When Positive Self Talk Was Not Enough
Kathlen Quinn-Matus PCC
Years ago I learned that positive self talk was not always adequate for changing a life pattern. Here's my story...
Remember the drawings you did as a little kid? Children's drawings reflect their living environment. Early drawings become our stories and our stories become unconscious beliefs that hold us back. The first step to change is to become conscious of our unconscious.
I like to paint and create because it allows me to go beyond my outer world to connect with my inner world. Like meditation it allows me to shift my internal or emotional state. Years ago as a free lance artist I began working on a series of sculptures; the theme being childhood. Working in the studio one day an image of a little man popped into my head.
I recognized him as a character I would I draw over and over in
elementary school. The image
was a thief holding a money bag. He represented the struggle my parents faced to make ends meet.
My father was struggling growing a business. Our home mantras were "money doesn't grow on trees”, life is a struggle, most rich people cut corners to get ahead. I attended a Catholic elementary school where the nuns wore a corded rope with 3 knots around their waist. The 3 knots signifying vows of poverty, chastity and obedience only reinforced my perception that poverty was holy. Around that time the popular movie (“It's a Wonderful Life”) was released. Remember Henry F. Potter, a rapacious slumlord who used others for his own financial gain? That image of Mr. Potter only reinforced my negative belief about wealth.
As an adult I no longer believed in scarcity mentality, yet my brain was hard wired and the 'poverty' software continued to play out. Today neuroscientists know our unconscious mind fires one million neurons to every one neuron in our conscious mind. Therefore our unconscious is 1,000,000 times more powerful and is able to churn out our hard wired beliefs effortlessly! In short, our subconscious is basically stupid; it takes in the suggestions we give it. The messages from our childhood are most powerful since we are in a Theta brain wave (suggestive state) from ages 2-6 years. These suggestions can run our future since 95% of our behavior is influenced by the subconscious mind.
I tried affirmations, visioning, and positive self talk, but nothing seemed to work.
My thief was alive and well! This unconscious 'target' image was sabotaging my best efforts to get ahead.
I needed to do something different from affirmations and positive self talk. Because cave painting is our earliest form of communication, our emotional brain is hard wired to respond to metaphors, colors, shapes, visual images and music. Armed with this awareness, I set out to interrupt the program by creating a new 'target' image. I started a visual journal. Doodling is the language of the body-mind imagery. Imagery opens the door to our gut mind; it is here we receive insights that would otherwise remain hidden. Tapping into our gut we see our thoughts rather than thinking our thoughts.
My little thief eventually became yesterday’s imprint. I am grateful he showed up that day in my studio; it was the nudge I needed to move beyond my limitations. After a few months of journaling I was able to land a new career opportunity.
In closing, any new ritual feels weird. Yet ritual takes us out of our daily routine, away from ordinary habits to something more. With practice we can create new neuro pathways for growth! From all my years of doing various practices I've come to realize as we raise our own awareness, the extra bonus is...we raise the awareness of the world!
“All that you behold, tho’ it appears without, it is within, in your imagination, of which this world of mortality is but a shadow.” ~ Blake
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With this practice I became more aware, more conscious and more tuned in to creating a new image that could speak to my emotional brain. This is one of several images I drew to carry with me.
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