Wrap-up to Session 3.
Assessing your eNinja progress:
In session 1 you “Found your Ground” and began to experience “The Power of Presence”. To be Here and Now. You named your Force. The Force can be one thing or it can clarify the various obstacles that get in your way, daily, monthly and so on.
In session 2 you “Declared What You Value”, what matters most to you. In future exercises, we will continue to contemplate what matters most as you clarify what makes those Values different from goals. You also discovered that a Goal is different than a Value. When I love well, I meet my daily goal. When I struggle with loving, each and every day, I am living my Value as I continue to invest in Living what I Value. Struggling is part of valuing.
In session 3 you began to take stock in your current base. This base is the essential foundation that supports the acquisition of skills, abilities as well as the required strength to consistently manage thoughts and emotions and as you plan your forward momentum. Each day eNinja’s purposely consider their base. Just as you check the temperature outside before you dress for the day, eNinja’s check their base. What will this day hold for me and how best can I care for myself? How can I be prepared for the meeting, that client, or current conflict? When will I take a break to regroup and re-focus on my goals for this day? What food do I need to fuel my day? What thoughts can I hold close when the inevitable unhelpful and negative habits show up?
Maintaining eNinja Foundation: Taking stock requires mindful attention to:
- what I eat and drink to fuel my foundation.
- thoughts that feed my mind, my “Think Tank”.
- attaining adequate sleep to repair and restore.
- exercising to rebuild my storage of good chemicals to counter the toxic.
Each day, out loud, say “I am walking towards what I love, what I value”
eNinja Session 4 – Wise eNinja Habits
eNinja tools: A blank sheet of paper and a marker to write large words. Notebook, audio and video.
Establishing a strong foundation allows for the acquisition of Wise Habits. Wise habits are actions, behaviors and movements that are workable and helpful. eNinja’s work to be Physically, Emotionally and Thoughtfully Agile. We prepare to move away from the “Force” i.e. what is un-workable and towards what is workable. What does not work is the persistent habit of struggling with the Force. In session 1 you defined what you are actively avoiding, the Force that keeps you from moving towards what you love, from living a life that you value (session 2).
Refresher: Watch Experiential Avoidance YouTube here: https://youtu.be/C-ZuqeyxULM
eN-exercise 7: The Wise Habit of Flexible Thinking
My clients come to me when they find themselves backed into a corner. Too often they want me to pull them out of said corner. Discouraged and stuck, they cannot see any way out, believing someone else is more capable. As the saying goes, I can give you a fish, but as your coach, I’d rather teach you to fish. Flexible thinking will feed your mind for the rest of your life. Learn how to distance yourself from your thinking and get out of the way of the “Force” will keep you on your path, moving towards what you love.
- By this time in my life I should have accomplished______________.
- If_______________ was not a problem, I would do_____________.
- I am afraid it is too late to_________________________________.
- If I could I would________________________________________.
- If this obstacle_____________________ was no longer in my way ___________would be possible and I would be able to live the life I love.
eXample answers: If I were successful. Without this, I am a failure. My failure as a parent, spouse, boss, employee keeps me from moving on, getting on with my life.
Ask yourself to get closer to the thought “I am a failure”. On a piece of blank paper, in large letters, write down these words,
I am a FAILURE
Next take the piece of paper and holding it with both hand, put the paper right up to your nose. What can you see? Now move it two inches from your face, what do you see?
Now move it five inches from your face.
Next, move the paper 10 inches away. What do you see?
Perhaps the paper, the words and your eyes can see more of your surroundings (context). Holding the paper so close is analogous to holding your thoughts, and your chronic struggle with thoughts about the thought, “I am a failure”. This is exactly what the Force feels like. These words, these “thoughts” serve to maintain the push and the pull of having or avoiding, quite often rather painful thoughts. While you are holding the paper with these thoughts, ask yourself, “what am I NOT doing while I hold on to these words?
Now, drop one of your hands, allowing it to be free to move about. What can you now see and perhaps do with the additional distance from the words, the thoughts, “I am a failure”? If your mind were not actively struggling with these thoughts, what else is could be possible? What can you do with a free hand that is not tied to your thoughts?
Now, place the paper with these words, thoughts, onto the floor and please allow yourself to sit back and re-read the words, I am a failure, from this new distance, wider context. Your hands are now both free and your mind can entertain additional thoughts and observations. Your perspective has widened and you are now able to see and consider additional thoughts, ideas. You are free to experience the Bigger Picture.
This exercise is easy way to learn to get distance from the 50K thoughts that currently run around in your head. I am not telling you not to have thoughts, not to think. I am suggesting that you can gain some distance, widen your perception to include other visual information. The thought might move to the background as you begin to consider “thoughts” in a larger context.
Ask yourself this question, “what am I Not a failure at”? What else could be true if the words on that piece of paper were merely words on a piece of paper?
Clean Pain versus Dirty Pain.
