It’s 3am…..it’s the hour of the wolf….and you’ve got a thought knockin’ around in your head and it won’t stop. It’s persistent, it’s pushy, it wants your face time, BAD. “Hey, heeeeey!!!! Look at me!!! Pay attention to ME!!!!” The more you try to ignore it the stronger it comes rushing back. Urghh!! Or maybe you’re at the bus stop and a sneaky thought peeps in and out every time you look around at all the folks waiting for the bus beside you. It tries to tip toe in, and before you even realize it, it’s taken over. Or it could be that every time you go to the beauty salon the “thought” is more like a blob of a feeling, dragging along with you like a heavy, wet coat and you feel just terrible.
Okay, friends, I have an idea for you. This is a tool I’ve used so many times with these particular breeds of thought-feelings that I can’t remember now all the thought-feelings I have managed to turn around!
Grab a notebook with two empty pages you can open up to like this- where is the emoji for an open book- oh, here it is: 📖 . Grab a pen or pencil or colored markers and get yourself to a private place. It could even be a closet-it’s so loud around here sometimes that’s where I go.
Now, on one side of the notebook write everything down you can think of about this repetitive thought you have: When does it visit? Where are you when it visits? How does it approach? Stealthy…..sneaky….straightforward? Sweetly…suggestively…sourly…surly? How does it make you feel at first? How does it make you feel after a while? What words describe it? What images does it bring up.? Colors, sounds, curse words, catastrophes- write down whatever comes to you. Give it a fuller name, if you like. If words are not your things draw images, pick colors for it….anything that gets you in, around, and upside down this thing!
Don’t censor yourself. And omg don’t judge yourself!! Come on, friends!! This thought WANTS to be seen and acknowledged and it has valuable information for you. Be compassionate with yourself. It’s a part of you- you see where I am headed with this? Give it all the attention it requires.
Once the left hand side of the page is done, examine it. Roll it around your brain until you feel a sense of relief. You probably will feel relief because that thing may have been perceived as negative, but it needed to tell you something and you have allowed it to speak, finally. My band has a song about this. It’s called “The Toad’s Mouth”; it’s about all the gems that come from inside you even if they are regurgitated from within a warty toad. You just need to practice listening:
“She wakes, she walks, she waits in silence. She’s listening for the next gem to drop, the next rose from the toad’s mouth. She’s watching for the next bit to spit, the next rose from the gut of the frog”
Ok. Now, on the right hand side of the notebook, write what you you would like to think or feel instead. For example, if you are feeling paranoid at that bus stop and start to get worried that people are out to get you or that they are looking at you sideways, the reverse or positive aspect might be something like: “ I’m totally safe at the bus stop.. If someone does have a bad intention, I’ll be able to see it coming and protect myself.” or “I am confident here at this bus stop and nobody’s looking at me because they’re too busy with their own stuff.” Let me admit now that I was that person at the bus stop and I did feel all this. I called it my “embattlement” program.
Now you can either tell your self a few times that what you have on the left side is what you want to change and what you have on the right side is what you’ll be keeping or you can cross out what’s on the left and circle what’s on the right or you can fold up the left page, say “thanks” and throw it away and keep the right page in the book. You choose.
For me, for a little while after I use the tool, the idea/thought/feeling will pop in and out- you might feel ping ponged back and forth from the old way to the new way and back. That’s perfectly fine. Eventually, the new idea will take root and grow and viola! Your brain is reprogrammed. You might even forget that you ever used the tool, you’ll be 100% living in the new way!
Try it. Try it!! Don’t poo poo it, just begin.