by DK Brainard
In the recent September Forecast pod, Phoenix and I talk about how easy it can be to get stuck in negative thought loops, especially during Mercury retrograde periods. Being confronted with the places where we habitually get stuck in the mental realm is not always fun, but being forced to acknowledge those obsessive, repetitive thoughts can ultimately empower us to free our minds.
Afterward, I got to thinking about the many tools and techniques I've used in my own journey to mind freedom and I wanted to share some of them with you, so here are a few ways to free yourself from negative thought loops:
1. Get curious about something (anything)
Curiosity may have killed the cat but it is an amazing remedy when you're stuck in a negative thought cycle. The great thing about this tool is that it only requires one small impulse, one tiny stretch of the mind, to break the grip of an obsessive thought or turn down the volume on that negative inner voice.
Example: You know you need to break a bad habit and find the energy and courage to direct your life energy into something new. But every time you think about breaking the habit, you fall into a negative thought loop about how you're only going to fail. Maybe an inner critical voice is telling you that you should just give up already, you're never going to change, stop fooling yourself, etc.
Engaging your curiosity - about anything at all - will temporarily break you out of that loop. In this case, you could get curious about how other people have broken that same habit. You could also get curious about how water towers work. Or whether your natal Mercury in Pisces has cursed you to wander through life as a rudderless addict, pushed hither and yon by the winds of Fate. The point is, as soon as you get curious you're no longer playing the same repetitive thoughts and inner dialog through your mind.
Of course, if you never heal the root energy that allows the negative thoughts to keep cycling, they will come back. But, by breaking the pattern even for a few minutes of spirited reading or Internet research, this tool buys you the time, energy and mental space to actually be capable of making positive changes.
2. Ask better questions
Many of us empaths and spiritual people have lived our lives in a restrictive mental environment that is the result of harsh parenting, abuse, or other childhood trauma. Because we were so sensitive as children, the pain we felt from the anger and contempt directed at us by parents and others was acute. Until we are able to heal our childhood trauma, the wounded child within us lives in terror of suffering that same kind of pain again. And, being kind by nature, we may also carry a deep unconscious fear of perpetuating that same hurt onto others.
These fears, along with our desire to protect the wounded child within us, often get twisted by the Matrix into a preternatural concern with doing what is right. One clear mental manifestation of this fear programming is that empaths often instinctively/unconsciously think about life in terms of 'should'.
When deciding where to put our energy, this mindset instinctively asks a binary, either/or question that is disconnected from the needs and desires of the true Self: Should I call my energy vampire friend back now? Or wait until she's calmed down to call her?
A better question in this case might be, What is my best attitude or action towards energy vampire friend? Or even, Is it for my highest good to continue trying to maintain a friendship with this drama queen who only calls me when she wants something from me?
Replacing this mindset with one that is aligned with your highest Self takes work. But it starts with a simple commitment you can make right now in this moment: I'm going to ask better questions.
You are an amazing spark of divine Creation! And Creator's desire is for you to experience the most fulfilling life that it's possible for you to live. Your problem isn't being selfish, it's being disconnected from your Self, from your divine essence. Start making a habit today of replacing "should I?" questions with more interesting questions like What is my best attitude or action regarding this situation? and What action can I take right now that will align me with my highest good?
This practice will challenge you but if you stick with it, it will lead you towards the enlightenment and mental freedom that all of Creation desires for you.
P.S. If you do tarot readings for yourself, this one technique alone can change your life. Challenge yourself to stop asking should questions when pulling tarot cards and develop a new mental habit of asking questions that are open-ended, self-loving, and aligned with your divine nature.
The revolutionary French psychologist Emil Coue said that whenever imagination and willpower are in conflict, the imagination always wins.
This tool is so powerful when I find myself procrastinating over a task that needs to be done or avoiding doing something I really want to do.
Example: I really want to start recording a song I'm writing. But suddenly I feel so tired I don't know if I can even stand up and go into my studio. The voices in my head are telling me I don't really have enough time, it's going to take so long to set up the microphone and find the right guitar tone, you really should return that phone call that you keep putting off...
What these internal voices aren’t saying explicitly is that I shouldn't start working on the song, either because I don't have permission (it’s something fun that makes me feel good but it's not directly useful to my partner, kids, clients, or whomever); or because I won't do it perfectly (i.e. fear of failure).
Just becoming aware of the real reasons underlying the thought loops that are keeping me in a state of paralysis can sometimes be enough to break the mental cycle and go do what my heart wants to do. But those trauma-informed, parasitic mind loops can be pretty tenacious.
But imagination always trumps willpower. All you have to do is quit arguing with those inner critical voices, kick back, and imagine yourself doing what you want to be doing. Imagine how good it's going to feel when you've kicked that fear to the curb. You know from experience it only takes a few minutes to get into a state of delicious flow or rapt concentration - once you get started. So use your power of imagination to skip over the "hard part" and just drop into that place where you're already flowing with it. If what you're avoiding is a task that isn't going to be fun but that you're doing to feel great about when it is done, then you can skip all the way to the end. Imagine how good you feel as you stand up (or sit down) and say to yourself, "Bam! Check that off the list!"
Flash forward to your feel-good mental state and then you can go back to doing whatever you were doing before. Distract. Avoid. Feel shitty. The genius of this technique is that you don't have to force yourself to do anything. If you imagine it vividly enough, sooner or later you're going to find yourself doing it already. It's kinda like magic!
As someone who realized pretty early in life that willpower wasn't my strongest attribute, I love this tool. If you want to hear me walk you through it in a hypnotic way that will help you master it quickly and keep it for life, check out the Flash Forward PDF and audio download available now in the shop.
DK "Kairos" Brainard is a musician, astrologer, and co-creator of Cosmic Fire. He is the audio genius behind the podcast, audio downloads, and music offered here. DK also shares his astrological wisdom and personal mastery tools with clients and students in classes and private sessions at dkbrainard.com