MIND DETOX: EXTRACTS
EXCERPTS FROM MIND DETOX
These excerpts from the book Mind Detox, by Deborah Marshall-Warren, are reprinted with permission from the "Health and Happiness" column of the monthly newsletter of YES Group ("Your Excellence Succeeds") in London, England. For details of the group's meetings, see the Yes Group web page.
"Wings of Thought", January 1998
Some ten years ago, I saw a film entitled "Wings of Desire" made by the German director Wim Wenders. The chief protagonists in the film were angels - a kind of being about whom a great deal is written nowadays. Although they appeared in human form, these beings were invisible to adult eyes, and could be seen only to young children and elderly people close to death. Why are they relevant here? Readers who have seen the film may remember that on occasion they would step onto the underground trains. On the train, they would listen. They listened to the dialogue chattering in each passenger’s head. Generally this was not very positive. Gently they would ‘coach’ the train of thoughts from those of a negative persuasion to those with a more positive outlook. Noticeably the face of the passenger would be softened, uplifted, and encouraged. I was so enchanted by this notion. I longed to see the film again with an urgency I could not explain. Though I did not see the film the following night as I had envisaged, I did see it seven days later, and at other times since.
When I first viewed the film, I wondered and wished for this incredible phenomenon to be true. I was most certainly curious about the stirrings in my heart and I was affected profoundly by the kindness, compassion, empathy and love shown by these beings, and the increase in confidence, and sense of renewed strength felt by the individuals in response to these interventions.
That is why I am drawing your attention to "Wings of Desire" now. Whether or not you believe in angelic coaches, it is a powerful and illuminating metaphor. Unconsciously, I intuited the metaphor at the time, but it has become clearer since then. As individuals, we can listen to our inner dialogues and coach them with kindness, compassion, empathy, and love. We can learn to coach them in ways that soften us, uplift us and increase our confidence and sense of strength in ourselves. In short, we can coach them to increase our love and understanding of ourselves.
"Free Gifts", February 1998
As a feeling human being you possess many gifts and talents. They are given gifts. These gifts are like the facets of a diamond - expressions of a whole. Yet, do we feel whole? How many of us are whole beings? More often there are gaps. We all have gaps. The majority of us seek to fill these gaps, with our work, with our social lives, with our material possessions. And, as much as we want to fill them within ourselves the gaps seem to be getting bigger. We work longer hours, longer hours then were possibly worked during the Industrial Revolution. We have more things and yet still the gaps get bigger. Is it any wonder than we often ask ourselves: What is missing in our lives? The answer so often is - our true selves and our true sense of connection with our divine selves - that which truly makes us special and unique, our free gifts!
Marketeers seek to focus our attention on anything but our true selves, our true essential qualities. The notion of Free Gifts has a very different meaning. We are bombarded with pictures of many ‘things’, which the ‘creatives’ in the advertising world seek to embellish with qualities, feelings, personality, language, and an identity which may, given the right appeals, seem to fill the gaps, and give us the sense of identity - that we feel we lack. Advertising is a great observer of gaps. Advertisers identify the gaps in our whole beings. Having identified the gap, they create a product. They then give the product the same name as the gap. The product is fronted by a person who personifies the gap, acting-out the imagined essential behaviours, and spoken thoughts of the gap. And we buy it! We buy the whole ‘act’. In exchange for a price worthy of the quality itself it’s ours. Joy is yours. Peace is yours! Power is yours! Now you can relish the fruits of success by wearing the perfume around you. Filling the gaps. For how long? Of course, when it runs out you can buy some more. That is true. You can buy some more ... and some more.
"Designer Labels", March 1998
Advertising inspires desires. And yet more than one spiritual teaching cites desire as the cause of, and route to, great unhappiness. Indeed, advertising doesn’t just identify the virtues. Advertising identifies the vices, and cloaks them with a sense of acceptability. Envy. Poison. Ego. After all, they are vices in name only.
We delude ourselves when we buy into the advertising gap. We buy a label of someone else’s design to create a statement about ourselves, either because the name or the label appeals. Or because we hope that the name or the label will fill our gap. At least, for now. And so we cloak and spray ourselves with a designer label, one designed by someone else. We wear the label that fills the gap for a time at least, and then we search for another, because it doesn’t suit the season or it doesn’t suit our seasoned selves (as we feel ourselves to be). Our gaps are deep and wide and seem to take a lot of filling. When will we stop and consider that we have within us the ability and the power to design our own ‘labels’ in our inner minds. The power to plug into and switch on a resource within ourselves, which will enable us to fill up with the joy of Spirit and the Spirit of joy, to energise and equip ourselves with labels designed and fashioned for us and by us. Tailor made. Custom made. Couture.
