Thursday, September 07, 2006

Words: Powerful Rephrasing

There was one comment that came out of the teleclass that has really stuck with me. I think, in part, due to the simplicity of it. This story demonstrates the power of changing what may seem like an insignificant negative thought.

This woman was working in her garden very much enjoying being there and taking care of her plants. Then a thought popped into her head, ‘I have to go inside and cook dinner for my family.’ She said she immediately noticed the thought and its negativity. She also realized that it was indeed time to stop what she was doing and go inside to prepare dinner. She rephrased for herself, ‘I choose to go inside to prepare a nourishing meal for my family.’ She said the shift was palpable in her body and in her heart. Although she still realized she would prefer to be in the garden, her statement turned her thought from a victim mentality “I have no choice in the matter” (which may lead to resentment among other negative emotions) to making it her choice and that made all the difference.

This story brings up two ideas for me. As I alluded to in the beginning of my entry, this seems like such a little thing, yet it made such a difference to this person. I am sure it also shifted her intention as she cooked, thereby infusing the food with more love and attention. Perhaps she was also able to share more compassion with her family instead of resentment or irritation. Perhaps it shifted her thoughts around cooking at other times too and maybe she feels better now about cooking when she would rather be doing other things. Do you see where this is going? The power of a little thing...

The second idea is around rephrasing. I mentioned in the Module that taking the time to rephrase something that you have said that you wished you had said differently will change the negativity into something more positive. Rephrasing will also help you bring more attention to it should the same situation arise again. On one of the calls, on participant realized that rephrasing works with things you say to yourself as well. Yes! As our gardener realized in this story, rephrasing is powerful whether it is out loud to another person or in our head to ourselves.