Sculpting Project Eight: Talking Back Week 2
Jill B. Taylor, a brain scientist from Harvard, suffered a stroke in a portion of her left hemisphere. Through eight years of healing she recovered the use of the affected brain regions and found her experience to be a Stroke of Insight.
The ‘Story Teller’ is the name she gave to a portion of her affected left brain. All of our brains have a Story Teller that has the job of taking bits of data and putting them together into a logical story. As Jill Taylor recovered her Story Teller she became intrigued with it’s ability to take tiny pieces of information and turn them into stories. She was amused at the Story Tellers antics until she realized that her brain fully expected her to believe the stories it made up. She had become savvy enough to realize that these sketchy stories “ain’t necessarily so”.
When we Talk Back we are correcting some of the assumptions of the Story Teller.
Martin Seligman, past president APA and the founder of Positive Psychology offers us a tool he calls ABCDE. The ‘D’ step is Talking Back.
ABCDE: (with adjustments to add the reality of the Holy Spirit)
A – Adversity. The problem happens, or comes to mind.
My new friend does not return my phone call.
B- Belief. I start talking to myself about my beliefs related to this situation.
Why haven’t they called back? They probably don’t really like me. And they aren’t the only ones; none of my friends call me any more. For the rest of my life I will just be sitting at home, lonely. There is nothing I can do to fix it.
C – Consequences. My emotions kick in, my body starts to feel their effects and my behavior follows.
I become sad. My stomach starts to churn. My body becomes weak. I crawl off to bed ignoring the phone when it rings.
D – Disputation. I correct my belief by disputing with it. I invite the Holy Spirit to come and give me wisdom in dealing with this situation. I ask God to come to my aid in this situation and I give Him thanks.
God, I am hurting. I feel so alone here. My stomach is all knotted up with sadness, help me to see things your way. Holy Spirit, guide my thinking. Maybe I don’t have all the facts here. And I do have some friends that call me, thank you for them. In fact, last week I went out to lunch with one. Maybe my friend’s answering machine is not working. Or maybe they are sad and just crawled into bed like I have. Maybe that phone call I just ignored was them.
E – Energization. My emotions and body start to feel better and I am energized with better behavior.
I get out of bed and make another phone call.
A: Adversity, B: your beliefs and C: the consequences happen naturally. D: disputation is where we step in with the guidance from God and are able to adopt a new belief about the adversity. E is the resulting gift from God.
Redwood forests, aspen forests in the early winter and my mind after Talking Back: deeply quiet.