When you’re plugged into this resource you will begin to design labels in your inner mind that enable and ennoble your life and wear labels chosen with discernment and detachment rather than ravenous desire fed by persuasion from the outside world.
In the outer world, one wonders whether truth, and the love of truth is regarded as a virtue. In our inner world, love of truth, and love for ourselves is the way to our discovering ourselves and our emergence into our full potential.
"The Lightness of Being", April 1998
Have you ever remarked inwardly - or even outwardly - on a behaviour shown by someone else, and wished you had that same quality? Has anyone ever reported to you, that you do have that quality, or a characteristic, a way of being which is exactly as you wish to be? How did you respond? Did you accept the compliment or did you reject it? Did the words inspire curiosity? Did you feel nourished by the comment? Did you feel acknowledged and validated? Did you simply feel that the person who made the comment was just being nice? pleasant? polite? But in, your heart of hearts, did you long for it to be true?
Could you just bear to believe that the wonderful comment was true? Could you suspend disbelief for a few moments to embrace the fact that all of the most wonderful virtues, qualities, talents, and abilities you could ever imagine are already resident within you? If it helps you to suspend your disbelief, acknowledge that these virtues, qualities, talents, and abilities reside within you to varying degrees - in the same way that a recipe may require anything from a ‘pinch’ to a ‘pound’ of an ingredient. In such a way, all the virtues exist to differing degrees in you.
Some people are more cheerful than others, and yet we all have at least a little cheerfulness within us. Nobody is totally gloomy all the time (not even Eyeore in the Pooh stories). Some are more creative than others but, again, we all have some ability to be creative in some areas of our lives. Some folk are more trusting than others and yet we all have the ability to trust: it is impossible to function in life while completely distrusting everybody. Some are more patient or more peaceful that others. But surely both qualites are latent within us, and can become manifest should we choose to polish and prolong their effect on our lives and the way in which we live. Believe! There is a bounty of jewels within each of us. If someone, in whom you trusted, told you that a treasure-chest was buried at the bottom of your garden, you would get a spade and go and dig for it.
Perhaps you may feel weighed down by this treasure, rather than bouyed up and vibrant? No wonder! Many of the precious stones in the treasure chest are tarnished. They have become encrusted with fear, anger, attachment, worry, rejection, loss, loneliness, and a lack of love for ourselves that verges on neglect.
You can work towards recognising the lightness of your own true self by opening and lightening yourself, by letting go of the emotional weights which shadow the light of understanding. Increasingly, as you gain insight and understanding you will gain clarity and a sense of a light having been switched on.
Your buried treasure lies within.
"Language - A Diet for the Mind", May 1998
I was approaching my teenage years when my father introduced me to Roget’s "Thesaurus". I can recall my excitement at discovering there were so many other words to describe the word ‘bright’ or ‘light’ , and I promptly set about attempting to use them all in a high school composition. The arrival of this book into my experiential vocabulary ensured that compositions took me an exceedingly long time to write in view of the many choices this treasure offered to a seeker of words. It also in later years led readers of my writing in educational and professional spheres to describe my style as ‘flowery’. I acknowledge this may well have been true. In all ways, I will always be glad and grateful to my introduction to this book. It offers verbal variety for each of us, far beyond our often limited vocabularies. It offers us a resource from which we can choose words which may garland our lives. It is sometimes said of someone who luxuriates in language that he or she has ‘swallowed a dictionary’, but if it can fuel your drives, why not? We have many, many nourishing words in our lexicon of language. So before you begin to read another book on food nutrition, how about dipping into the one which will enrich your diet for the mind? You may even begin to study the lexicon of love. By the way, this does not mean tying yourself down to dry-as-dust pedantry, but rather revelling playfully and creatively in the Aladdin’s cave that holds the storehouse of centuries of linguistic inventiveness. Our language is planted thick with images and metaphors, both ancient and modern, which bear fruits that are brightly coloured and scrumptious: devour and enjoy!
"Your Life Sentence", June 1998
Language has the power to change an event from the ordinary to extraordinary, from the maligned to the benign. Language can hold the ability to transform, to illumine and to resolve and to heal. Words touch. We remember the beautiful words that touched us - those we read, or those that were spoken to us. Even those words that touched and inspired us when spoken on the silver screen.
