Earlier today I had an email from a woman asking if I would be interested in presenting at a women’s retreat this summer. In her note she said that there were other presenters who were doing workshops in grief, suffering, healing, etc, and could I do something a bit light on the mind.
At first I had to reread the email a few times to see exactly what she was asking. I scribbled back something about working with patterns of the mind like procrastination, self-bashing, etc. I called it “When I Lose My Mind I Like Me Better.”
After I clicked send, I got to thinking about it. First, somebody wants me to present a thing on the mind—I don’t have to heal the whole world. Second, it sounded like a workshop I’d like to go to. It sounded like fun.
Healing and growth don’t always have to hurt. We can poke a little fun at some of our patterns—we would probably be more effective at changing them if we didn’t take them so seriously.
The truth is, most of our behaviors are simply wired-in patterns firing “mindlessly” away in our brains. The only problem is that we are not conscious of them, and we don’t know what to do if we are conscious of them.
During my NLP days, I taught a lot of workshops. One of my favorite exercises was to ask participants, “What is something you say to yourself when you really blow it.” I’d give them a minute to think about it. Then I told them to turn to their neighbor and say exactly the same thing to a stranger in exactly the same tone of voice—really give it to them. Most would not do it. My next question was, “If you wouldn’t say it to a total stranger, then why on earth would you say it to yourself?”
The next exercise was to say exactly the same thing to yourself only this time put it in Mickey Mouse’s voice. “You leetle beech, how could yoo be so stoopid?” (Very high and falsetto) Everybody had a good time with it—and that one exercise changed lives. People later told me that they had no idea they were so hard on themselves.
Honestly, we are our own worst critic. Richard Bandler (the early developer of NLP) once wrote that we get into trouble when we think something is to “serious, certain, and important.” Suddenly the heat is turned up and nothing less than perfection will do. Well—news flash—we are imperfect beings on a journey to be less imperfect.
This year I set out on a path to be more outspoken and outrageous. I admit I haven’t done much with that. Usually what qualifies as “outrageous” for me is to actually ask for a comment on my blog or to contact someone who I’ve met only one time before. Or I try to write my blog posts a little closer to the bone. Not exactly living dangerously.
So, here is a challenge for you. What is it that you could do that would be a bit outrageous for you, that would turn an old brain pattern upside down, that would shift a direction? Like I said, healing and growing don’t have to hurt. It could be a fun experiment, something we mess around with every day. Try it.
For those of you who are reading this on a regular basis, my husband is doing much better. Still some issues to be solved but he gets stronger (and more handsome) every day. We are back in the groove of dreaming up the next project.
In fact, that thought loops me into the earlier stuff. Milt and I were talking after he got out of the hospital, and I was thinking of his weakened immune system. One day I asked why he is so hard on himself. I said that it was as if every bad thing he had ever done had happened five minutes ago. We got to talking about his adoption and abandonment issues. I suggested that since he meditates every morning anyway, why not place the tiny, infant Milt in his lap and cradle him while he meditates. Think sweet thoughts about that little guy, I told him. Let him know that he is wanted and okay in your book. See what happens.
The next day he told me that as he meditated on the little guy, a whole herd of other needy little Milts showed up asking for his attention. He gave each one of them special fatherly attention. You see, I think that immune systems can be influenced by those wily brain patterns also.
Healing can be sweet. Brain patterns can be changed. Go ahead, lose your mind.
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