In ACT, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, we ask our clients to accept what they cannot accept. This is not an all or none type of request but it is a new way to consider the struggle with what brings one pain. When you are hurt, you feel pain, emotional and/or physical. This is clean pain. The painful event happened. The event was painful and the dirty part is the part we struggle to let go of. A case example is when you experience physically hurt. The injury will eventually heal. The story of how you got hurt or how long it took to heal also brings pain. This then is the dirty pain. When what happened, painful event, is difficult to comprehend, put into context. It is hard to get rid of dirty pain. Its like our mind is not quite finished with it yet. No doubt the story about he event that caused the pain is painful, we all need to learn to manage dirty pain. New Wise habits of Flexible Thinking is a good place to start.
eN-exercise 8: Challenging Habits of Buying Thoughts
If your past was a stock, would you still buy it? Many answer no, and yet continue to buy and invest in dirty pain of the past or the imagined thoughts of future pain. This habit of thinking, buying thoughts, is like a thief in the night, always looming, ready to rob us of our today and tomorrow. The past keeps us trapped in There-Then. Worry paralyses us in an imagined world of What-If. This habit is not useful and it comes at the expense of the power of mindful presence in the Here-Now. Living in this moment and able to develop options and make wise choices.
Here-Now, in this moment, to do something different
In this next exercise, I’d like to challenge you to consider your options to buy thoughts of then-there, here-now or what-if.
When you were born, you came equipped with a strong survival habit to live and reproduce. This great, automatic built-in programing allows us to seek out and prepare for danger. We are programed to think negatively, “what is wrong?” Naturally, protectively, our internal negative thoughts out number the positive. Since we no longer need to worry about our daily survival and can give ourselves the choice to reproduce, it is about time for an update to our survival software.
eNinja develop the skill of Flexible Thinking that allows for additional thoughts. One of my clients calls this new habit, “Maybe yes and Maybe no”.
Say this out loud…
My mind has many, many thoughts. I can choose to focus on the ones that are useful. Useful thoughts keep me on my path towards living a life I love.
You may never get rid of unhelpful thoughts. Think of them as relatives that you put up with from time to time. You can however, mindfully steer your Wise Mind habit towards useful, workable thoughts that keep you headed in your desired direction.
In this next exercise, I’d like to challenge you to consider your options to buy thoughts. Take out a piece of paper and start to consider how your thoughts become focused on There-Then (TT), Here-Now (HN), or What-If (WI).
This is from The Happiness Trap, by Dr Harris.
Control of Thoughts and Feelings Questionnaire –
Please select A or B and also, TT, HN, or WI:
This questionnaire has been adapted from similar ones developed by Steven Hayes, Frank Bond, and others. For each pair of statements, please circle the one that most accurately fits how you feel. The answer you choose doesn’t have to be absolutely 100 percent true for you all the time, just pick the answer which seems to be most representative of your general attitude.
1a. I must have good control of my feelings to be successful in life.
1b. It is unnecessary for me to control my feelings to be successful in life.
2a. Anxiety is bad
2b. Anxiety is neither good nor bad. It is merely an uncomfortable feeling
3a. Negative thoughts and feelings will harm you if you don’t control or get rid of them.
3b. Negative thoughts and feelings won’t harm you even if they feel unpleasant.
4a. I’m afraid of some of my strong feelings
4b. I am not afraid of any feelings, no matter how strong.
5a. To do something important, I have to get rid of all my doubts.
5b. I can do something important, even when doubts are present.
6a. When negative thoughts and feelings arise, it’s important to reduce or get rid of them as quickly as possible.
6b. Trying to reduce or get rid of negative thoughts and feelings frequently causes problems. If I simply allow them to be, then they will change as a natural part of living.
7a. The best method of managing negative thoughts and feelings is to analyze them, then utilize that knowledge to get rid of them.
7b. The best method of managing negative thoughts and feelings is to acknowledge their presence and let them be, without having to analyze or judge them.
8a. I will become “happy” and “healthy” by improving my ability to avoid, reduce, or get rid of negative thoughts and feelings.
8b. I will become “happy” and “healthy” by allowing negative thoughts and feelings to come and go of their own accord and learning to live effectively when they are present.
9a. If I can’t suppress or get rid of a negative emotional reaction, it’s a sign of personal failure or weakness.
9b. The need to control or get rid of a negative emotional reaction is a problem in itself.
10a. Having negative thoughts and feelings is an indication that I’m psychologically unhealthy or I have got problems.
10b. Having negative thoughts and feelings means that I am a normal human being
11a. People who are in control of their lives can generally control how they feel.
11b. People who are in control of their lives do not need to control their feelings.
12a. It is not okay to feel anxious and I try hard to avoid it.
12b. I don’t like anxiety, but it’s okay to feel it.
13a. Negative thoughts/feelings are a sign that there is something wrong with my life.
13b. Negative thoughts and feelings are an inevitable part of life for everyone.
14a. I have to feel good before I can do something that’s important and challenging.
14b. I can do something that’s important and challenging even if I’m feeling anxious or depressed.
15a. I try to suppress thoughts/feelings that I don’t like by not thinking about them.
15b. I don’t suppress thoughts and feelings that I don’t like. I let them come and go of their own accord.
Willing to develop the habit of Flexible Thinking.
Open to considering thoughts and feelings as just thoughts and feelings.
Curious how negative thoughts have so much more power than positive ones.
Able to imagine and to build a strong foundation as they acquire useful workable skills.
Extra Credit: Watch this YouTube video about Buying Thoughts & Flexible Thinking.
The Uninvited Guest: https://youtu.be/VYht-guymF4