Winter came back in April. It was freezing cold outside (-1 degrees Celsius) and cozy and warm at home. It was a Saturday morning and I was preparing pancakes (which is a Saturday-morning routine for me). And, as may be expected, something that I do really well. This time it didn’t work out well. I was wondering what was different? What was I doing differently this time? The proportion of the ingredients was the same as usual and I wasted 1/3 of the pancake mixture, because while placing them on the pan they were sticking to the pan and came out shapeless. I even got frustrated for a while. When I became aware of my frustration, I quit the frying and began to examine the process in my typical way of a coach. I noticed that the temperature was higher. The truth was that I had never paid attention to the temperature before. Obviously because everything was turning out nicely in the past. The formlessness of my pancakes this morning drew my attention to the process and I started to pay attention. To notice and explore curiously. That is how the “pancake metaphor” was born.
The “pancake metaphor” is about awareness and our ability to explore with curiosity and calmness a situation developing in the present, a person, a relationship that doesn’t seem to work as expected. Frustration doesn’t bring you closer to the truth in such instances. Frustration is an automatic stress reaction when reality and expectations are not aligned.
Let me dig deeper and connect this metaphor with fear, as far as this is the hottest topic I work on with my clients. The major inner block (commitment obstacle) that keeps us far from thriving is fear. When we are occupied from fears we are in the fog zone. We are paralyzed and far from taking a meaningful and conscious action. The root of a particular fear is a particular unhelpful thought. You will agree that our minds are the biggest yarn-spinners. The more occupied we are with unhelpful thought patterns the more we feel an energy drain. Fear is false evidence appearing real – not reality. The ability to defuse unhelpful thought is very important and it starts with recognition of that thought. The psychological technique that we use together with my clients to defuse the unhelpful thought makes miracles for the majority of them. This is a simple, yet powerful method that, when practised diligently, gives the sensation of detachment from the thought and liberation.
Let me share one of the defusion exercises “I am having the thought that":
Bring the thought that is creating the unpleasant feeling and fear. Ideally, for this exercise pick a negative self-judgement.
· Silently say this thought to yourself, believing it as much as you can, and notice the effect it has on you.
· Now replay that thought in your head, with this short phrase inserted immediately before it: “I am having the thought that…”
· Now reply that thought once more, but this time the phrase to insert is: “I notice I’m having the thought that…”
So what happened?