The language we use to describe an event in our lives, be it in the past or the present so often holds the power to keep us in pain or in pleasure. It can also hold the key to release us in order to realise reconciliation. The classic and oft-quoted example is the response to the half-filled glass. Do you describe it as half-empty or half-full? The choice of language is yours. Language offers the key to more than positive thinking. It offers the key to increased clarity and understanding - if, from within, we can discover another word which may offer a reason for our behaviour. As human beings we seek to understand why something has happened, why someone said something with particular words, or particular intonation, which lashed us so deeply. To understand, that is all. Quite often, with understanding comes a clear sense of vision and an tremendous sense of healing, and of being healed. The new word, be it about ourselves or about the person who was part of our story, may be crucial to retrieving the key to unlocking ourselves and gaining release.
When you have used the same word for many years, it may be a little threadbare. Take Pain as an example. Have you had an emotional pain kicking around you for years? You might consider packing her up in a suitcase and blowing her up! A suitcase is a shape that people often present to gather all of their pain into. They then set about cramming all of those outgrown labels generally designed by someone else into the suitcase. Lazy, Failure, Stupid, Scatter-Brained, Shy, Selfish, Clumsy, Nuisance - you name it! (Whoever came up with the old proverb "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never harm me" was over-optimistic. She may well have needed Sense and Sensibility on her linguistic team!) Sometimes it can be a tight squeeze to cram all the unwanted thoughts, feelings and memories into the case, and one has to assign Assistance to sit on the suitcase while the fasteners are secured - then you can blow it up! Can it really be that simple? Well, it can go a long way to freeing you and moving you forward, towards an increasing sense of freedom and liberation from words that hold you back.
Do you have a ‘life sentence’? - a sentence which defines your life. Is it not time you got out for great behaviour? You do not have to answer that question now, although you may find that an answer may just pop out of your mind! Seriously, if we use the mind detox to release ourselves from our life sentences, then how much more likely it is that we will not inflict the same sentence on our children, and they in turn on their children’s children.
Once the sentence is acknowledged, you can reform the words and ultimately yourself.
"Building Confidence", August 1998
How we long to wear the absolute crown! To have the Air of Confidence. This is confidence stepping out at its strongest. It is a sense of inner confidence that is free of reliance upon props and status symbols, such as achievement, success, approval, or recognition - a confidence that is a constant presence, whatever life throws into the Air for us to handle. Occasionally withdrawn, we long to emerge out of our shell, to take up this crown of confidence, and to sit on the throne of personal power, to be in control of, and rule over, ourselves. We long to be in the seat of our true and fulsome self-expression.
A lack of confidence, or a belief that one lacks confidence, is a core problem in many people’s lives. Most of the time, this is a lack of confidence to express what you really feel. Lack of confidence is often tied in with a lack of self-esteem and a need to seek approval. Moreover, our tendency to punish ourselves by thinking badly of ourselves is another way in which the same problem manifests itself. To esteem ourselves, to feel comfortable and confident with others and within ourselves, is a giant step on the path to freedom and liberation. When we have this, we are on our way to gaining our wings, because so much follows from, and through, this solid sense of being strong, right in the very heart of our being.
With Confidence and Self-Respect enrolled on your inner teams, your potential for healing is boundless. The first step is to put yourself in the picture, to put yourself centre-stage in your life. Once centred in yourself - once self-centred - you can take time to listen to the communications inside yourself, which so often speak volumes. These communications have often been compiled to form a book of interior wisdom. A book of experience. This inner book of wisdom and experience, bound not in leather but by your feelings about them, is kept in the basement of your inner mind. Some inner books of wisdom lay un-opened, and un-recognized forever. Some are touched, the first pages turned, then discarded because their journey is long and winding, and may stir further your unease. Other books are picked up. They are held, and they are hugged, by Acceptance, and by Love and then left to Let Go, in order that their owners can move forward with Freedom, with Liberation and with Wings, and begin to polish the jewels of wisdom that are written in the book. Some books of wisdom are sat upon for years, and years, and years, asking repeatedly to be listened to, asking to be dusted down, asking for a hearing. Asking for a reading - with and through our Adult, and grown-up, eyes. Sometimes it seems that the very people who brought us up, have brought us down - so it seems. During a ‘re-reading’ we can discover how as a child we had mis-read, mis-interpreted, mis-heard, or took so literally the oft-repeated words and communications spoken from on high. Our parents once seemed next to God - so our limited experience and our belief told us. Now, as grown-ups, perhaps with children of our own, we have an opportunity to dry the tears of our still sometimes inconsolable Inner Child and to begin to re-read this book with a view to gaining clarity and understanding, acknowledging, forgiving, and letting go. We can say to our Inner Child. "I promise, this will never happen to you again. I love you and will always protect you." Re-membered, and re-covered, and brought back into play, your Inner Child is the team member who can help you to keep your eye on the ball, can keep you energized, maintain your excitement in simple pleasures and keep your body and mind feeling and looking younger for longer. Of all of your team members, this is the one who knows the most about play, and creative play. She will keep you amused for hours and keep boredom at bay.
