  felt that it would be “character building” for me to open that Pandora’s box of suppressed emotions, so I decided to follow that idea. We started dating again or as I can see it now. I consciously put myself into “past-life-therapy”.

It was a strange feeling to date Sam, as I would slip in and out of current time.

One moment I would feel like that nineteen year old who was enamored with him and at other times I would see him from my calm older eyes, only to be flipped back into the past and feel all confused and bothered again.

It was exquisite fun!

At times I would simply say to him “I’m back at nineteen you’re not going to get any sense out of me now, I will answer that later” Sam would look confused by that answer but I was telling the truth.

It was bliss to be back in his arms as it was familiar and felt “right.” I think the physical attraction was probably the main reason I was with him at that young age.  He was actually a good choice as he had been a very gentle, interesting and kind lover. Just what an inexperienced nineteen year-old would require when you come to think of it.

He thought that it would be a good idea for us to travel together for a week to see how we would get on in present time.  It proved to be an amazing week for me. Familiar and easy would be the feelings I would give our time together.

Each day another memory would return and I would be whipped back into the past to face another situation that I had buried.

It was like having a daily Kinesiology or Psychology session without the Therapist.

A gentle unfolding of feelings and memories, so as the time went along I realised why I left him in the first place and it was a solid reason that would have to be sorted if we were to keep dating.

In current time I teach a course on relationships and this is one of the quotes by Tolstoy that I use in the course.

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All happy families resemble one another, each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.

Leo Tolstoy

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Happy families require all of the functional behaviours and if one or more is missing then you can’t have a long term healthy, happy family.

This maxim is true for relationships and businesses. I have stolen that quote and rewritten it.

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All happy relationships resemble one another, each unhappy relationship is unhappy in its own way.

Wendy Schulze (apologies to Leo Tolstoy)

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This is the reason why I chose to move on from Sam — he didn’t have a few basic relationship skills.

We discussed this and Sam was most happy to talk however, his actions remained the same. This is exactly what had happened thirty seven years before and that gave me a clear choice.

It was like a “not so instant replay” thirty-seven years later.

This time I left him knowing that he was not meaning to be hurtful or unkind. He simply didn’t have primary relationship skills and didn’t seem interested in learning them.

He had explained to me that his relationships during those thirty-seven years had not been very happy. They had been filled with bitter recriminations and all that sort of stuff that doesn’t really interest me — these unhappy relationships were still affecting him in current time.

After we stopped dating I was struck down by severe back pain. I couldn’t sleep at night due to the pain. Worse, treatment didn’t help. This is because I was stretching it as I would normally do. I hadn’t realised that this time it was a different situation for those joints.

After a couple of weeks of not sleeping I understood that the pain was mainly inflammation — not my usual stiffness— and once I started to give myself Physiotherapy treatment for inflammation it quickly settled and I have not had a stiff back since.

It was like I had been holding that tightness and pain in that triad of joints for all those years. Once I reclaimed and resolved those feelings it just let go, and when it started to move after thirty-seven years it protested with inflammation.

This is what Applied Kinesiology is based on. Emotions creating stiffness, pain or illness. I was a living example of resolved emotions resolving physical ailments.

For the last thirty-seven years I would need to stretch my back at least once every few weeks particularly after long flights or times in the car. It is now over a year and I have not had any stiffness in that area despite long times travelling and sitting — it is like a miracle.

I am so grateful towards my nineteen-year-old self who was so enamored and at the same time worked out that that relationship was not good for her.

To love someone and walk away is a very difficult and brave thing to do, that young hurt girl must have been very strong.

Sam and I are now friends and we catch up from time to time.

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When I was in my 20’s I was living with a man and together we had few limits — I will call him Luke.

Anyway Luke and I were always interested in pushing the boundaries of what was possible.

This is what I wrote about how I felt at the time.

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To live with my partner is to live with my best friend, not only my friend but also my lover and teacher. He is the clown in my life, the brainteaser.

He stretches my limits and holds me close when the limits seem too daunting.

I am able to do what ever takes my attention when he is around, be it pulling faces in the mirror, singing at the piano, trading the share market or having a bath in the goldfish pond. We impose few limits.

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Cooling down on a hot day while making a gold fish pond.

When we find a limit, after a little insecurity, a few tears and laughs, we gently remind each other that limits are the death of our fun time together, so we push the limits until they go.

Being with him is so much fun that it seems impossible to imagine life with out such a loving companion.

We are each other’s teacher, lover, muso, Macintosh freak, sexual dynamo, or what ever. Label a label and we can be it together, then, change the label and try that!

One thing that I have learned, the more I let him be, the more freedom I have to be me.

When we are apart we have the practice and confidence to be ourselves around others, because we have already been bathed in each other’s acceptance.

Learning this together has been frightening, fun and always exciting.

How could I ever get bored with him when he is always changing? Just when I think I know him, he finds another skill, another way of doing something, another view of planet earth. My inspiration is no longer stifled and I also find new and better ways to surprise myself — and of course — him.

This mutual acceptance inspires us both to look at the world differently and constantly search for new and better ways of behaving and having fun.

