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The KEY Questions: Where does the joy go?

16 September 17

I was in La Conner, just outside Seattle, one of my favourite places in the world, at the end of a weeklong retreat to raise my consciousness level. It had been a wonderful experience and I was positively glowing from all the insights I’d been sharing with like-minded people, coaches and trainers.

There’s a wonderful fish market in La Conner and on this particular afternoon I happened to be standing outside it, just biding my time, waiting to hail a cab. Across the street from me I caught sight of an elderly black man, clearly homeless by the look of him. He had a long straggly beard that was streaked with grey and he was dressed in the shabbiest clothes that appeared never to have been washed. He saw me and returned my gaze before I could look away. I was silently cursing myself as he continued to stare and then, inevitably it seemed, started to cross the street, walking straight towards me.

I love America, and I always feel perfectly safe talking to people wherever I go. I’ve never bought in to the notion of the States being a violent place, because some of the friendliest, most hospitable people I’ve ever met are Americans. On top of that I was decidedly chilled from my time on the retreat and at that point pretty much in love with all humanity. Nevertheless, I was an Englishman abroad, and very smartly dressed in comparison to this man approaching me, a man you might describe as a tramp or ‘hobo’, (if that word is still in use today). I briefly wondered if I should duck back into the market, before shrugging off that idea as paranoid and silly. But I have to say it didn’t help that as he got closer he appeared to be staring at my shoes. Was I about to be mugged?

‘Can I help you?’ I offered, in an effort to sound casual.

‘Nice shoes’, he said, and then we had a conversation.

Any concerns I’d had were quickly defused when it turned out that this man – he called himself Shayne – was perfectly harmless and just as friendly as any American I’d ever met before. He didn’t want my shoes; he was just passing the time of day, same as me. Shayne had lived on this street for years and was very happy. He told me that he wanted for nothing, that he got by okay, helping people out with little errands for which he would receive a few bucks. Living this way was stress free. He had no fear of the world because there was nothing that could be taken from him. He had the stars at night and the sun – and rain – in the day. He was joyful. I could see it in his eyes. This was a happy man. Let me say it again …

   Living this way was stress-free!

I’m not advocating homelessness as an option, but the experience had a profound effect on me. I’d just been learning about how we create our reality from the inside out, that happiness and joy are innate, our birthright, and can’t be affected by outside circumstances unless we allow that. Here was living proof. Everything – everything – that I’d ever learned about how to live a successful, happy life was challenged by this man’s pleasure at simply being alive. I felt extremely humble.

Where does our joy go to? Most of us, even those with disadvantaged backgrounds, can remember childhood joys, the simple pleasure we got from discovering and then playing with a world that was full of magical potential. But as the years go by and we enter the education system, learning more each day about how the world apparently works, about the pattern that our lives are supposed to follow if we want to be happy, that pleasure can gradually turn to fear and anxiety. As Syd Banks reminded us, happiness is never more than one thought away. The certainty that we can never feel joy again now that we’re ‘all grown up’ with grown up responsibilities, is itself just a feeling, stemming from thought. Nothing more. Take away that thought and replace it with a better one – the magic returns!

The joy never left us. It was there all along.

I think I may well have given Shayne my shoes if he’d asked, instead I opened my wallet. There was cash in there. I offered him some money for his story but he refused even a lousy ten dollars. He thanked me, told me he was fine, complimented me on my footwear once more then took his leave, crossing back over to the opposite side of the road.

I needed to go home, but he didn’t. He was already home.