Gratitude may open your eyes to what you have learned through your experiences and so enable you to move on with your kit-bag of experiences and Smile, Smile, Smile!
The Book Launch, February 1998
To celebrate the launch of her book, Mind Detox, Deborah was invited to give a presentation at the monthly YES Group meeting on 24th February, and the following article appeared in the YES Group Newsletter.
"We are all becoming aware of the importance of detoxing our bodies. What about the importance of detoxing our minds? You may remember reading Deborah's contributions in the Health and Happiness column of the newsletter last year. She joins the YES Group on Wednesday February 24th to talk about her recently published book, Mind Detox. Her themes include Talking to Ourselves, Designing Your Own Labels, Coaching Your Inner Team, and Angels on Earth. During the evening she will read an extract from Mind Detox. Deborah is a hypnotherapist in private practice in North London.
During the evening you will be encouraged to think of your mind as a team, and to imagine what it would be like to play full-out with a great inner team. Deborah will be encouraging you to experience your inner mind as a 'team' of many-skilled, multi-faceted emotions, qualities, talents and abilities, which you can begin to coach to create a coherent team for life.
We all talk to ourselves, though talking to oneself has an unduly bad reputation. The words are often rehearsed loudly and clearly inside our heads, albeit silently. So much alive and aloud are our dialogues, that any radio or television playing in the background may be drowned out by the dialogue that is going on in the inner mind. The participating players in our dialogues are often natural mimics who have mastered tone of voice, register, and even dialect and accent. Their ability to step into character and stir our emotions deserves accolades and unreserved applause.
Stop and think for a moment, and ask yourself: what are you 'talking about'? What is the real content of your dialogues? What are your thoughts as you wait for a bus or a train, or as you sit over a cappuccino or cup of tea, or a lunch-time snack. What are you saying to yourself? What are you reinforcing? - Are you planning? preparing? anticipating? worrying? avoiding? regretting? dreaming? rehearsing for something? criticising yourself or someone else? Are you asking 'Why me?' over and again? We carry out these dialogues all day, every day, without keeping tabs on where they are taking us.
Perhaps the time that you spend in downward-spiralling dialogues with yourself could instead be redirected, through gentle coaching, into a dialogue with a positive and empowering end in mind - to build a great inner team.
How often have you been let down by a player in your team? How often has a team player pulled out at the last minute? has a team player ever undermined your success? Has an inner team player team player sometimes just not turned up? Just when you thought everything was about to go swimmingly and you were going to perform really well in, say, a job interview, or a public speech, or a romantic date, or when you are privately resisting a cigarette or a cream cake - just then, at that crucial moment you are brought down by a team member who fails completely to turn up and play. Have you ever felt you could choose a better team? If the answer to any or all of these questions is "Yes", then get ready to choose a better team!
In your chagrin, you may feel tempted to fire the whole team - Anger, Negativity, Impatience, Fear, Guilt, Rejection, Limitation, Shyness, Disempowering Beliefs, Worry, Criticism, to name but a few.
Let's not throw the polished and practised players out with the also-rans and no-shows. Consider for some moments which players currently do play full-out for you, or indeed could be coached to do so. For example, to some degree Confidence will more than likely be on your team already, but perhaps you would like to bring her performance up to another level, to request that Confidence come out and support you more fully and more reliably to make sure she is out there playing for you, come rain or shine - backing you up, in social and business situations. And even to feel easy and comfortable enough to walk into a bar, a restaurant, a cinema or an art gallery solo, and enjoy your own company. Come along and take up the captaincy of your winning team!
For more information, see the Mind Detox page, and to order a copy online, please see the bookshop page.