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This story is about our lack of limits regarding creating a new career in the computer business and thus getting the free trip.

We both decided that we would like a new challenge so after a great deal of discussion, many glasses of wine and some laughter we decided to start a computer software company that specialized in computer security.

I think we registered it as DATACOMP SECURITY SERVICES at least from my recall. This was a serious business that suited Luke’s intellect but not necessarily our sense of fun.

We purchased an expensive IBM clone computer and decided to learn DOS. We set it up in our spare bedroom on a table and we would go into that room and learn how to use it. It was big, bulky and serious. A large hard disc and a screen and a clunky keyboard.

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The CLONE

For all the people who don’t remember DOS it is a computer language where every single thing that you type has to be absolutely correct. Not a full stop or a space wrong or the whole thing wouldn’t work.

For example to open the word processing program we would have to type;

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C:\>winword.exe

Then press ENTER.

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…and don’t forget the :\> in the whole shebang!

Another easy example:

When you want to print on a Laser Printer 2 on your network.

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C:\>net use lpt2 \\pserver\laser1 /persistent:yes,

and then press ENTER.

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We both started to learn DOS and it was excruciating. We would get so frustrated that we would actually cry real tears.

I remember the conversation when we decided to leave a box of tissues by the computer. It was a practical conversation about what was required if we were to succeed and still be able to see the manuals and screen while we were learning.

We didn’t give our frustration much attention we would simply sit there and cry, dab our eyes with the tissues and blow our noses.

We had no formal training in computers and no help from teachers let alone Google. Google was not to be invented for at least fifteen years later.

It was such a stretch — the pain of it was like purposely using a pair of pliers to slowly… and with great conviction….pull out our own finger-nails, one by one…

stretch

It felt like an excruciating type of self-torture that was not to be ceased until the goal was reached.

You people who have never lived without Google simply can’t understand that at that time you had to get in your car and during opening hours — which was mainly work hours — go into to the library or a bookshop to get the books.  To make it even harder back then shops and libaries didn’t open after hours very much.

Sometimes I would go to a library or bookshop and have to order the book and it would take a couple of weeks or a month or two to arrive. This is the way it was then.

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Digger would lie on the manuals and soak up the knowledge.

Many of the computer tomes at the time were written by geeks not educators so they were really difficult to decipher and almost impossible to understand. All at once we were learning geek language, DOS and then finally the actual language we were going to program in such as “C” or “C++” etc.

I never did get to the programming.

The library had old computer information therefore we finally found out that we had to go to universities and buy the very latest text books.

We actually went to every university bookshop in Perth at the time that had computer studies. We bought all of the books for the courses we needed to know.  I remember having three text books on System Analysis and Design. By the time I had read them all I knew what to do.

It was expensive and then we had to actually allocate the time and brain space to read them with some sort of understanding.

We read and discussed them ad infinitum. In the bath, when drinking beer on a late Sunday afternoon, at the beach and we read and read until they started to make sense and slowly our brains became computer savvy.

Digger ever wanting to join in. He would study and then demonstrate different DOS commands.

digger study

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Luke focused on the programming side and I focused on the design side. I read huge books about systems analysis and design while he did the nit picking work of programming.

The whole time we were learning we were also each others teacher and student. We were relentless and used a kind type of “tough love” to gently and lovingly “bully” each other to keep going.

Neither of us had the time to attend the university courses. It is amazing how quickly you can learn when you don’t have lectures, assignments and exams to hold you up.

It was slow and agonizing pain as our neurons had to grow dendrites and our minds had to reshape so that we could be that perfect that we could type every single letter, space and symbol in the correct order.  Conversely when we had a mishap we could calmly and easily correct our mistakes.

After some time we got better at it and things started to move along…

Then we both realized that my Physiotherapy business would benefit from having a computer with the right software. That would require specialist software and there was nothing around that was suitable.

We then changed our minds and decided to develop software for Physiotherapists.

Luke researched this scenario and we decided that we needed a graphical interface so that I could write an exercise manual with graphics. The idea was to create a program that would print out individualized exercise programs for clients. Luke would write the program. Then write the user manual and I created the extensive exercise manual of over 400 exercises and write and publish that manual.

We designed a simple accounting program for Physiotherapists to go with it.

In the end Macintosh computers were the way to go. The IBM’s at the time had extremely limited graphics of the pac-man variety while Apple had beautiful crisp graphics of a high quality.

Our beautiful Mac +
Our beautiful Mac +

An absolute no brainer so we switched to the Macintosh +  computer, and replaced the clunker with a  beautiful being. I wrote this about it at the time.

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Macintosh Adoration — Wendy Schox 1988

When I switched on the Macintosh, the lights in my little old house flickered perceptibly, and the Macintosh made humming and tringing sounds as the disc searched to find itself, ready for the next sessions of musings.

Finally the disc ceased the noise and sat shining brightly waiting for me to sit at the keyboard and tap.

Reaching for the mouse I “double clicked” the word processing application and began.

Luke was ironing and as the thermostat of the iron caused the iron to repeatedly switch off and on I began to wonder why I was living in such a place.

