Thoughts Carry a Train

And how to derail that train when you don’t like where it is going!

Today, I heard about the death of a friend’s family member, and also of a hypnosis colleague giving a workshop on how to deal with grief and loss. This brought up some thoughts and memories of my own of how thoughts connect to similar thoughts taking us to a predictable emotional conclusion.

One of my clients was setting up a meeting at Windows on the World restaurant on top of the World Trade Center on 9/11. Located on the 107th floor of the north tower with a conference facility on the 106th floor, with commanding views of the city, it was a popular destination with building occupants, tourists, and city residents (the restaurant served about 800 dinners nightly).

When the first hijacked plane crashed into the north tower at 8:46 am, the restaurant had regular breakfast patrons on the 107th floor and a conference for the Risk Water Group on the 106th floor. About 73 employees and an unidentified number of patrons died in the fire and building collapse. One of my clients, Luke Dudek, was among those killed.

The last time I saw Luke was at a mutual friend’s funeral, that of Rodney DeMichael. Rodney had been on the Board of Advisors for my business, Unlimited Potential. As a dear friend, social worker, counselor, founder and head of the Center for Eating Disorders in Livingston, NJ, Rodney had served  as most valued guide and mentor when I had questions about or needed help with a client, especially where I suspected that such client or prospective client had mental or emotional issues that required specialized professional treatment beyond my expertise as a hypnotherapist.

Rodney had been brought in also to lecture on psychopathology to my advanced, professional hypnotherapy students. When he got ill, he came weekly to the Reiki Sharing Clinic I ran. Over the years, many of my students and graduates worked on him, some even traveling to the hospital during his final stay.

So Luke’s death brought up memories of Rodney’s death, Rodney’s funeral and the silly hat I wore just for his benefit, thoughts about his life, my association with him, my student’s associations with him, and his friends and family. It also brought up times I myself had been at Windows on the World, the magnificent crystals there that were the size of small elephants, the woman (another client) that sold those crystals to the restaurant from her mine in South America, and her crystal shop in Montclair, NJ. Further, Luke’s and Rodney’s deaths also brought up memories of my father’s death, that of other family members, and on and on.

Thoughts hitch to other thoughts that carry you to a predictable emotional destination!

Carolyn Myss once was explaining how to understand someone’s conversation, you have to dig down into your own memory banks for similar associations. So if someone is talking about cupcakes, you have to do an internal search for anything to do with cupcakes yourself just to understand what is being said, let alone to respond.

The outcome is that if you have any emotions tied to any of your cupcake associations, it brings up those old emotions, memories, and all related associations as well.  Anything yet unresolved that is related to the issue or topic at hand as well as to any of the free associations that resurface is added to what is going on now, and it happens in lightning speed much as Alice plunging down the rabbit hole.

Early on in my hypnosis practice, I had a client that taught me how thoughts hitch to other thoughts that carry you to a predictable destination much as coupling train cars together on a pre-determined track. You can clearly foretell the expected emotional outcome from the content of the thoughts if you catch them fast enough. If such thought associations happen often enough, it runs a groove that turns it into a habit.

‘Sarah’ (not her real name) came to me because she was sick, worried and depressed. She had multiple issues: Epstein Barr, Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, etc. Not surprisingly when she woke up in the morning, her first thought was “I feel sick.” This connected to another thought, “If I’m sick, then I can’t go to work.” From there, the next thought was “If I can’t go to work, I’ll lose my job.” Next came, “if I lose my job, I’m going to lose my apartment.” Next was, “if I lose my apartment, I’m going to lose custody of my son.” Finally, the thought came, “if I lose my son, I might as well kill myself.” So from the first thought, “I feel sick”, she was rapidly in suicidal depression.

Because this thought pattern happened so frequently, I had to teach her how to derail her train of thoughts to take her to, hopefully, another emotional destination. So for the usual “I feel sick”, therefore, “I can’t go to work”, I taught her to say “at what I usually do. So what can I do?  What can I do from home to earn an income? Oh, I used to be an Editor. Maybe I could call up some of my old contacts and do something with them on the side. Maybe I could do phone solicitation, or stuff envelopes. Maybe I could make arrangements with my current boss to do some of my work from home.” 

If Sarah could deliberately change her thought pattern, decouple the usual connections, she would derail her train of thought that was guaranteed to take her into depression to possibly end up somewhere else. And maybe over time she would get ideas that would help her to solve her problems.

What’s my point?

  • As quickly as possible, to the greatest extent possible, clean up your own issues so that they do not add to the burden of dealing with future ones.
  • When old stuff comes up, make a mental note of it, or even better, write it down and deal with it at your earliest convenience, hopefully, that day. Use whatever tools you know: Emotional Freedom Technique, Tapas Acupressure, Emotion Code, Time Line Therapy, self-hypnosis, the Infinite Intelligence Process (my own technique), dowsing, etc. Where you are stuck, hypnotherapists and NLP (Neural Linguistic Programming) practitioners are skilled in helping you change and resolve non-beneficial mental and emotional patterns and limiting beliefs.
  • Deliberately ask a question that sets you off in another direction: “What if ___? How can I ___? If ___ could work, how would it work? Who could help me ___. “
  • Make a statement that while believable, changes the train tracks to another emotional destination For example,  “I’m so grateful for ___. I got through/survived ___ before. I turn this into a blessing. There’s a part of me that knows how to deal with this. I stay focused on the bigger picture. I take it one step at a time.”
  • Make a habit to challenge your assumptions, beliefs and judgments where they have been shown to be non-productive.

It is possible to change your self-talk to help yourself. And while it takes diligence and repetition to run new mental train tracks, it is profoundly worth the effort!

Resolving mental and emotional issues is my specialty. If you need extra help, I am available in person, by phone, and soon, by Skype. Call for an appointment. Free initial phone consultation: 434-263-4337.

Copyright by Roxanne Louise. However, this article may be shared in free online sources only if this copyright notice and link to http://www.roxannelouise.com and http://unlimitedpotentialhealingcenter.com  are included with the content.

 

 

 

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