Sunday, May 2, 2010

Saving Birds

It’s funny how a person can get an idea in their head and feed that thought until it becomes their Truth.

Yesterday my daughter and I went to hear Daniel Pink, author of A Whole New Mind give a lecture. On the way there, I did the unthinkable: I rolled down my window on a stretch of isolated country road and spit my gum out. My daughter looked at me, horrified, and said she has NEVER thrown gum out of a window because I taught her early on that a bird could get stuck in the gum and hit by a car. I almost had to pull over because I was laughing so hard. The idea that a bird could get stuck in a little wad of gum was just so ridiculous—and the fact that she had kept this ‘sacred truth’ for a good 15 years was so funny to me!

While I honestly don’t recall ever dreaming up that urban legend, the truth is, I see people every day who have adopted certain thoughts and beliefs in their lives, and now those thoughts rule their every action. In my coaching class, we call thoughts that prevent a person from achieving his or her dream a Limiting Belief.

Once a person holds onto a thought and continues to feed it, the brain will constantly gather evidence to substantiate it.

I will often talk to my clients about ways to examine their thoughts; just step back a bit and ask, “Is this thought really true for me? Is it serving me in my life now?”

Last week a recurring theme among clients was fear that leaving their homes meant they would seek former drug using friends. We examined these thoughts and came up with some thoughts that proved to be even truer: I will continue to seek people who are in Recovery.

This seems simple, and it is. This idea can be reinforced so the brain will gather evidence to support it. ‘Seeking friends in recovery’ can become the truth.

I don’t know how many birds have been saved over the years because my daughter refrained from tossing her gum out the window. I know that examining the thoughts and having a giant belly laugh with her felt amazingly good.

That’s a common experience among people who examine their silly thoughts.

Joan Shepherd - FNP

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