My Macintosh had to suffer all sorts of electrical indignities because of the old wiring and dust in this house. Often when I worked at home the electrical chaos caused strange behavior from my computer, so much so, that I often had corrupted files.

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My new best friend a Mac +

This resulted in my Monday mornings being times to repair the computer before I could begin work.

I was addicted and I knew it, home was not the place to bring this small grey friend of mine.

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If only this worked!

Mac through all this just glowed and hummed, checked errors, gently reminded me with beeps, wizzes and trills when it was saving my thoughts on to the disk.

A gentle but powerful companion.

How could I leave Mac on its own in the office all weekend?

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After the IBM DOS clunker — how much easier was a Macintosh ? It was like distress and pain versus ease and joy.

We called our new company Schox Corporation – this was a mixture of our two surnames. Then we named our Physiotherapy program “Physi-soft™” and we were open for programming design and coding.

Together Luke and I worked mindfully and the programs were completed and tested at my clinic.

We had contacted Apple Computer Australia and they made us into “Certified Developers”. This meant that we could ring them for support, plus they would send us the latest information of what was happening in “Apple world”. Additionally we could attend conferences and get hardware at a discount etc. It was an absolute buzz to be included with all the geeks!

I felt that we were just impostors who had worked our guts out trying to understand the industry.

The next step was to write the manuals. Luke researched and we decided to take our inspiration from the beautiful Apple Manuals.

Apple had a saying that went something like this;

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Imagine that the screen is a quiet room

and everything you put on it is a noise.

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To this day I still refer to this phrase as it applies to many things in life. Steve Jobs may or may not have been a fun guy to know — however — he certainly understood beauty and quality and we were hooked.

We copied the Apple Manuals. This meant 12-point Garamond text with 14-point bold Tahoma headings, two returns between  paragraphs, fine lines (0.5 point) to separate subjects and wide columns. We learned about kerning and leading and included that in our manuals.

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Clean and with lots of white – Physi-soft™ Users Guide.

We then researched paper — I had no idea that the choice of paper was so extensive and Luke finally chose mat gloss 90gsm. Then binding, packaging, floppy disc covers and the list went on and on.

Every detail had to be correctly researched and then implemented. All of those tears and tissues started to pay off, we were able to do detail to the ‘nth degree.

I decided that the graphics for the exercises needed to have no gender, age or race.

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Zee

I developed a character that we called Zee. We hired a Graphic Artist—Steven to draw them. I spent ages physically showing Steven exactly how I wanted the exercise graphic to appear and what to emphasize.

I wanted the graphics to be so clear that a child could understand them without reading the description.

The exercise manual had hundreds of pictures that we had to scan, and then save at 300 dpi— any higher then we would run out of disc room — then we had to “box” each graphic in a clear box (yes this was a detail not to be missed) so that they would each sit on the page correctly, with the right amount of space around them.

I remember scanning saving and “boxing” for days.

There were two manuals the “user” manual and then the “exercise” manual.

We bought a laser printer. At the time they were $6,000 each at the Certified Developer discount price! This created some financial stress as getting software coded, was also a huge expense in both time and money. We printed the manuals and had them professionally bound.

Hundreds of hours of work, yet Luke and I enjoyed the challenge, as nothing could be as hard as the initial stages of this project.

Finally we finished and sent a copy off to Apple Computer Australia so that they could assess if the quality was OK.

There was a conference scheduled at Leura in the Blue Mountains out of Sydney. We went along but really wanted to stand out from the crowd because only two companies in Australia were going to be given a free trip to the USA by Apple Computer Australia.

This offer would pay for airfares, plus a conference booth at a World trade show in Washington DC. The whole lot was worth thousands of dollars and we wanted that trip. 

We gave this some discussion and I decided that I would have my head shaved and have a lightening bolt shaved into the side of my “Grace Jones” inspired crew cut.

I had very long blue black shiny thick hair that was probably my signature feature at the time. I had it all shaved off and the lightening bolts shaved in the side.

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Please notice the Femo broach of a lightening bolt in Apple colours.
We went ALL OUT to get that trip.

To drive our point home Luke and I decided to change our surnames to Schox. We paid the $79.00 filled in the forms and officially by deed pole became Luke and Wendy Schox of Schox Corporation

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My business card with lightening bolt!

Off to the conference we went and we were noticed!

Yes, we got the trip – how could they resist us?

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 Me in Washington DC six months later – my hair is long here.

Now how did that happen so quickly? I will write about that later…

Post script

Andrew Mason was one of my nerdy windsurfing computer friends at the time. He was the other Apple certified developer who won the other trip at the time so it was a win for Western Australia that year as only two companies got to go.

Andrew  wrote the following comment on my Facebook link when I posted this story.

“It’s all true. I still remember being at the Apple developer conference in Leura in the Blue Mountains, and Apple giving out CD ROMS of developer documentation. Unfortunately CD drives for the Mac were not yet available, and you sarcastically asked if we were supposed to hold the disks up to the light and read the zeroes and ones ourselves. Later when I asked you about changing your name to Schox by deed poll I remember you replied “it’s amazing what you can do with $20 and a sense of humour”. And Garamond is still my favourite font.”