This repetition of reactions learned when you were a helpless little kid happens with everyone. Most people can remember the incident or incidents. Some can’t. But as with Mary, we spend our lives repeating what happened in that incident, trying to complete or finish it in a way where we are finally able to speak our minds and hold our own as an adult.
I said this to Mary until she saw that her feelings and thoughts from that incident were the same ones as when her boss made crazy demands with no recourse. And she saw that until she could make those automatic feelings and thoughts disappear, she was stuck with them forever.
I told her that there is a fine way to deal with this and she could make her upsets disappear if she would follow a simple practice. All she had to do was practice it There was nothing to understand. I told her she could recover her freedom in three seconds if she would do the following and keep doing it.
She tried it and it worked.
When she got upset, she would:
1. Take three seconds only.
2. Not talk
3. Not act
4. Feel her feelings.
Don’t name the feelings as she sensed them. Just feel them, without thought. Let them move through her body. Not think.
She practiced this three second activity often when employees brought her bad news and when she worried about currently poor sales hurting her career..
In her own words, “I kept getting better and better at it. Surprisingly, after three seconds the bad feelings lost their grip on me. I got present and became suddenly sane. It seemed that my upset feelings really did move in my body and then disappear. Some times were harder than others, but in each case my response was then considered, centered and a reflection of me at my best and not just a stressed reaction.”
The point is that in three seconds, you can release upsets, stop grasping, move on quickly and make wise choices successfully.
The ideas and practice discussed this article come from Zoe Marae, a brilliant and effective counselor and teacher in Concord, Massachusetts. She is a self described “map maker” whose diagram of your life lets you make wise choices, and come to know the freedom of your own free will.