(Image The Guardian)
I teach my clients do do whats called a Thought Download. It's a daily free form written exercise that gets your thoughts out of your head onto paper, so you can have a look at what's happening in there.
I describe it like tipping a box of Legos onto to the floor and separating (not sorting) the colors.
Lots of my clients love to avoid this process, a hangover of having to write journals as a kid - I guess, but it's an important part of the process.
We under estimate what goes on in our head - and how those thoughts - especially in the morning, can set up the day.
Why? Thoughts create feelings - so if your not checking in to see what the flavour of the day is, you can get off track big time.
As a coach I try to do as I say. But Im also a work in progress, just like the rest of us. I avoid things, I don't always do what I say, and I buy my own bullshit some days.
But today I was writing my Thought Download, started off a bit ugly. A weekend that went off track, a few extra kg on the scale and a heaping spoon of harsh disappointment. But I caught myself starting to beat up on myself - this is what I wrote.
Ok working on my mind. Recovering from eating rubbish on the weekend, Ive put on weight and I feel awful, Im pissed at myself because Im like why did I do that? -
I can see how this is going - get rebellious, get angry, Pissed at myself. Ive been free of this for so long. It's shite....(writing pause)
Actually I am aware of my thoughts and thinking and I want to be present to the desire to beat myself up today. Mmmm
Jody ...what was that teaching?.....that's it!
Im driving along the the highway and I pulled off to the drive thru - I didn't plan to but I did. Off the freeway, off the ramp - I've gone to the metaphorical drive thru.
Guess you could call it a binge.
But I can see whats happened. I can get back on the freeway - without to much drama, surely? Get in the car, check my gps , get my sense of direction, get back on the ramp. Im on the ramp and I'm merging and I am back on track.
Getting off track like that used to mean months of rerouting and four wheel driving - so to speak - scale avoidance - buffering and negative self talk.
But If I've learnt anything it's that beating yourself up doesn't help. It just dosen't serve you. Bt the only way to you can catch yourself is to be aware of what your thinking.
So I looked at my thoughts - and I looked for a thought that could be of more service than what I started with today. This is what I found.
Circumstance - Protocol
Thought - I'm a work in progress, and that's ok
Feelings - Compassion
Action - Eat a simple meal. Reward my brain. Take a sauna. Share with the girls
Result - Making progress
I gained control of the vehicle - was a hairy for a bit. I got - few bruises, couple of bumps but thats ok, I'm back!
Interested to know more? Are you on my list? firstname.lastname@example.org