If you had a garden full of beautiful flowers in which you have sown all the seeds yourself and have put in some time and effort deciding what to go where and how you want it to be,
would you take your watering can and add some plant food to the water and gently nurture the plants with the fortified water, knowing that this will help them to grow into big, strong, bold and beautiful blooms?
Or would you instead add ink to the watering can and pour it on the flowers, dousing them in dark liquid, suffocating the petals and polluting the roots, trampling them behind you as you go?
I imagine you would go with the first scenario, but what if nobody had told you this was an option? Maybe you watched other people pour ink on their gardens. Perhaps other people poured ink on your garden so this was what your ‘downstairs brain’ believed was how to do it so this is what it told your ‘upstairs brain’ to do.
What if, after a lifetime of watering your muddy and trampled garden with poisonous ink, you visit a beautiful garden belonging to someone else and you can't believe how lovely it looks. They take you to their potting shed and greenhouse and share with you all the tools of the trade, they demonstrate how to use the plant food, show you which compost to use, how to love and care for the plants they are growing. You are amazed at this revelation.
When you get home, do you:
A. Go to the garden centre and buy some plant food and compost.
B. Continue to water your garden with ink and trample on it.
Obviously you would think A, but even if your upstairs brain now knows that A is the best thing for your garden, your downstairs brain says:
‘No! Hang on a minute, it is this way, this is the familiar way to do it! This is safe because this is how we have always done it so it has to stay like this, I don’t want it to be different! It scares me!’
and, straight away, the upstairs brain says:
‘Yep, you’re right, let's go and get some ink.’
This is why it can be so hard to break negative thought patterns and behaviours.
I’m not speaking as a person with qualifications on this (which I am) who thinks they know you better than you (which I don’t), I am speaking as a person who adopted a barrage of negative internal vocabulary at a very early age. It got louder as I got older and I self-destructed accordingly. Until I had had enough and spent five years studying psychology, creativity, mental health and mindfulness in order to understand these patterns and find a way to change them that worked for me.
I’m a very visual person and a very restless person, which is why mindful creativity works so well for me. I write these articles because at some point I was amazed to discover that I am not the only person who has a rebellious mind and I’m writing this one because it turns out that most people have an inner critic and we have all been trampling on the gardens of our minds and watering them with ink.
I decided to nurture mine with plant food and fresh water, how about you?
I invite you to take some time to think about what you say to yourself, doodle and make notes while you do. See what weeds are growing there and pull them out. Draw them if you like. It is incredible what we notice about ourselves when we take the time to listen.
If you want to take it further, I have designed a creative meditation to help you to become your own best friend and tame that inner critical voice. I made it to reinforce the positive messages until the downstairs brain accepts them and instructs the upstairs brain to ditch the ink in favour of some plant food.
The Creative Meditation is called Be Your Own Best Friend. Inside you have the opportunity to turn the negative into positive with a specially designed piece of music to listen to, a worksheet to colour and fill in, an audio guided meditation plus transcript and an affirmation worksheet, at the end, you can send me your feedback and receive a voucher for 10% off your next purchase.
It is half price this weekend. You can find out more HERE
Have a great week,