I don’t want this blog to be one long string of threads about futility. So let’s talk solutions.
A premise: We create our experiences–with thoughts, feelings, and emotions. Some experiences are good–happy, memorable and inspirational; and some not so good–Disappointing, destructive, or just plain sad. It seems a stretch to say that experience is not something that just happens to us, but that we actually create it, but that’s precisely what I’m putting out there.
There is lots of evidence for this connection. Mind Over Medicine by Lissa Rankin, MD. (Scientific Proof that You Can Heal Yourself); The Biology of Belief: Unleashing the Power of Consciousness, Matter, & Miracles by Bruce H. Lipton; and This Article suggesting that even your past isn’t set in stone, by Robert Lanza.
‘Nuff said. Read for yourself.
But if thoughts and beliefs really do directly determine what happens to us, that’s something we should capitalize on, right? The good experiences we want, and so would do well to hang onto the interconnecting thoughts and beliefs. The other thoughts and beliefs should be dodged like a wad of gum on a heated up sidewalk.
But how do we dump the thoughts and beliefs that aren’t working for us? And how do we manipulate thoughts / beliefs /emotions in the moment? I don’t know about you, but despite my desire to do this, I’m not all that successful–especially in the areas of my life where I already feel stuck. And even though this has been my own decades-long inquiry.
There are lots of people with lots of theories on how to do it. So where to start?
I tend to like the variety of options–after all, you can’t have too many theories about how to change things for the better. But, in my experience, not all of them work equally well at any given time.
I want them all at my disposal, for the same reason that I read the menu at Cafe Wren before I so much as order even a cup of tea. With the selection in front of me, I can order the thing that I’m most hungry for. Ditto on perusing “negative thought interventions.” The approach that I’m most hungry to put to the test in that moment is often the best.
But something as esoteric as a list of approaches to thought-experience manipulation makes it seem that my brain’s memory centers are made of Teflon. Keeping a number of these approaches in mind during any give time period seems a little impossible, because they just don’t stick. So, for sanity’s sake, I invented a way to make them stick. Thus, my very own menu of “thought intervention.”
I named this menu “Gootugo.” Gootugo, short for “goo to go,” has two sections–you guessed it, “Goo” and “Go.” The “Goo” section helps me to examine troublesome thoughts and emotions (which lead to troublesome behavior and experience). The “Go” section reminds me how to change these thoughts and emotions. Each point of examination (in “Goo”) and thought intervention (in “Go”) has a letter associated with it.
The site where you can see the Gootugo in its entirety is here. But, notice that it’s still under construction, so please check back again if you don’t see there what you’re hungry for.
When I travel to a new place, it’s pretty much a given that I’ll have to consult a map. Having inherited the family “directionally challenged” gene, I can’t keep the map in my head, no matter how diligently I study it. Same with Gootugo. It’s such unfamiliar territory, that I need a way to call it up when in the murky waters of negative thought.
So I paired Gootugo with the alphabet. If you can say your ABCs, you have the Gootugo itinerary nearly committed to memory. This gives you access to the points of examination and interventions, both, even when the map isn’t in front of you.
Just to give you a sense of how this works: In Gootugo, A = automatic thoughts, B = behavior, C = consequences, E = emotions, and so on. Each of those words helps call to mind an area to investigate. So A reminds you to do a quick inventory of automatic thoughts–thoughts that are so automatic that they play over and over like a song lodged in your head. Letters A – F make up the Goo section. It’s named “goo” because goo is shorthand for stuck.
The go section contains letters G – L. In “go,” L = Leap of Faith, G = Go, and so on. Some of the words, like “Go” need to be deconstructed further. For example, “GO” is an acronym for “generate opposite.” Generate Opposite is a reminder to come up with a thought diametrically opposed to the one that is playing like a bad song, in order to interrupt it.
Hop over to Gootugo.com, if you want to know more. That’s where I’ll post the instructions on using this mnemonic map. Posts in this blog–The Expert Within–will detail how I’m using it; at least, that’s my plan. Your comments are invaluable, so please add your thoughts to the mix via the comment section.