The Mind Loops Blog: July 2018 – Be Like a Dog and Let It Go
I’ve already written about the importance of treating yourself like a dog… Now it’s time to talk about the importance of BEING like a dog – and modeling how they so elegantly let things go.
On my walk this morning, I observed a goldendoodle responding to a flurry of outside chairs moving briskly about. From his point of view, these were giant metal structures being lifted precariously above his head and noisily shoved around, causing a potential hazard zone for him. He kept hopping right and left to stay out of the fray. However not once during the noisy ruckus did the little guy appear perturbed in the least.
Once the ruckus was over, the goldendoodle took up his spot beside his Person and off they went, the little dog’s tail happily waving back and forth, relaxed and content, as if nothing disruptive or scary had occurred.
If this dog had a human mind, I can only imagine the Mind Loops that would have churned in his furry head: “How DARE they disregard me and shove things in my way! What’s wrong with my Person that he isn’t looking out for me? Am I supposed to do everything all by myself? How reckless of them all! I could have gotten stepped on – or worse!”
No “smile” (ie, wagging tail) would have appeared in the aftermath of the chaos. Instead, no doubt resentment would have bloomed, lasting for god knows how long: Hours? Days? Years?
Thankfully for the little guy, he’s a dog and has the instinct to let it go.
Is It Worth Holding Onto?
When we loop on negative thoughts and emotions and get all upset and bothered, who are we harming? Sure, silent grudges and angry outbursts can disrupt our companion’s world. But it’s really ourselves whom we are harming when we can’t let things go.
And that’s what Mind Loops are: Negative thoughts and feelings that we can’t let go of.
I have never advocated for pushing emotions down and out of sight as if trying to trick our minds into thinking everything is hunky dory. I love emotions, even if they feel horrible sometimes. They are our body’s GPS system, telling us which direction our energy is headed; whether Mind Loops have started to spin; clues about where we can grow or skills we need to learn; and whether it’s time to make a different choice. Emotions are a treasure trove of useful feedback information.
So De-Looping is never about denying feelings or about “just thinking positively”. It’s about:
- becoming aware of our thought patterns;
- acknowledging our emotions and learning from them
- then releasing them
– just like the goldendoodle did.
Just 90 Seconds
Did you know that humans are the only species in the world who don’t allow the emotions of fear and anger to move through them in the moment? Sad but true. We pay dearly for not feeling our emotions, with damaged relationships, physical illness, and crushed dreams laced with regret.
Brain scientist Jill Bolte Taylor, author of “My Stroke of Insight” tells us it takes only 90 seconds for an emotion to move through the body. 90 seconds! But how many times have you held onto a negative emotion long after the incident has passed, like it’s some cherished heirloom to keep forever? I sure have done that. Many times.
I know how hard it is to let go of Mind Loops and negative emotions once they’ve been triggered, and especially after they’ve gained momentum. It can be a real job! Which is why it seems very wise indeed to make a priority to choose to feel, then RELEASE negative thoughts and emotions the moment you become aware of them.
There are so many methods available to us now to help us do that – from De-Looping, to Tapping, EMDR, meditation, breath-work, exercise, and many others.
The first step though, is to make the choice and intention to CATCH the Mind Loop or emotion as close to its inception as possible. That is your moment of influence. Be sure to grab it!
Here’s wishing you a tail-wagging week!
2 thoughts on “Be Like a Dog and Let It Go”
It has taken me two years since reading your wonderful book to realize how important consistency is in letting go of negative thoughts and emotions. My favorite ways of combatting those pesky mind loops are exercise and meditation since these methods have such obvious health benefits in addition to leading to peace of mind. Thank you so much Barbara for your book and other writings!
John, wise words indeed! Consistency is everything. I too love meditation and exercise. They are my go-to’s, along with de-looping (naturally). All the best to you!