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  • Having attended David's course and then had some one to one sessions with him my approach to my life has changed dramatically and improved. David has a very gentle and empathic way about him, yet managed to challenge my habitual way of being and thinking. As a result of our time together I now practice his "way of being" and I truly find that I am getting far better results in all of the relationships that I encounter. My inner chatter is under control, most of the time, and I am learning to pause and push away harmful thinking . It's surprising how habitual thinking can do so much damage and how, once you really focus on what comes into your mind you start to realise that you can be bigger than your random thoughts. So David thank you for putting me on a better pathway. Looking forward to sharing another journey with the Auspicium family!
    Rowena Wild

  • The course I attended with David Key was marvellous, every moment being filled with joy and laughter. David has a unique talent to teach, unlocking the full potential of every person he encounters. His course opened up an infinite number of ways for me to get the life I want, right now, today, and in the future. It made me realise that thought is fluid and that I can mould it the way I want to suit my day. I would highly recommend this course to anyone in search of a new professional career or for those who simply want a happier life. Thank You!
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  • It took me about 5 years of 'dithering' before committing, and in that time I attended several introductory days from various training providers. David's accessible style and the unforced flow of the day is what persuaded me to choose his company. David provides a training model that helps you become your best self - as a student, as a practitioner, as a person. By 'best', I mean more open, less fearful, more confident, less judgemental - whether you attend the course to make a change personally or professionally, to build on existing success, or with no idea where it might go, simply because you are interested (that was me!) you will be impressed at what you are able to achieve with David's expert guidance showing you how to use your curiosity as a pathway to growth. In the first week following the course, I dealt with several potentially difficult situations both at work and home, coming from a changed perspective - resulting in no conflict, calmer colleagues, less stressed family. And this without actively using any techniques; the biggest change has been inside my own headspace. I can't wait to do the next course. Now that I know, unequivocally, the benefits to be had, I wish I had come down off the fence years ago! Added bonus, a bunch of fabulous new friends. And a final thought about cost; some of you reading this will be struggling to justify spending a chunk of hard earned money "just" for yourself. Well, I will be using these tools every day for the rest of my life - pennies a day investment! I am SO worth it. And so are you!
    Sue Bee

  • I first met David at an evening business club a couple of years ago. During his presentation something “clicked” with me and I felt compelled to further my understanding of NLP. I attended the Auspicium free trial day. My earlier feelings were confirmed. This guy knows what he’s talking about and has a passion for helping people. I duly signed up for the NLP and Hypnotherapy practitioner course. What a week. All in the class left in such high spirits with a very different outlook on life. Following on I have attended the NLP and Hypnotherapy Master Practitioner course. Again excellent. There was something about the Hypnotherapy element of the course that I loved so on to the Hypnotherapy Trainers Training (another absolutely brilliant week). All the courses that I have attended have been very well organised, have a great team of trainers and support volunteers. The documentation is well put together and the exercises are all structured to push yourself to show you have a grasp of the given subject. I now have a fantastic group of new friends who I have a deep link with. We still meet up when we can to catch up on what we are all doing. As of March this year I have been participating in the Auspicium Freedom Project. This is a yearlong “conversation” about the 3 Principles – Mind, Thought and Consciousness. It took me a while to “get” it but now just by “doing nothing” I find myself doing more with better results and no stress. There are no models or techniques to learn. We all have the Principles inside us. We just need to be woken up to how to use them. It’s a great journey that will take the rest of my life. David is a superb trainer and fully deserves all the praise he receives.
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  • Before going on David’s Practitioner course, I thought I knew what I wanted, where I was headed and how I was going to get it. All I wanted an additional skill to add to my portfolio. I thought my life was in reasonably good order, nothing that needed fixing. I can sum up my experience of working with David in two words: life-changing. Instead of just learning a new skill, David encouraged us to apply his teaching, our learning, to ourselves. In a very safe environment, I gradually dropped the barriers I had painstakingly built up over a long time. This change happened very quickly and I continued growing as a person, studying 2 more courses with David and joining him on the Freedom project. Why David? He is disarmingly honest, genuine and engaging. He has a very broad knowledge of human behaviour and passes his knowledge on with grace. As a result of working with David, I have changed, and my life has changed. In myself I am very happy and contented person. My marriage is better and stronger. My business plans have taken a different route - one that is exciting and feels very right for me.