By Marni Levitt
Mon., Oct. 30, 2017
This morning I swam lengths at the pool. I repeated phrases to myself, in rhythm with my strokes, as I swam length after length. I have been doing this for awhile now. My mind is used to it. I have made an association with a particular body movement (swimming strokes), and certain phrases I repeat to myself. The amazing thing today was that my mind automatically remembered which phrases went with which strokes (ie. back crawl means this phrase, and front crawl means this other phrase)…the words just popped into my head when I started a length using a particular stroke! Amazing!! Some of these phrases I hadn’t used in several months.
You might be wondering, “why repeat phrases?”
What I am doing is reprogramming my subconscious to adopt new core beliefs (beliefs about myself, what is possible in my life, what I can achieve, the support I can receive, etc…). I am replacing old, outdated beliefs that are not helpful for me, and replacing them with new, more helpful and positive beliefs. We all learn maladaptive or limiting beliefs in some way or another when we are growing up. These beliefs create the basis for our thought patterns, and our thought patterns create the basis for our words, actions, and experience in life.
My swimming (a rhythmic, repetitive activity) is a great time to repeat phrases, which also follow a repetitive and rhythmic pattern. I am linking the body movement with the words. The blood and oxygen flow through my system, while the phrases run through my mind. Powerful. Slowly, my subconscious mind is being reprogrammed, and my actions and experience in life start to change too. I have seen this happen over the past couple of years – it is really quite remarkable. If you want to learn more about this approach to life and wellness, I suggest looking up the work of Louise Hay.
You may be wondering if it is possible to instill or share some of these mindfulness messages with children, so they can get an early start in life in programming their own “inner software” for success and happiness.
I believe it is not only possible, but it can be very fun, very easy, and a great way to bond with your children or students. This can be done by finding rhythm, repetition and music in our daily lives. I believe those things are all around us, all the time – we just have to tune into them a little bit. As a songwriter and an educator, I am doing this all the time. After sharing music with kids and adults for more than 10 years, I KNOW that everyone has music inside them. We are born with it. It is just a matter of becoming comfortable with it.
A walk to the grocery store can be a chance to repeat a phrase (out loud, or in our heads) while walking…hearing our favourite kid’s song on a CD in the car, or on the computer, can be an opportunity to change the words to a phrase we want our kids to repeat to themselves, or a line from a favourite bedtime story (especially one with repeating or rhythmic phrases) can be changed to suit the messages we want to share.
You may be wondering how to create these new phrases!
Just pick something your child is struggling with, or often complaining about ie. (‘I hate math, I can’t do math’, or ‘nobody wants to play with me’), and flip it around to the opposite, or something more positive, like ‘I can play with numbers and I can try again’ or ‘I may just have to look a bit, but I can find a friend’…if you say the phrases while walking in a steady beat or pace, after awhile the words will start to fall within the rhythm of your walking. And PRESTO! You have just created a magical mindful message!
The phrases don’t have to address a negative core belief or thought pattern that your child is expressing, it can just be a spontaneous expression of the possibilities, joy and beauty in life, and I bet your children or students could help you come up with some phrases. You could create some together! Here are some examples:
“thank-you to the sun, the sun, the sun, thank-you to the sun for giving me warmth!”
“I can feel the warmth and the love of the sunshine”
“I have a big mind, big like the sky, when my feelings come through, I just let them fly by”
“my heart is a big as I can see, there is room for you, there is room for me”
Think of your favourite children’s nursery rhymes, games, and songs…..write on line on a piece of paper, and then replace the words with the kind of mindful message you want. You can match the syllables of the original phrase, with the syllables of the one you are writing (that is one easy way to make sure your phrase has a rhythm). Or just speak it while you walk, it will fall into a pattern…then write it down so you don’t forget!
Words can be used to create simple, fun, creative opportunities to infuse daily life with some healthy mindful messages. Give it a try!!! Don’t be shy!!! Have fun!! 🙂